TalmuDigest

For the week ending 5 April 2008 / 29 Adar II 5768

Nazir 16 - 22

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

  • Status of the 30th day of the nezirut period regarding haircut and becoming ritually impure
  • Nazir in the graveyard
  • Making a vow of nezirut while ritually impure
  • The sacrifices of the nazir
  • Impact of the husband's nullification on the nezirut vow of his wife
  • Whether the nazir is considered a sinner
  • Queen Helenie's vow regarding her soldier son
  • Conflicting testimony regarding length of commitment to nezirut
  • Chain reaction of nezirut vows
  • Woman who violated nezirut requirements before knowing of her husband's nullification
  • The husband who said "me too" to his wife's nezirut vow

A Conflct of Testimony

  • Nazir 20a

Two pairs of witnesses appear before the rabbinical court to testify regarding the number of nezirut periods a certain Jew has committed himself to. One pair claims that his vow was for two periods while the other claims that it was for five.

The ruling of Beit Shammai is that since there is a conflict in the testimony we do not accept the testimony of either pair and there is no obligation for any nezirut. Beit Hillel's position is that since there is a consensus regarding a minimum of two periods there is an obligation to observe that number.

Tosefot raises the question as to why no consideration is given in this mishna to what the vow-maker himself says. If he remains silent when witnesses testify to five periods of nezirut his silence constitutes an admission and creates a commitment.

A number of answers are giving by Tosefot:

1) The accused vow-maker contradicts the testimony of both pairs, leaving us with no option other than relying on the witnesses.

2) He declares that he does not recall how much he committed himself to.

3) Both pairs came simultaneously so that his silence cannot be interpreted as consent since he sees no need to contradict witnesses who are already contradicting each other.

What the Sages Say

"If every nazir is considered a sinner why does the Torah use this term specifically in regard to the nazir who became ritually impure through contact with the dead? Because he piled one sin on the other."

  • Rabbi Elazar Hakapar - Nazir 19a

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