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Nazir, 29


QUESTION: TOSFOS (DH Beno) asks that if a Katan is required to observe the Mitzvos because of the Mitzvah d'Rabanan of Chinuch, how can the Gemara (Yevamos 114a) question whether Beis Din must stop a Katan from transgressing an Isur? It is obvious that they must stop him because of the obligation of Chinuch! How can Beis Din *not* be required to stop a Katan from doing an Aveirah if we are required to fulfill the Mitzvah of Chinuch?


(a) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Ma'achalos Asuros 17:28, and Hilchos Avel 3:12) explains that the Gemara in Yevamos is discussing the specific obligation of *Beis Din*. Beis Din has no obligation of Chinuch for a child. The obligation of Chinuch is solely the responsibility of the child's father (or parents; see next Insight, and Insights to Chagigah 6:1). When the father is present, he certainly is obligated to stop the child from doing the Aveirah. The Gemara's question in Yevamos is whether Beis Din must stop the child if the father is not present (or if he is present but does not stop the child himself). This is also the approach of the RI as cited by TOSFOS here and by TOSFOS YESHANIM in Yoma (82a).

(b) The RASHBA and RITVA in Yevamos, and TOSFOS in Shabbos (121a, DH Shema Mina), suggest that our Gemara is discussing a Katan who has not yet reached the age of Chinuch ("Katan she'Lo Higi'a l'Chinuch"). Regarding such a Katan -- for whom there is no obligation of Chinuch -- there is a question whether Beis Din must stop him from doing an Aveirah. The point of the question is whether an Isur is more severe than a positive Mitzvah such that we must prevent a child from doing Isurim even before he reaches the age at which we are required to instruct him to do positive Mitzvos.

Although the Ritva accepts this ruling in practice, the Rashba eventually rejects it. The Rashba cites the Gemara in Yevamos (113a) that asks that a Chareshes married to a Kohen should be allowed to eat Terumah because she is like a Katan who is not obligated to observe the Mitzvos and Beis Din is not required to stop such a person from doing an Aveirah. It seems from the Gemara there that there is no difference between a Ketanah who has reached the age of Chinuch and a Ketanah who has not reached the age of Chinuch -- in both cases, Beis Din is *not* required to stop the Ketanah from doing an Aveirah!

(The Ritva might refute this proof by differentiating between a Chareshes and a Ketanah who has reached the age of Chinuch, since a Chareshes will *never* be obligated to do Mitzvos.)

(c) TOSFOS here, and the RASHBA in Yevamos, conclude that the Gemara there is talking about a child who has reached the age of Chinuch. The reason why Chinuch does not apply to him is because the Mitzvah of Chinuch may apply only to Mitzvos Aseh. The Gemara's question is whether there is a requirement of Chinuch for Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh as well. This is also the view of TOSFOS YESHANIM in Yoma (82a) in the name of RABEINU ELIEZER.

The reason why there should be more of an obligation of Chinuch for Mitzvos Aseh than for Mitzvos Lo Ta'aseh is because more effort is required to teach a child to do something than to teach him to refrain from doing something (see TERUMAS HA'DESHEN #94). (See also Insights to Shabbos 121:1.)

HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 343) cites only the Rambam's opinion (a) that the father, and not Beis Din, is commanded to stop the child from sinning. The REMA cites both the opinions of the Rambam (a) and of the Ritva (b), with the Rambam's opinion as a "Yesh Omrim." (The Terumas ha'Deshen, ibid., favors the opinion of Tosfos and the Rashba (c) who differentiate between a Mitzvas Aseh and a Lo Ta'aseh.)
QUESTION: The Gemara teaches that, according to Reish Lakish, only the father is obligated to be Mechanech his child, and not the mother, and therefore the mother cannot make her son a Nazir. This also seems to be the intention of the Gemara in Chagigah (6a; see Insights there), which says that a Katan is obligated in the Mitzvah of Aliyah l'Regel (for the sake of Chinuch) only when he is old enough to walk with his *father* to Yerushalayim. This, however, seems to contradict other Gemaras that teach that a mother is obligated in the Chinuch of her child. For example, the Gemara in Sukah (2b) relates that Hilni ha'Malkah was sitting in the Sukah with her seven sons, and she made sure that they were fulfilling the Mitzvah of sitting in a valid Sukah because of the Mitzvah d'Rabanan of Chinuch (see GILYON HA'SHAS there). How are these Gemaras to be reconciled?


