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Nezirut - Chapter 7

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Nezirut - Chapter 7


There are types of impurity resulting from [contact with] a corpse that do not require a nazirite to perform a shaving and do not invalidate the days previously observed even though he became impure in a manner that requires him to observe impurity for [at least] seven days.1 [The rationale is that] it is not stated concerning such situations: "When one will become impure due [to contact with] a corpse...", but rather [Numbers 6:9], "When a person will die upon him." [This implies that] he must become impure with those impurities that involve the actual substance of the corpse.2 Afterwards, he must bring the sacrifices [required] and perform the shaving required [when emerging from] impurity. All of the days [he observed] initially are invalidated.


יֵשׁ טֻמְאוֹת מִן הַמֵּת שֶׁאֵין הַנָּזִיר מְגַלֵּחַ עֲלֵיהֶן וְלֹא סוֹתֵר אֶת הַקּוֹדְמִין וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּטְמָא בָּהֶן טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה. לְפִי שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר בּוֹ וְכִי יִטַּמָּא לְנֶפֶשׁ אֶלָּא (במדבר ו ט) "וְכִי יָמוּת מֵת עָלָיו" עַד שֶׁיִּטָּמֵא מִטֻּמְאוֹת שֶׁהֵן מֵעַצְמוֹ שֶׁל מֵת וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָבִיא קָרְבְּנוֹת טֻמְאָה וִיגַלֵּחַ תִּגְלַחַת טֻמְאָה וְיִפְּלוּ כָּל הַיָּמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים:


These are the types of impurity stemming from contact with a corpse that a nazirite must shave because of [contact with] them: a) a stillborn fetus, even if the sinews connecting its limbs have not formed,3 b) an olive-sized portion of the flesh of a corpse,4 c) an olive-sized portion of a decomposed corpse,5 d) bones from a corpse which represent the majority of the number of the bones of a corpse6 even though their volume is not a fourth of a kav,7 e) bones which represent the majority of the structure of the bones of a corpse even though their volume is not a fourth of a kav,8 f) a half of a kav of bones9 even though they do not represent the majority of the number or the structure of the bones of the corpse - all the bones must, however, be from one corpse, not from two, g) the backbone that comes from one corpse, h) the skull that comes from one corpse, i) a [complete] limb that comes from one corpse, j) a limb taken from a living person that has flesh that could cause it to regenerate in a living person,10 k) half a log11 of blood from one corpse, and l) a handful of the decomposed mass of a corpse.12

What is meant by the term netzel? Flesh from a corpse that decomposed and became putrid liquid.


וְאֵלּוּ טֻמְאוֹת מִן הַמֵּת שֶׁהַנָּזִיר מְגַלֵּחַ עֲלֵיהֶן. עַל הַנֵּפֶל וַאֲפִלּוּ לֹא נִתְקַשְּׁרוּ אֵיבָרָיו בְּגִידִין. וְעַל כְּזַיִת מִבְּשַׂר הַמֵּת. וְעַל כְּזַיִת נֶצֶל. וְעַל עֲצָמוֹת שֶׁהֵן רֹב מִנְיַן הָעֲצָמוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן רֹבַע הַקַּב. וְעַל עֲצָמוֹת שֶׁהֵן רֹב בִּנְיָנוֹ שֶׁל מֵת וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן רֹבַע הַקַּב. וְעַל חֲצִי קַב עֲצָמוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן לֹא רֹב בִּנְיָנוֹ וְלֹא רֹב מִנְיָנוֹ. וְכָל הָעֲצָמוֹת יִהְיוּ מִשֶּׁל מֵת אֶחָד וְלֹא מִשְּׁנֵי מֵתִים. וְעַל הַשִּׁדְרָה הַבָּאָה מִמֵּת אֶחָד. וְעַל הַגֻּלְגּלֶת שֶׁל מֵת אֶחָד. וְעַל אֵיבָר מִן הַמֵּת הַבָּא מִמֵּת אֶחָד. וְעַל אֵיבָר מִן הַחַי מֵאָדָם אֶחָד. שֶׁיֵּשׁ עֲלֵיהֶן בָּשָׂר שֶׁרָאוּי לַעֲלוֹת בּוֹ אֲרוּכָה בְּחַי. וְעַל חֲצִי לוֹג דָּם הַבָּא מִמֵּת אֶחָד. וְעַל מְלֹא חָפְנַיִם רֶקֶב הַמֵּת. אֵי זֶהוּ נֶצֶל זֶה בְּשַׂר הַמֵּת שֶׁנִּמּוֹחַ וְנַעֲשָׂה לֵחָה סְרוּחָה:


The decomposed mass (rekev) of a corpse does not convey ritual impurity unless it was buried naked in a marble coffin13 and was entirely intact. If one limb was lacking or it was buried in garments14 or in a wooden or metal15 coffin, there is no concept of rekev. The concept of rekev applies with regard to a corpse alone. This excludes a person who was slain, for his blood is lacking.


