The Gemara asks that since Beis Hillel holds that a Nazir Ta'us is not a
Nazir, he should have said that the only one who is a Nazir is "the one
whose words *were* fulfilled!"
Rav Yehudah answers by correcting the wording in the Mishnah. He says that
the correct wording of the Mishnah is that "the one whose words *were*
fulfilled" is a Nazir.
Abaye answers that in the case of the Mishnah, the person adds, "If he is
*not* be Reuven, then I want to be a Nazir." When the Mishnah says that "the
one whose words were not fulfilled" is a Nazir, it is referring to his
original words ("I will be a Nazir if that person is Reuven") that were not
fulfilled, but his additional words (his second statement), "If he is *not*
Reuven, then I want to be a Nazir," were fulfilled, since it turned out that
the person was not Reuven. TOSFOS and the ROSH explain that according to
Beis Hillel the person becomes a Nazir because we accept his second
statement as binding, since he changed his mind "Toch Kedei Dibur."
It is clear from Tosfos and the Rosh that they did not have the words "Iy
Nami" ("*even* if [he is not Reuven...]") in their text of the Gemara, but
rather their Girsa was, "Iy Lav Ploni" ("If he is not [Reuven]." The person
is retracting his original statement and he only wants to be a Nazir if the
person is *not* Reuven (MISHNEH L'MELECH, Hilchos Nezirus 2:8). Even if
Tosfos had the Girsa of "d'Amar Iy Nami," he interprets it to mean, "d'Amar
Nami Iy" -- "He also said" (that is, "Nami" is not part of the person's
According to Abaye, why does the Mishnah need to teach us that "Toch Kedei
Dibur k'Dibur Dami?" Why should the Mishnah teach us this principle
specifically in this case of Nezirus? (ME'IRI; see also CHIDUSHIM
(a) According to the way Tosfos and the Rosh explain Abaye's answer,
apparently Beis Hillel is teaching that when the person adds, "If he is not
Reuven, I want to be a Nazir," we interpret this statement as a retraction
of his original statement and not as an addition to his original statement.
We might have interpreted his statement to mean that he wants to become a
Nazir whether or not the other person turns out to be Reuven, especially
since Beis Shamai interprets even the first statement in this manner (where
the person said, "I will be a Nazir if that person is Reuven;" see Insights
to 31a). Beis Hillel teaches that the simple meaning of the person's
statement is that he is changing his mind and not that he is adding
something to his first statement.
(b) The ME'IRI interprets the Gemara differently because of his question on
Tosfos. He explains that Abaye means that the person first said, "I will be
a Nazir if that person is Reuven," and then said, "and *if he is not
Shimon*." Beis Hillel is teaching that if the person does not turn out to be
Reuven or Shimon but rather turns out to be Levi, the traveler becomes a
Nazir even though his first statement (that the person approaching is
Reuven) was not fulfilled, since his second statement (that the person is
not Shimon) was fulfilled. Beis Hillel is teaching that when he said, "And
if he is not Shimon, then I will be a Nazir," he did not just mean to be a
Nazir if the person was Reuven, but he meant to be a Nazir if the person was
anyone other than Shimon.
(c) The RAMBAM interprets the words of Abaye in a third manner. The Rambam
(Hilchos Nezirus 2:8; see also Perush ha'Mishnayos), when quoting our
Mishnah, explains that when the six people saw the person approaching, the
first person thought that the person approaching was certainly Shimon, and
his friend disagreed and insisted that it was Reuven who was approaching.
The first person then said, "I will be a Nazir if that person is Reuven,"
because he was so certain that it was *not* Reuven. (This is the opposite of
the understanding of the other Rishonim who explain that the person made
himself a Nazir if the person approaching *is* the person he thinks it is.
The Rambam says that he made himself a Nazir if the person approaching is
*not* the person he thinks it is.) The Rambam rules that if he turns out to
be Reuven, the person is a Nazir.
