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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Nezirut - Chapter 5

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Nezirut - Chapter 5


There are three matters that are forbidden to a nazirite: a) ritual impurity [resulting from contact with a human corpse],1 b) shaving [his hair],2 and c) [partaking of] products of the vine. [This applies] both to the fruit3 or the waste products of the fruit.4 Alcoholic beverages made from dates, figs, or the like are permitted to a nazirite. The shaichar forbidden to [a nazirite] by the Torah5 is an alcoholic beverage made from a mixture of wine.6


שְׁלֹשָׁה מִינִין אֲסוּרִין לְנָזִיר. הַטֻּמְאָה. וְהַתִּגְלַחַת. וְהַיּוֹצֵא מִן הַגֶּפֶן. בֵּין פְּרִי בֵּין פְּסלֶת פְּרִי. אֲבָל הַשֵּׁכָר שֶׁל תְּמָרִים אוֹ שֶׁל גְּרוֹגָרוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן מֻתָּר לְנָזִיר. וְ (במדבר ו ג) "שֵׁכָר" זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱסַר עָלָיו בַּתּוֹרָה הוּא הַשֵּׁכָר שֶׁל תַּעֲרֹבֶת הַיַּיִן:


What is meant by "products of the grape vine"? When a nazirite eats an olive-sized portion of the fruit [of the vine]: fresh grapes, raisins, or unripened grapes, or he eats an olive-sized portion of the waste products of the fruit which are the peels or the seeds, he is liable for lashes. Similarly, if he drank a revi'it7 of wine or ate an olive-sized portion of coagulated wine - this is considered as fruit - or drank a revi'it of vinegar - which is the waste products of the fruit - he is liable for lashes. Grape leaves, the tender shoots of the branches of the vine, grape sap, and grape buds are permitted to a nazirite, for they are neither fruit, nor the waste products of fruit, but rather are considered as parts of the tree.


הַיּוֹצֵא מִן הַגֶּפֶן כֵּיצַד. נָזִיר שֶׁאָכַל כְּזַיִת מִן הַפְּרִי שֶׁהוּא עֲנָבִים לַחִים אוֹ יְבֵשִׁים אוֹ בֹּסֶר. אוֹ שֶׁאָכַל כְּזַיִת מִפְּסלֶת הַפְּרִי שֶׁהִיא הַזַּגִּין וְהֵם הַקְּלִפָּה הַחִיצוֹנָה. אוֹ הַחַרְצַנִּים וְהֵם הַזַּגִּין הַפְּנִימִין שֶׁזּוֹרְעִים אוֹתָן הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה. וְכֵן אִם שָׁתָה רְבִיעִית יַיִן אוֹ אָכַל כְּזַיִת מִיַּיִן קָרוּשׁ שֶׁהוּא הַפְּרִי אוֹ שָׁתָה רְבִיעִית חֹמֶץ שֶׁהוּא פְּסלֶת הַפְּרִי הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה. אֲבָל הֶעָלִין וְהַלּוּלָבִים וּמֵי גְּפָנִים וְהַסְּמָדַר הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרִין לְנָזִיר שֶׁאֵינָן לֹא פְּרִי וְלֹא פְּסלֶת פְּרִי אֶלָּא מִן הָעֵץ הֵן נֶחְשָׁבִין:


All forbidden grape [products] can be combined together [to produce the minimum measure for which one is liable for lashes].8

What is implied? One who mixed together fresh grapes with raisins, or with unripened grapes, pits, and peels, and ate an olive-sized portion of the mixture is liable for lashes. Similarly, if he ate them one after the other9 until he ate an olive-sized portion of the entire group, he is liable for lashes. Similarly, he is liable for lashes if he drank a revi'it of a mixture of wine and vinegar.10


כָּל אִסּוּרֵי גֶפֶן מִצְטָרְפִין זֶה עִם זֶה. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁצֵּרֵף עֲנָבִים לַחִים עִם יְבֵשִׁים אוֹ עִם בֹּסֶר וְחַרְצָן וְזָג וְאָכַל מִן הַתַּעֲרֹבֶת כְּזַיִת לוֹקֶה. וְכֵן אִם אָכְלָם זֶה אַחַר זֶה עַד שֶׁאָכַל מִן הַכּל כְּזַיִת לוֹקֶה. וְכֵן אִם שָׁתָה רְבִיעִית תַּעֲרֹבֶת יַיִן וְחֹמֶץ לוֹקֶה:


