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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Nezirut - Chapter 9, Nezirut - Chapter 10, Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 1

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Nezirut - Chapter 9

1

[The following rules apply when a person] sets aside money for the sacrifices of nazirites,1 those sacrifices were offered, and there is money left over. He should bring sacrifices of other nazirites with those funds,2 for the remainder of money [set aside for] nazirite [offerings should be used] for nazirite [offerings].3 If one set aside money for his own nazirite [offering] without specifying for which sacrifice it should be used4 and money was left over, the remaining funds should be used for freewill offerings.5

א

המפריש מעות שיקריב מהן קרבנות נזירים והקריב מהן והותירו יביאו במותרן קרבנות נזירים אחרים שמותר נזירים לנזירים הפריש מעות סתומין לנזירותו והותירו יפלו המותרות לנדבה:

2

When a person set aside money that was designated for specific purposes for his nazirite offering and money was left over, the remainder of the funds set aside for the burnt offering should be used for a burnt offering. The remainder of the funds set aside for the sin offering should be brought to the Dead Sea.6 The remainder of the funds set aside for the peace offering should be used for a peace offering. There is no need that the offering be accompanied by bread.7 It is eaten for one day.8

ב

המפריש מעות מפורשין לנזירותו והותירו מותר מעות העולה יבאו עולה ומותר החטאת יוליכם לים המלח ומותר דמי השלמים יבאו שלמים ואין טעונין לחם ונאכלין ליום אחד:

3

[The following rules apply when a person] set aside money for [sacrifices for] his nazirite vow and died. If the money was not designated for specific sacrifices, it should be used for freewill offerings.9 If the money had been designated for specific sacrifices, the funds set aside for the burnt offering should be used for a burnt offering. The funds set aside for the sin offering should be brought to the Dead Sea.10 The funds set aside for the peace offering should be used for a peace offering. It is eaten for one day. There is no need that the offering be accompanied by bread.

ג

המפריש מעות לנזירותו ומת אם היו סתומין יפלו לנדבה היו מפורשין דמי עולה [יבואו עולה] דמי חטאת ילכו לים המלח דמי שלמים יבאו שלמים ונאכלין ליום אחד ואין טעונין לחם:

4

What is meant by money not designated for specific sacrifices? For example, [a nazirite] set aside money to use to bring his sacrifices and did not say anything. If, however, he said: "This is for my obligation," it is as if they have been designated for a specific purpose.11 Needless to say, that if he says: "This [money] is for my burnt offering, sin offering, and peace offering," the money is considered as set aside for a specific purpose.

ד

כיצד הם המעות הסתומין כגון שהפריש מעות להביא מהן קרבנותיו ולא אמר כלום אבל אם אמר אלו לחובתי הרי אלו כמפורשין ואין צריך לומר אם אמר אלו לעולתו ולחטאתי ולשלמי שהן כמפורשין:

5

When a person sets aside an animal with a blemish12 [for his sacrifice], it is as if he set aside money without designating it for a specific purpose. Similarly, if he set aside a slab of silver or of gold or a utensil, it is as if he set aside money without designating it for a specific purpose.13 [This applies] even if he said: "This is for my burnt offering, sin offering, and peace offering."

ה

המפריש בהמה בעלת מום הרי היא כמעות סתומין וכן המפריש לשון של כסף ושל זהב או כלי אף על פי שאמר זה לחטאתי ולעולתי ולשלמי הרי הוא כמעות סתומין:

6

When a person says: "These [funds] are for my sin offering and the remainder is for my nazirite offering" and dies or a woman made such statements and then her husband nullified her nazirite vow,14 the money for the sin offering should be brought to the Dead Sea. Half of the remainder of the money should be used for a burnt offering and half for a peace offering.

ו

האומר אלו לחטאתי והשאר לנזירותי ומת או שהיתה אשה והפר לה בעלה דמי חטאת ילכו לים המלח והשאר יבאו בחציין עולה ובחציין שלמים:

7

If he says: "These [funds] are for my burnt offering and the remainder is for my nazirite offering" [and dies], the money for the burnt offering should be used for a burnt offering and the remainder should be used for freewill offerings.15

ז

אמר אלו לעולתי והשאר לנזירותי דמי עולה יבאו עולה והשאר יפלו לנדבה:

8

When a person thought that he was obligated in a nazirite vow and set aside his sacrifices and then inquired of a sage who told him that [his statements] do not constitute a vow and he is not obligated to be a nazirite, what should he do with the sacrifices that he set aside? They should go and pasture with the rest of the herd.16 For they were consecrated in error and that consecration is not binding, as will be explained in the appropriate place.17

ח

מי שדמה שהוא חייב בנזירות והפריש קרבנותיו ואח"כ שאל לחכם והורהו שאין זה נדר ואינו חייב בנזירות מה יעשה בקרבנות שהפריש יצאו וירעו בעדר שזה הקדש טעות שאינו הקדש כמו שיתבאר במקומו:

9

[The following rules apply when] a woman takes a nazirite vow and set aside her sacrifices and afterwards, her husband nullified her vow. If the animal belonged to him, it should go out and pasture in the herd,18 for a person cannot consecrate an article that does not belong to him.19 If the [animals set aside for] sacrifices were hers and her husband did not own any part of them, e.g., they were given to her as a present on the condition that her husband have no authority over them, but instead, she could do whatever she wants with them,20 the sin offering should be left to die,21 the burnt offering should be sacrificed as a burnt offering, and the peace offering should be sacrificed as a peace offering. It is eaten for one day. There is no need that the offering be accompanied by bread.22

ט

האשה שנדרה בנזיר והפרישה קרבנותיה ואחר כך הפר לה בעלה אם שלו היתה הבהמה תצא ותרעה בעדר שאין אדם מקדיש דבר שאינו שלו ואם היו הקרבנות משלה ואין לבעלה בהן כלום כגון שנתנו לה במתנה על מנת שלא יהיה לבעל בהן רשות אלא מה שתרצה תעשה בהן החטאת תמות והעולה תקרב עולה והשלמים יקרבו שלמים ונאכלין ליום אחד ואינן טעונין לחם:

10

If [a woman] set aside money that was not designated for specific sacrifices, it should be used to purchase freewill offerings. If it was designated for specific purposes, the funds set aside for the burnt offering should be used for a burnt offering. The funds set aside for the sin-offering should be brought to the Dead Sea. The funds set aside for the peace offering should be used for a peace offering. It is eaten for one day. There is no need that the offering be accompanied by bread.

י

הפרישה מעות סתומין לקרבנותיה יפלו לנדבה היו מפורשין דמי חטאת ילכו לים המלח ודמי עולה יבאו עולה ודמי שלמים יבאו שלמים ונאכלין ליום אחד ואינן טעונין לחם:

11

When a woman took a nazirite vow and became ritually impure [due to contact with a corpse] in the midst of the days of her nazirite vow, and afterwards her husband heard of her vow and nullified it, she must [still] bring the sacrifices [required when a nazirite] becomes ritually impure.23

יא

האשה שנדרה בנזיר ונטמאת בתוך ימי נזירות ואח"כ שמע בעלה והפר לה הרי זו מביאה קרבן טומאה:

12

When a father binds his son to a nazirite vow24 and set aside sacrifices, but the son did not desire this nazirite vow and he or his relatives objected or he shaved himself or his relatives shaved him,25 the sin offering should be left to die, the burnt offering should be sacrificed as a burnt offering, and the peace offering should be sacrificed as a peace offering. It is eaten for one day. There is no need that the offering be accompanied by bread.26

If he set aside money that was not designated for specific sacrifices, it should be used to purchase freewill offerings. If it was designated for specific purposes, the funds set aside for the burnt offering should be used for a burnt offering. The funds set aside for the sin-offering should be brought to the Dead Sea. The funds set aside for the peace offering should be used for a peace offering. It is eaten for one day. There is no need that the offering be accompanied by bread.

יב

האיש שהדיר את בנו בנזיר והפריש עליה קרבנותיו ולא רצה הבן בנזירות זו ומחה הוא או קרוביו או שגלח הוא או שגלחוהו קרוביו החטאת תמות והעולה תקרב עולה והשלמים יקרבו שלמים ונאכלין ליום אחד ואינן טעונין לחם הפריש לו מעות סתומים הרי אלו יפלו לנדבה היו מעות מפורשין דמי חטאת ילכו לים המלח דמי עולה יבואו עולה דמי שלמים יבואו שלמים ואינן טעונין לחם ונאכלין ליום אחד:

13

When a person says: "I will be a nazirite when a son is born to me," and sets aside a sacrifice, his wife miscarries27 and then she gives birth,28 the status of the sacrifices is questionable.29 It is forbidden to shear them or perform labor with them.30

יג

האומר הריני נזיר כשיהיה לי בן והפריש קרבן והפילה אשתו וחזרה וילדה הרי הקרבנות ספק ואסורין בגיזה ובעבודה:

14

[A question arises when] there are two nazirites; one became ritually impure [due to contact with a corpse] and it is not known which of them became ritually impure.31 How should they bring their sacrifices?32

They should bring the sacrifices33 [required when emerging from] impurity and the sacrifices [that mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity at the conclusion of the span of their nazirite vow.34 One of them then says: "If I was the one who became impure, the sacrifices [to emerge from] impurity are mine and the sacrifices [that mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity are yours. If I am the one who is ritually pure, the sacrifices [that mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity are mine and the sacrifices [to emerge from] impurity are yours."35

After bringing these sacrifices, they [both] then count the full span of another nazirite vow36and bring another [set of] sacrifices [that mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity.37 They then bring38 the sacrifices [that mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity and one says: "If I was the one who was ritually impure, the sacrifices [brought previously to mark the emergence from] impurity were mine and the sacrifices [brought to mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity were yours and these are the sacrifices [that mark my completion of a nazirite vow in] purity. If I was the one who was ritually pure, the sacrifices [brought previously to mark the completion of a nazirite vow in] purity were mine and those [brought to mark the emergence from] impurity were yours. And these are the sacrifices [that mark your completion of a nazirite vow in] purity."39Thus neither one lost anything [in bringing] these sacrifices.40

