Category: Nazir

Nazir 30

The Mishna (Nazir 5:3) in today’s daf (Nazir 31b) addresses the situation of someone who vowed to be a Nazir, but drank wine in violation of their vow, and then sought a Sage to revoke their vow by claiming that when they made their Nazirite vow they did not use the words that would have…

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Nazir 30

The question addressed in today’s daf (Nazir 30b) is whether the Nezirut fund of a father (i.e. funds that a father has set aside to pay for the sacrifices he needs to bring upon conclusion of his Nezirut), which a child inherits (after the death of the father and in a situation where the child…

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Nazir 29

Today’s daf (Nazir 29a) discusses the question of whether a parent who is a Nazir is obligated to educate their child in the ways of Nezirut. And in this spirit, I would like to offer some reflections on Rav David Cohen (1887-1972) and his son, Rav Shear Yashuv Cohen (1927-2016).Notwithstanding his title as ‘HaRav HaNazir’,…

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Nazir 28

Once every while a discussion arises about the way in which modern sheitel’s look like natural hair. And the reason for me mentioning this is because this and other associated topics are addressed by various commentaries associated with today’s daf (Nazir 28b).To give some context, an element of the end-of-Nezirut ritual includes shaving one’s head…

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Nazir 27

A phrase is used in today’s daf (Nazir 27b) that is both true and false at once: דְּמֵי הַיְינוּ מָעוֹת – ‘value is money’.In terms of the context of its usage in our daf, what is being discussed is the status of a blemished animal that cannot be brought as a sacrifice. Consequently, its value…

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Nazir 26

Today’s daf (Nazir 26a) informs us that if someone set aside funds for a chatat (sin) and olah (burnt) bird sacrifice, then that money can be used for an ‘upgraded’ animal (chatat) sacrifice. Additionally, we are also taught that if that person dies, the money should be used for voluntary (נְדָבָה – ‘nedava’) communal sacrifices.…

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Nazir 25

What is the difference between a נֶדֶר (neder) offering and a נְדָבָה (nedava) offering? On first glance this may simply seem like a question of semantics, but its answer is needed to understand the analysis in today’s daf (Nazir 25a) of Vayikra 22:18 from which we learn that מוֹתַר נֶדֶר יְהֵא לִנְדָבָה – the surplus…

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Nazir 24

I recently met a woman who is 72 years old and who is working tirelessly at a labor intensive job. And when I asked why, she explained that she’d been married to a gambler whose gambling behaviour cost her marriage, and whose debts cost her home. Consequently, she is now working hard so that when…

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Nazir 23

One of the most startling teachings from throughout the Talmud is found in today’s daf (Nazir 23b) where we read the statement of Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak that גְּדוֹלָה עֲבֵירָה לִשְׁמָהּ מִמִּצְוָה שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ – ‘greater is an aveirah lishma (for the sake of heaven) than a mitzvah that is not lishma’ – which is…

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Nazir 22

An expression is used in today’s daf (Nazir 22b) which is not found anywhere else either in Massechet Nazir or, in fact, throughout the rest of the Talmud. Specifically, the word is בְּעִיקְבֵיךְ (which is generally translated as ‘in your footsteps’, although it could literally be translated as ‘in your heels’), and it is used…

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Nazir 21

A topic addressed in today’s daf (Nazir 21b) concerns a situation where a woman declares “I am hereby a Nezirah” and her husband responds by saying “and I”.To be clear, both this scenario, as well as its inverse (where a husband declares “I am hereby a Nazir” and his wife responds “and I”), were previously…

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Nazir 20

What happens if you say something and wish to change your mind? Or you recite an incorrect bracha and wish to say the correct words? Or you wish to exclaim וַאֲנִי – “and me!” in response to what someone else has said? In each instance halacha grants a short window of time – known as…

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Nazir 19

A few days ago I read an article (see http://bit.ly/3DZPKBI) summarizing a recent study (see http://bit.ly/3XnSTSL) about the enormous sacrifices that female orcas make for their sons. This study, exploring what is known as ‘parental investment’, shed’s light on a phenomenon whose scale has only recently been understood following a 20-year research project. And having…

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Nazir 18

The Torah (Bemidbar 6:11) informs us that if a Nazir is in contact with the dead, then – as we are taught in greater detail in today’s daf (Nazir 18a) – having counted a week, undergone a purification ceremony (including cutting their hair), and brought a sacrifice, the Nazir ‘shall consecrate their head anew’ (וְקִדַּשׁ…

