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The Pursuit of Happiness Nazir 13 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 5th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph Discusses a scenario, whereby one person overhears another, declaring, “I hereby accept upon myself being a nazir if a child is born to me.” The person who overhears it says, “Myself as well”. The question is, what did he mean by, “myself as well”? Did he mean, “I, too, will take this vow upon myself in gratitude for your having a child”, or does he mean, “I, too, will …
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Emotional Holding Nazir 12 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 3rd, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses a scenario where a man tries to forestall and annul vows that his wife might make while he is away. In one iteration, the Gemara has a textual problem in the teaching that involves appointing an agent to make the annulment. The Gemara wonders, why appoint an agent? Why not merely declare in advance that all vows are annulled? The Gemara answers that he is afraid that he will become distracted on the day of his de …
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Pounds of Prevention for an Ounce of Cure Nazir 11 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 3rd, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses a scenario where a person was drinking, or even drunk and declared,”I am a Nazirite from this wine.”  The rabbis ruled that the person only intended to swear off this wine, but not to actually be a Nazir.  Tosafos explains that sometimes when a person is drunk, others tease and goad the person to drink more.  Therefore, in reaction, the person swore off the wine. His intention was not …
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Holy Cow! Nazir 10 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 2nd, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph tries to understand a strange declaration made by the protagonist in the Mishna.  The fellow is frustrated with his cow that is refusing to budge, and declares, “This cow says, I am hereby a Nazir if I get up.”  Obviously, the cow cannot make declarations.  The Gemara explains, when the person said “this cow says”, he meant to say, “this cow THINKS she is not going to get up&he …
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Bad Hair Day Nazir 9 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
February 1st, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph states that according to the opinion of אין שאלה בהקדש, one cannot annul vows made for sanctification purposes, one also cannot annul a nazirite vow. Tosafos offers a proof text that Nazirhood is a sacrament (Bamidbar 6:5): קָדֹ֣שׁ יִהְיֶ֔ה גַּדֵּ֥ל פֶּ֖רַע שְׂעַ֥ר רֹאשֽׁוֹ׃ He shall be holy, the one who grows the hair of his head. The simple understanding is that …
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Mission Accomplished Nazir 8 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 31st, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph tells us about a man who accepted upon himself 365 consecutive Naziriyos, (30 days x 365). Upon his completion of this cycle he passed away. This story brings to awareness the idea that sometimes a person may be living off the merit of a particular mitzvah or purpose, and if he stops, it could be the end of the line. Similar to an old brick wall that was held up with dirt and moss in the cracks in the place of cement. If …
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All In a Day’s Work Nazir 7 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 30th, 2023

Our General on Amud Aleph references the halakhic definition of a day, which is the day behind the prior night. This is learned from verses in Bereishis, “It was evening, it was morning.” Therefore, most Jewish practices that begin or end on a certain day, start the evening before. As of course, Shabbos and Yom Tov begin on the evening before. A notable exception to this rule is for counting days of validity for eating the meat of a s …
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What is Marriage Mediation?
Author: Mordechai Rhine, Rabbi, Mediator
January 25th, 2023

“You are driving a bus,” the entertainer began. I was sitting at a birthday party to which I had carpooled my son and some classmates. The entertainer was trying to include both children and their parents with a conversational riddle. He continued. “At the first stop 3 children get on. At the second stop 2 more get on, but one gets off. At the next stop a grandma gets on with two children, a boy and a girl. At the next stop 2 ch …
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Back to the Future Nazir 6 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 29th, 2023

  Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the challenge of the Nazir who unfortunately becomes exposed to a corpse.  The verse seems to indicate that he must start his counting all over again.  So whatever time he pledged to become a Nazir must now be repeated after he undergoes a purification process. The verse states (Bamidbar 6:12): וְהַיָּמִ֤ים הָרִאשֹׁנִים֙ יִפְּל֔וּ כִּ֥י טָמֵ֖א נִזְ …
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Don't Be So Humble - You Are Not That Great Nazir 5 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 27th, 2023

(Quote from Golda Meir) There is a humorous story about an up and coming student who attended one the great mussar yeshivos in Europe.  In this yeshiva, there was an attic where the more pious would meditate on their state of smallness in the world.  Of course, one did not have the temerity to THINK that he is so big, as to attempt to become so small. By some kind of unwritten pecking order, only certain people dared to enter that upper …
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Paradise Lost Nazir 4 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 27th, 2023