יד

שני נזירים שנטמא אחד מהם ואין ידוע מי הוא כיצד מביאין קרבנותיהן מביאין קרבן טומאה וקרבן טהרה במלאת ימי נזירותם ואומר אחד מהם אם אני הוא הטמא קרבן טומאה שלי וקרבן טהרה שלך ואם אני הוא הטהור קרבן טהורה שלי וקרבן טומאה שלך וסופרים ימי נזירות אחרת גמורה מאחר קרבנות אלו וחוזרין ומביאין קרבן טהרה ואומר אחד מהן אם אני הוא שהייתי טמא קרבן טומאה שלי וקרבן טהרה שלך וזה קרבן טהרתי אם אני הוא הטהור קרבן טהרה שלי וקרבן טומאה שלך וזה קרבן טהרתך נמצאו שלא הפסידו בקרבנותיהן כלום:

15

If one of them dies, [the other] must bring a fowl as a sin-offering41and an animal as a burnt offering42 and say: "If I became impure, the sin offering fulfills my obligation and the burnt offering is a freewill offering. If I was pure, the burnt offering is my obligation and the fowl brought as a sin-offering is [because of] the doubt." He then counts the full span of another nazirite vow43 and brings the sacrifices44 [required when completing a nazirite vow in] purity. He should say: "If I was impure, the first burnt offering I brought is a freewill offering and this is the sacrifice that I am obligated to bring. If I was pure, then the first burnt offering was obligatory. This is a freewill offering and these are the remainder of my sacrifices."

[In these instances,] neither of them45 perform the shaving [to emerge from] ritual impurity unless they are minors or women.46 [The rationale is that] these individuals should not shave their heads because of a doubt.47

טו

מת אחד מהן הרי זה מביא חטאת העוף ועולת בהמה ויאמר אם טמא הייתי החטאת מחובתי והעולה נדבה ואם טהור הייתי העולה מחובתי וחטאת העוף ספק וסופר ימי נזירות אחרת ומביא קרבן טהרה ואומר אם טמא הייתי העולה הראשונה נדבה וזו חובה ואם טהור הייתי העולה הראשונה חובה וזו נדבה וזה שאר קרבני ואין אחד משניהם מגלח תגלחת טומאה אלא אם כן היו קטנים או נשים שאין אלו מקיפין פאת ראשם מספק:

16

How could a doubt arise for them with regard to whether they contracted ritual impurity? For example, two nazirites were standing in a private domain where the ruling is that if a doubt concerning ritual purity arises in a private domain, the person is considered impure.48 A person who was standing outside saw them and said: "I saw that one of you became impure, but I do not know which one it is."

If, however, this witness is together with them in the courtyard, they are both ritually pure. [The rationale is that] since there are three of them, they are considered as "many people." And when there are many people in a private domain, when a doubt arises concerning them, they are ritually pure like a doubt concerning ritual impurity in the public domain as will be explained in its place.49

טז

וכיצד יולד להם ספק זה בטומאה כגון שהיו שני הנזירין עומדין ברשות היחיד שספק טומאה שם טמא והיה אחד מבחוץ רואה אותן ואמר ראיתי אחד מכם שנטמא ואיני יודע מי הוא אבל אם היה עד זה עמהן בחצר הרי שניהן טהורין כיון שהם שלשה הרי הן רבים ורבים ברשות היחיד ספקן טהור כספק טומאה ברשות הרבים שהוא טהור כמו שיתבאר במקומו:

17

When does the above apply? When both nazirites remain silent or the matter is doubtful for them. If, however, one of them says: "I did not become ritually impure," even if two witnesses testify that he became impure, he does not bring a sacrifice because of their statements. His statement: "I did not become ritually impure," can be understood to mean: "I will not bring a sacrifice [because of] impurity, because I have already asked [a sage] to absolve my vow." Thus he is not contradicting the witnesses and a person's word is accepted with regard to his own person.50 If, however, he remained silent or was in doubt concerning the matter, he should bring a sacrifice even when the cause is the testimony of one witness, as we explained [above]

Similarly, if a witness tells a person: "You took a nazirite vow in my presence" and that person disputes the matter, he is not liable for anything.51 If he does not dispute the matter, he must observe [the restrictions of] a nazirite vow because of his statements.

Even if [a person] told two others, "I saw one of you take a nazirite vow, but I do not know which of you it was," since [neither of them] dispute his statements, they both must observe a nazirite vow, because of his statements. If a person observed a nazirite vow because of the statements of one witness and drank wine or became impure [due to contact with a corpse] and two witnesses administered a warning, he is given lashes even though the fundamental dimension of the testimony is dependent on one witness.52

יז

במה דברים אמורים כששתקו הנזירים שניהם או נסתפק להן הדבר אבל אם אמר אחד מהן אני לא נטמאתי אפילו שני עדים מעידים עליו שנטמא אינו מביא קרבן על פיהם שזה שאמר לא נטמאתי כאומר איני מביא בטומאה שכבר נשאלתי על נזירותי ונמצא שאינו מכחיש את העדים ואדם נאמן על ידי עצמו אבל אם שתק או נסתפק לו הרי זה מביא קרבן אפילו על פי עד אחד כמו שבארנו וכן עד שאמר לאחד בפני נדרת בנזירות אם הכחישו אינו חייב כלום ואם לא הכחישו נוהג נזירותו על פיו אפילו אמר לשנים ראיתי אחד מכם שנזר ואיני יודע מי הוא הואיל ואין מכחישין אותו נוהגין נזירות על פיו נהג נזירות על פי עד אחד ושתה יין או נטמא והתרו בו [שנים] לוקה אף על פי שעיקר הנזירות בעד אחד:

18

When a corpse was lying across the breadth of a path53 and a nazirite walked by there, he is pure. [This applies] even if the only way to pass was [to step] over the corpse54 or to touch it and even if it was a source of impurity that was known.55 [The rationale is that when there is] an unresolved doubt concerning ritual impurity in the public domain, [we consider the person] pure.

יח

מת שהיה מושכב לרחב הדרך אע"פ שאין שם מקום לעבור אלא עליו או נוגע בצדו ואף על פי שהיא טומאה ידועה ועבר שם נזיר הרי זה טהור הואיל וספק ברשות הרבים טהור:

19

When does the above apply? When he was walking. If, however, he was riding or carrying a burden, he is impure.56 [The rationale is that] it is possible for a person who is walking on his feet not to touch the corpse, have his body pass over it, nor move it. When, by contrast, a person is carrying a burden or riding, it is impossible for him not to touch the corpse, have his body pass over it, nor move it, for the corpse is lying across the path.57

יט

בד"א במהלך ברגליו אבל אם היה רוכב או טעון משא הרי זה טמא שהמהלך ברגליו אפשר שלא יגע או שלא יאהיל או שלא יסיט אבל טעון או רוכב אי אפשר שלא יגע ושלא יאהיל או שלא יסיט שהרי המת לרוחב הדרך:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., he set aside money to pay for the sacrifices of poor nazirites.

2.

Even if there are not enough funds remaining to purchase an entire sacrifice, the remaining funds should be contributed toward the purchase of a sacrifice.

3.

Since the money was set aside for that purpose, it should be used accordingly.

4.

See Halachah 4 for more details concerning this concept.

5.

Voluntary burnt offerings whose sacrifice embellishes the altar. Since the money was set aside for use for his own offerings, it should not be used for the offerings of another person. This is the meaning of the phrase Shekalim 2:5: "What is left over from a nazirite's [offerings] should go for the sake of that nazirite.

6.

Brought to a place where it is impossible to benefit from it. It must be noted that at times the Rambam interprets the term Yam HaMelach as referring to the Mediterranean Sea.

The rationale for this ruling is that once a person has received atonement, it is forbidden to benefit from any funds designated for his sin offering. See Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 4:1. The commentaries also note that in Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 5:9, the Rambam writes that money left over from a sin offering should be used to purchase freewill offerings.

7.

As the nazirite's peace offering must be accompanied (see Chapter 8, Halachah 1).

8.

Like the peace offering brought by a nazirite in contrast to an ordinary peace offering which may be eaten for two days and one night.

9.

Although a certain amount of the funds would have been used for a sin offering, since they have not been designated for that purpose, it does not become prohibited to use them for other purposes.

10.

As is the law when the owner of a sin offering dies (Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 4:1).

11.

Since it is known that he is required to bring these sacrifices, it is considered as an appropriate amount has been allotted for each offering. Hence the money set aside for the burnt offering and peace offering should be used for such sacrifices and the money set aside for the sin offering should be taken to the Dead Sea.

12.

I.e., a blemish that disqualifies it as an offering. See Hilchot Issurei Mizbeiach, chs. 1-2.

13.

Since the animal is available for immediate sale, it is considered as if the owner has cash in hand.

14.

In which case, she has no obligation to bring the sacrifices.

15.

Although there are funds for a sin offering involved, since the purpose was not specified, they may be used for freewill offerings.

16.

It is considered as an entirely ordinary animal, as if it had never been consecrated.

17.

Hilchot Arachin 6:34.

18.

It is considered as an entirely ordinary animal, as if it had never been consecrated.

19.

This is a general principle, applicable in many contexts with regard to sacrifices. See Hilchot Arachin 6:21, 24; Hilchot Temurah 1:3.

20.

Generally, all of a woman's property is placed in her husband's care during their marriage and all her earnings belong to him. How then can she have money or property that is entirely her own? When a person gives it to her as a present with the above stipulation. See Hilchot Ishut 22:27; Hilchot Nedarim 7:17; Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 3:13-14.

21.

It is forbidden to benefit from the animal or to use it for any other purpose. Hence, it is left to die. See Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 4:1.

22.

See Halachah 3.

23.

The rationale is that when a husband nullifies a vow, his nullification does not uproot the vow from its source. Instead, his nullification affects only the future. Hence, she is liable for the repercussions of becoming impure and must bring a sacrifice. If, by contrast, she were to have had her vow nullified by a sage, it would have been nullified at its source and it would be as if she was never a nazirite. Hence she would not have to bring a sacrifice. See Hilchot Nedarim 13:2 (Radbaz).