(a) The Rishonim explain that if the child has a father who is not present at the time, the mother is obligated to be Mechanech the child on behalf of the father (TERUMAS HA'DESHEN #94, based on TOSFOS in Eruvin 82a, DH Katan; this might be the intention of TOSFOS YESHANIM in Yoma 82a -- see also Yevamos 71b, "his father and *mother* were in jail"). The ME'IRI (Nazir 29a) states, similarly, that if there is no father, then the mother is obligated to be Mechanech the child. Only when the father is alive and present does the mother not have to be Mechanech the child.

(b) RASHI (Chagigah 2a, DH Eizehu Katan) writes that the Chachamim obligated the child's *father and mother* to be Mechanech him in Mitzvos.

When the Gemara here says that a woman is not obligated in the Chinuch of her child, it is only referring to Mitzvos that are not obligatory (such as Nezirus). (The Rosh mentions a similar distinction with regard to the Gemara's statement that a father is not obligated to be Mechanech his daughter.) For such Mitzvos, the mother has no obligation to be Mechanech her child. Alternatively, Rashi in Chagigah holds that Rebbi Yochanan argues with Reish Lakish in Nazir regarding this point, and the Halachah follows the view of Rebbi Yochanan. Rebbi Yochanan holds that a woman *is* obligated in the Chinuch of her child.

Why, then, does the Gemara in Chagigah imply that the mother does not have to bring her child to Har ha'Bayis as soon as the child is able to walk with her to there (even if he is too young to walk with his father alone)? The answer is because she is only obligated to be Mechanech her son in Mitzvos in which she herself is obligated. Since she is not obligated in Aliyah l'Regel, she does not have to be Mechanech him in that Mitzvah (MENACHEM MESHIV to Chagigah 2a, citing YAD DAVID -- see Insights to Chagigah 6:1).

QUESTIONS: The Gemara says that according to Reish Lakish, the father not only may make Nezirus for his son, but he may also make Nedarim for his son. The Mishnah mentions that the father may make his son into a Nazir in order to teach an additional Chidush: not only may he make a Neder -- which does not involve "Nivul" -- for his son, but he may even make his son into a Nazir, which does not involve "Nivul."

TOSFOS (28b, DH b'Nedarim) explains that when the Gemara says that the father may make Nedarim for his son, it is referring to Nedarim such as a Neder to bring a Korban, or a Neder to fulfill a Mitzvah such as Sukah or Lulav.

The Acharonim ask a number of questions on Tosfos.

(a) Why does Tosfos mention these two specific types of Nedarim? Why does he not explain the Gemara in the more straightforward way and say that the Gemara is referring to a Neder that prohibits the son from eating a certain item or from benefiting from a certain item? (Indeed, this seems to be the way the ROSH explains the Gemara.) (ARZEI HA'LEVANON)

(b) The KEREN ORAH asks how can a Neder obligate a person to perform a Mitzvah? A Neder, which is an Isur Cheftza (a prohibition that takes effect on an item), can only prohibit a person from using or benefiting from an object. It cannot obligate him to actively do something. (It is true that the Gemara in Nedarim 8a mentions that if a person accepts to learn a certain Perek the following day, "he has made a great Neder." The RAN there (DH v'ha'Lo Mushba), though, explains that the Gemara does not really mean a Neder, but it means a Shevu'ah and it is merely calling this Shevu'ah a "Neder." If so, when our Gemara mentions Nedarim, it is referring literally to Nedarim, for otherwise Tosfos would not have mentioned this particular example of a Neder; he could have mentioned an example of a Shevu'ah that a person makes to eat something or do something!)

