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Nazir, 66


QUESTION: The Mishnah records a Machlokes between Rebbi Nehora'i and Rebbi Yosi whether Shmuel ha'Navi was a Nazir. The Gemara, though, seems to switch to a completely unrelated topic when it discusses whether it is better to be the one who recites a Berachah, or whether it is better to be the one who answers "Amen" to a Berachah. What does this discussion have to do with the Mishnah?


(a) RAV YAKOV EMDEN (in HAGAHOS YA'AVETZ) points out that there are no other statements recorded in the Mishnah in the name of Rebbi Nehora'i. Therefore, the Gemara finds this Mishnah as an appropriate opportunity to record the Beraisa in which a statement of Rebbi Nehora'i appears.

(There is another Beraisa cited in Nazir (5a) in which Rebbi Nehora'i and Rebbi Yosi argue, regarding whether a Nazir Olam may shave once every thirty days (Rebbi Nehora'i) or once every seven days (Rebbi Yosi). This Machlokes would have been even more appropriate to cite here, because the Machlokes in the Mishnah here also deals with the topic of Nazir Olam. In fact, their Machlokes regarding the Nazir Olam there might be the source for their Machlokes in our Mishnah here. Rebbi Yosi, who holds that a Nazir Olam may shave every seven days, maintains that the words "u'Morah Lo Ya'aleh Al Rosho" (Shmuel I 1:11) could not be referring to a razor and saying that Shmuel was a Nazir Olam (see Rambam, who explains that the Machlokes is whether Shmuel was a Nazir Olam, and not whether he was a Nazir Shimshon), because he holds that a Nazir Olam *may* shave once every seven days!)

(b) The MAHARSHA explains that the Gemara simply wants to conclude the Masechta with a discussion of the concept of Berachah because the effect of a Berachah is similar to the effect of Nezirus. Through a Berachah, a person overcomes the prosecuting angels in order to receive a Divine flow of blessing. (This is why the Gemara compares a Berachah to a war -- it is a war against the prosecuting angels.) Similarly, Nezirus is a way of bonding oneself to Hashem in order to overcome the prosecuting angels and receive a Divine flow of blessing. This is why Shimshon's Nezirus caused him to be Divinely blessed with strength. REBBI TZADOK (LIKUTEI MA'AMARIM, p. 224) adds that the war in which the Berachah is victorious is alluded to in the Gemara in Berachos (35a) that says that before a person makes a Berachah, everything is under the ownership of Hashem, and that the Berachah "conquers" it and makes it the property of people.

(c) Another common point between a Berachah and Nezirus is that both involve the temporary suppression of desires. When a person recites a Berachah, he temporarily suppresses his desire to eat the food in order to first thank Hashem. When a person becomes a Nazir, he abstains from grapes and wine in order to become closer to Hashem and to bring Korbanos to Him. (See the incident involving the Nazir who came to Shimon ha'Tzadik, Nazir 4b.)

The reason why a person who says "Amen" to a Berachah might be greater than the person who makes the Berachah is because he is arousing himself to acknowledge Hashem even before he has a Ta'avah, a lust, requiring that he first acknowledge Hashem. In contrast, the person who is making the Berachah first has a Ta'avah that prompts him to eat which then requires him to make the Berachah in order to acknowledge Hashem. For the same reason, if a person hears or sees someone else making himself a Nazir, and then he accepts upon himself to be a Nazir like the first person, he might be considered to be on a higher level (like the one who answers "Amen"), because he did not need to become a Nazir in order to conquer a Ta'avah, but rather he saw someone else becoming a Nazir to become closer to Hashem and he decided that he, too, wanted to become closer to Hashem. Accordingly, the Gemara here might be alluding to the first Nazir mentioned in the Masechta (2a). In the first Mishnah, a person sees a Nazir and says, "Ehei" ("I will be"), in order to become a Nazir. The Gemara here is saying that he is on a higher level than the first person who became a Nazir, just like the one whose says "Amen" is greater than the one who says the Berachah.

This is also related to the reason why Maseches Nazir precedes Maseches Sotah. The Gemara (Nazir 2a, Sotah 2a) says that if a person sees a Sotah being punished, he should become a Nazir and refrain from wine. This means that he should not wait until he is overcome by Ta'avah to become a Nazir. Rather, he should learn from others, and when he sees a Sotah being punished he should immediately became a Nazir and refrain from wine as a preventative measure in order to become closer to Hashem without having the Ta'avah in the first place. In that way, he will be greater than the person who became a Nazir in response to a Ta'avah that he had.