וְאֵין רֶקֶב הַמֵּת מְטַמֵּא עַד שֶׁיִּקָּבֵר עֵרוֹם בְּאָרוֹן שֶׁל שַׁיִשׁ וְיִהְיֶה כֻּלּוֹ שָׁלֵם. חָסֵר מִמֶּנּוּ אֵיבָר אוֹ שֶׁנִּקְבַּר בִּכְסוּתוֹ אוֹ בְּאָרוֹן שֶׁל עֵץ אוֹ בְּשֶׁל מַתֶּכֶת אֵין לוֹ רֶקֶב. וְלֹא אָמְרוּ רֶקֶב אֶלָּא לְמֵת בִּלְבַד לְהוֹצִיא הָרוּג שֶׁהֲרֵי חָסֵר דָּמוֹ:


When two corpses are buried together,16 the hair and the nails of a corpse were cut off and buried together with it,17 or a woman was buried together with a fetus in her womb,18 the rekev does not convey ritual impurity.

Similarly, if one ground up a corpse until it became a decomposed mass, [these laws do not apply]. It must decompose naturally. If one ground the corpse and then left its remains until they decomposed naturally or a portion of the body decomposed while the person was alive, he died, and then the entire body decomposed, there is an unresolved doubt [concerning the ruling]. Hence, if [a nazirite] becomes impure because of this rekev, there is an unresolved doubt whether he is impure. Similarly, there is an unresolved doubt whether [a nazirite] is impure if he contacts impurity from a fourth of a kav of bones coming from the backbone or the skull when he is under the same shelter19 as they are.


קָבְרוּ שְׁנֵי מֵתִים כְּאֶחָד. אוֹ שֶׁגָּזְזוּ שְׂעָרוֹ אוֹ צִפָּרְנָיו וּקְבָרוּם עִמּוֹ. אוֹ אִשָּׁה עֻבָּרָה שֶׁמֵּתָה וְנִקְבְּרָה וְעֻבָּרָהּ בְּמֵעֶיהָ אֵין הָרֶקֶב שֶׁלָּהֶם מְטַמֵּא. וְכֵן אִם טָחַן הַמֵּת עַד שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה רֶקֶב אֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא עַד שֶׁיַּרְקִיב מֵאֵלָיו. טָחַן אֶת הַמֵּת וְהִנִּיחַ עֲפָרוֹ עַד שֶׁהִרְקִיב כֻּלּוֹ. אוֹ [שֶׁהִרְקִיב] מִקְצָתוֹ כְּשֶׁהוּא חַי וּמֵת וְהִרְקִיב הַכּל הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק וְאִם נִטְמָא לְרֶקֶב זֶה הֲרֵי זֶה סְפֵק טָמֵא. וְכֵן אִם נִטְמָא בְּרֹבַע עֲצָמוֹת הַבָּאִין מֵהַשִּׁדְרָה אוֹ מִן הַגֻּלְגּלֶת בְּאָהֳלָן הֲרֵי זֶה סְפֵק טָמֵא:


[With regard to] all of these twelve [sources] of impurity that we listed:20 If a nazirite touches one of these sources, carries it, covers it from above with [a portion of his body], [the source of] impurity covers [a portion of] the nazirite's [body], or the nazirite and [the source of] impurity were located under the same shelter, [the nazirite becomes impure].21 He must perform the shaving [required because of] impurity and bring the sacrifices [required because of] impurity. All [of the days he observed] are invalidated. The only exception is a rekev. It does not convey impurity when one touches it, for it is impossible to touch it entirely [at the same time], for it is not a single mass.22 If, however, one carried it or became impure because one was under the same shelter,23 he must perform the shaving.