A permitted substance is not included together with a forbidden substance [to produce the minimum measure] for which a nazirite [is liable for lashes].11

What is implied? Wine was mixed together with honey [producing a mixture] in which the flavor of wine [could be tasted in] its entirety and [a nazirite] drank the mixture. Raisins were pressed together with dried figs [producing a mixture] in which the flavor of raisins [could be tasted in] its entirety and [a nazirite] ate the mixture. He is not liable for lashes unless there will be an olive-sized portion of grape products in a portion of the mixture the size of three eggs, and he will eat a portion the size of three eggs, as is the law with regard to other prohibitions that are forbidden universally, as we explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot.12


דָּבָר הַמֻּתָּר אֵינוֹ מִצְטָרֵף לְדָבָר הָאָסוּר בְּנָזִיר. כֵּיצַד. יַיִן שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בִּדְבַשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁטַּעַם הַכּל טַעַם יַיִן וְשָׁתָה מִן הַתַּעֲרֹבֶת. וְכֵן הַצִּמּוּקִין שֶׁדְּרָסָן עִם הַגְּרוֹגָרוֹת וְטַעַם הַכּל טַעַם צִמּוּקִין וְאָכַל מִן הַתַּעֲרֹבֶת אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה. עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מִדָּבָר הָאָסוּר בַּתַּעֲרֹבֶת כְּזַיִת בִּכְדֵי שָׁלֹשׁ בֵּיצִים וְאָכַל כְּשָׁלֹשׁ בֵּיצִים. כִּשְׁאָר הָאִסּוּרִין הַשָּׁוִים בְּכָל אָדָם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת:


Similarly, if a person soaked his bread in wine and there was a revi'it of wine within k'dei [achilat] p'ras13 of the bread and he ate a p'ras [of the bread], he will have consumed a revi'it of wine.14 [Hence,] he is worthy of lashes. Concerning this and similar situations, the Torah [Numbers 6:3] states: "Anything that has been steeped in grape [wine] shall you not partake."15 This forbids an entity in which wine has been mixed and its flavor is the flavor of wine.16 [This applies] provided it has both the flavor and substance [of the wine] as is the case with regard to other prohibited foods.17


וְכֵן אִם שָׁרָה פִּתּוֹ בְּיַיִן וְהָיָה הָרְבִיעִית יַיִן בִּכְדֵי פְּרָס מִן הַפַּת וְאָכַל כְּדֵי פְּרָס שֶׁנִּמְצָא שֶׁאָכַל רְבִיעִית יַיִן הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה. וְעַל זֶה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ נֶאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (במדבר ו ג) "וְכָל מִשְׁרַת עֲנָבִים". לֶאֱסֹר דָּבָר שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בּוֹ הַיַּיִן וְטַעְמוֹ כְּטַעַם הַיַּיִן וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה טַעֲמוֹ וּמַמָּשׁוֹ כִּשְׁאָר אִסּוּרֵי מַאֲכָלוֹת:


If wine or the like were mixed together with honey and the flavor of wine cannot be detected, it is permitted for a nazirite [to partake of the mixture]. [The nazirite prohibitions] should not be considered more severe than [those against] fat and blood.18


נִתְעָרֵב יַיִן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ בִּדְבַשׁ וְאֵין שָׁם טַעַם יַיִן הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְנָזִיר. לֹא יִהְיֶה זֶה חָמוּר מֵחֵלֶב וְדָם:


If the mixture had the flavor of wine, but there is not a revi'it of wine within k'dei [achilat] p'ras, [the mixture] is prohibited according to Rabbinic decree, as we explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot.19 If [a nazirite] partakes of it, he is given stripes for rebellious conduct.


