For the week ending 22 August 2015 / 7 Elul 5775

Nazir 2 - 8

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Indirect forms of making a vow to be a nazir
  • The pattern of mishnayot
  • When it is necessary for a nazir to be passing by or the vow maker clutching his hair
  • Which nazir is considered a sinner
  • If one vows to offer birds as a sacrifice does this mean he is making a vow to be a nazir
  • "Right" and "left|" as forms of oath
  • A vow to assume only one part of the nazir's total responsibilities
  • The nezirut of Shimshon and Avshalom
  • How long is a nezirut for which no time period was specified in the vow
  • A vow for two periods of nezirut
  • When part of a day is considered like a full one
  • A vow for a very short or very long period of nezirut
  • When a day or an hour more than 30 days obligates the nazir to another 30 days
  • A vow which obligates one to a lifelong nezirut

Shimshon and the Philistines

  • Nazir 4b

An ordinary nazir is prohibited to have any contact with the dead. The exception is a Shimshonite Nazir.

This is derived from the fact that Shimshon himself had contact with the Philistines whom he slew. Anyone making a vow to be a nazir like Shimshon therefore has the same exception.

But how do we know that Shimshon actually came into contact with the corpses of those Philistines?

Two passages that describe Shimshon’s slaying of Philistines prove inconclusive in establishing that he actually came into contact with the corpses, and we must rely on an oral tradition that this was the case.

In regard to one of those passages presented as possible sources there is an interesting problem raised by one of the commentaries.

"And Shimshon said: "With the jawbone of an ass I have slain a thousand men." (Shoftim 15:16)

How could this prove that Shimshon was permitted to have contact with the dead? asks Rabbeinu Osher (ROSH). Those Philistines had come to capture and punish him for inflicting damage to their property. He was therefore acting in self-defense, which would be permitted even for an ordinary nazir who is prohibited to have contact with the dead.

What the Sages Say

“This is my G-d and I shall glorify Him” (Shmot 15:2) can be interpreted as “I shall beautify myself before Him in the performance of mitzvot – a beautiful succah, lulav, tzitzit and Sefer Torah.”

  • Beraita - Nazir 2b

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