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Nazir 17

The halachic question addressed in today’s daf (Nazir 17a) relates to שְׁהִיָּיה – ‘remaining’ (or, as some translate, ‘lingering’). This is because one of the prohibitions that apply to a Nazir is that they may not be in contact with the dead and thus may not enter a cemetery. Given this, if a Nazir does…

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Nazir 16

The Mishna (Nazir 3:7) in today’s daf (Nazir 16b) discusses a situation where someone commits to being a Nazir while there are in a cemetery. The problem with this is that among the prohibitions that apply to a Nazir is that they are forbidden to be in contact with the dead (see Bemidbar 6:6). Given…

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Nazir 15

When detailing the laws of the Nazir, the Torah informs us that the prohibition to drink wine (which, given the context of this statement is then understood to refer to all the Nazirite prohibitions – see Nazir 14b) applies to כֹּל יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ – ‘all the days of being a Nazir’ (Bemidbar 6:4). As the…

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Nazir 14

Sometimes we only find out about certain people after they die. But then, when we hear stories about them from their family, friends or students, we realize that there had been a giant in our midst and we didn’t know about it.This was how I felt when I read the many tributes about Rabbi Moshe…

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Nazir 13

The Mishna (Nazir 2:7) cited at the end of yesterday’s daf (Nazir 12b), which serves as a springboard for much of the discussion in today’s daf (Nazir 13a), describes a situation where a man or woman proclaims that they will become a Nazir when a child is born to them.To be clear, the circumstances surrounding…

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Nazir 12

The focus of much of today’s daf (Nazir 12b) is the halachic concept of שְׁלִיחוּת – meaning the appointing of someone as an agent to fulfil a particular task or mitzvah. And as a result of the Gemara’s detailed discussion we are then taught a general rule about the mechanics of שְׁלִיחוּת that: לָא מְשַׁוֵּי…

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Nazir 11

he Mishna (Nazir 2:4) in today’s daf (Nazir 11a) addresses a situation where someone declares: הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר עַל מְנָת שֶׁאֱהֵא שׁוֹתֶה יַיִן וּמִיטַּמֵּא לְמֵתִים – “Behold, I am Nazir on condition that I can drink wine or [on condition that I can] become spiritually impure through contact with the dead”, to which the Mishna responds…

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Nazir 10

Having arrived home last night after a busy and wonderful trip in the States – with my final talk taking place in Lawrence where I met some incredible women and men – this morning I woke up particularly early so I could learn the daf, consider what idea I may wish to draw from it,…

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Nazir 8

The final words of the Mishna (Nazir 1:7) in today’s daf (Nazir 8a) raise an important question about finding the right balance between religious practices and personal health. Specifically, we are told that if someone says הריני נזיר כמנין ימות החמה – ‘I am hereby a Nazir according to the number of days of the…

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Nazir 7

The Mishna (Nazir 1:3) in today’s daf (Nazir 7b) informs us that if someone made a vow to become a Nazir for thirty days and one hour, they are required to observe the laws of Nezirut for thirty-one days because אֵין נְזִירוּת לְשָׁעוֹת – the measure of time-bound commitment by a Nazir is according to…

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Nazir 6

 Much of today’s daf (Nazir 6a-b) focuses its attention on the application of מִקְצָת הַיּוֹם כְּכוּלּוֹ (literally, ‘part of the day is like the whole day’) which is a halachic concept that is invoked by our Sages when discussing a variety of observances such as Nazir and, in particular, the laws of mourning when mourners…

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Nazir 5

The Mishna (Nazir 1:3) informs us that the standard period of time for being a Nazir is 30 days – which then prompts the Gemara (Nazir 5a) to ask for some biblical evidence for this fact. In response, Rav Matna asserts that this rule is derived from the gematria of the word יִהְיֶה (whose numerical…

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Nazir 4

Unfortunately we live in a generation that is rife with cynicism, and especially when it comes to observing others practicing specific religious strictures, we are oftentimes very quick to presume that they have some form of ‘agenda’ or that there are doing so for appearance sake alone.We are told in today’s daf (Nazir 4b) how…

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Nazir 3

Rather than beginning with a presentation of the laws of Nezirut, Massechet Nazir begins by discussing the verbal formulae that renders someone a Nazir, and just as various vows take effect even when abridged terms are used by the person making the vow, so too, there are abridged terms that, when said in a given…

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Nazir 2

Some weeks ago I read an interesting insight in Rabbi Ephraim Oved’s Torat HaAggadah about the terms used for various Massechot. Specifically, why are certain Massechtot given pluralized titles (eg. Ketubot, Nedarim), while other Massechtot are given singular titles (eg. Nazir, Sotah)?Rabbi Oved answers this question by explaining that when the title is pluralized, it…

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