24.

See Chapter 2, Halachot 13-14.

25.

See ibid.:15.

26.

See Halachah 9.

27.

The Radbaz explains that the Rambam interprets our Sages' statements in Nazir 13a as applying when the events occurred in this order. Others interpret the Talmud as speaking about a situation where the sacrifices were set aside after the woman miscarried. According to the Radbaz, the Rambam would not argue with that view. Instead, he is stating that the law applies even in the instance mentioned.

28.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 17.

29.

Since he is not bound by his nazirite vow after the miscarriage as stated in the cited halachah, it is possible that the consecration of the sacrifices is nullified. On the other hand, that is not a definite fact. Hence our Sages debated this issue.

30.

These prohibitions apply with regard to all consecrated animals. Since these prohibitions are Scriptural in origin, they must be observed because of the doubt regarding these animals' status. See Hilchot Me'ilah 1:7-8.

31.

See Halachot 16-17 which describe how such a situation could arise.

32.

As the Rambam proceeds to explain, the nazirite who completed his vow in ritual purity is obligated to bring one set of sacrifices, while the one who became impure must bring a different set. Since it is not known which of these individuals became impure, there is a question which sacrifices they should bring. Neither can bring the sacrifices required by the other as a freewill offering, because the guilt offering that is required when emerging from impurity may not be brought as a freewill offering, nor may the sin offering that is required after completing one's nazirite vow in a state of purity.

33.

I.e., sharing the costs equally.

34.

This applies when they both took a nazirite vow for the same number of days at the same time (Radbaz). If their nazirite vows conclude at different times, they must wait to the latest date.

35.

The other makes similar statements and they both perform all of the rituals necessary in the bringing of the sacrifices. In this way, the one has fulfilled the obligation to bring the sacrifices required when emerging from impurity and the other, the obligation to bring the sacrifices that mark the completion of the nazirite vow.

36.

In which they observe all the prohibitions incumbent on a nazirite.

37.

In this way, the nazirite who became ritually impure has fulfilled the obligations incumbent on him at the conclusion of his nazirite vow.

38.

I.e., sharing the costs equally.

39.

The other one makes a similar statement and they each perform all the rites required when bringing these sacrifices.

40.

More precisely, the person who was ritually pure was obligated to pay for half the sacrifices of the person who was ritually impure. Thus although no extra sacrifices were offered, he did suffer a slight loss. Nevertheless, this is obviously far preferential than for each one to have to bring the sacrifices required when emerging from ritual impurity on his own as stated in the following halachah.

41.

This is the practice followed whenever there is a question whether one is obligated to bring a sin offering or not. This sacrifice is burnt and not eaten (Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 19:10). If he was impure, he will have discharged his responsibility by bringing this sacrifice, because after the fact, this is sufficient. The burnt offering and the peace offering are not absolute necessities. See Chapter 10, Halachah 5.

42.

This is for the sake of the offerings he is required to bring if he completed his nazirite vow in a state of purity. The peace offering and guilt offering are not absolute necessities. See Chapter 6, Halachah 12; Chapter 10, Halachah 8.

43.

In which they observe all the prohibitions incumbent on a nazirite.

44.

All three sacrifices, as the Rambam proceeds to explain.

45.

The nazirites who entered a situation in which a doubt arouse which of them was impure.

46.

Who are not bound by the prohibition against shaving the corners of their heads. See Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:5.

47.

Although a nazirite who is ritually impure and one who completes his nazirite vow in purity is allowed to shave his head, that is permitted because there is a definite positive commandment which supercedes the prohibition. In these instances, however, we are unsure if there is a commandment obligated the nazirite to shave. Hence, no leniency is granted. The nazirite's failure to shave does not prevent him from bringing his sacrifices, as stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 5.

48.

See Hilchot Shaar Avot HaTumah 16:1. We assume that if the nazirite knew that he was ritually impure, he would not deny it, because we operate under the assumption that a person would not consciously avoid bringing a sin offering if he knew that he was liable (Keritot 12a).

49.

Ibid.. The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this principle. The Kessef Mishneh justifies the Rambam's view.

50.

See Hilchot Shaar Avot HaTumah 14:11.

51.

For the person's own word supercedes the testimony of one witness.

52.

The rationale is that since, because of the doubt inspired by the testimony of the witness, the person willingly accepted the observance of the nazirite vow, he is obligated to observe it (Radbaz).

53.

I.e., even if the corpse is in full public view.

54.

Thus he would contract ritual impurity by covering the corpse with his body (ohel).

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this issue, citing Nazir 63b as support. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh offer interpretations of the Talmud that support the Rambam's position. In that source, the Talmud differentiates between a corpse that is visible and a corpse whose existence is unknown, as explained in Chapter 6, Halachot 18-19. The Rambam maintains that the distinctions apply only after the fact, when the blood from the sacrifices has already been sprinkled on the person. Before then, the ruling depends on the principle: When there is a doubt concerning ritual impurity in the public domain, the person is considered pure. If such a doubt arises concerning a question in a private domain, he is considered as impure.

In explanation of the Rambam's position, the Kessef Mishneh states that we are speaking about an instance where it is possible for the nazirite, albeit with difficulty, to pass by the corpse without touching it or passing over it. If that is not the case, he is certainly impure. The Radbaz states that we are speaking about any instance where the person could have - and we presume he did - move off the path so as not to touch the corpse.

55.

In contrast, if it was not known that a corpse was located there, the nazirite is pure in the case of a doubt.

56.

Because, as the Rambam proceeds to explain, it is almost impossible for the person not to contract ritual impurity.

57.

And when riding or carrying a burden, the person will not be able to squeeze by.

Nezirut - Chapter 10

1

A person cannot perform one shaving [that will fulfill the requirements for] his nazirite vow and [for the emergence from the state of ritual impurity associated with] tzara'at.1

When it is questionable whether a person was afflicted with tzara'at [and thus became a metzora], the shaving [associated with emerging from] tzara'at does not supercede his nazirite vow. 2 Therefore [the following rules apply] if a person took a nazirite vow for a year and throughout this year, there was a question whether he had been afflicted with tzara'at and a question whether he had contracted ritual impurity through contact with a human corpse3 or there was a question whether he had been afflicted with tzara'at and at the end of the year, a question arose whether he had contracted ritual impurity. He should count seven days, have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled [upon him] on the third and seventh days,4 but he should not shave [his hair] on the seventh day. He may not drink wine or become impure due to contact with a human corpse until four years have passed.5 He may partake of consecrated food after two years have passed.6 [The rationale is] that he is required [because of the doubts concerning his status,] to shave [his head] four times: a) the shaving [required when he completes his nazirite vow in a state of] purity,7 b) the shaving [required for a nazirite to emerge from a state of] impurity, [for which he is obligated because of the doubt], and the two shavings required of a metzora, for there is a doubt whether he is a metzora.

א

אין אדם מגלח תגלחת אחת ועולה לו לנזרו ולצרעתו ותגלחת הצרעת בזמן שהוא ספק מצורע אינו דוחה את הנזירות לפיכך מי שנזר שנה אחת והיה בכל השנה הזאת ספק מצורע וספק טמא מת או שהיה בה ספק מצורע ובסוף השנה נטמא בספק הרי זה מונה שבעה ימים ומזה בשלישי ושביעי ואינו מגלח בשביעי ואינו יכול לשתות ביין ולהטמא למת אלא לאחר ארבע שנים ואוכל בקדשים לאחר שתי שנים מפני שהוא צריך לגלח ארבע תגלחיות תגלחת טהרה ותגלחת טומאה מספק ושתי תגלחיות שמגלח המצורע שהרי הוא ספק מצורע:

2

The first shaving should be performed after the conclusion of the first year.8He shaves his head, his beard,9 and his eyebrows and undergoes the purification process involving a cedar tree, a hyssop, and two wild birds10 like other metzoraim.11 If he was not impure due to contact with a corpse, nor a metzora, this is the shaving performed upon completion of his nazirite vow in purity. If he was indeed a metzora during the first year, this is the first shaving required of the metzora.

He then waits another year as is the span of his nazirite vow, and then performs the second shaving required of metzora. He may not shave after seven days like other metzoraim, for perhaps he was not a metzora, but instead had been impure because of contact with a corpse. [In that instance,] during this second year, he was a nazirite, who was forbidden to shave.12 [Nevertheless,] after he performed these two shavings, he has completed the purification process required after tzara'at13 and he is permitted to partake of consecrated foods.