הָיָה בּוֹ טַעַם יַיִן וְאֵין שָׁם רְבִיעִית בִּכְדֵי אֲכִילַת פְּרָס הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲסוּרוֹת. וּמַכִּין אוֹתוֹ אִם אָכַל מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת:


When a nazirite eats an olive-sized portion of grapes, an olive-sized portion of [grape] seeds, an olive-sized portion of [grape] peels, and an olive-sized portion of raisins, and drinks an olive-sized portion of wine - even if he squeezed a cluster of grapes and drank [their juice]20 - he receives five sets of lashes. For each [of the substances is forbidden] by a different prohibition. And he receives a sixth set of lashes for the violation of [the prohibition]: "He shall not desecrate his word"21 that applies to all vows.

Similarly, if he ate an olive-sized portion of peels or an olive-sized portion of grapes, he receives two sets of lashes, one for the peels or one for the grapes, and he is given [an additional set of] lashes because of [the prohibition]: "He shall not desecrate his word." This law also applies to a nazirite who shaves [his hair] or becomes impure. He receives two sets of lashes: one because of the violation of the particular prohibition and one, because of the prohibition that applies to all vows: "He shall not desecrate his word."


נָזִיר שֶׁאָכַל כְּזַיִת עֲנָבִים וּכְזַיִת חַרְצָן וּכְזַיִת זָג וּכְזַיִת צִמּוּקִים וְשָׁתָה רְבִיעִית יַיִן וַאֲפִלּוּ סָחַט אֶשְׁכּוֹל וְשָׁתָה מִמֶּנּוּ רְבִיעִית הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה חָמֵשׁ מַלְקִיּוֹת. שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן בְּלָאו אֶחָד הוּא. וְלוֹקֶה מַלְקוּת שִׁשִּׁית מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ל ג) "לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ" שֶׁהוּא שָׁוֶה בְּכָל הַנְּדָרִים. וְכֵן אִם אָכַל כְּזַיִת זָג אוֹ כְּזַיִת עֲנָבִים לוֹקֶה שְׁתַּיִם אַחַת מִשּׁוּם זָג אוֹ מִשּׁוּם עֲנָבִים וְאַחַת מִשּׁוּם לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ. וְהוּא הַדִּין לְנָזִיר שֶׁגִּלֵּחַ אוֹ נִטְמָא שֶׁהוּא לוֹקֶה שְׁתַּיִם. אַחַת עַל הָאִסּוּר הַמְיֻחָד בּוֹ וְאַחַת עַל הָאִסּוּר הַשָּׁוֶה בְּכָל הַנְּדָרִים שֶׁהוּא לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ:


When a nazirite drank a revi'it of wine and a revi'it of vinegar, he receives only one set of lashes. He is not liable for the wine and for the vinegar independently. [The rationale is that] the Torah does not say: "Do not drink wine" and "Do not drink vinegar." Instead, [it states, Numbers 6:3]: "[He shall abstain from wine or alcoholic beverages.] He shall not drink vinegar of wine or vinegar of alcoholic beverages," i.e., he should not drink wine or a beverage into which wine was mixed - [that is the meaning of the term,] "alcoholic beverages" [in the verse] - even if they have become vinegar.22 Since [the Torah] repeated only the term vinegar which is one term, he does not receive lashes for them both independently.


נָזִיר שֶׁשָּׁתָה רְבִיעִית יַיִן וּרְבִיעִית חֹמֶץ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא אַחַת שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַיָּב עַל הַיַּיִן בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְעַל הַחֹמֶץ בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ. שֶׁאֵין כָּתוּב יַיִן לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה וְחֹמֶץ לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה אֶלָּא כָּךְ חֹמֶץ יַיִן וְחֹמֶץ שֵׁכָר לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה כְּלוֹמַר לֹא יִשְׁתֶּה יַיִן וְלֹא דָּבָר שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בּוֹ הַיַּיִן וְהוּא הַשֵּׁכָר וַאֲפִלּוּ הֶחְמִיצוּ וְהוֹאִיל וְלֹא כָּפַל אֶלָּא הַחֹמֶץ שֶׁהוּא שֵׁם אֶחָד אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה עַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וְעַל זֶה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ:


When a nazirite is drinking wine for the entire day, even though he is liable in God's eyes23 for every revi'it, he receives only [two sets of] lashes, one for drinking wine and one for "desecrat[ing] his word," as we explained.24 If he was given a warning for every revi'it, i.e., he was told: "Do not drink," "Do not drink," and he, [nevertheless,] did drink, he is liable for each [revi'it].25