Our Gemara on amud aleph seems to indicate that Kiddush with wine is part of the Deoraysa (Biblical) mitzvah of declaring Shabbos, and not merely a rabbinic requirement.  Therefore, it may be that one would not be able to fulfill the Biblical obligation of Kiddush Friday night without wine (although this is subject to debate, compare the mefaresh “Harey Mushba”, 4b with Tosafos. Also see Rabbenu Tam, Sefer Hayashar 62.) If we are …
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In the End, It’s Just a Matter of Time Nazir 3 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 26th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis quotes a verse in Daniel (22:17): וָאֶשְׁמַ֞ע אֶת־הָאִ֣ישׁ ׀ לְב֣וּשׁ הַבַּדִּ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר מִמַּ֘עַל֮ לְמֵימֵ֣י הַיְאֹר֒ וַיָּ֨רֶם יְמִינ֤וֹ וּשְׂמֹאלוֹ֙ אֶל־הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וַיִּשָּׁבַ֖ע בְּחֵ֣י הָעוֹלָ֑ם כִּי֩ לְמוֹעֵ֨ד מֽוֹעֲדִ֜ים וָחֵ֗צ …
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When You Point a Finger, Three Other Fingers Point Back at You Nazir 2 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 25th, 2023

We have discussed many times in Psychology of the Daf (see Nedarim 78), Chazal were ambivalent about pious declarations of abstention, such as the vows of the Nazirite, and as the Gemara on daf 4b explains in regard to Shimon Hatzaddik’s suspicion regarding the sincerity of Nazirite vows. Yet, with proper intention and maturity to handle this period of abnegation, it can be a catalyst for humility and change. Our Gemara on Amud Aleph tells …
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Reviving a Dead Sex Life Nedarim 91 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 24th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis relates a true story and interesting quandary for an accused adulterer.  This fellow heard the husband approaching the house and hid behind the door.  From his vantage point, he noticed a snake had deposited its venom on some vegetables.  When the husband was about to eat, he called out to him to save his life, but also blew his cover.  The Gemara wonders, is his honesty a sign that he did not commit ad …
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Golems, Pedagogy and Sex Robots Nedarim 90 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 23rd, 2023

  Our Gemara on Amud Aleph quotes a verse in Yeshaiyahu 24:23 describing the cosmic changes of the Messianic era: וְחָֽפְרָה֙ הַלְּבָנָ֔ה וּבוֹשָׁ֖ה הַחַמָּ֑ה כִּֽי־מָלַ֞ךְ ה׳ צבקות בְּהַ֤ר צִיּוֹן֙ וּבִיר֣וּשָׁלַ֔͏ִם וְנֶ֥גֶד זְקֵנָ֖יו כָּבֽוֹד Then the moon shall be ashamed, And the sun shall be abashed. For the LORD of Ho …
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Self-Confidence and Religiosity
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: My 15-year-old son has always been a bit shy and nervous. Not the bravest kid, he doesn't really take chances or challenge things. BH, he is a good kid and is doing well in mesivta. His 2 older brothers have struggled a lot with their yiddishkeit. Our son now would like to go to therapy to help him be calmer and more confident.  A lot of his worries have a frumkeit aspect to it. He seems to look up to his …
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Is Therapy a Dating Red Flag?
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I am dating a girl who disclosed to me that she has been seeing a therapist for the last year. She seems like a good girl and she said the things she went to therapy for are not significant. She gave me permission to speak directly with her therapist and signed a form allowing me to do so. My question/concern is how reliable will the information I get from the therapist be? Can you give me some advice on what type of questions to …
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Rebellious Teenager
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: We are writing this out of deep frustration in the hope that you will have some guidance for us. Our 16-year-old son has become rebellious and has been out of yeshiva the whole year. He seemingly spends his days and nights getting into trouble and living completely not like a mensch. He keeps crazy hours,  dresses strange, has very few friends. and in general, is not being matzliach. My husband and I pride ours …
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Presumption of Therapeutic Obstacles
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I'm a thirty-year-old wife and mother who's been recommended for therapy by my rov to address trauma and a difficult childhood. I am concerned about some obstacles that I think will come up—and that I have heard from others—and am curious if the panelists have any solutions.  Being that the average session time is 45-50 minutes, how is it feasible to get anywhere in therapy? It takes a good fifteen minut …
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Dual Relationships and Expertise
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I was advised to see a therapist for our son for a certain issue. When getting the referral we were told that a specific therapist is a mumcheh in this area. The issue is that he lives in our neighborhood and davens in our shul. We don’t really have anything to do with him personally but my son is very uncomfortable with the idea that he would bump into him. Our question is if you think this is a concern? …
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Medication Compliance
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: Our 18-year-old daughter was prescribed medication for depression and we think that it makes a real difference for her. Unfortunately, she starts and stops taking it pretty much whenever she wants. We have discussed this with her therapist but get the sense that the therapist doesn't want to waste the whole session talking about medication compliance. That being said we are concerned that this might be unhealthy for her and certai …
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Community Feud
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: We live in a small neighborhood where everyone knows each other and gets along very well. Recently two families that we know and are friendly with became embroiled in a serious machlokes with each other. I do not think the specific details are necessary to share and I want to protect confidentiality but this is not an issue that someone just didn't get shlishi. It is hard to figure out what is actually even the trut …
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My Brother Has Schizophrenia
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I have been hesitant to write for a while because this is not a scenario that most people deal with. My son, who has always had mental health issues, was recently diagnosed with psychosis - the doctors say most likely he has some form schizophrenia. This is not so shocking to us because, like I said, he has been struggling for a while. We are hopeful that with the right treatment he will be able to live a full and productive life …
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Self-Esteem-Based Opinions
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I'm in my early fifties, married with children and grandchildren. Problem is I'm still trying to figure out who I am. I don't have good self-esteem and not sure of my opinions. I don't express my emotions, maybe I don't trust them. You can even see in my walk that I am nervous/not confident (at least I think so). I grew up in a house without shalom bayis. What can I do now, at this stage of life, to help myself? Thank yo …
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Self-Esteem and Emotional Reactivity
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I have always been jealous of those who are able to keep calm when everything around them is in crisis. There are some people who it seems no matter what is going on around them are able to keep cool, stay rational, and make sound decisions. I always tend to panic and do exactly the wrong thing. Is this just a personality type that you are born with or is this something you can develop? If it is something you can really become goo …
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Generational Resiliency
Author: Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW
January 19th, 2023

