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Nazir, 14


SUMMARY: The Gemara asks a series of questions regarding one who accepts to become a Nazir after accepting to become a Nazir in 20 days from now. The gist of the questions is whether a Nazir starts observing *immediately* the second Nezirus that he accepted, before the 20 days have arrived, even though he will will have to interrupt it when 20 days have passed in order to observe the first Nezirus that he accepted, or does he delay starting the second Nezirus until after 20 days have passed and after he has observed his first Nezirus (which begins in 20 days). The cases that the Gemara discusses are as follows.
1. The Gemara first discusses a case where the second Nezirus was 100 days long. Does he delay observing the 100-day Nezirus until he finishes the first Nezirus (i.e. until 50 days from now) so that he will not have to interrupt the observance of the 100-day Nezirus? Or does he begin observing the 100-day Nezirus now and interrupt it in 20 days with a 30-day Nezirus, and then continue his 100-day Nezirus after completing the 30-day Nezirus?

2. The Gemara next discusses a case where the second Nezirus is a 30-day Nezirus, instead of a 100-day Nezirus. The Gemara asks that if, in the previous case, he starts the second Nezirus immediately, then when does he start the second Nezirus if it is only a 30-day Nezirus? Does he also start the Nezirus immediately and then interrupt it after 20 days, or -- since after interrupting the Nezirus, there will not remain a full uninterrupted thirty days -- he must wait until fifty days have passed before he begins to observe the second Nezirus that he accepted.

3. The Gemara then asks that if, in the second case, the person also starts his Nezirus immediately, then what is the Halachah when the second Nezirus he accepted is a Nazir Olam? Does he start observing the Nezirus immediately and interrupt it, after 20 days, with the other Nezirus, or does he wait until after finishing the first Nezirus, since interrupting it with an entirely different kind of Nezirus is a much larger interruption than in the previous cases. (A Nazir Olam is a different type of Nazir, since, if he wants, he may shave intermittently to lighten his hair. See 5a.)

This is how TOSFOS explains this case of the Gemara. The ROSH suggests a second explanation: a Nazir Olam refers to a person who accepts one long Nezirus for the rest of his life and will never shave his hair. Does he begi n the Nezirus immediately, or must he delay it until after he finishes the first Nezirus, which begins 20 days from now, because -- if he starts it now -- he will never have the opportunity to shave for the Nezirus that he will observe in 20 days from now?

4. If, in the previous case, even a Nazir Olam starts observing his Nezirus immediately, since it is possible for him to repeal with "She'eilah" the Nezirus that will take effect in 20 days from now such that it will not interrupt his Nezirus of Nazir Olam (and he will not have to bring Korbanos for it), what is the Halachah if the Nezirus after 20 days is a Nazir Shimshon, which he cannot annul with "She'eilah?" Does the first Nezirus, whether it is a Nazir Olam or a Nazir for 100 (or 30) days, start immediately, or is the second Nezirus ignored entirely since, if he starts it, he will never be able to finish it (because it will be interrupted by a permanent interruption, the Nezirus of Nazir Shimshon, and a Nazir Shimshon never ends; "She'eilah" is not an option since a Nazir Shimshon cannot be repealed with "She'eilah").

QUESTION: After the Gemara asks the questions discussed earlier (see above), the Gemara throws in a short, one-line question: what is the Halachah regarding someone who says, "[I shall be] like Moshe on the seventh of Adar?"

The Rishonim explain that the Gemara is asking that perhaps we must assume that the person intends to make himself a Nazir, since, on the seventh of Adar, when Moshe Rabeinu passed away, many Jews certainly made themselves Nazirim due to their profound grief. On the other hand, perhaps we assume that he is referring to the day on which Moshe Rabeinu was *born*, since he was also born on the seventh of Adar, and hence the person intends to celebrate (and not to make himself a Nazir).

What does this question have to do with the rest of the Sugya? (See KEREN ORAH, who writes that he tried but did not succeed in finding a connection between this question and the rest of the Sugya.)


(a) Perhaps the Gemara's question is whether we should assume that a person wants to accept Nezirus if we are in doubt about the meaning of his statement. Although the rule is that "Safek Nezirus l'Hakel" and we should rule leniently, this rule applies when we know what the person intends but a doubt about his status arises because of his statement. For example, if he says, "I am a Nazir if there are 100 Kur of grain in this silo," and then the grain is stolen (8a), there is a doubt that has arisen because of his statement. This rule might also apply when a person said a particular statement and there is a question whether he meant to accept upon himself the Mitzvah of Nezirus or some another Mitzvah, such as a Ta'anis (Rosh, 2b). However, when there is a doubt whether the person accepted Nezirus or did not intend to accept Nezirus at all, do we assume that he wants to be a Nazir because of the Mitzvah involved, or that he does not want to become a Nazir because of the trouble involved? This might be connected to the previous question of the Gemara, where there was a doubt whether the second Nezirus that the person accepted starts immediately even though it will be permanently interrupted when day 20 arrives, or do we say that the second Nezirus is not observed at all? The reason to say that it should be observed for at least 20 days is that since the person said a statement that can mean that he wants to observe an extra Nezirus, we assume that he indeed wants it to take effect, even though it cannot be finished.