According to Rabbinic decree, it is forbidden for a nazirite to abide amidst a gathering of people drinking wine. [Instead,] he should separate himself far from them, because they present a hurdle for him. Our Sages26 said: "Do not come close [even to] the area around the vineyard."27


נָזִיר שֶׁהָיָה שׁוֹתֶה בְּיַיִן כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לַשָּׁמַיִם עַל כָּל רְבִיעִית וּרְבִיעִית אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא אַחַת מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ו ד) "יַיִן" וְאַחַת דְּ (במדבר ל ג) "לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ" כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְאִם הִתְרוּ בּוֹ עַל כָּל רְבִיעִית וּרְבִיעִית וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ אַל תִּשְׁתֶּה אַל תִּשְׁתֶּה וְהוּא שׁוֹתֶה חַיָּב עַל כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד. מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁאָסוּר לְנָזִיר לַעֲמֹד בְּמוֹשַׁב שׁוֹתֵי יַיִן וְיִתְרַחֵק מִמֶּנּוּ הַרְבֵּה שֶׁהֲרֵי מִכְשׁוֹל לְפָנָיו. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים סָבִיב לַכֶּרֶם לֹא יִקְרַב:


When a nazirite cuts off one hair, whether using a razor or a scissor, he is liable for lashes, provided he cuts it from its roots as a razor would.28 Similarly, if he pulls out [a hair] by hand, he is liable for lashes. Both [the nazirite] whose hair is cut29 and the person who cuts his hair [are liable], as [indicated by Numbers 6:5]: "A razor will not pass over his head." If he left enough of [the hair] so that it could be bent over for its tip to touch its root, he does not receive lashes,30 because [cutting in this manner] is not [equivalent to shaving it] with a razor.


נָזִיר שֶׁגִּלֵּחַ שְׂעָרָה אַחַת לוֹקֶה בֵּין בְּתַעַר בֵּין בְּזוּג וְהוּא שֶׁקִּצְּצָה מֵעִקָּרָהּ כְּעֵין תַּעַר. וְכֵן אִם תְּלָשָׁהּ בְּיָדוֹ לוֹקֶה. אֶחָד הַמְגַלֵּחַ וְאֶחָד הַמִּתְגַּלֵּחַ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ו ה) "תַּעַר לֹא יַעֲבֹר עַל רֹאשׁוֹ". וְאִם הִנִּיחַ מִמֶּנּוּ כְּדֵי לָכֹף רֹאשָׁהּ לְעִקָּרָהּ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה שֶׁאֵין זֶה כְּעֵין תַּעַר:


If a person applied a potion that removed hair to his head and in this way, removed his hair, he is not liable for lashes.31 He is, however, nullifying the observance of a positive commandment, as [Numbers 6:5] states: "He shall let the mane of the hair of his head grow."


הֶעֱבִיר עַל רֹאשׁוֹ סַם שֶׁמַּשִּׁיר אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר וְהִשִּׁיר אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא בִּטֵּל מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ו ה) "גַּדֵּל פֶּרַע שְׂעַר רֹאשׁוֹ":


When a nazirite shaves his entire head, he is liable for only one set of lashes for the shaving. If he was given a warning concerning each hair, i.e., he was told: "Do not shave," "Do not shave," and he shaved, he is liable for lashes for every hair.


נָזִיר שֶׁגִּלֵּחַ כָּל רֹאשׁוֹ אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה מִשּׁוּם הַתִּגְלַחַת אֶלָּא אַחַת. וְאִם הִתְרוּ בּוֹ עַל כָּל שֵׂעָר וְשֵׂעָר וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ אַל תְּגַלֵּחַ אַל תְּגַלֵּחַ וְהוּא מְגַלֵּחַ לוֹקֶה עַל כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת:


When a nazirite is scrubbing his hair with his hands and scraping [his scalp] with his nails, he need not worry [about removing hairs accidentally], because his intent is not to remove hair and it is possible that he will not remove any.32 He should not, however, comb his hair with a comb or scrape his head with earth, for [these activities] will certainly remove hair. If he does so, he is not liable for lashes.33


