Talmud Tips

For the week ending 19 September 2015 / 6 Tishri 5776

Nazir 30 - 36

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

“Beit Shammi says, ‘Hekdesh made in error is indeed hekdesh’; and Beit Hillel says ‘It is not hekdesh’.”

This mackloket is taught in our mishna and Tosefot explains why it is taught in this masechet about Nazir and not about hekdesh. One reason offered is that a later mishna teaches about “nezirut made in error”.

One example of “hekdesh made in error” in the mishna is if a person vows that the black ox that goes out from his house in the morning first will be hekdesh — and a white ox goes out first. The white ox is hekdesh according to Beit Shammai but not according to Beit Hillel. A different way to explain their dispute is that Beit Shammai holds that the first black ox that goes out after the white one is hekdesh, but not the white one that actually went out first.

  • Nazir 30b, 31a

“Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rabbi Tarfon, “Neither of them is a nazir, since to become a nazir requires a vow of clarity.”

This is taught in a beraita on our daf and refers to the various cases in the mishna we learned above on daf lamed beit, amud beit. For example, if two people are walking together and each one expresses the words of a vow when they see a “stranger” approach them: One of them says he vows to be a nazir if the stranger is named “Ploni”, whereas his partner says that he will be a nazir if the person is not called Ploni. Whereas according to Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel at least one of the two people becomes a nazir, according to Rabbi Tarfon neither of them becomes a nazir because of the lack of clarity (“hafla’ah”) that existed at the time each person made a vow to be a nazir. According to Rabbi Tarfon if a person makes a vow to become a nazir with a condition or stipulation, he becomes a nazir only if it is clear at the time of his vow that his words are fulfilled and correct.

  • Nazir 34a

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