(b) The BRISKER RAV suggests a new way to interpret this Gemara and to relate it to the preceding questions. The Gemara is asking what the Halachah is when a person says, "I want to be like Moshe would have been had he accepted Nezirus on the seventh of Adar, the last day of his life." That is, the person accepts Nezirus for one day, as if today is the last day of his life. Do we say that since he cannot finish the Nezirus of 30 days in only one day, he is not a Nazir at all? Or do we say that if he would die the following day, the Nezirus is still a 30-day Nezirus, but that it is just interrupted by his death, and therefore his acceptance of Nezirus is a valid acceptance of Nezirus and he is a Nazir for 30 days? This is similar to the Gemara's question earlier about a person who makes himself a Nazir 20 days before becoming a Nazir Shimshon, where he will not be able to complete the Nezirus. (Even though we find that if a person accepts Nezirus for one day, he must observe Nezirus for 30 days (7a), that is because we interpret his statement to mean that "I will accept Nezirus in a way that will make me a Nazir for one day," and if becoming a Nazir for one day also must make him a Nazir for 30 days, that is also acceptable to him. In this case, on the other hand, when he says that he is "like Moshe on the seventh of Adar," he is specifying that he only wants a single day of Nezirus and not more, and thus perhaps the Nezirus does not take effect at all.)

(c) Perhaps we may suggest another original explanation that makes this question of the Gemara a direct continuation of the previous question of the Gemara. It seems forced to say that "like Moshe on the seventh of Adar" might mean that he wants to celebrate like the day that Moshe was born, because those who lived when Moshe was born were unaware of any reason to celebrate at that time; when he was born his mother hid him and only his immediate family knew of his birth altogether! Rather, it is certainly referring to the day that he died, when the Jews were in such profound grief over his death that we assume that they accepted upon themselves Nezirus for the rest of their lives. This person, then, is accepting upon himself to become a Nazir for the rest of his life.

It is not clear, though, what type of Nazir this person wants to be for the rest of his life. There are two types of Nazir who observe Nezirus for their entire lives -- a Nazir Olam (like Avshalom), and a Nazir Shimshon. Each type of Nezirus has a Kula and a Chumra. A Nazir Olam may shave his hair periodically and may rescind (be "Sho'el") his Nezirus. A Nazir Shimshon cannot be Sh'oel on his Nezirus. On the other hand, a Nazir Shimshon has a Kula in that he may be Metamei l'Mesim (4b). Since we are not sure of the person's intentions, we must take into account both possibilities, and the person who says that he is "like Moshe on the seventh of Adar" should not be able to cut his hair for the rest of his life, nor be Metamei l'Mesim, nor be Sho'el on his Nezirus -- that is, he has the Chumros of both types of Nezirus.

Normally, when there is a Safek regarding Nezirus, we rule leniently because of the rule, "Safek Nezirus l'Hakel." This principle, however, does not apply in all cases of Safek Nezirus. The Gemara explains that the logic behind the principle of "Safek Nezirus l'Hakel" is that a person would not have accepted the Nezirus in the first place had he known that it would not be treated as a definite Nezirus but rather as a Safek Nezirus, because the Halachos of a Safek Nazir are much more stringent than a Vadai Nazir. A Vadai Nazir shaves after 30 days and brings his Korbanos and concludes his Nezirus; a Safek Nazir may never shave his hair at all, since he cannot bring the necessary Korbanos to conclude his Nezirus.

This logic, though, applies only when the doubt is whether he became a Nazir or did not become a Nazir. In our case, we know for certain that he wants to be a Nazir, and the doubt is only *which* type of Nazir he wants to be. We may assume that a person *would* be willing to accept such a doubtful Nezirus, because there is no element of the Nezirus that is not taken from one of his two possible intentions. Therefore, the Safek Nazir in this case is not more stringent than the combination of the two possibilities of each Vadai Nazir. In addition, neither of the two possibilities can be definitely defined as the Kula, since each one has a Kula and a Chumra. In addition, we cannot ignore both possibilities, since he certainly means one of the two. (We cannot ask him which of the two types of Nazir he intended to become, because the case is where he says that he did not have any particular Kavanah in mind and he wanted the Rabanan to interpret what he said (Nedarim 18b).)

The Gemara, therefore, is asking that if -- when a person says that he is a Nazir Shimshon after 20 days, we rule that he does *not* start the second Nezirus immediately since he cannot be Sho'el on the Nezirus of Nazir Shimshon, what is the Halachah in a case where he accepts a Nezirus "like Moshe on the seventh of Adar" after 20 days, and then he accepts a normal Nezirus? Do we say that the second Nezirus is ignored, since when he made himself such a Nazir "like Moshe on the seventh of Adar" he cannot be Sho'el on the Nezirus in practice because of the Safek, and therefore it is like a Nazir Shimshon? Or do we say that if he does not observe the second Nezirus, then that will be a Kula, and this Nazir has to conduct himself l'Chumra, and maybe he is a Nazir Olam who *can* be Sho'el on his Nezirus and thus the Nezirus should begin immediately! (M. Kornfeld)


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