Dear Therapist: I'm in my low thirties and my oldest children are now in their early teens. Due to increased awareness and education, my friends and I focus on parenting with more positivity, empathy, validation, communication, and emotional awareness than the previous generation. Our parents expected more from us than we expect from our children, and we usually had to do what was right even if we didn't feel like it. Recently, I'm noticing a dis …
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You, Me, We: A Jewish Teenager’s Guide to Identity and Belonging
Author: Michael Milgraum
January 18th, 2023

Introductory Note: This post, which is also planned to be released as a printed booklet, is designed to give teens and preteens guidance as they encounter intense and confusing messages from the world that surrounds them. These days, we hear, through every channel of communication, messages encouraging young people to examine and reexamine their feelings about gender, attractions and relationships. The message that is broadcast is that the possib …
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From Pain to Purpose
Author: Miriam Ribiat
January 16th, 2023

What is it like to lose one parent and then the other shortly after? What happens if in between the death of your two parents, your beloved in-law also dies? When Mrs. Ruchy Rosenfeld, already a life coach, experienced the consecutive losses of her father, mother-in-law, and mother, the pain was deep and unrelenting. Yet she took that pain and used it as a catalyst for continued advancement in her qualifications to help others. Mrs. Rosenfeld is …
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Shidduch Info From Her Therapist?
Author: Chaim Neuhoff, Ph.D.
January 16th, 2023

Question: I am dating a girl who disclosed to me that she has been seeing a therapist for the last year. She seems like a good girl and she said the things she went to therapy for are not significant. She gave me permission to speak directly with her therapist and signed a form allowing me to do so. My question/concern is how reliable will the information I get from the therapist be? Can you give me some advice on what type of questions to ask an …
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Knocking on the Wrong Door Nedarim 89 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 22nd, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis relates a story of a person who was impetuously determined to study Torah.  In fact, he made a vow that if he married before he “learns the halachos”, he would be forbidden to benefit from anything in the world.  It is a matter of debate what he meant by “learning halachos”.  Some of the commentaries are vague, though it does seem that it means mastery of the known body of practical t …
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Speaking With a Unified Voice Nedarim 88 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 20th, 2023