(d) RAV YISRAEL AZOR, Shlit'a, points out that the Gemara might be answering a question that the RADAK asks (Shmuel I 1:11). According to Rebbi Nehora'i, who says that Shmuel was a Nazir because his mother made an oath that the child will be a Nazir when she said, "Morah Lo Ya'aleh Al Rosho," how could the child be a Nazir? The Mishnah (Nazir 28b) says that the *father* can make his child a Nazir, but the mother cannot make her child a Nazir! (See GILYON HA'SHAS there.) If, on the other hand, Chanah told her husband, Elkanah, that she wanted Shmuel to be a Nazir and she asked him to make the child a Nazir after he was born, then why does the verse mention only the oath of Nezirus that she made, which was not the one that was binding, and it makes no mention of her husband's oath of Nezirus for the child? In addition, the Radak wonders why Chazal themselves do not ask this question.

Rav Yisrael Azor explains that our Gemara is attempting to answer this question. The Mishnah (20b) says that if a woman says to her husband, "I am a Nezirah and you are," and her husband says "Amen," he becomes a Nazir by consenting to the Nezirus that his wife accepted on his behalf. The Gemara is suggesting that Chanah told Elkanah that the child will be a Nazir and Elkanah answered "Amen" to her Neder. Since he said "Amen," her Neder took effect. Why, though, does the Navi not mention Elkanah's role in the Nezirus? The Navi mentions only Chanah's role, and not Elkanah's role, in the Nezirus of their child for the same reason that the Torah tells us that Tziporah did the Bris of her son and does not mention Moshe Rabeinu (Shemos 4:25). The Gemara in Avodah Zarah (27a) asks whether proof can be adduced from the verse that says that Tziporah did the Milah that a woman may perform Milah. The Gemara says that this verse is not proof, because perhaps Tziporah started the Milah and Moshe Rabeinu finished it, but since she started it the verse attributes the act to her (even though the fulfillment of the Mitzvah is attributed to the one who completed it). In the same way, since Chanah was the one who initiated the oath of Nezirus for her son, the verse attributes it to her, even though it was her husband who made it binding!

This answers the Radak's perplexity as to why Chazal do not question how Chanah could make her son a Nazir. The Gemara *does* relate to this question and hints to the answer by discussing, after the Mishnah that says that Shmuel was a Nazir, the topic of responding "Amen" to a Berachah. The Gemara says that it is better to say a Berachah than to say "Amen," for this can be inferred from the fact that the Navi only mentions the oath that Chanah made and does not mention that Elkanah answered "Amen" afterward, showing that the one who initiates (i.e. who recites the Berachah) is greater!


QUESTION: The Gemara concludes the Masechta by saying that Talmidei Chachamim bring peace to the world. What does this statement have to do with this Masechta?


(a) The MAHARSHA says that this Gemara is related to the Mishnah. Shmuel and Shimshon were both Shoftim, judges, who brought peace during their reigns by judging the people righteously and causing peace to prevail among the people, and by protecting them from the foreign nations.

(b) The LEKET HA'KOTZRIM says that this is related to the previous discussion in the Gemara. Even though a number of Amora'im say that it is better to rush and grab the Berachah before having to say "Amen" to someone else's Berachah, no one should get into any fights about it, because the way of Talmidei Chachamim is to bring peace to the world.

(c) The EINEI SHMUEL suggests that this Gemara alludes to the connection between Maseches Nazir and Maseches Sotah. The reason Sotah follows Nazir is because when a person sees a Sotah being punished, he should become a Nazir and refrain from wine (Sotah 2a). Similarly, if a husband or wife suspects the other spouse of adultery, the suspected spouse should refrain from wine in order to show that he or she is completely innocent and is not interested in giving in to lusts. The Gemara is saying that if a couple has children who are Talmidei Chachamim ("v'Chol Banayich Limudei Hashem..."), they can be assured that neither of them have committed adultery, because the Gemara in Shabbos (55b) says that "one who has relations with a Zonah will not have children who are Talmidei Chachamim." Hence, by having children who are Talmidei Chachamim, peace will reign in the home!

On to Sotah


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