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Nazir, 41

NAZIR 41 & 42 - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, N.Y., out of love for Torah and those who study it.


The Gemara derives from "Zekano" (Vayikra 14:9) that a Metzora shaves his hair, including his beard, even if he is a Kohen (who is normally prohibited to shave his beard, Vayikra 21:5). Rebbi Eliezer learns from "Rosho" (14:9) that a Metzora must shave his head even if he is a Nazir (who is normally prohibited to shave his head). TOSFOS points out that if this verse did not teach that a Nazir-Metzora shaves, we might have thought that a Nazir-Metzora does not shave the hair of his head but shaves only the hair of the rest of his body. Since there is an extra word "Rosho" in the verse, it teaches that a Nazir-Metzora must shave even the hair on his head.

It seems clear from the Gemara, as well as from Tosfos, that the only hair that the Isur of Nezirus prohibits a Nazir from shaving is the hair on his head. A Nazir is permitted to shave the rest of the hair on his body, including the hair of his *beard* (as we find that "Zekano" is another word in the verse (14:9) that teaches which hair a Metzora shaves). The verse describing the Mitzvah of a Nazir mentions only his head and makes no mention of his beard, and all of the Gemaras and Poskim (such as the Rambam) who discuss the laws of a Nazir discuss only shaving his head.

What, though, is the dividing point between the hair of his head and the hair of his beard? The dividing point may be learned from the Mishnah in Nega'im (10:9) which discusses Nega'im of the head and of the beard and says that they do not combine to make a Shi'ur (of a Gris). The Mishnah there lists explicitly where on the head the dividing point is located ("Perek Shel Lechi;" see Background to Chulin 134b).


QUESTIONS: The Gemara explains that according to the Rabanan the verse of "Rosho" (Vayikra 14:9) teaches that Hakafah of the entire head is considered Hakafah, and that the shaving of a Metzora overrides the Lo Ta'aseh of Hakafas ha'Rosh (a Lo Ta'aseh which is not Shaveh ba'Kol). We cannot learn, though, from "Rosho" that the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach of a Metzora must be done with a Ta'ar (razor). TOSFOS (DH Hashta, and in Shevuos 2b, see previous Insight) proves from here that the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh is not limited to a Ta'ar, but it also includes doing Hakafah of the head with scissors.
(a) Why should Tosfos have to prove that Hakafas ha'Rosh is prohibited with scissors? Why would we have thought that it is not prohibited? The verse says merely, "Do not circle your head [by removing your hair]" (Vayikra 19:27). What implication is there in the verse that it is prohibited only with a Ta'ar?

(b) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas to Shevuos 2b, and in a question written to the CHASAM SOFER, printed in Teshuvos Chasam Sofer YD 139) asks that according to Tosfos, it should be prohibited for any person to comb his Pe'os. The Mishnah (42a) states that a Nazir may not comb his hair because it is inevitable ("Pesik Reshei") that hair will be pulled out. It is even prohibited for a Nazir to pull out hair with his hands. According to Tosfos, who says that the prohibition of Hakafas ha'Rosh is not limited to a Ta'ar, it should be prohibited for any man to pull out the hair of his beard or Pe'os with his hand, and it should be prohibited to use a comb on his Pe'os because it is a "Pesik Reshei" that he will put out hair! Yet we do not find that anyone prohibits such a thing, and everyone uses combs.

(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas; see also Teshuvah of the Chasam Sofer loc. cit.) suggests that Tosfos reasoned that Hakafas ha'Rosh should be prohibited only when done with a Ta'ar because the Torah puts the Isur of Hakafah in the same verse as the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan (shaving one's beard), comparing the two Isurim.

Why does Tosfos only discuss whether Hakafah is prohibited with scissors? Tosfos should be equally in doubt whether Melaket and Rehitni are prohibited, and yet Tosfos (Shevuos 2b) seems to take for granted that they are prohibited! Rebbi Akiva Eiger answers that the verse which compares the Isur of Hakafah to the Isur of Gilu'ach says "Lo Sashchis Es Pe'as Zekanecha" (Vayikra 19:27) -- one should not do "Hashchasah" to his beard, and the Gemara says that this implies that one should not cut it at the root, like the way a Ta'ar, Melaket, and Rehitni cut. Therefore, we might have thought that Hakafah is only prohibited when done "b'Derech Hashchasah," but cutting the hair with a scissors -- which does not cut the hair off at the root -- it is permitted. (Even though we learn from another verse that Gilu'ach is not Asur when done with a Melaket or Rehitni but only with a Ta'ar, nevertheless since *this* verse of Gilu'ach does not clearly permit Melaket and Rehitni, we might have thought that Hakafah is Asur with a Melaket and Rehitni, and it is only permitted when done with scissors.)