נָזִיר חוֹפֵף עַל שְׂעָרוֹ בְּיָדוֹ וְחוֹכֵךְ בְּצִפָּרְנָיו וְאִם נָפַל שֵׂעָר אֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין כַּוָּנָתוֹ לְהַשִּׁיר וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא יַשִּׁיר. אֲבָל לֹא יִסְרֹק בְּמַסְרֵק וְלֹא יָחֹף בַּאֲדָמָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּשֶּׁרֶת אֶת הַשֵּׂעָר וַדַּאי. וְאִם עָשָׂה כֵן אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה:


When a nazirite becomes impure through contact with a human corpse in a manner that would require him to remain impure for seven days,34 he is liable for lashes. [This applies] with regard to ritual impurity for which he is required to shave, as will be explained,35 and for ritual impurity for which he is not required to shave.36


נָזִיר שֶׁנִּטְמָא לְמֵת טֻמְאַת שִׁבְעָה. בֵּין בְּטֻמְאוֹת שֶׁהוּא מְגַלֵּחַ עֲלֵיהֶן כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בֵּין בְּטֻמְאוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְגַלֵּחַ עֲלֵיהֶן. הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה:


[When a nazirite] becomes impure through contact with a human corpse many times, even though in God's eyes, he is liable for lashes for each time, the court holds him liable for only one set of lashes. If he was given a warning concerning each time, and he, nevertheless, became impure, he is liable for lashes for every time he [became impure].


נִטְמָא לְמֵת פְּעָמִים הַרְבֵּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב מַלְקוֹת עַל כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת לַשָּׁמַיִם אֵין בֵּית דִּין מַלְקִין אוֹתוֹ אֶלָּא אַחַת. וְאִם הִתְרוּ בּוֹ עַל כָּל פַּעַם וּפַעַם וְהוּא מִטַּמֵּא לוֹקֶה [עַל] כָּל אַחַת וְאַחַת:


When does the above apply? When he became impure and then returned and touched, carried, or stood over [the corpse]. If, however, he was touching a corpse and while the corpse was still in his hand, he touched another corpse, he is liable only once even though he was warned for each time he touched it, for his [state of purity] has already been desecrated.37


בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁנִּטְמָא וּפֵרַשׁ וְחָזַר וְנָגַע אוֹ נָשָׂא אוֹ הֶאֱהִיל. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה נוֹגֵעַ בְּמֵת וַעֲדַיִן הַמֵּת בְּיָדוֹ וְנָגַע בְּמֵת אַחַר אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא אַחַת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִתְרוּ בּוֹ עַל כָּל נְגִיעָה וּנְגִיעָה שֶׁהֲרֵי מְחֻלָּל וְעוֹמֵד:


When a nazirite enters a home and remains there until a person dies or he enters a shelter in which a corpse is located while he is in a closed container, chest, or closet38 and a colleague came and opened the top of the chest with his consent,39 he is liable for two sets of lashes:40 one, due to [the violation of] the prohibition [Numbers 6:6]: "He shall not approach a human corpse" and one, due to [the violation of] the prohibition [ibid.:7]: "He shall not become impure," for his impurity and his entry come about at the same time.41 If, however, he enters [such a shelter] in an ordinary manner, his becoming ritually impure precedes his entry. For from the time that his nose or his toes enter, he becomes ritually impure42 and he does not become liable for entering [the shelter] until his entire [body] enters.43


נָזִיר שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְבַיִת וְשָׁהָה שָׁם עַד שֶׁמֵּת שָׁם הַמֵּת. אוֹ שֶׁנִּכְנַס לְאֹהֶל הַמֵּת בְּשִׁדָּה תֵּבָה וּמִגְדָּל וּבָא חֲבֵרוֹ וּפָרַע גַּג הַתֵּבָה מֵעָלָיו מִדַּעְתּוֹ. הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה שְׁתַּיִם אַחַת מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ו ו) "לֹא יָבֹא" וְאַחַת מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ו ז) "לֹא יִטַּמָּא". שֶׁהֲרֵי טֻמְאָה וּבִיאָה בָּאִין כְּאַחַת. אֲבָל אִם נִכְנַס כְּדַרְכּוֹ טֻמְאָתוֹ קוֹדֶמֶת לְבִיאָתוֹ שֶׁמֵּעֵת שֶׁיַּכְנִיס חָטְמוֹ אוֹ אֶצְבְּעוֹת רַגְלָיו נִטְמָא וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב מִשּׁוּם בִּיאָה עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא כֻּלּוֹ:


