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Nazir, 42

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


The Gemara asks two specific questions regarding the Gilu'ach of a Nazir.

(a) Abaye asks that if a Nazir shaves of all but two of his hairs, leaving those two hairs while the rest of his hair grows back, and then he cuts those last two hairs, is that considered a valid Gilu'ach or must he cut the rest of his hair again as well?

What is the basis for Abaye's question? What reasons are there to say that it is or is not a valid Gilu'ach?

(b) Rava asks what the Halachah would be in a case where a Nazir shaves all of his hair except for two hairs, and then one of those two remaining hairs falls out, and he shaves the remaining hair? The Gemara concludes that this would not be a valid form of Gilu'ach, and thus the Nazir must wait until the hair grows back and perform another Gilu'ach. What is Rava's reason to assume that such a Gilu'ach would be valid? If the Nazir leaves over two hairs, it is obvious that such a Gilu'ach is not valid! We know that two hairs are "Me'akev" the Gilu'ach of a Nazir, and here the Nazir left two hairs, one of which subsequently fell out by itself, and hence he never did a proper Gilu'ach.

Second, why does Rava specifically phrase his question to say that the Nazir "cut off" the last hair. What difference does it make if the Nazir cut off the last hair or it fell out?

Third, why does Rava present his question in a case where only two hairs are left and the first of those two falls out? Why would the same Halachah not apply where there are three hairs left and the first one falls out and the Nazir cuts the remaining two?


(a) The RISHONIM (see SHITAH MEKUBETZES) explain that Abaye's question is whether the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach of a Nazir means that the Nazir must cut off his hair, or that he must make his head bald. If it means that he must cut off his hair, then even though some of the hair grows back before he cuts off the rest of it, in the end he has cut off all of the hair that was on his head at the time that he began his act of Gilu'ach. The new hair that grows in does not have to be cut since those hairs were already cut, and thus the Nazir has fulfilled his obligation to cut off his hair. On the other hand, if the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach is to make the head bald, then since new hair grew in, the Mitzvah will not be completed until he cuts not only the remaining hairs but also the hairs that grew in. He must make the head bald in order to do a proper Gilu'ach.

The Rishonim seem to argue whether Abaye means that even a growth of hair that is less than "Kedei la'Chof Rosho l'Ikro" can prevent the Gilu'ach from being valid (and therefore the Nazir must wait for that hair to grow the amount of "Kedei la'Chof" and then cut it). On the other hand, perhaps such a small growth is ignored and the question of Abaye will arise only if the hair grows "Kedei la'Chof." (The question of the Rishonim might be whether the requirement to have "Gilu'ach k'Ein Ta'ar" means to exclude anything smaller than "Kedei la'Chof," or minutely short hair.)

(b) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES and RABEINU PERETZ explain that Rava's question is whether or not the hair that fell out interrupts the Gilu'ach with an irrevocable "Hefsek." If the hair that fell out is not the second to the last but there are still many hairs on the head at the time that it fell out, then it is clear that the loss of that strand of hair is not a "Hefsek" in the Gilu'ach. Since there is still a Shi'ur Gilu'ach in the remaining hair (i.e. more than two hairs), he may continue the Gilu'ach. Conversely, if there are only two hairs remaining and both of them fall out, it is obvious that the Gilu'ach is not valid, since the Nazir did not finish the Gilu'ach (since the Shi'ur of Gilu'ach -- two hairs -- fell out by themselves).

The question of Rava arises when two hairs remain and only the first one of them falls out. Do we say that since the Nazir cut the last hair, it is viewed as a continuation of the Gilu'ach and it makes no difference whether the hair fell out when there were many hairs remaining or only one hair remaining? Or perhaps we should say that since the minimum amount of hairs that can comprise a Gilu'ach is two hairs and after the hair fell out only one hair remained, the cutting of the last hair by itself cannot be called a Gilu'ach, and so, too, it cannot become part of the Gilu'ach that the Nazir performed already until the last two hairs. The Gemara concludes that it is not considered a Gilu'ach, because the hair that fell out separates the last hair from the Gilu'ach.