(a) The ARZEI HA'LEVANON explains that Tosfos was bothered by the fact that the Gemara refers to making Nedarim for one's son as "Chinuch," implying that it is a Mitzvah to make Nedarim. The Gemara in Nedarim (22a), however, says that a person who makes a Neder is considered to have built a Bamah and thereby committed a severe Aveirah! How, then, can there be Chinuch for such an act? Therefore, Tosfos explains that the Gemara is discussing Nidrei Mitzvah, which are not considered an Aveirah at all.

However, according to this logic, Rebbi Elazar ha'Kafar -- who says that a Nazir is a sinner (19a, 22a) -- should disagree with the Halachah that a father may make his son a Nazir, according to Reish Lakish, and yet we do not find that anyone rejects this Halachah! Moreover, how could the Mishnah refer positively to Nedarim and say that "Nedarim Seyag l'Perishus" (Avos 3:13) if making Nedarim is considered a sin?

It is clear that making an unnecessary Neder is considered like building a Bamah. However, if a person is drawn to sin through excessive indulgence of a certain food or item, then it is proper to prohibit that item to himself through a Neder. For this the Mishnah in Avos says that "Nedarim Seyag l'Perishus." This is similar to the way Nezirus is a Mitzvah, as the Gemara says earlier (2a) that when a person sees a Sotah being punished, he will make himself into a Nazir in order to conquer his Yetzer ha'Ra. What, then, does Tosfos mean?

It seems from the MEFARESH (DH Lo Miba'i) that Tosfos is addressing another question. Why does the Gemara say that Nezirus involves "Nivul" while Nedarim do not involve "Nivul?" We learned that abstaining from wine is called "Nivul" (Tosfos, end of 28a). Hence, any manner of limiting oneself from using something that was permitted to him should be classified as "Nivul," and would include every Neder! Therefore, Tosfos explains that there are Nedarim which involve positive acts, such as bringing a Korban and doing a Mitzvah, which do not involve "Nivul" at all.

The ROSH (DH Afilu Nedarim) learns that our Gemara is referring to normal Nedarim. Apparently, he learns that the "Nivul" of our Gemara is referring to physical "Nivul," such as cutting off one's hair at the end of Nezirus (see Tosfos, end of 28b, DH ka'Savar), but not to simple abstinence from a food or other item.

(b) Although the RAN (ibid.) explains that all Nidrei Mitzvah are really Shevu'os, other Rishonim (TOSFOS and ROSH in Nedarim 8a) learn that Nidrei Mitzvah are Nedarim and not Shevu'os. They compare this kind of Neder to a Neder to give to Tzedakah which obligates a person to do something active (to give the money to Tzedakah). From where is the Neder of Tzedakah learned? It is learned from the verses that describe Nidrei Hekdesh as a Neder, even though a person obligates himself to actively bring a Korban as a Neder ("Harei Alai..."). This teaches that a person can make a Neder to perform any Mitzvah.

Tosfos here apparently holds that a Neder could obligate a person to do any Mitzvah. The SHITAH MEKUBETZES quotes RABEINU AZRIEL who says that the Nedarim that our Gemara is referring to are Nedarim of the type where a person prohibits an item to himself if he does not do a certain Mitzvah. He apparently holds like the Ran, that a person cannot actively obligate himself to do a Mitzvah through making a normal Neder. Although we find that a person could obligate himself in Hekdesh or in Tzedakah, that is because ultimately the Hekdesh or Tzedakah will take effect on a certain item (the animal or the money). However, if a person wants to obligate himself to sit in a Sukah or to hold a Lulav, there is no object which will ever become prohibited because of this Neder. Therefore, it is a Shevu'ah and not a Neder, like the Ran says.


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