When [a nazirite] enters a shelter where a corpse is located or a cemetery unintentionally44 and after he discovers this fact, he received a warning, but did not jump up and leave, but instead remained there, he is liable for lashes.45[This applies] provided he remains there for the time it takes to prostrate oneself like a ritually impure person who enters the Temple.46


נִכְנַס לְאֹהֶל הַמֵּת אוֹ לְבֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת בִּשְׁגָגָה. וְאַחַר שֶׁנּוֹדַע לוֹ הִתְרוּ בּוֹ וְלֹא קָפַץ וְיָצָא אֶלָּא עָמַד שָׁם הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּשְׁהֶא שָׁם כְּדֵי הִשְׁתַּחֲוָיָה כְּמוֹ טָמֵא שֶׁנִּכְנַס לַמִּקְדָּשׁ:


[The following rules apply when one] causes a nazirite to contract ritual impurity. If the nazirite acted intentionally, the nazirite is liable for lashes and the person who caused him to contract impurity violates the prohibition against placing a stumbling block in front of the blind.47 If the nazirite was not aware of the transgression and the person who caused him to contract impurity acted intentionally, neither of them are liable for lashes.48

Why is the person who caused the nazirite to contract impurity not liable for lashes?49 Since [Numbers 6:9] states: "He defiles his Nazirite head," a person is only liable if he willfully causes his own self to incur impurity.50


הַמְטַמֵּא אֶת הַנָּזִיר. אִם הָיָה הַנָּזִיר מֵזִיד הַנָּזִיר לוֹקֶה וְזֶה שֶׁטִּמְּאוֹ עוֹבֵר מִשּׁוּם (ויקרא יט יד) "וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשׁל". וְאִם הָיָה הַנָּזִיר שׁוֹגֵג וְזֶה שֶׁטִּמְּאוֹ מֵזִיד אֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶם לוֹקֶה. וְלָמָּה לֹא יִלְקֶה הַמְטַמֵּא אֶת הַנָּזִיר. לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ו ט) "וְטִמֵּא אֶת רֹאשׁ נִזְרוֹ" אֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה עַד שֶׁיְּטַמֵּא עַצְמוֹ מִדַּעְתּוֹ:


When a nazirite who is in a state of ritual purity makes himself ritually impure, he is also liable for lashes for [the violation of the prohibition, Deuteronomy 23:22]: "Do not delay in paying it."51 For he delayed the fulfillment of his nazirite vow in purity and performed a deed.52 Similarly, if he took a nazirite vow while in a cemetery, he is also liable for lashes for [the violation of the prohibition]: "Do not delay in paying it."53

From this we learn, that a nazirite who made himself impure receives four sets of lashes:

a) because of the prohibition: "He shall not become impure,"

b) because of the prohibition: "He shall not desecrate his word,"

c) because of the prohibition: "Do not delay in paying it," and because of the prohibition: "He shall not approach..." if he entered and incurred ritual impurity at the same time, as we explained.54


נָזִיר טָהוֹר שֶׁטִּמֵּא עַצְמוֹ לוֹקֶה אַף מִשּׁוּם (דברים כג כב) "לֹא תְאַחֵר לְשַׁלְּמוֹ". שֶׁהֲרֵי אִחֵר נְזִירוּת טָהֳרָה וְעָשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה. וְכֵן אִם נָדַר בְּבֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת לוֹקֶה אַף מִשּׁוּם לֹא תְאַחֵר. הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁהַנָּזִיר שֶׁטִּמֵּא עַצְמוֹ לוֹקֶה אַרְבַּע מַלְקִיּוֹת מִשּׁוּם (במדבר ו ז) "לֹא יִטַּמָּא" וּמִשּׁוּם (במדבר ל ג) "לֹא יַחֵל דְּבָרוֹ" וּמִשּׁוּם לֹא תְאַחֵר לְשַׁלְּמוֹ וּמִשּׁוּם (במדבר ו ו) "לֹא יָבֹא" אִם הָיְתָה בִּיאָה וְטֻמְאָה כְּאַחַת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


See Halachah 15 and onward.