כָּל אֵלּוּ הַשְּׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה טֻמְאוֹת שֶׁמָּנִינוּ אִם נָגַע נָזִיר בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן אוֹ נְשָׂאָהּ אוֹ הֶאֱהִיל הַנָּזִיר עָלֶיהָ אוֹ הֶאֱהִיל הַטֻּמְאָה עַל הַנָּזִיר אוֹ הָיָה הַנָּזִיר וְאַחַת מִטֻּמְאוֹת אֵלּוּ בְּאֹהֶל אֶחָד הֲרֵי זֶה מְגַלֵּחַ תִּגְלַחַת טֻמְאָה וּמֵבִיא קָרְבַּן טֻמְאָה וְסוֹתֵר אֶת הַכּל. חוּץ מִן הָרֶקֶב שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיִּגַּע בְּכֻלּוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ גּוּף אֶחָד. אֲבָל אִם נְשָׂאוֹ אוֹ נִטְמָא בְּאָהֳלוֹ מְגַלֵּחַ:


Similarly, if a nazirite touches or carries a bone24 from a corpse - even if it is merely the size of a barley-corn25 - he must perform a shaving because of it and bring the sacrifices [required because of] impurity. All [of the days he observed] are invalidated. A bone the size of a barley corn does not, however, convey impurity26 if one was under the same shelter.27

If, by contrast, [a nazirite] becomes impure because of contact with one of the following twelve matters, [the days he observed] are not invalidated:

a) a clod of earth from the Diaspora;28

b) [earth from] a field in which a grave had been plowed;29 both of these convey impurity through touch or if they were carried;30

c) branches which emerge from trees,31 protrusions that emerge from fences,32 from a bed, a camel, or the like, cover him and one of the twelve sources of impurity [mentioned in the Halachah 2];33

d) he becomes impure by being under the same shelter as a quarter of a kav of bones34 that do not constitute the majority of the number of the corpse's bones, nor the greater portion of his structure;

e) he became impure because of a revi'it of blood from a corpse which conveys ritual impurity whether one touches it, carries it, or is found under the same shelter;35 f) he became impure because he touched or was under the same shelter36 as a gravestone37 or a stone at the side of a grave;38 for they convey impurity in either of these two ways; g) he became impure because of contact with a limb cut from a living person or a corpse which does not have sufficient flesh upon it.39


וְכֵן נָזִיר שֶׁנָּגַע בְּעֶצֶם הַמֵּת אֲפִלּוּ עֶצֶם כִּשְׂעוֹרָה אוֹ נְשָׂאוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְגַלֵּחַ עָלָיו וּמֵבִיא קָרְבְּנוֹת טֻמְאָה וְסוֹתֵר אֶת הַקּוֹדְמִים. וְאֵין עֶצֶם כִּשְׂעוֹרָה מְטַמֵּא בְּאֹהֶל. אֲבָל נִטְמָא בְּאַחַת מִשְּׁנֵים עָשָׂר דְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ. בְּגוּשׁ אֶרֶץ הָעַכּוּ''ם אוֹ בְּשָׂדֶה שֶׁנֶּחְרַשׁ קֶבֶר בְּתוֹכָהּ שֶׁהֵן מְטַמְּאִין בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא. אוֹ שֶׁהֶאֱהִיל עָלָיו וְעַל הַשָּׂרִיגִים הַיּוֹצְאִים מִן הָאִילָנוֹת אוֹ הַפְּרָעוֹת הַיּוֹצְאוֹת מִן הַגָּדֵר אוֹ מִטָּה אוֹ גָּמָל וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁנִּטְמָא בְּאֹהֶל רֹבַע עֲצָמוֹת שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶן לֹא רֹב בִּנְיָן וְלֹא רֹב מִנְיָן. אוֹ שֶׁנִּטְמָא בִּרְבִיעִית דָּם מִן הַמֵּת שֶׁהִיא מְטַמֵּא בְּמַגָּע וּבְמַשָּׂא וּבְאֹהֶל. אוֹ שֶׁנִּטְמָא בְּגוֹלֵל אוֹ בְּדוֹפֵק שֶׁהֵן מְטַמְּאִין בְּמַגָּע וּבְאֹהֶל. אוֹ שֶׁנִּטְמָא בְּאֵיבָר מִן הַחַי אוֹ בְּאֵיבָר מִן הַמֵּת שֶׁאֵין עֲלֵיהֶן בָּשָׂר כָּרָאוּי. הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ סוֹתֵר:


Even though in all the above situations, [the nazirite] is impure for seven days and he must have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled [upon him] on the third and seventh days, he should not perform the shaving [required when emerging from] impurity, nor bring the sacrifices [required at that time], nor are his initial days invalidated. Nevertheless, the days when he is impure are not counted as part of his nazirite vow.


אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבְּכָל אֵלּוּ הוּא טָמֵא טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה וּמַזֶּה בַּשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַשְּׁבִיעִי. אֵינוֹ מְגַלֵּחַ תִּגְלַחַת טֻמְאָה וְלֹא מֵבִיא קָרְבָּנוֹת וְלֹא סוֹתֵר אֶת הַקּוֹדְמִין. אֲבָל כָּל יְמֵי הַטֻּמְאָה אֵין עוֹלִין לוֹ מִמִּנְיַן יְמֵי נְזִירוּתוֹ:


When [a nazirite] touches a shelter in which a corpse is found or utensils40 that are touching a corpse,41 he should not have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled [upon him] on the third and seventh days.42 It appears to me43 that this law is unique to a nazirite. Any other person who contracts impurity that persists for seven days from utensils must have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled [upon him] on the third and seventh days, as will be explained in Hilchot Tuma'at Meit.44 Similarly, it appears to me that the reason [a nazirite] does not have [the ashes of the Red Heifer] sprinkled [upon him] on the third and seventh days if he touched utensils [that convey such ritual impurity] is so that the days on which he is impure because [of contact with] the utensil will be counted as part of the days of his nazirite vow.45


נָגַע בְּאֹהֶל הַמֵּת אוֹ בְּכֵלִים הַנּוֹגְעִים בְּמֵת אֵינוֹ מַזֶּה בַּשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַשְּׁבִיעִי. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁדִּין זֶה מְיֻחָד בְּנָזִיר. אֲבָל כָּל אָדָם שֶׁנִּטְמָא בִּכְלִי טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה יַזֶּה בַּשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַשְּׁבִיעִי כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת טֻמְאַת מֵת. וְכֵן יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁזֶּה שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַזֶּה בַּשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַשְּׁבִיעִי אִם נָגַע בְּכֵלִים כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּעֲלוּ לוֹ יְמֵי טֻמְאָתוֹ בְּכֵלִים מִמִּנְיַן יְמֵי נְזִירוּתוֹ:


When a nazirite contracts tzara'at46 and has his status [as a metzora] defined,47 all of the days during which he is set apart [as a metzora] and the seven days that he counts after purifying himself from his tzara'at between the first shaving48 and the second shaving49 do not count as days of his nazirite vow.50 The days when he is quarantined,51 by contrast, are counted [as part of his nazirite vow].52 Similarly, if either a male or a female has a zav emission from their flesh,53 all of the days of the emission are counted as part of their [nazirite vow] although they are impure.54 This matter is a halachah transmitted to Moses at Sinai.


נָזִיר שֶׁנִּצְטָרֵעַ וְהֻחְלַט כָּל יְמֵי חִלּוּטוֹ וְשִׁבְעַת יְמֵי סְפִירוֹ שֶׁסּוֹפֵר אַחַר שֶׁיִּטְהַר לְצָרַעְתּוֹ בֵּין תִּגְלַחַת רִאשׁוֹנָה לִשְׁנִיָּה אֵין עוֹלִין לוֹ מִימֵי נְזִירוּתוֹ. אֲבָל יְמֵי הֶסְגֵּר עוֹלִין לוֹ. וְכֵן אִם זָב בְּשָׂרוֹ בֵּין אִישׁ בֵּין אִשָּׁה כָּל יְמֵי זִיבָתָן עוֹלִין לָהֶן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן טְמֵאִין. וְדָבָר זֶה הֲלָכָה לְמשֶׁה מִסִּינַי הוּא:


Needless to say, if [a nazirite] becomes impure as a result of other sources of impurity55 that the days during which he is impure are counted [as part of his nazirite vow] and no days are invalidated. If he becomes impure due to contact with a corpse during the time he is afflicted with tzara'at, all of the previous days are invalidated. [The rationale is that] he is still a nazirite, even though he is ritually impure.


אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁאִם נִטְמָא הַנָּזִיר בִּשְׁאָר טֻמְאוֹת שֶׁיְּמֵי טֻמְאָתוֹ עוֹלִין לוֹ וְאֵינוֹ סוֹתֵר כְּלוּם. נִטְמָא בְּמֵת בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי צָרַעְתּוֹ סוֹתֵר אֶת כָּל הַקּוֹדְמִין שֶׁהֲרֵי בִּנְזִירוּתוֹ עוֹמֵד וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא טָמֵא:


A nazirite is permitted to become impure due to contact with a corpse when doing so is a mitzvah56 and may shave when doing so is a mitzvah.57 He is, however, forbidden to partake of [all] wine, whether in connection with a mitzvah or with regard to matters left to one's own choice.

What is implied? A person took an oath that he will drink wine on this day. Thus it is a mitzvah for him to drink.58 Afterwards, he took a nazirite vow. The nazirite vow takes effect and [supercedes] the oath he took. Hence he is forbidden to drink wine. Needless to say, [a nazirite]59 is forbidden [to partake of] the wine [over which] Kiddush and Havdalah are recited. For [associating these blessings with wine] is merely a Rabbinic ordinance.60


הַנָּזִיר מֻתָּר בְּטֻמְאַת מֵת מִצְוָה וּבְתִגְלַחַת מִצְוָה. וְאָסוּר בְּיֵין הַמִּצְוָה כְּיֵין הָרְשׁוּת. כֵּיצַד. מִי שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּע שֶׁיִּשְׁתֶּה הַיּוֹם יַיִן שֶׁהֲרֵי מִצְוָה עָלָיו לִשְׁתּוֹת וְאַחַר כָּךְ נָדַר בְּנָזִיר חָלָה נְזִירוּת עַל הַשְּׁבוּעָה וְאָסוּר בְּיַיִן. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁהוּא אָסוּר בְּיֵין קִדּוּשׁ וְהַבְדָּלָה שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים:


What is meant by the statement that he is permitted to become impure due to contact with a corpse when it is a mitzvah? If he was walking on the road and encountered a corpse and there was no one else to bury it,61 he should become impure through contact with it and bury it.62 These matters were communicated by the Oral Tradition.


וְכֵיצַד הוּא מֻתָּר בְּטֻמְאַת מֵת מִצְוָה. הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וּפָגַע בְּמֵת שֶׁאֵין שָׁם מִי שֶׁיִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה מִטַּמֵּא לוֹ וְקוֹבְרוֹ. וּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ דִּבְרֵי קַבָּלָה הֵן:


When a nazirite and a priest63 encounter a corpse that it is a mitzvah [to bury] the nazirite should [bury it and] become impure even though he invalidates the days [he observed] previously and must bring a sacrifice [because of his] impurity. The priest should not become impure. [The rationale is that the nazirite's] holiness is within the context of time64 - even if he took an everlasting nazirite vow65 - while the priest's holiness is beyond the context of time.


נָזִיר וְכֹהֵן שֶׁפָּגְעוּ בְּמֵת מִצְוָה יִטַּמֵּא נָזִיר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא סוֹתֵר הַיָּמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וּמֵבִיא קָרְבַּן טֻמְאָה. וְאַל יִטַּמֵּא כֹּהֵן. שֶׁזֶּה קְדֻשָּׁתוֹ קְדֻשַּׁת שָׁעָה וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה נְזִיר עוֹלָם. וְהַכֹּהֵן קְדֻשָּׁתוֹ קְדֻשַּׁת עוֹלָם:


If two nazirites - one whose nazirite vow was for 30 days and one whose nazirite vow was for 100 days encounter [such a corpse] - the one whose nazirite vow was for 30 days should become impure. If one was a nazirite for a limited amount of time66 and the other was a nazirite forever, the nazirite for a limited amount of time should become impure. For the nazirite for all time has a higher degree of holiness.


פָּגְעוּ בּוֹ שְׁנֵי נְזִירִים אֶחָד נָזִיר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וְאֶחָד נָזִיר מֵאָה יוֹם יִטַּמֵּא נְזִיר שְׁלֹשִׁים. הָיָה אֶחָד נָזִיר לִזְמַן קָצוּב וְהַשֵּׁנִי נְזִיר עוֹלָם יִטַּמֵּא הַנָּזִיר לִזְמַן קָצוּב. שֶׁנְּזִירוּת עוֹלָם קְדֻשָּׁתוֹ חֲמוּרָה מִזֶּה:


What is meant by the statement that he is permitted to shave when doing so is a mitzvah? 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.67