The Ran on Amud Beis discusses the status of possessions of a married woman.  Since there is a nuptial agreement that the husband support his wife financially, in exchange for that, she agrees that her earnings become his property. What if someone gifts to the woman something with a stipulation that it not be transferable to her husband?  Is this condition valid?  The Ran proves that this condition is accepted as the halakhic norm …
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Silent Scream Nedarim 87 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 20th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph discusses more about Toch Kedei Dibur, that is a parcel of time that it takes to state, “Peace onto you, my master and teacher.”  As we learned in Psychology of the Daf Nedarim 69, there are many halakhic distinctions that arise from this measure of time, mostly having to do with being allowed to renege or retract statements, conditions and agreements within this small time frame.  Many commentaries …
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God Respects the Autonomy of Our Thoughts Nedarim 86 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 19th, 2023

Our Gemara and Mishna on Amud Beis discusses a case of how annulment cannot work in a situation of mistaken identity: מַתְנִי׳ נָדְרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ וְסָבוּר שֶׁנָּדְרָה בִּתּוֹ נָדְרָה בִּתּוֹ וְסָבוּר שֶׁנָּדְרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ …הֲרֵי זֶה יַחְזוֹר וְיָפֵר: MISHNA: If a man’s wife took a vow and he thought that it was his daught …
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Does the Mouse Steal, or Does the Hole Steal? Nedarim 85 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 18th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph explains that when untithed produce is stolen and eaten, the thief technically should not have to pay for the portion which would be tithed since the only value available to the owner was the portion that remains non-sacred. However, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi and Rabbi Yose son of Rabbi Yehuda disagree about the legal response. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi holds that we fine the thief an additional payment of the sacred portion too, in …
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Talent on Loan From God Nedarim 84 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 17th, 2023

The late conservative talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, used to open his show with the tagline, “Talent on Loan from God”.  Whatever your opinion about his politics or character, the idea that talent is on loan from God was a brilliant and humble statement. Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses the concept of “Tovas Hana’ah”, which is the benefit of control and assignment that exists for certain forms of Kodesh and Tze …
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The Denial of Death Nedarim 83 Psychology of the Daf
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 16th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis quotes a verse from Koheles (7:2) as a proof text that the loss of ability to attend a funeral is considered a form of suffering: ט֞וֹב לָלֶ֣כֶת אֶל־בֵּֽית־אֵ֗בֶל מִלֶּ֙כֶת֙ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית מִשְׁתֶּ֔ה בַּאֲשֶׁ֕ר ה֖וּא ס֣וֹף כׇּל־הָאָדָ֑ם וְהַחַ֖י יִתֵּ֥ן אֶל־לִבּֽוֹ׃ It is better to go to a house of mourning t …
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When Words Fail Us: Creating Safe Space for Empathetic Listening
Author: Mordechai Rhine, Rabbi, Mediator
January 10th, 2023

  The call came in at 2:05 a.m. The 911 operator who took the call was a veteran of many years. He intoned with a mixture of compassion and authority, “Do you have an emergency?” But the caller couldn’t talk. Over the phone line came choking sobs. To the operator it sounded a bit like gasps for air. Or was it shock and panic that the operator was hearing? The sobbing, gasps, and attempts to talk in a hushed tone continued, …
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Gender Disparities in Experience of Sexual Deprivation Nedarim 82 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 15th, 2023

Our Gemara on the bottom of 81b to 82a discusses if a vow to abstain from sexuality constitutes a vow of עינוי נפש personal affliction, or categorized as a vow of matters between husband and wife. The halakhic nafka mina (practical outcome) has to do if the vow will remain in effect subsequent to termination of the marriage. The halakha is that vows of personal affliction, when annulled by the husband, are permanently removed. On the othe …
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The Clothes Make the Man Nedarim 81 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 13th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Aleph mentions various illnesses that befall a person who does not keep parts of his body or his clothes clean. Some of it seems to be psychological in origin, that is that it induces a sense of disorder, and possibly even mental illness. It is common sense to assume that one’s mode of dress influences their attitude, for better or for worse. What does the research say about this? We have the general psychological and cog …
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Pledging During a Crisis Nedarim 80 Psychology of the Daf Yomi
Author: Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, DHL, LCSW-R
January 13th, 2023

Our Gemara on Amud Beis discusses a concept that we have seen many times throughout Nedarim, namely, that vows are generally considered actions of the non-righteous. They are more often, impulsive, angry acts that do not represent the person's spiritual standing or ability to consistently follow the demands of the extra extension. This is why there is a phrase נדרי רשעים the oaths of the wicked, because generally speaking, they are not c …
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