See Halachah 11.


Whether grapes or wine.


E.g., peels or pits. See the following halachah.


E.g., a brandy, vermouth, or the like.


I.e., a quarter of a larger measure called a log. A revi'it is 86 cc according to Shiurei Torah and 150 cc according to Chazon Ish.


This represents a contrast to other Torah prohibitions. As stated in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 4:16, "when a person takes a small amount of fat, a small amount of blood, a small amount of the meat of a non-kosher animal, a small amount of the meat of a nevelah, a small amount of the meat of a non-kosher fish, a small amount of the meat of a non-kosher fowl, or the like from other prohibited substances, although he collects an olive-sized portion from the entire mixture and partakes of it, he is not liable for lashes."


He must, however, eat the olived-sized portion within the time it takes to eat three eggs, as explained in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 14:8.


From the Rambam's wording, it appears that eating and drinking are not combined to reach a single measure.


This ruling is the subject of a difference of opinion among our Sages (Nazir 35b-37b). Although there is an opinion which maintains that with regard to a nazirite - in contrast to all the other prohibitions of the Torah - the permitted food should be counted as part of the forbidden measure, the Rambam does not accept this view as Halachah.


Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:3.


The measure described in the previous halachah.


See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 14:9 where the Rambam states that to be liable for lashes, one must drink a prohibited substance in the time it takes to drink a revi'it. Here, however, he mentions the time it takes to eat k'dei achilat p'ras. It is possible to explain that here, the person is "eating" the wine, i.e., ingesting it as it is absorbed in solid food. Hence, he uses a measure of time that involves eating. In Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot, he speaks about drinking. Hence, he uses a measure of time that involves drinking.


We have translated the verse according to its halachic interpretation. Its literal meaning is somewhat different.


Nazir 37a exemplifies this concept as follows: One soaked grapes in water and the flavor of the water became that of grape juice.


See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:3.


I.e., as stated in Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:1-2, if a prohibited substance becomes mixed into another entity, its presence is nullified if there is so much of the permitted entity that the flavor of the prohibited substance cannot be detected. (When it is impossible to have someone taste the mixture, we require 60 times the amount of the forbidden substance.)


See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 15:2-3. There the Rambam states that if there was less than an olive-sized portion of forbidden fat in a portion the size of three eggs, it is considered as if the substance of the prohibited substance is not present. Hence, according to Scriptural Law, there is no prohibition, even if the flavor of the forbidden fat is detectable.

The Ra'avad differs and quotes authorities who maintain that although lashes are not given in such an instance, the prohibition is of Scriptural origin.


The Rambam is indicating that grape juice and wine are governed by the same laws. Alternatively, that grapes and grape juice are not considered as part of the same prohibition.


See Hilchot Nedarim 1:5; see also Chapter 1, Halachah 2.


I.e., the verse uses vinegar as an adjective for wine and mentions only prohibition. Thus the prohibition is against drinking wine, even wine that has become vinegar. Even though two separate adjurations are mentioned in the prooftext, there is no separate prohibition for drinking vinegar from wine and vinegar from alcoholic beverages coming from wine, because the end product, vinegar, is the same in both instances.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that there is a separate prohibition against drinking vinegar, just like there are separate prohibitions against eating grapes and eating raisins. See the gloss of the Radbaz for a discussion of this matter.


And God will mete out punishment to him for every violation [the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah (Nazir 6:4)].


See Halachah 8.


The warning causes every violation to be considered independently (Radbaz).


Avodah Zarah 59a.


For if he comes close, he might be tempted to partake of the grapes.


The prooftext cited below indicates that the hair must be removed as effectively as a razor does. It does not, however, indicate that only cutting it with a razor makes a person liable. Note the contrast to the prohibition against cutting the hairs of one's beard. As mentioned in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 12:1, that prohibition applies only to removal of one's hair with a razor.


From a comparison to the laws governing the prohibition against shaving the corners of one's head (Ibid.:1), it would appear that the person whose hair is cut is not liable for lashes unless he assists the person doing the shaving by moving his head or the like. Otherwise, he will not performed a deed and one is liable for lashes only when his violation involves a deed.


Nor are the days of one's nazirite vow nullified by such an act (Nazir 39b).


The Radbaz explains the rationale for this leniency: When applying the potion, the person is not removing the hair with his own hands.