He then waits another year and afterwards, performs a third shaving, lest he had been definitely a metzora during the first year and not impure because of contact with a corpse. [The observance] of the first year was not of consequence for him because these were days when his status [as a metzora] was defined.14 [The observance] of the second year was not of consequence for him because these were the days when he was counting [as part of the purification process of a] metzora between the first shaving and the second shaving.15 Therefore he must wait a third year, [observing his] nazirite vow. [Afterwards,] he performs a third shaving for his nazirite vow. This shaving [is required to emerge from] purity.16 [Nevertheless,] perhaps he was definitely impure because of contact with a corpse and he was also definitely a metzora and one shaving cannot serve the purpose of his nazirite vow and [purification from] tzara'at. Thus the first and second shavings were [for purification] from tzara'at. The third shaving was [for the sake of purification from] ritual impurity. None of these three years count because the third shaving was to purify him from ritual impurity.17 Therefore he must wait a fourth year, [observing] his nazirite vow and perform a fourth shaving. After each of the times that he shaves because of the doubt,18 it is forbidden to benefit from his hair because of the doubt involved, because it is permitted to benefit from the hair of a nazirite who became afflicted with tzara'at.19

ב

תגלחת ראשונה מגלח אותה אחר שנה ראשונה ומגלח בה ראשו וזקנו וגבות עיניו ומטהר בעץ ארז ואזוב וצפרים כשאר מצורעים אם אינו טמא מת ולא מצורע הרי היא תגלחת טהרה של נזירותו ואם הוא מצורע ודאי בשנה ראשונה הרי היא תגלחת ראשונה של מצורע ושוהה שנה אחרת כמנין ימי הנזירות ואח"כ מגלח תגלחת שניה של מצורע שאינו יכול לגלח אחר שבעה כשאר מצורעין שמא אינו מצורע אלא טמא מת ודאי היה ושנה שניה זו הרי הוא בה נזיר שאסור לגלח ומאחר שגלח שתי תגלחיות אלו שלמה טהרת הצרעת ומותר לאכול בקדשים ושוהה שנה שלישית ואחר כך מגלח תגלחת שלישית שמא מצורע ודאי היה בשנה ראשונה ולא היה טמא מת ושנה ראשונה לא עלתה לו מפני שהיא ימי חלוטו ושנה שניה לא עלתה לו מפני שהיא ימי ספירו של מצורע שבין תגלחת ראשונה ושניה לפיכך צריך לשהות שנה שלישית בנזירותו ומגלח תגלחת שלישית לנזירותו והיא תגלחת טהרה או שמא טמא מת ודאי היה ומצורע ודאי ואין תגלחת אחת עולה לנזירותו ולצרעתו ונמצאת תגלחת ראשונה ושניה תגלחת צרעת ותגלחת שלישית תגלחת טומאה ואין אחת משלש שנים עולה שהרי השלישית תגלחת טומאה לפיכך צריך לשהות שנה רביעית בנזירות ומגלח תגלחת רביעית ושערו בכל תגלחת ספק אסור בהנייה מספק ששער נזיר שנצטרע מותר בהנייה:

3

Similar [rules apply if a person] took a nazirite vow for ten years and, in the midst, there arose a question whether he was a metzora and there also arose a question whether he contracted ritual impurity [through contact with a corpse] at the conclusion of this period. He may not drink wine for forty years and must perform four shavings, one at the conclusion of each decade. The first shaving comes because of the doubt concerning the days he must observe because of tzara'at. The second shaving [comes] because of the days a metzora [must count between his two shavings]. The third shaving is because of the doubt concerning his ritual impurity. And the fourth shaving is [the one required when completing a nazirite vow in] purity.20

ג

וכן אם נדר עשר שנים נזירות והיה בהן ספק מצורע ונולד לו ספק טומאה בסופן הרי זה אינו שותה ביין עד ארבעים שנה ומגלח ארבע תגלחות אחת בסוף כל עשר שנים תגלחת ראשונה לספק ימי צרעתו שניה לספק ימי ספירו של מצורע שלישית לספק טומאתו רביעית תגלחת טהרה:

4

How should such a person bring the sacrifices required of him?21 If he was rich, he should sign over all of his property to another person.22 [The rationale is that] a wealthy metzora who brought a sacrifice befitting a poor one does not fulfill his obligation.23 Afterwards, he brings a fowl as a sin offering and an animal as a burnt offering for the first, second, and third shavings.24 No one should partake of any of the fowl brought as sin offerings, because of the doubt involved.25 For the fourth shaving, he brings the sacrifices required of a nazirite [who completes his vow in] purity, as we explained.26

ד

וכיצד מביא זה קרבנותיו אם היה עשיר כותב נכסיו לאחרים שמצורע עשיר שהביא קרבן עני לא יצא ואחר כך מביא חטאת העוף ועולת בהמה בתגלחת ראשונה ושניה ושלישית וכל חטאת עוף מהן לא תאכל מפני שהיא ספק ומביא בתגלחת רביעית קרבן נזיר טהור שהוא שלש בהמות כמו שבארנו:

5

He brings three fowl as sin offerings for the following reasons: the first27is because of the doubt whether he is ritually impure,28the second because of the doubt whether he is afflicted by tzara'at, for a metzora brings a sacrifice only after his second shaving,29 the third because of the possibility that he was ritually impure. [The rationale is that] one shaving cannot fulfill the obligation for both one's nazirite vow and [purification from] tzara'at and perhaps he was definitely both a metzora and impure because of contact with a corpse. [In that instance,] the first and second shavings were to become purified from tzara'at, as explained.30 The third shaving is the shaving [required to emerge from] ritual impurity. Therefore he must bring the sacrifices [required when emerging from] impurity at that time.

ה

שלש חטאות העוף שמביא בשלש התגלחות חטאת ראשונה לספק טומאתו שניה לספק צרעתו שאין המצורע מביא קרבנו אלא לאחר תגלחת שניה וכן חטאת שלישית לספק טומאתו שאין תגלחת אחת עולה לנזרו ולצרעתו ושמא מצורע ודאי וטמא מת ודאי היה שהתגלחת הראשונה והשניה לצרעתו כמו שבארנו ותגלחת שלישית תגלחת טומאה ולפיכך צריך להביא קרבן טומאה בשלישית:

6

[The following principles apply with regard to] the three animals31[brought] as burnt offerings that accompany [the sin offerings]. He brings them conditionally. [When bringing] the first, he stipulates: "If I was pure, this is for my obligation."32 If I was impure, this is a freewill offering."33 He should make a similar stipulation for the second and third [shaving] as well.34

ו

שלש עולות בהמה שמביא עמהן על הראשונה הוא מתנה ואומר אם טהור אני זו מחובתי ואם טמא אני הרי היא נדבה וכן הוא אומר בשניה ובשלישית:

7

For the fourth shaving, he brings the sacrifices [required when completing a nazirite vow in] purity35 and stipulates: "If I was impure, the first burnt offering was a freewill offering36 and this is my obligatory offering.37

"If I was definitely [afflicted with tzara'at], the first [burnt offering] was the one that I was obligated to bring as a metzora.38 This is the one that I was obligated to bring for my nazirite vow. And the two [brought] in between are freewill offerings.39

"If I was pure with regard to contact with a corpse, but I had been afflicted with tzara'at, the first and second [burnt offerings] were obligatory, the one for the obligation of a metzora40 and the one for the obligation of a nazirite. The third and the fourth are freewill offerings. The remainder [of the sacrifices] are the sacrifices [required when completing a nazirite vow in] purity.41

"If I was impure and afflicted with tzara'at the first burnt offering was the obligation of a metzora.42 The second and the third are freewill offerings43 and this is the sacrifice [required when] shaving [after completing a nazirite vow in] purity."

ז

ומביא קרבן טהרה בתגלחת רביעית ואומר ומתנה אם טמא הייתי עולה ראשונה נדבה וזו חובה ואם מוחלט הייתי ראשונה חובת מצורע וזו חובת נזירות ושתים האמצעיות נדבה ואם טהור מטומאת מת הייתי ומצורע עולה הראשונה חובה וכן השניה אחת לחובת מצורע ואחת לחובת נזירות ושלישית ורביעית נדבה והשאר קרבן טהרתי ואם טמא הייתי ומצורע עולה ראשונה חובת צרעת ושניה ושלישית נדבה וזה קרבן תגלחת טהרה:

8

The guilt offering and the burnt offering are not absolute requirements,44 neither for the shaving [required for a nazirite to emerge from] ritual impurity, nor for [the purification afflicted with] tzara'at. 45 Thus if he had definitely been a metzora, but had not become impure because of contact with a corpse, he became pure when bringing the wild birds. The fowl brought as a sin offering serves as his sin offering.46 It should not be eaten because it was brought because of a doubt.47 And the [lamb] brought with it as a burnt offering is part of the requirement for shaving [after completing a nazirite vow in] purity, so that the shaving will be associated [with the sacrifice of] an animal.48 If he was ritually impure because of contact with a corpse, the [lamb] brought as a burnt offering is a freewill offering.49

If he had not been afflicted by tzara'at, but had been impure due to contact with a corpse, the fowl brought as a sin offering is the offering [required of] a nazirite who became impure and the [lamb] brought as an animal is a freewill offering. And ultimately,50 he will bring the sacrifices [required when a nazirite vow is completed in] purity.

If he was neither impure due to contact with a corpse nor a metzora, the [lamb] brought as a burnt offering for the first shaving is that required when shaving.51 The fowl brought as a sin offering is brought because of the doubt and it is not eaten.

ח

אבל האשם והעולה אינן מעכבין לא בתגלחת טומאה ולא בצרעת נמצאת אומר אם הוא מצורע ודאי ולא נטמא במת הרי טהר בצפורין וחטאת העוף היא חטאתו ולא תאכל מפני שהוא ספק ועולת בהמה שעמה מקרבן תגלחת טהרה כדי שיגלח על הבהמה ואם טמא מת הוא הרי עולת בהמה נדבה ואם אינו מצורע וטמא מת הוא חטאת העוף קרבן נזיר שנטמא ועולת בהמה נדבה והרי הביא קרבן טהרה באחרונה ואם אינו טמא מת ולא מצורע עולת בהמה שהביא בתגלחת הראשונה היא מחובת תגלחת וחטאת העוף באה על ספק והרי לא נאכלת:

9

When do the above statements that a nazirite performs four shavings apply? When speaking of a minor52 or a woman.53 An adult male should not perform a shaving because of a doubt,54 neither a shaving because of ritual impurity or one because of tzara'at lest he have been ritually pure and thus he will be cutting off the corners of his hair when there is no mitzvah involved.55Therefore, [in such a situation,] an adult male should perform only the shaving [required when completing the nazirite vow in] purity. For these four shavings are not absolute requirements,56 they are only [the more complete way of performing] the mitzvah.

ט

במה דברים אמורים שהוא מגלח ארבע תגלחות כשהיה קטן או אשה אבל האיש אינו מגלח מספק לא תגלחת טומאה ולא תגלחת צרעת שמא טהור הוא ונמצא מקיף פאת ראשו שלא במקום מצוה לפיכך אינו מגלח אלא תגלחת טהרה בלבד שאין ארבע תגלחות אלו לעכב אלא למצוה:

10

How should a nazirite conduct himself if he is certain that he contracted tzara'at and is uncertain whether he contracted ritual impurity. After he is purified from his tzara'at,57 he should have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled upon him on the third and seventh days.58 He performs the shaving [required when emerging from] ritual impurity59 and then begins to count the days of his nazirite vow in their entirety. For, due to the doubt that he became ritually impure, [the observance of] the first days is nullified. [After completing that vow,] he brings the sacrifices [required when completing a nazirite vow in] purity and [is permitted to] drink wine. After he brings the sacrifices [required after being purified from] tzara'at, he may partake of sacrificial food.