The MISHNEH L'MELECH explains that according to the Rambam, Abaye is
emphasizing that the person who said, "I will be a Nazir if that person is
Reuven," really believed that it was Shimon approaching and not Reuven. He
originally insisted that the person approaching is Shimon, and then he
added, "And if he is not Shimon, I will be a Nazir." (The Mishneh l'Melech
points out that the Rambam must have had a slightly different Girsa in the
words of Abaye. Perhaps the Girsa was "d'Amar Lav Ploni Hu, *v'Iy Nami Ploni
Hu* Ehevei Nazir.") Beis Hillel says that the person is a Nazir if the
person turns out to be Reuven, because his original words that the person
approaching is Shimon were not fulfilled, and his second words -- that he
will be a Nazir if it is Reuven approaching -- were fulfilled.
According to the Mishneh l'Melech, why does Beis Shamai make all of the
people Nezirim because of his rule that a Nazir Ta'us is a Nazir? If it
turns out that the first one was correct and the person approaching was
Shimon, why does he become a Nazir? He specifically stated that he will be a
Nazir only if he is wrong and the person approaching is Reuven! We cannot
insert words into his statement that he did not say (like the Gemara asks on
31a); we can only make him a Nazir b'Ta'us if the words that he said reflect
his error, but here there is no hint in his words that he will be a Nazir if
the person approaching turns out to be Shimon! None of the answers that the
Gemara gives (31a) to explain the Mishnah there can apply here, because even
if the person says later that he meant to be a Nazir regardless of who the
person was, it does not make a difference because his original statement
contradicts that, for when he made his original statement he made his
Nezirus specifically contingent upon the person being Reuven.
According to Tosfos and the other Rishonim, the person said "I will be a
Nazir if that person is Reuven" because he genuinely thought that it was
Reuven. According to Tosfos, we see that the person wants and expects to
become a Nazir, and therefore he can add later that he wanted to be a Nazir
no matter what, and he did not really mean to make it dependent on the
person approaching being Reuven. He just thought that it was Reuven so he
said that he will be a Nazir if it is Reuven since he wants to be a Nazir
anyway, and he was confident that it was Reuven approaching. According to
the Rambam, though, he did not think that it was Reuven, and he only said
that he will be a Nazir if it is Reuven in order to emphasize how strongly
he believes that it is not Reuven. Since he did not want to be a Nazir, we
cannot accept what he says later when he says that he wanted to be a Nazir
no matter who it was!
From the Perush ha'Mishnayos, it seems that Abaye is referring only to the
second person in the Mishnah and not to the first person in the Mishnah. The
first person is indeed saying that "I will be a Nazir if that person is
Reuven" because he thinks that it *is* Reuven. The second person, who says,
"I will be a Nazir if that person is not Reuven," means that he *agrees*
that it is Reuven and he is so sure that it is Reuven that he will be a
Nazir if it is not Reuven; he thinks that he is not going to be a Nazir.
Therefore, if the person approaching turns out to be Shimon, Beis Hillel
rules that the only one who is a Nazir is the second person, because his
original statement (that he thinks it is Reuven) was not fulfilled.
The first person, though, who said that he would become a Nazir if the
person approaching is Reuven (like he thinks), is not a Nazir, because the
person approaching turned out not to be Reuven.
Why, however, does the Mishnah say that the only one who is a Nazir is "the
one whose words were not fulfilled?" It clearly seems that this person's
words were not fulfilled (since the person approaching turned out not to be
Reuven) and yet he is *not* a Nazir! The Rambam in Perush ha'Mishnayos
explains that when the Mishnah says that the only one who is a Nazir is "the
one whose *words* were not fulfilled," it is referring to words (that he
said or that are implicit in what he said) *that have the ability to exempt
him from Nezirus*. Therefore, the words that would exempt the first person
from Nezirus (i.e. if the person approaching is not Reuven, he will not be a
Nazir) *were* fulfilled, and that is why he is not a Nazir. The second
person's words that would exempt him from Nezirus (i.e. if the person
approaching *is* Reuven) were *not* fulfilled, and therefore he is a Nazir.
Beis Shamai is arguing with Beis Hillel (in the case where the person
approaching turned out to be Shimon) only with regard to whether the first
person is also a Nazir, since he wanted to be a Nazir whether or not the
person approaching turned out to be Reuven.