Even though he had no intention of removing hairs, were it impossible to scrape his head with his nails without removing hair, it would be forbidden for him, because doing so would be tantamount to willfully removing hairs, as the Rambam continues. Compare to Hilchot Shabbat 1:6.


For he did not intentionally remove the hairs (Kessef Mishneh). The Shiurei HaKorban explains that since these activities do not produce a razor-clean shave, he is not liable for the violation of a negative commandment. According to the Radbaz who maintains that such a commandment is in fact involved, the question arises: Since it is inevitable (a p'sik reishah) that the hairs will be removed, why is he not liable.


I.e., the ritual impurity incurred when he touches or carries a corpse or is located under the same covering as it.


See Chapter 7, where this subject is discussed in detail.


The Mishneh LiMelech and other commentaries question the Rambam's ruling, noting that in Hilchot Tumat Meit 3:3, he writes: "All ritual impurity resulting from a corpse for which a nazirite is not required to shave does not stem from Scriptural Law." If the impurity does not stem from Scriptural Law, why is the nazirite punished by lashes?

The Ma'aseh Rokeach explains that 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. See also Chapter 7, Halachah 1, where this issue is discussed.


The Rambam's ruling can be explained based on the following concept: When a person is in contact with a corpse, a person he touches is impure for seven days. When, however, he is not in contact with a corpse, a person he touches is impure only until the evening.

Thus if he is in contact with a corpse, there is no difference halachically if he touches another corpse. If, however, he is not in contact with a corpse, it is halachically significant if he touches another corpse, because the impurity resulting from touching him is more severe. And since touching the corpse is halachically significant for others, it is also halachically significant for him. Hence he is liable for lashes for such contact.


I.e., while he is in a closed container, it is as if he is not under the same shelter as the corpse and he does not contract ritual impurity.


If the container is opened without his consent, he is not liable, for he is considered to have transgressed due to forces beyond his control. See Hilchot Evel 3:5.


For as mentioned in the mitzvot cited in the introduction to these halachot and in Chapter 1, Halachah 1, there are two prohibitions involved in this instance as the Rambam continues to explain.


The removal of the top of the container brings about his "entry" into the place where the corpse is located and, at that same time, he becomes impure.


See Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 1:11.


Compare to Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 3:18.

In this instance, since he is already ritually impure, the prohibition against entering a place of ritual impurity does not apply to him (Nazir 43a).


I.e., he was not aware that a corpse was located in this place or that it was a cemetery.


The commentaries question why the person is liable for lashes. Although he is performing a transgression by remaining in the cemetery, seemingly, the performance of that transgression does not involve a deed and hence, he should not be liable for lashes. The Lechem Mishneh explains that since he performed a deed when he entered in violation of the prohibition, he is liable when he remained afterwards in conscious violation of the prohibition. Others cite the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh to Hilchot Sechirut 13:2 which explains that whenever a transgression usually involves a deed - as a nazirite would usually perform a deed to contract ritual impurity - one is liable for lashes even when one violates the transgression without performing a deed. See also Hilchot Evel 3:4.


See Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 3:21-24.


See Hilchot Rotzeach 12:14 which interprets this as a general prohibition, warning a person against causing a colleague to transgress.


The nazirite is not liable because he did not transgress intentionally. The other person is not liable for the reasons the Rambam proceeds to explain.


See Hilchot Evel 3:5 which states that in a parallel situation when a person causes a priest to become ritually impure, the person who causes him to incur the impurity is indeed, liable. For it is the person who causes him to incur impurity who violates the prohibition. And similarly, one who shaves a nazirite's head is liable (Halachah 11).


See the gloss of the Radbaz to Hilchot Kilayim 10:31 which comments on the apparent contradiction between that halachah and the ruling here.


See Chapter 1, Halachah 4; Hilchot Arachin VaCharamim 1:1; Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 14:13, with regard to the nature of this prohibition.


By incurring ritual impurity.


The commentaries question: Since he was in the cemetery at the time he took the vow, seemingly, his violation of the prohibition does not involve a deed. Generally, when a transgression does not involve a deed, lashes are not given. Why then is he liable? Among the resolutions offered is that failing to depart is also considered a deed (Tosafot, Nazir 17a).


See Halachah 18.

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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 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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