י

נזיר שנצטרע ודאי ונטמא בספק כיצד הוא עושה אחר שיטהר מצרעתו מזה בשלישי ובשביעי ומגלח תגלחת טומאה ומתחיל למנות נזירותו כלה שהרי נפלו הימים הראשונים בספק טומאה שנטמא ומביא קרבן טהרה ושותה ביין ומאחר שיביא קרבן צרעת אוכל בקדשים:

11

[The following rules apply if] it is certain that he became impure [from contact with a corpse] and there is a question whether he was a metzora. After he is healed from his questionable status as a metzora, he should count the full amount of the days of his nazirite vow60 and afterwards61 perform the shaving [required for tzara'at]. [The rationale is that] shaving [because of tzara'at] that is questionable does not supercede his nazirite vow. Afterwards, he counts the seven days between the first shaving of a metzora and the second and performs that shaving. He should bring his sacrifices and may partake of sacrificial foods if he had [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled upon him on the third and seventh days.62 Afterwards, he counts seven more days [because of] the impurity associated with a corpse and performs the shaving [required to emerge from] ritual impurity. Afterwards, he counts the full term of his nazirite vow.

יא

נטמא ודאי והיה מצורע בספק וטהר מספק צרעתו מונה ימי נזירותו שלימה ואחר כך מגלח תגלחת הנגע שאין תגלחת ספק נגעו דוחה נזירות ואח"כ מונה שבעת ימים שבין תגלחת מצורע הראשונה לתגלחת שניה ומגלח ומביא קרבנותיו ואוכל בקדשים ומזה בשלישי ושביעי ואח"כ מונה שבעה אחרים לטומאת מת ומגלח תגלחת טומאה ואחר כך מונה נזירותו כולה:

12

Similarly, [the following rules apply if] he was certainly both ritually impure and a metzora. After he becomes healed from his tzara'at, he performs the first shaving [required to be purified from] tzara'at, has [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled upon him on the third and seventh [days],63and has his head and beard shaved on the seventh day. This is the second shaving [required to be purified from] tzara'at. He brings the sacrifices [associated with that purification] on the eighth day and may partake of sacrificial foods. He then counts seven days64 and performs the shaving [required to emerge from] ritual impurity. Afterwards, he counts the full term of his nazirite vow. He then brings the sacrifices [required when completing a nazirite vow in] ritual purity and [may then] drink wine.

יב

וכן אם היה טמא ומצורע בודאי לאחר שיטהר מצרעתו מגלח תגלחת צרעת הראשונה ומזה בשלישי ובשביעי ומגלח ראשו וזקנו בשביעי והיא תגלחת שניה של צרעת ומביא קרבנותיו בשמיני ואוכל בקדשים וסופר שבעה ומגלח תגלחת טומאה ואחר כך סופר ימי נזירות שלימה ומביא קרבן טהרה ושותה ביין:

13

Why is it necessary for him to count seven [days before bringing the sacrifices required after emerging from ritual impurity]?65 [Because] the seven days of ritual impurity [associated with contact with a human corpse] are not counted during the seven days between the two shavings of a metzora.

יג

למה סופר שבעה שאין שבעת ימי הטומאה עולין בשבעת ימי ספירה שבין תגלחת ותגלחת של מצורע:

14

When a person says: "I will be a nazirite if I do this and this" or "...if I do not do [this or this]," he is a wicked man and a nazirite vow of this type is one of the nazirite vows taken by the wicked. If, however, a person takes a nazirite vow to God in a holy manner, this is delightful and praiseworthy66 and concerning this, [Numbers 6:7-8] states: "The diadem67 of his God is upon his head... He is holy unto God." And Scripture equates him with a prophet, as [Amos 2:11] states: "And from your sons, I will raise [some] as prophets, and from your youths, [some] as nazirites."

יד

האומר הריני נזיר אם אעשה כך וכך או אם לא אעשה וכיוצא בזה הרי זה רשע ונזירות כזו מנזירות רשעים הוא אבל הנודר לה' דרך קדושה הרי זה נאה ומשובח ועל זה נאמר נזר אלהיו על ראשו קדש הוא לה' ושקלו הכתוב כנביא (שנאמר) ואקים מבניכם לנביאים ומבחוריכם לנזירים:

Footnotes
1.

As stated in Hilchot Tumat Tzara'at 11:1-3, after the signs of tzara'at have disappeared from a person's flesh, he must undergo a twofold purification process that involves shaving his hair on the first and seventh days. Neither of these shavings can be considered as the same shaving as the one performed by a nazirite. The rationale is that the first shaving of the purification from tzara'at is for a different purpose than the shaving performed by a nazirite. For the intent of the shaving of a nazirite is to remove hair, while the intent of the first shaving performed by a person afflicted with tzara'at is to allow hair to grow (Nazir 60b, Radbaz). Similarly, the second shaving associated with tzara'at is not analogous to the shaving associated with the nazirite vow, for the shaving of a metzora is performed before the sprinkling of the blood and the shaving of a nazirite afterwards.

2.

Which involves a prohibition against shaving. As stated in Chapter 7, Halachah 15, ordinarily, "When a nazirite contracts tzara'at and becomes healed in the midst of the days of his nazirite vow, he should shave all of his hair. The rationale is that] by shaving, he fulfills a positive commandment. [And] when there is [a conflict between] a positive commandment and a negative commandment... the positive commandment supercedes the negative commandment." There is also a positive commandment for a nazirite to grow his hair long and a negative commandment does not override a negative commandment and a positive commandment. Nevertheless, when a nazirite contracts tzara'at, that there is no positive commandment involved in growing his hair. Since it is possible that this is not the situation prevailing in this instance, he should not shave (Radbaz).

3.

In this instance, it is questionable whether he is required to shave to perform a shaving to emerge from ritual impurity (as explained at the beginning of Chapter 6) or not.

4.

A person who seeks to emerge from the impurity associated from the state of ritual impurity associated with contact with a human corpse must have the ashes of a Red Heifer sprinkled upon him on the third and seventh days after he became ritually impure. He must also immerse himself in a mikveh (Hilchot Parah Adumah 11:1).

5.

For only then will he complete all the shavings required because of the doubts and complete his nazirite vow.

6.

For then he will have performed both of the shavings required of a person who contracted tzara'at and will have had the ashes of the Red Heifer sprinkled upon him to purify him from the impurity associated with contact with a human corpse.

7.

The Rambam mentions this shaving first, because this is the only definite obligation.

8.

For until then he is forbidden to shave because perhaps he is not impure and his nazirite vow must be observed. The details regarding the sacrifices that must be offered when shaving his hair are explained in Halachot 4-5.

9.

As stated in Halachah 9, this applies only to a minor or a woman who took nazirite vows. If the nazirite is an adult male, he may not shave his head, because of the doubt.

10.

According to certain commentaries, this refers to a kosher species of sparrows, according to others to a jay. See the notes of the Living Torah to Leviticus 14:4.

11.

See Hilchot Tumat Tzara'at, Chapter 11, where this purification process is described in detail.

12.

The Ra'avad writes that the Rambam's statements are correct if he became ritually impure more than seven days before the end of his first year of nazirite observance. If, however, there is less than seven days left before the conclusion of the year, different rules apply, for he will have not fulfilled the seven days required before shaving to emerge from impurity. The Kessef Mishneh takes issue with the Ra'avad's statements.

13.

Were he to have indeed been a metzora.

14.

And as stated in Chapter 7, Halachah 9, the days when a person's status is defined as a metzora are not included as part of the fulfillment of his nazirite vow.

15.

He could not wait only seven days, because it is possible he was not a metzora in which instance, he would not be permitted to shave his hair within the time of his nazirite vow.

16.

Our translation follows the understanding of the Radbaz and is supported by Halachah 5. The standard published text follows a slightly different version.

17.

And until he is ritually pure, the days he observes for his nazirite vow are not of consequence. He may not, however, perform these shavings earlier, because he is not definitely impure or a metzora.

18.

I.e., the first three shavings.

19.

Ordinarily, it is forbidden to benefit from the hair of a nazirite (Chapter 8, Halachah 2), even if he became impure (Chapter 6, Halachah 14). Nevertheless, as the Rambam states in Chapter 7, Halachah 15, when a nazirite becomes afflicted with tzara'at, the holiness associated with his hair is nullified. Even with regard to the last shaving, his hair is not definitely forbidden, because it is possible that he already fulfilled his obligations with the first shavings (Radbaz).

20.

This all follows the pattern explained in the notes to the previous halachah.

21.

The full order of sacrifices that such a person would be required to bring were he in fact to have contracted ritual impurity and have been afflicted by tzara'at is the following:

a) because of tzara'at: on the eighth day of the purification process, he must bring a guilt offering, a sin offering, and a burnt offering;

b) because he became impure, he must bring a sin offering, a guilt offering, and a burnt offering; and

c) upon completion of his nazirite vow in purity, he brings a burnt offering, a peace offering, and a sin offering.

22.

Because, as will be explained, it is possible to bring a fowl as a sacrifice when there is a doubt involved, but not an animal.

23.

See Hilchot Mechusrai Kapparah 5:10; Hilchot Shegagot 10:13.

A wealthy metzora must bring a ewe as a sin offering, while a poor one may bring two sets of doves or turtledoves. If the rich man retains possession of his property, he will not be able to bring a sin offering, because an animal can never be brought as a sin offering because of doubt (Radbaz).

24.

For all of these are brought because of the doubt involved.

25.

See Hilchot Pesulei HaMukdashim 19:10.

26.

Chapter 8, Halachah 1. The Rambam does not mention the wild birds that must be brought as part of the purification process for a metzora, for they were not sacrifices brought within the Temple.