[The rationale is that] by shaving, he fulfills a positive commandment,68 for concerning a metzora, [Leviticus 14:8] states: "And he shall shave all of his hair." Whenever there is [a conflict between] a positive commandment and a negative commandment, if it is possible to observe both of them, that is desirable. If not, the positive commandment supercedes the negative commandment.69

Nevertheless, when a nazirite shaves his hair during the midst of his nazirite vow, he violates both a negative commandment and a positive commandment, as [Numbers 6:5] states: "[His hair] is holy. He shall let the mane of the hair of his head grow." And [the observance of] a positive commandment does not supercede a negative commandment that [is reinforced by] a positive commandment. Why then does the positive commandment of shaving the blemish supercede his nazirite vow? Because the nazirite has already become impure because of the tzara'at and the days when he is defined as impure are not counted [towards the fulfillment of his vow], as we explained.70 [Hence,] his [hair] is not holy during these days. Thus the positive commandment [mentioned above] is withdrawn and only the negative commandment [Leviticus, loc. cit.]: "A razor shall not pass over his head" alone remains incumbent upon him. Therefore the positive commandment of shaving [because of the tzara'at] can come and supercede it.71


וְכֵיצַד הוּא מֻתָּר בְּתִגְלַחַת מִצְוָה. נָזִיר שֶׁנִּצְטָרֵעַ וְנִרְפָּא מִצָּרַעְתּוֹ בְּתוֹךְ יְמֵי נְזִירוּת הֲרֵי זֶה מְגַלֵּחַ כָּל שְׂעָרוֹ שֶׁהֲרֵי תִּגְלַחְתּוֹ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בִּמְצֹרָע (ויקרא יד ח) "וְגִלַּח אֶת כָּל שְׂעָרוֹ" וְגוֹ'. וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁאַתָּה מוֹצֵא מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה וְלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אִם יָכוֹל אַתָּה לְקַיֵּם אֶת שְׁנֵיהֶם מוּטָב וְאִם לָאו יָבוֹא עֲשֵׂה וְיִדְחֶה אֶת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. וַהֲלֹא נָזִיר שֶׁגִּלֵּחַ בִּימֵי נִזְרוֹ עָבַר עַל לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה וַעֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ו ה) "קָדשׁ יִהְיֶה גַּדֵּל פֶּרַע שְׂעַר רֹאשׁוֹ" וּבְכָל מָקוֹם אֵין עֲשֵׂה דּוֹחָה לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה וַעֲשֵׂה וְלָמָּה דּוֹחֶה עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל תִּגְלַחַת הַנֶּגַע לִנְזִירוּת. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכְּבָר נִטְמָא הַנָּזִיר בְּצָרַעַת וִימֵי חִלּוּטוֹ אֵין עוֹלִין לוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וַהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ קָדוֹשׁ בָּהֶן. וּבָטַל הָעֲשֵׂה מֵאֵלָיו וְלֹא נִשְׁאַר אֶלָּא לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁהוּא (במדבר ו ה) "תַּעַר לֹא יַעֲבֹר עַל רֹאשׁוֹ". וּלְפִיכָךְ בָּא עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל תִּגְלַחַת הַצָּרַעַת וְדָחָה אוֹתוֹ:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


The Rambam explains these concepts in the following halachot.


In Hilchot Tumat Meit 3:3, the Rambam writes: "All ritual impurity resulting from a corpse for which a nazirite is not required to shave does not stem from Scriptural Law." If this impurity were Rabbinic in origin, the Rambam would not have to explain why it does not invalidate the previous days, it would be obvious. A Rabbinic decree cannot supercede Scriptural Law and according to Scriptural Law, it is forbidden for a nazirite to shave.

As explained in the notes to Chapter 5, Halachah 15, there are times when the Rambam uses the term midivrei sofrim, which usually means "stemming from Rabbinic decree" to refer to matters that are of Scriptural origin, but derived by our Sages using the accepted principles of Biblical exegesis (see Hilchot Ishut 1:2; Sefer HaMitzvot, General Principle 2). Similarly, with regard to the contraction of ritual impurity in question: Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the Torah, it could be considered of Scriptural origin, because it was derived through the laws of Biblical exegesis. Hence, the Rambam needs a derivation from a Scriptural source to explain why shaving is not required.


I.e., a fetus in a preliminary stage of development.


Whether still soft or dried (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:1).