From Tosfos in our Sugya it seems that there is an additional reason why he assumes that it is permitted to do Hakafah with scissors. The Mishnah describes Hakafah as "leveling the area from the forehead to behind the ears" by making the skin above the ears as bald as the skin on both sides (the forehead, and behind the ears). This implies that the Hakafah must make the sides of the head entirely hairless. Tosfos cites a Tosefta to this effect which says that Hakafas ha'Rosh is only prohibited when it is done "k'Ein Ta'ar," in the manner that a Ta'ar cut hair. The Gemara tells us that scissors does not cut the hair at its root, for the scissor-action requires that it leave behind the width of the bottom blade (40b, Tosfos DH d'Tanya). Therefore, perhaps cutting hair with scissors is not called Hakafah. Melaket and Rehitni, though, remove the hair at the root, so they are certainly included in the Isur of Hakafah. In fact, TOSFOS RID permits using scissors to cut the Pe'os for this reason. However, Tosfos proves that even scissors are included in the Isur of Hakafah, for we find that the Gemara earlier (40b) implies that scissors are a valid form of Gilu'ach (that is, had the verse not excluded scissors from the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan with the phrase, "Lo Sashchis," it would have been prohibited to shave with scissors). Since the Mitzvah of Metzora is "v'Gilach," it follows that if the Torah does not tell us otherwise, the Gilu'ach of a Metzora may be done with scissors. If the Torah permits a Metzora to be Docheh the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh, the Gemara should learn from this that a Metzora may *not* use scissors. It must be that Hakafas ha'Rosh cannot be done with scissors either, and therefore we do not have any proof that a Metzora may not use scissors. Even though scissors leave a little bit of stubble, the amount is so little that the scissors' action can be called "k'Ein Ta'ar." This is clear from the Mishnah earlier (39a) which teaches that a Nazir is Chayav Malkus for cutting his hair with scissors even though he is only Chayav Malkus for cutting the hair "k'Ein Ta'ar" (see Tosfos 39b, DH Tanu Rabanan). (This is what Tosfos means when he says at the end of DH Hashta that even cutting with scissors can be called "k'Ein Ta'ar.")

(b) Regarding Rebbi Akiva Eiger's question why is it permitted to comb the Pe'os, the CHASAM SOFER points out that the wording of the Mishnah (42a) implies that only a Nazir is prohibited from combing his hair; a normal person may comb any part of his hair, including his Pe'os. Apparently, even if the prohibition of Hakafas ha'Rosh includes using scissors or Melaket and Rehitni, it does *not* include plucking hairs from the head. Plucking hairs ("Korchah") is not a normal form of hair removal and cannot possibly be included in the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan or the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh. What, then, is the difference between using a Melaket or Rehitni and plucking hair? RASHI (Shabbos 97a, Kidushin 35b) explains that Melaket and Rehitni are both tools similar to a plane used for smoothing down rough surfaces. They are comprised of a metal blade that cuts the hair and does not pull out the hair. Pulling out the hair, though, perhaps is permitted. This would be consistent with the fact that when the Mishnah (39a, 42a) discusses the Isurim of a Nazir it says that a Nazir may not "pull out" hair, rather than saying that he may not use a Melaket or Rehitni, and yet when discussing the Isur of Gilu'ach, the Beraisa says only that one may not use a Melaket or Rehitni.

However, the RAMBAM seems to have learned differently. The Rambam (Perush ha'Mishnayos, end of Makos; see also Aruch, Erech "Melaket") writes that Melaket and Rehitni are forms of tweezers which pluck out hair. If plucking out hairs constitute the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan, then plucking out hairs should also constitute the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh.

The Chasam Sofer himself points out that the Tosefta (Makos 4:4) clearly states that it is possible for a person to transgress multiple Isurim by plucking out two hairs, including the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh and the Isur of Gilu'ach of a Nazir.

Why, then, according to the Rambam, is it permitted to comb one's Pe'os? First, the Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 12:6) rules that the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh is to cut the hair with a Ta'ar, but it is permitted to use other means of cutting the hair, such as with scissors. Second, the Rambam there writes that Hakafas ha'Rosh requires that one leave at least forty hairs. It seems that the Rambam only prohibits Hakafah in a case where one removes so much hair that less than forty hairs remain. (See Chasam Sofer.)

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