27.

I.e., the sin offering brought after the first shaving.

28.

Because of contact with a corpse alone and not afflicted with tzara'at.

29.

The wild birds brought after the first shaving are not considered sacrifices, because they are not brought within the Temple.

According to this possibility, it was not necessary for him to have brought the sin offering at the time of the first shaving. That first shaving cannot, however, serve two purposes as the Rambam explains.

30.

See Halachah 2.

31.

I.e., the lambs.

32.

As required of a nazirite who completes his nazirite vow in purity.

33.

For the burnt offering required when a nazirite completes his vow in purity is a lamb and that required from a nazirite emerging from ritual impurity is a dove or turtle dove.

34.

I.e., for the second shaving, he should make the following stipulation: "If I was only ritually impure because of contact with a corpse, then the first sin offering was to emerge from ritual impurity and this is the sin offering required at the conclusion of the nazirite vow. If I had contracted tza'arat, this is for the sake of purification from that affliction. And if I was neither ritually impure nor had contracted tzara'at, this is a freewill offering."

For the third shaving, he should stipulate: "If I was both ritually impure and afflicted by tzara'at, the second sacrifice was to be purified from tzara'at and this is to emerge from the ritual impurity stemming from a corpse. If I had been afflicted by tzara'at, but not ritually impure, this is to complete the obligation of my nazirite vow. If I had not been afflicted by tzara'at, this is a freewill offering."

35.

I.e., a burnt offering, a sin offering, and a peace offering.

36.

For a nazirite who became impure should not bring a lamb as a burnt offering.

37.

We do not say that the burnt offering brought after the second or third shaving was the required offering, because perhaps he had been afflicted with tzara'at in which instance, those shavings were necessary to purify him (Kessef Mishneh).

38.

With regard to a sin offering, the Rambam wrote in Halachah 5 that a metzora should not bring his sacrifice until after the second shaving. For this reason, the Ra'avad protests the Rambam's statements. Nevertheless, as stated with regard to a related issue in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 18:9, a distinction can be made between a burnt offering and a sin offering, for the sin offering is the fundamental catalyst for atonement and the burnt offering is merely a present (Kessef Mishneh; Lechem Mishneh).

39.

One of these burnt offerings was obviously a freewill offering, because only one burnt offering is required for the two shavings required to be purified from tzara'at. The other burnt offering is also a freewill offering, because the shaving is required lest he was also impure because of contact with a corpse. Nevertheless, the burnt offering required for such a shaving is not a lamb, but rather a dove or a turtle dove.

40.

As explained above.

41.

The fact that they are being brought much later than the burnt offering is not significant.

42.

As explained above.

43.

One of these burnt offerings was obviously a freewill offering, because only one burnt offering is required for the two shavings required to be purified from tzara'at. The other burnt offering is also a freewill offering, because the shaving is required lest he was also impure because of contact with a corpse. Nevertheless, the burnt offering required for such a shaving is not a lamb, but rather a dove or a turtle dove.

44.

Hence they are not required in this complex situation.

45.

See Chapter 6, Halachah 12, with regard to a nazirite and Hilchot Mechusrei Kapparah 1:5 with regard to a metzora. The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and maintains that the guilt offering is also an absolute requirement for the purification of a nazirite. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling.

46.

The commentaries raise a difficulty with the Rambam's statement, noting that as explained in Halachah 5, the sin offering for a metzora is brought in association with the second shaving, not the first. The Merkevet HaMishneh states the intent is that the sacrifice is brought because of the question of impurity stemming from contact with a human corpse.

47.

For it is not known whether he was a metzora or not.

48.

For if he does not bring an animal as a sacrifice, the shaving is not acceptable and in violation of his nazirite vow.

49.

One of these burnt offerings was obviously a freewill offering, because only one burnt offering is required for the two shavings required to be purified from tzara'at. The other burnt offering is also a freewill offering, because the shaving is required lest he was also impure because of contact with a corpse. Nevertheless, the burnt offering required for such a shaving is not a lamb, but rather a dove or a turtle dove.

50.

After the fourth shaving.

51.

The fact that the remainder of the sacrifices are not brought until a significantly later time, i.e., after the fourth shaving, is not significant.

52.

As mentioned in Chapter 2, Halachah 13, a nazirite vow taken by a minor can be binding according to Scriptural Law.

53.

For the prohibition against shaving the corners of the hair and the beard is not incumbent upon them (Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:5).

54.

I.e., the first three shavings described above.

55.

As explained above, when a mitzvah is involved in the shaving, we follow the principle: The performance of a positive commandment supercedes the observance of a prohibition. This applies, however, only when we are certain that the observance of a positive commandment is indeed involved.

56.

See Hilchot Tumat Tzara'at 11:4.

57.

Shaving and bringing the appropriate sacrifices. The sequence when the shavings are performed and sacrifices are brought is not explicitly mentioned by the Rambam. However, as reflected in the gloss of the Lechem Mishneh, seemingly he may perform the shaving immediately. Since he is definitely afflicted with tzara'at, there is no prohibition against his shaving during the term of his nazirite vow.

58.

This purifies him from the impurity associated with a human corpse. Unless he performs this act of purification, no sacrifices may be offered on his behalf (Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:12). The fact that he is still ritually impure because of tzara'at does not prevent him from purifying himself from the impurity associated with contact with a corpse (Hilchot Parah Adumah 11:3).

59.

After the completion of all the days of his nazirite vow. He is required to wait this amount of time, because perhaps he never became impure. Thus were he to perform the shaving earlier, he might be shaving in the midst of his nazirite vow.

60.

Any observance of his vow before then is disqualified. Nor can he bring the sacrifices required when emerging from ritual impurity until he first purifies himself from the possibility of having been afflicted with tzara'at.

61.

Since it is not certain that he has tzara'at, the shaving does not supercede his nazirite vow and thus he must wait until the observance of his nazirite vow is concluded.

62.

For otherwise, he is ritually impure and may not partake of sacrifices. Our translation reflects an emendation of the standard published text of the Mishneh Torah based on authoritative manuscripts.

63.

To be purified from the ritual impurity stemming from contact with a human corpse, so that sacrifices may be offered on his behalf, as explained above.

64.

For the reason explained in the following halachah.

65.

I.e., he is required to wait this amount of time as explained in Chapter 6, Halachah 7, but seemingly, he has already waited these days, in the process of his purification from tzara'at.

66.

See ch. 13 of Hilchot Nedarim. Halachot 24 and 25 of that chapter focus on the negative dimension of taking vows that involve prohibitions, but Halachah 23 explains that there are situations, i.e., when one feels challenged by his material desires, when taking such vows are praiseworthy. See the incident from Nedarim 9b quoted in the notes to that halachah.

67.

This Hebrew term shares the same letters as the root of the word nazirite.

Arachim Vacharamim - Chapter 1

Introduction to Hilchos - Chapter 1

They contain seven mitzvot: five positive commandments and two negative commandment. They are:

1. To apply the judgments [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning humans, as prescribed by the Torah; these are the laws of endowment evaluations concerning humans.
2. The laws [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning animals.
3. The laws [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning homes.
4. The laws [applying to] endowment evaluations concerning fields.
5. The laws [applying to] one who designates his property as a devotion offering.
6. That [property designated as] a devotion offering should not be sold.
7. That [property designated as] a devotion offering should not be redeemed.

These mitzvot are explained in the ensuing chapters.

הלכות ערכין וחרמין - הקדמה

הלכות ערכין וחרמין יש בכללן שבע מצות חמש מצות עשה ושתים מצות לא תעשה וזה הוא פרטן:

(א) לדון בערכי אדם כאשר מפורש בתורה וזהו דין ערכי אדם
(ב) דין ערכי בהמה
(ג) דין ערכי בתים
(ד) דין ערכי שדות
(ה) דין מחרים נכסיו
(ו) שלא ימכר חרם
(ז) שלא יגאל חרם

וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

Endowment valuations [arechim]1 are pledges included in the category of vows made to consecrate property,2 as [Leviticus] 27:2 states: "When a man will utter a vow, making an endowment evaluation concerning humans to God." Therefore [failure to fulfill them] makes one liable for the violation [of the prohibitions, Numbers 30:3:] "He shall not desecrate his word,"3 and [Deuteronomy 23:22]: "Do not delay in paying it,"4 and [the positive commandment, Numbers, loc. cit.]: "He shall act in accordance with all that he uttered with his mouth."5

א

הערכים הם נדר מכלל נדרי הקדש שנאמר איש כי יפליא נדר בערכך נפשות לה' לפיכך חייבין עליהן משום לא יחל דברו ולא תאחר לשלמו ומשום ככל היוצא מפיו יעשה:

2

It is a positive commandment to render judgment concerning arechim as prescribed by the Torah.6 Whether one says: "I pledge my airech," "I pledge the airech of this person," or "I pledge the airech of so-and-so," he must pay the airech as prescribed according to the age of the person specified.7This is a fixed amount as dictated by the Torah, neither more, nor less.

ב

מצות עשה לדון בדיני ערכין כאשר מפורש בתורה ואחד האומר ערכי עלי או האומר ערך זה עלי או ערך פלוני עלי נותן הערך לפי שני הנערך והוא הדבר הקצוב שבתורה לא פחות ולא יתר:

3

What is the airech [prescribed by the Torah]? If the person whose airech was donated was 30 days old or less,8 he has no airech. When one says: "I pledge the airech of this person," [and the person is 30 days old or less,] it is as if he said: "I pledge the airech of this utensil"9 and [the donor] is not liable at all.

If [the person whose airech was donated] was between 30 days old and a full five years,10 the airech of a male is five [silver] shekalim and of a female, three [silver] shekalim.11 From when one begins his or her sixth year until the completion of the twentieth year, the airech of a male is 20 [silver] shekalim and of a female, 10 [silver] shekalim. From when one begins his or her twenty-first year until the completion of the sixtieth year, the airech of a male is 50 [silver] shekalim and of a female, 30 [silver] shekalim..From when one begins his or her sixty-first year until the day of his or her death, [regardless of] the number of years [he or she lives,] theairech of a male is 15 [silver] shekalim and of a female, 10 [silver]shekalim..