The Rambam defines the term netzel at the conclusion of the halachah; see also Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:1.


More details concerning the impurity resulting from the bones of a corpse are discussed in Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:8-10.


A kav is a relatively small measure (1376 cc according to Shiurei Torah, 2400 cc according to Chazon Ish). Thus we are probably speaking of the bones of an infant or a fetus. See Halachah 4.


Whether still soft or dried (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:1).


A person becomes impure even when he comes into contact with a fourth of a kav of bones (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:9). Nevertheless, a nazirite is not required to shave unless there is a half a kav there. See Halachot 6-7.


For a limb that is cut off from a living body is considered as if it was cut off from a corpse (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:3).


Half a log is 172 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 300 cc according to Chazon Ish. Even though one revi'it is sufficient to convey ritual impurity (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:12), for a nazirite to be required to shave, twice that amount is required. See also Halachah 6.


See the following halachah for a more detailed definition of the term rekev; see also Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:11.


For in such a situation, the decomposed mass contains nothing more than the corpse, for marble does not decompose. The same law would apply to a glass or stone coffin (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 3:4).


For then its clothes would be mixed together with it.


For metal rusts and wood rots and thus the mass would contain something other than the corpse (ibid.).


For the concept of rekev applies only when there is one corpse.


Since the hair and/or nails were separated, they are considered as separate entities.


For the fetus is considered a separate entity.


Or covers them with part of his body or part of his body is covered by them, as stated in the following halachah. As indicated by Halachah 6, the unresolved doubt applies only with regard to the impurity resulting from being in the same shelter as this amount of a corpse's bones. If one touches a corpse, he becomes impure, no matter how small the quantity of bones he touches is.


In Halachah 2.


See Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 1:10-11.


See the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Ohelot 2:2).


For the fetus is considered a separate entity.


Or a piece of a bone.


This is not a minimum measure; even a smaller portion of a bone is sufficient to make the nazirite impure (Radbaz).


In Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:8 and in his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ohelot 1:8, 2:3) the Rambam explains that this concept is derived from the exegesis of Numbers 14:19: "When a person dies in a tent." Implied is that the object that conveys impurity must clearly indicate that it comes from a person and this is not true of a bone this small.


For the fetus is considered a separate entity.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Ohelot 2:3), the Rambam writes that in the Diaspora, people are not as careful with regard to burial and will bury a corpse anywhere. Accordingly, our Sages feared that perhaps a small portion of a bone would become mixed together with earth. Hence, they decreed that all earth from the Diaspora -even if brought to Eretz Yisrael - conveys ritual impurity. See also Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:16.

Based on Chapter 2, Halachot 21-22, we are forced to say that we are speaking about an instance where a nazirite from Eretz Yisrael came in contact with the earth of the Diaspora. If a nazirite vow is taken in the Diaspora, different laws apply as stated there (Radbaz).


For we fear that small pieces of the corpse's bones were strewn over the field and that the nazirite came in contact with one (ibid.).


But not because of an ohel (shelter).


See Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 13:1-2 where the Rambam writes that for a shelter to convey ritual impurity according to Scriptural Law, the shelter must be a handbreadth by a handbreadth.


I.e., protrusions less than a handbreadth by a handbreadth.


Our text follows the authentic manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text follows a different - and somewhat difficult to comprehend - version. See the conclusion of Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 19:6 where the Rambam discusses this issue and states that such impurity is midivrei sofrim, "from the words of the Sages."


See the notes to Halachah 2.


As mentioned in the notes to Halachah 2, according to Scriptural Law, one is ritually impure. Nevertheless, the Oral Tradition teaches that a nazirite is not required to perform a shaving in this instance (Nazir 54a).


For the fetus is considered a separate entity.


I.e., the stone laid over the corpse. See the definition of this and the following term in Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:15.


Which serves as support for the gravestone.


I.e., enough flesh that would cause the flesh to regenerate as stated in Halachah 2. See Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 2:3.


The Radbaz maintains that this applies to utensils other than those made of metal. Touching metal utensils requires a person to have the ashes of the Red Heifer. According to the Rambam, however, it appears that there is no difference between metal utensils and those of other substances.


Since the utensil is touching the corpse, touching the utensil is considered equivalent to touching the corpse (Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 5:3).


Even though he must consider himself impure.


This expression indicates a ruling for which the Rambam does not have an explicit source in the previous Rabbinic literature, but instead derives through his own process of deduction.