QUESTION: The Mishnah teaches that a Nazir may wash his hair with shampoo ("Chofef") and may untangle or part his hair ("Mesfaspes"), but he may not comb his hair. The Gemara explains that a Nazir is prohibited from combing his hair because one who combs his hair "has intention to remove the loose hairs," and thus the Nazir will be intentionally pulling out his hair.

The Gemara seems to be saying that the removal of hair through combing is not considered a "Davar she'Eino Miskaven," but rather it is a "Davar Miskaven;" the Nazir has intention to remove hair by combing.

RASHI in Shabbos (50b) and the ROSH here, however, write that a Nazir may not comb his hair because doing so is a "Pesik Reishei" -- even though he does not intend to remove hairs, it is inevitable that combing will remove hairs. How do they reconcile this with the reason that the Gemara here gives when it says that a person does have intention to remove hair when he combs? Why do they explain that combing is prohibited because of "Pesik Reishei" instead of explaining the Gemara in the straightforward sense, that hair-removal through combing is "Miskaven?"

ANSWERS: The RIVASH (#394) asks this question on Rashi from our Gemara. He explains that Rashi prefers not to explain the Gemara it the most straightforward way because the next Mishnah concludes that Rebbi Yishmael prohibits a Nazir from scrubbing his hair with Adamah (earth, a form of shampoo) because doing so removes the hair, which clearly implies that one cannot use Adamah because it is a "Pesik Reishei." Since the beginning of the Mishnah that is discussing Chofef and the end of the Mishnah that is discussing Chofef with Adamah are both discussing an act of "Davar she'Eino Miskaven," it is logical to say that the middle case, of combing, is also a case of "Davar she'Eino Miskaven." Hence, the only reason it could be prohibited is because it is a "Pesik Reishei." How, though, does this fit into the reason that the Gemara gives? (See Rivash there.)

(a) The KEREN ORAH answers that according to Rashi, the Gemara means that a person uses a comb to separate the hairs *from each other*, but not to remove the hairs from his head. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that some hairs will be removed from his head since there are always hairs that are loose. Even though the Nazir does not intend to remove those hairs but only intends to separate the hairs from each other, it is prohibited because of "Pesik Reishei." (This might be what the Rivash means.)

(b) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 303:22) explains that Rashi is adding an additional reason to the reason that the Gemara gives. The Gemara's reason applies only when the Nazir actually intends to remove the hairs with the comb. Rashi's reason applies even when he does not intend to remove the hairs; he is still prohibited to comb his hair if the comb is a hard comb and it is a "Pesik Reishei" that hairs will be removed. The Gemara, on the other hand, does not give Rashi's reason, because it is teaching that even when the comb is soft, the Nazir is prohibited to comb his hair with it if he intends to remove hairs.

(c) TOSFOS in Kesuvos (6a) and elsewhere cites the view of the ARUCH who says that an act of "Pesik Reishei" is prohibited only when the person doing the act benefits from the act that is done. If the person does not benefit from the Melachah that inevitably occurs (that is, it is a "Pesik Reishei d'Lo Nicha Lei"), then it is only a "Davar she'Eino Miskaven" and is not Asur. Perhaps, according to the Aruch, when the Gemara says that he intends to remove the loose hairs, it does not mean that he literally intends to remove them, but that he just benefits from their removal (in that it makes him look handsome). This might be why the Rosh and Rashi write that combing is a "Pesik Reishei." (However, the Rosh in Shabbos 103a rejects the opinion of the Aruch. See also the Rosh in Shabbos (14:9) who maintains that the Aruch would not permit a "Pesik Reishei d'Lo Nicha Lei" in cases of Isur other than Isurim of Shabbos.)

(d) It is also possible that the Gemara is giving a *reason* why "Pesik Reishei" is Asur according to Rebbi Shimon, who holds that a "Davar she'Eino Miskaven" is not prohibited at all. Rebbi Shimon agrees that if it is inevitable that a Melachah will occur as a result of the action that the person intentionally does, then it is as if the person also has intention to do the resultant Melachah as well, and therefore he is Chayav.


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