ג

וכמה הוא הערך אם היה הנערך בן שלשים יום או פחות אין לו ערך והאומר עליו ערך זה עלי הרי זה כאומר ערך כלי זה עלי ואינו חייב כלום היה מבן אחד ושלשים יום עד בן חמש שנים גמורות ערך הזכר חמשה שקלים והנקבה שלשה שקלים משנכנס בשנת שש יום אחד עד שישלים שנת עשרים ערך הזכר עשרים שקלים והנקבה עשרה שקלים משיכנס בשנת אחת ועשרים יום עד שישלים שנת ששים ערך הזכר חמשים שקלים והנקבה שלשים שקלים ומשיכנס בשנת אחת וששים יום עד יום מותו אפילו חיה כמה שנים ערך הזכר חמשה עשר שקלים והנקבה עשרה שקלים:

4

All of these years are calculated from day to day from the person's birthday.12 All of the shekalim are holy shekalim, i.e., the weight in pure silver of 320 barley corns. [Our Sages] already added to the value [of this coin] and made it equivalent to a sela,13 as we explained in Hilchot Shekalim.14

ד

כל השנים האלו מעת לעת מיום הלידה וכל השקלים בשקל הקדש והוא משקל שלש מאות ועשרים שעורה מכסף טהור וכבר הוסיפו עליו ועשו אותו סלע כמו שבארנו בהלכות שקלים:

5

There is no airech for a tumtum15 or an androgynus,16 for the Torah prescribed an airech only for a male whose status is definite or a female whose status is definite. Therefore if a tumtum or an androgynus says: "I pledge my airech," or another person pledges their airech, their statements are of no consequence.17

ה

טומטום ואנדרוגינוס אין להם ערך שלא קצבה תורה ערך אלא לזכר ודאי או לנקבה ודאית לפיכך טומטום ואנדרוגינוס שאמר ערכי עלי או שהעריכו אחר אינו חייב כלום:

6

An airech may be pledged for a gentile, but the pledge of a gentile is of no consequence.18 What is implied? When a gentile says: "I pledge my airech," or "I pledge the airech of this Jew," his words are of no consequence. When, [by contrast,] a Jew says: "I pledge the airech of this gentile" or "I pledge the airech of so-and-so, the gentile," he must pay according to the age of the gentile whose airech he pledged. Similarly, if one pledges the airech of a deaf-mute or an intellectually or emotionally unstable person,19 he is obligated to pay according to that person's age.

ו

העכו"ם נערך אבל אינו מעריך כיצד עכו"ם שאמר ערכי עלי או ערך ישראל זה עלי לא אמר כלום וישראל שאמר ערך עכו"ם זה עלי או ערך פלוני העכו"ם עלי נותן לפי שני העכו"ם הנערך וכן המעריך את החרש ואת השוטה חייב ונותן לפי שניו:

7

An airech may be pledged for a servant and he may pledge an airech like any member of the Jewish people.20 If he is redeemed21 and he has financial resources, he should pay the pledge that he vowed.

ז

העבד נערך ועורך כשאר ישראל ואם יפדה והיה לו יתן ערך שנדר:

8

Whether a person pledges the airech of an attractive, healthy person or one who is ugly and infirm, he must give the fixed amount specified by the Torah according to the age of that person.22 [This applies] even if that person has leprous blotches, is blind, lacking a limb, or possesses any type of blemish.

ח

אחד המעריך את היפה הבריא ואחד המעריך את הכעור החולה אפילו היה הנערך מוכה שחין או סומא או גדם ויש בו כל מום נותן לפי שניו כמו שכתוב בתורה:

9

Pledges for a person's worth are not like arechim. What is implied? When a person says: "I am responsible for my worth," "I am responsible for that person's worth," or "I am responsible for the worth of so-and-so," he must pay the worth of that person as if he were a servant sold in the marketplace,23 whether it be a dinar or a thousand dinar.24 [This applies] even if that person is a minor one day old, a tumtum, an androgynus25 or a gentile.26

ט

הדמים אינן כערכין כיצד האומר דמי עלי או דמי זה עלי או דמי פלוני עלי אפילו היה אותו פלוני קטן בן יומו או טומטום ואנדרוגינוס או עכו"ם נותן מה שהוא שוה דינר או אלף כאילו הוא עבד הנמכר בשוק:

10

Unless specified otherwise,27 all arechim and all pledges of worth are [dedicated to] physical improvements to the Temple.28 They are placed in a special chamber in the Temple which is prepared for [funds] consecrated for physical improvements to the Temple.

י

והערכים כולן והדמים הכל סתמן לבדק הבית ויפלו הכל ללשכה שהיתה במקדש מוכנת לקדשי בדק הבית:

11

When a gentile says: "I am responsible for my worth" or "I am responsible for the worth of so-and-so," he must pay according to his vow. [The money] is not, however, placed in the [abovementioned] chamber. For we do not accept pledges or vows from gentiles to make physical improvements in the Temple or in Jerusalem as [Ezra 4:3]: "It is not for you [together] with us to build [a house for our God]." And [Nechemiah] 2:20] states: "And you do not have a portion, a right, or a remembrance in Jerusalem."

יא

עכו"ם שאמר דמי עלי או דמי פלוני עלי נותן כפי נדרו ואינו נופל ללשכה שאין מקבלין מן העכו"ם נדבה או נדר לחזק את בדק הבית או בדק ירושלים שנאמר לא לכם ולנו לבנות בית וגו' ונאמר ולכם אין חלק וצדקה וזכרון בירושלים:

12

What should be done with [these gifts]? We should question the gentile regarding the intent he had when taking the vow. If he had the intent to give it according to the guidance of the Jewish people, the court may use it for anything they see fit29 except improvements to the Temple and Jerusalem. If he said: "I took the vow for the sake of Heaven," [his gift] should be entombed.30

יב

ומה יעשה בהן יבדק העכו"ם על דעת מי נדר אם נדר על דעת ישראל יוציאוהו בית דין במה שיראה להם חוץ מבדק הבית ובדק ירושלים ואם אמר לשמים נדרתי יגנזו:

13

When a person is in his death throes,31 he has no airech,32nor has he any worth. Since most people in their death throes will die, he is considered as if he is [already] dead.33 Similarly, if a person was sentenced by a Jewish court to be executed because of a transgression that he committed34 and another person pledged his airech, he pledged his own airech, or he pledged his worth or another person pledged his worth, none of the above are liable for anything. For the person is considered as if he is already dead and a deceased person has no airech, nor any worth. With regard to this, [Leviticus 27:29] states: "Any condemned person who is condemned from mankind shall not be redeemed,"35i.e., there is no redemption for him and he is considered as if he is dead.

יג

הגוסס אין לו לא ערך ולא דמים הואיל ורוב הגוססין למיתה הרי הוא כמת וכן מי שנגמר דינו בבית דין של ישראל להורגו על עבירה שעבר והעריכו אחר או שהעריך עצמו או שאמר דמי עלי או שאמר אחר דמי זה עלי אינו חייב כלום שזה כמת הוא והמת אין לו ערך ולא דמים ועל זה נאמר כל חרם אשר יחרם מן האדם לא יפדה כלומר אין לו פדיון אלא הרי הוא כמת:

14

If a person who is being led to his execution pledges the airech of other people, pledges their worth, or causes damage, he is obligated to pay. [The money owed] is collected from his estate.36

יד

זה היוצא ליהרג שהעריך אחרים או נדר דמיהם או הזיק חייב לשלם וגובין הכל מנכסיו:

15

Priests and Levites may pledge arechim and their airech may be pledged by others like other Israelites.37 When a minor reaches the age when his vows are of consequence,38 and pledges a person's airech or worth, he is obligated to pay,39 for his vows are of consequence, as we explained in Hilchot Nedarim.

טו

כהנים ולויים מעריכין ונערכין כשאר ישראל וקטן שהגיע לעונת נדרים והעריך או נדר דמים חייב לשלם שהרי נדריו קיימים כמו שבארנו בהלכות נדרים:

16

The arechim are fixed according to the age of the person who is the object of the pledge, not the age of the person making the pledge. What is implied? When a twenty year-old tells a sixty year-old, "I pledge your airech," he must give the airech of a sixty year-old. When a sixty year-old tells a twenty year-old, "I pledge your airech," he must give the airech of a twenty year-old. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.

טז

הערכין הקצובין לפי השנים הן שני הנערך ולא שני המעריך כיצד בן עשרים שאמר לבן ששים ערכך עלי נותן ערך בן ששים ובן ששים שאמר לבן עשרים ערכך עלי נותן ערך בן עשרים וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

17

The statements of the person pledging the airech must match his intent, as [is the law with regard] to other vows.40 One may appeal [to a sage] for the absolution of a pledge of an airech or one's worth, just as one may appeal for the absolution of other vows and consecrations.41

יז

וצריך המעריך שיהא פיו ולבו שוין כשאר הנדרים ונשאלין על הערכין ועל הדמים כדרך שנשאלין על שאר נדרים והקדשות:

18

When a person says: "I am responsible for the airech of these individuals," he must pay the combined airech of them all, each one of them according to his years. If he42 was poor, he should give one airech paid by a poor man43 for them all together. If he was wealthy, he should give the airech paid by a wealthy man44 for each one of them.

יח

האומר ערך אלו עלי נותן ערך כולן כל אחד ואחד לפי שניו ואם היה עני נותן על ידי כולם ערך אחד עני ואם היה עשיר נותן ע"י כולן ערך עשיר:

19

When a person says: "I pledge my airech" and then repeats: "I pledge my airech" - even if he makes this statement several times - he must pay an airech for each pledge.45 If he says: "I pledge two of my arechim, he must pay two arechim. This also applies if he pledges four, or even 1000, arechim, he must pay the number that he pledged.