The Rambam makes this deduction according to his interpretation of Nazir 7:3 which links these two matters with those mentioned in Halachah 6. The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's statement, maintaining that for this law to apply the utensils must be touching the corpse at the time he is touching the utensils. The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam would also accept this conception and states that it appears to be indicated by the Rambam's wording here. Others, however, note that the Rambam's wording in Hilchot Tuma'at Meit, loc. cit., does not lead to that conclusion.


Hilchot Tuma'at Meit, loc. cit.


Were the sprinkling of the ashes to be required, he would be required to shave. Hence, he would not be able to count them as part of his vow (Kessef Mishneh). This constitutes a difference between the subjects mentioned in this halachah and those mentioned in Halachah 6.


A skin affliction with symptoms similar to that of leprosy, but rather than being merely a physical condition is a sign of spiritual impurity.


I.e., the priest has declared that he is afflicted by tzara'at, as stated in Leviticus 13:11.


As Leviticus 14:5-8 describes, when a person who was afflicted with tzara'at is purged of that affliction, he must bring sacrifices and shave his hair. Afterwards, he may enter the camp of the Jewish people, but may not dwell within his own tent for seven days.


Which is performed after these seven days (ibid.:9).


See Halachah 15 which states that during these days, his hair is not "holy." This state of ritual impurity does not, however, invalidate the days counted previously (the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Nazir 7:3).


I.e., the days prior to the determination of whether he truly is afflicted with tzara'at when we wait to evaluate whether a blemish that he possesses is tzara'at or not. See Leviticus 13:4-5; Hilchot Tuma'at Tzara'at 7:2.


Since he is not required to shave his hair off after the conclusion of these days, they are counted as part of his nazirite vow (Kessef Mishneh).


A man becomes a zav when he has an emission from his urinary tract similar, but not identical to that which results from gonorrhea. A woman becomes a zavah when she experiences vaginal bleeding at times other than would be expected due to her menstrual cycle. In both cases, the individuals are ritually impure. See Leviticus, ch. 15.


Here also, since emerging from this impurity does not involve shaving, these days are counted as part of his nazirite vow (Radbaz).


E.g., he became impure due to contact with a dead lizard or because of the emission of semen in which instance he is impure only for a day.


See the following halachah.


See Halachah 15.


I.e., he is commanded to fulfill his oath and prohibited against not fulfilling it.


Even one who has not taken a vow.


See Hilchot Shabbat 29:1, 6. There is a Scriptural obligation to recite these prayers, but the association with a cup of wine is Rabbinic in origin (Radbaz).


See Hilchot Evel 3:8 which elaborates concerning this matter with regard to the prohibition incumbent on priests not to come in contact with ritual impurity:

When does the above apply? When the priest is alone and there is no one else with him; even when he calls out on the road, no one answers him. If, however, when he calls others answer, this is not considered an unattended corpse. Instead, he should call to the others and they should come and tend to [the corpse].


Even though it is a mitzvah for him to become impure and bury the corpse, he is obligated to shave and bring sacrifices. All the days of his nazirite vow which he observed previously are invalidated.


Who is also forbidden to become impure due to contract with a corpse, but is commanded to bury a corpse if there is no one else to do so, as cited in note 56.


I.e., limited to the span of his nazirite vow.


See Chapter 3, Halachah 11. Although such a person must observe the nazirite laws for all time, his state of holiness is not an intrinsic element of his being, but rather dependent on his desire to take the nazirite vow. Before he took the vow he was not obligated by these restrictions and he may have the vow absolved - and thus remove them. The holiness of a priest, by contrast, is an inherent element of his being, not dependent upon his choice or will (Lechem Mishneh; see also Radbaz, Hilchot Evel 3:9).


Even a span of time that he will never complete, e.g., 150 years, see Chapter 3, Halachah 12.


Even though shaving the hair on his head is forbidden.


See Hilchot Tuma'at Tzara'at 11:1.


And hence, the nazirite should shave his hair.


Halachah 9.


The Ra'avad accepts the Rambam's ruling, but gives a different rationale: The commandments associated with the nazirite vow are considered as insubstantial, because the nazirite could appeal to have his nazirite vow absolved. Although the rationale given by the Ra'avad is mentioned in Yevamot 5a, the Rambam favors the reason he gave, for there are some nazirites who do not have the option of absolving their nazirite vows (see Chapter 3, Halachah 14).

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 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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The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.