יט

האומר ערכי עלי וחזר ואמר ערכי עלי וכן אם אמר אפילו כמה פעמים חייב על כל אחת ואחת אמר שני ערכי עלי נותן שני ערכין וכן אם אמר ארבעה אפילו אלף נותן כמנין שנדר:

20

When one says: "I pledge an airech" without identifying the person whose airech he is pledging, but mentions an airech without any more particulars, he is liable to pay the lowest of all arechim, i.e., three shekalim.46

כ

אמר הרי עלי ערך ולא פירש ערך מי אלא ערך סתם נותן פחות שבערכין שהוא שלשת שקלים:

21

When a person says: "I pledge my airech," but dies before standing before [a court for] appraisal,47 his heirs are not liable to pay, as [implied by Leviticus 27:8]: "And he shall be made to stand before the priests and the priest will evaluate him."48 If he stood before [a court for] appraisal and then died, the heirs must pay.49

כא

האומר ערכי עלי ומת קודם שיעמוד בדין אין היורשין חייבין ליתן שנאמר והעמידו לפני הכהן והעריך אותו הכהן עמד בדין ומת יתנו היורשין:

22

If, however, he says: "I pledge my worth," even if he stands before [a court for] appraisal, but dies before they establish a fixed amount and the judges say how much he is worth, his heirs are not obligated to pay.50 If, however, they affixed his worth and then he died, his heirs must pay.

כב

אבל האומר דמי עלי אף על פי שעמד בדין ומת קודם שיקצצו דמיו ויאמרו הדיינין כמה ישוה אין היורשין חייבין ליתן ואם קצבו דמיו ואח"כ מת יתנו היורשין:

23

What is the difference between arechim and pledges of worth? [The amount required to be paid] for arechim is fixed by the Torah, while [the amount required to be paid] for a pledge of worth is not fixed.51

Similarly, when a person says: "I pledge the airech of so-and-so and both the person who made the pledge and the one whose airech was pledged died after the latter stood before [a court for] appraisal, the heirs [of the person who made the pledge] are obligated to pay.52 If the person whose airech was pledged died before standing before [a court for] appraisal, even though the person who made the pledge is alive, he is not liable. [The rationale is that] a deceased person does not have an airech and a person whose airech must stand before [a court for] appraisal [before the commitment becomes binding]. [Similarly,] if one said: "I pledge the worth of so-and-so" and that person stood for an appraisal, but died before an evaluation of his worth was established,53 [the one who made the pledge] is not liable, for a deceased person has no worth.

כג

ומה בין ערכין לדמים שערכין קצובין מן התורה והדמים אינן קצובין וכן האומר ערך פלוני עלי ומת העורך והנערך אחר שעמד הנערך בדין חייבין היורשין ליתן מת הנערך קודם שעמד בדין אע"פ שהמעריך קיים הרי זה פטור שאין ערך למת והנערך צריך עמידה בדין אמר דמי פלוני עלי ועמד בדין ומת קודם שיקצצו דמיו הרי זה פטור שאין דמים למתים:

Footnotes
1.

The translation "endowment evaluation" is used because the source of the word airech means "evaluate." Nevertheless, the term is not appropriate, because these endowments do not involve an evaluation of the worth of the person (house or field), but instead, a standard figure. It refers to a donation given to the Temple treasury of one's own free will to be used for improvements within the Temple or the like.

2.

See Hilchot Nedarim 1:2. The Rambam makes this statement to explain why he discusses these mitzvot in Sefer Hafla'ah (Kessef Mishneh). They are mentioned last, because unlike the other subjects discussed in this book, they concern donations to the Temple rather than prohibitions one takes upon oneself (Radbaz).

3.

See Hilchot Nedarim 1:5 with regard to this prohibition.

4.

The Rambam describes this prohibition as one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah, but does not explain it in these halachot, but instead, in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot (in the introduction to those halachot and in Chapter 14, Halachah 13).

5.

See Hilchot Nedarim 1:4 with regard to this positive commandment.

6.

See Leviticus, ch. 27. Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 114) and Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 350) include this commandment among the 613 mitzvot of the Torah.

7.

I.e., the age of the person mentioned. The age of the donor is not significant.

8.

Until an infant reaches his thirty-first day, we are concerned that he will not survive. See also Hilchot Bikkurim 11:17. Note, however, the contrast to Halachah 9.

9.

For the Torah makes no mention of the construct of airachin with regard to utsensils.

10.

I.e., he reached his sixth birthday.

11.

A shekel is eight oz. of silver in contemporary measure.

12.

With regard to the censuses taken in the desert, the person's age at the beginning of the year was important. In this context, by contrast, the reckoning is made for every person individually.

13.

A coin widely used in the Second Temple era. It was somewhat larger than a shekel, weighing 384 barley corns of silver.

14.

Hilchot Shekalim 1:2.

15.

A person whose genital area is covered by flesh and thus it is impossible to determine his gender.

16.

A person with both male and female genital organs. See Hilchot Nazirut 2:11 for a detailed description of such a person's halachic status. See also Hilchot Ishut 2:24.

17.

If, however, a tumtum or androgynus pledges the airech of a man or a woman, the pledge is binding (Arachin 2a). If an operation is performed on a tumtum and it is revealed that he is a male or female, an airech may be given accordingly.

18.

Arachin 5b derives this from Leviticus 27:2 which introduces this mitzvah with the phrase: "Speak to the children of Israel," thus excluding gentiles from pledging endowment evaluations. Nevertheless, the verse includes the word ish, "man," seemingly unnecessarily, indicating that a pledge can be made concerning a gentile. This is the opinion of Rabbi Meir. Rabbi Yehudah derives the opposite concepts from the same verse.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, maintaining that the halachah follows Rabbi Yehudah. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh support the Rambam's ruling, citing Ezra 4:3 which states that the gentiles do not have a portion in building the Temple, the intent for which endowment evaluations are given. See also Halachah 11.

19.

Who are not liable in the observance of the mitzvot themselves, because they are not in control of their intellectual faculties.

20.

This applies even to a Canaanite servant, not only a Jewish servant (Arachin 2a).

21.

For, otherwise, all of his financial resources are acquired by his master.

22.

Note the contrast to the following halachah.

23.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 2.

24.

The person's age is of no consequence whatsoever.

25.

An airech may not be pledged for these individuals (Halachot 3 and 5).

26.

See Halachah 11.

27.

See Chapter 5, Halachah 19.

28.

The Rambam (and his sources) are borrowing the wording of II Kings 12:6.

29.

I.e., for matters that are for the communal benefit (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 1:2).

30.

For it becomes consecrated and it is forbidden to benefit from it. See Hilchot Matanot Aniyim 8:8; Hilchot Meilah 5:15.

31.

Who is taking his last breathes (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 1:3, Rav Kappach's translation). Compare to Hilchot Gerushin 6:28.

32.

Nor is an airech he takes binding (Arachin 6b). Note the contrast to the following halachah and note the gloss of the Radbaz.

33.

Note, however, Hilchot Evel 4:5.

34.

Since the Torah has condemned such a person to death, the matter is not dependent on the will of mortals. If, by contrast, one is condemned to death by a mortal king, these laws do not apply, because it is possible that the king will retract his decree (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, loc. cit.). Compare to Hilchot Gerushin 6:29.

35.

Our translation follows the commentary of Rashi and others.

36.

Even against the will of the heirs, for a binding obligation has been created on the estate. Just as an estate is liable for the loans taken by the testator when supported by a legal document, so too, it is liable for the obligations established by Torah Law (the Rambam' s Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 1:3).

37.

In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 1:1), the Rambam explains that since these individuals are not liable for the redemption of the firstborn, one might think that they are not liable in this context as well. Hence, it is necessary to emphasize that they are.

38.

As explained in Hilchot Nedarim 11:1-3, when a twelve year old boy and an eleven year old girl are aware of the significance of their vows, their vows are binding according to Scriptural Law. Below this age, their vows are not binding.

39.

When he comes of age and has money of his own.

40.

See Hilchot Nedarim 2:2. Since Leviticus 27:2 uses the term vow when speaking of these pledges, they are bound by the laws applying to other vows.

41.

See Hilchot Nedarim 4:5,7.

42.

The person making the pledge.

43.

See Chapter 3, Halachot 2-3, which states that the minimum amount of an airech is a sela. The Lechem Mishneh rules that a sela must be given for each individual whose airech he pledged.

44.

I.e., the airech specified by the Torah.

45.

For arechim are vows and one vow can take effect upon another (Radbaz).

46.

We assume that his obligation was for the smallest amount possible.

47.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 2.

48.

I.e., the obligation takes effect only when he stands before the priest for appraisal (the Rambam' s Commentary to the Mishnah, Arachin 5:3). Since he did not do that, his heirs are under no obligation (Radbaz). The Ra'avad, however, differs with the Rambam and maintains that as soon as a person pledges an airech, he is liable for it and an obligation is created for his estate. Hence, he differs with the Rambam's ruling.

Apparently, the Rambam is saying that if a person pledges an airech, he must stand before a priest and state his age, so that the priest will establish his appraisal. The Merkevat HaMishneh notes that the literal meaning of the verse is that if a person is too poor to pay the airech, the priests will evaluate how much he can pay.

49.

For once an airech is established, a binding obligation is incurred and his estate is required to pay.

50.

Until an appraisal is established by the courts, the obligation is not defined. Hence, when he dies, all liability is removed from the estate because a deceased person has no worth (Arachin 20a).

51.

According to early printings and authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah. This clause should be part of the previous halachah and the present halachah begins: "Similarly, when a person says: 'I pledge....'"

52.

This is a direct extension of the concepts stated in Halachah 21.

53.

As the Rambam emphasizes in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Arachin 5:2), there is a difference in this regard between the pledge of an airech and the pledge of a person's worth. When his airech is pledged, the person who made the pledge is liable as soon as he stands before the court for appraisal. Since the matter is dependent on his age alone, there is no need for an evaluation. When, by contrast, a person's worth is pledged, that worth must be evaluated and until the evaluation is completed, there is no obligation.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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