Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Nezirut - Chapter 2

Show content in:

Nezirut - Chapter 2


When a person takes a nazirite vow inadvertently,1 is compelled to take one by forces beyond his control,2 takes one in order to encourage a colleague,3 or takes one while making exaggerated statements,4 he is exempt as is the law concerning other vows.

When a person takes a nazirite vow and regrets having taking it, he may approach a sage and ask him [to absolve it]. He may release his nazirite vow in the same way he releases other vows.5


הַנּוֹדֵר בְּנָזִיר בְּשׁוֹגֵג אוֹ בְּאֹנֶס אוֹ שֶׁנָּדַר לְזָרֵז חֲבֵרוֹ אוֹ דֶּרֶךְ הֲבַאי הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר כִּשְׁאָר נְדָרִים. וּמִי שֶׁנָּדַר בְּנָזִיר וְנִחָם עַל נִדְרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נִשְׁאָל לְחָכָם וּמַתִּיר לוֹ נְזִירוּתוֹ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמַּתִּירִין שְׁאָר הַנְּדָרִים:


[The following rules apply when a person] took a nazirite vow and went to brings his sacrifices for that vow with the intent that he will bring them on the completion of the days of his vow, but discovered that either all of the animals or one of them were stolen. If he took the nazirite vow before the animal was stolen, he is a nazirite.6 If he took the nazirite vow after [an animal] was stolen, lost, or died, he is not a nazirite. It is as if he took a nazirite vow in error.7


מִי שֶׁנָּדַר בְּנָזִיר וְהָלַךְ לְהָבִיא קָרְבְּנוֹתָיו שֶׁנָּזַר עַל דַּעַת שֶׁיְּבִיאֵם בִּמְלֹאת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ. מְצָאָן שֶׁנִּגְנְבוּ אוֹ נִגְנְבָה בְּהֵמָה מֵהֶן. אִם עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִגְנְבָה הַבְּהֵמָה נָזַר הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר. וְאִם אַחַר שֶׁנִּגְנְבָה אוֹ שֶׁאָבְדָה אוֹ שֶׁמֵּתָה נָזַר אֵינוֹ נָזִיר שֶׁזֶּה נָזַר בְּטָעוּת:


When a person extends a nazirite vow,8 he is a nazirite, as we explained with regard to the laws concerning the extension of other vows.9


הַמַּתְפִּיס בִּנְזִירוּת הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּדִין כָּל הַמַּתְפִּיס בְּנֵדֶר:


If a nazirite was passing before him and he said: "I am like him," he is a nazirite.10 If a colleague of his took a nazirite vow and he said: "My mouth is like his mouth with regard to wine"11 or "My hair is like his hair with regard to cutting it,"12 he is a nazirite. Similarly, if he heard him [take a nazirite vow] and said: "And also I" immediately thereafter,13 [he is a nazirite]. And if a third person said: "And also I" immediately after the second person's statement - even if this continues for 100 individuals14 - they are all nazirites.


הָיָה נָזִיר עוֹבֵר לְפָנָיו וְאָמַר הֲרֵינִי כָּזֶה הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר. נָדַר חֲבֵרוֹ בְּנָזִיר וְאָמַר הוּא פִּי כְּפִיו מִיַּיִן אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר שְׂעָרִי כִּשְׂעָרוֹ מִלְּהִגָּזֵז הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר. וְכֵן אִם שָׁמַע וְאָמַר וַאֲנִי בְּתוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר [וְשָׁמַע שְׁלִישִׁי בְּתוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר] שֶׁל שֵׁנִי וְאָמַר וַאֲנִי וַאֲפִלּוּ הֵן מֵאָה כֻּלָּן נְזִירִין:


If a person says: "I will be a nazirite when a son will be born to me," and his colleague says: "And also I," his colleague becomes a nazirite immediately.15


הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר כְּשֶׁיִּהְיֶה לִי בֵּן וַחֲבֵרוֹ אָמַר וַאֲנִי הֲרֵי חֲבֵרוֹ נָזִיר מִיָּד:


When a person tells a colleague: "I will be a nazirite when a son will be born to you," and his colleague says: "And also I," [his colleague does not become] a nazirite. [The rationale is that] the latter person only had the desire to say that he would love for a son to be born to him to the same degree as the first does. For he is embarrassed in his presence.16


הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר כְּשֶׁיִּהְיֶה לְךָ בֵּן וְשָׁמַע חֲבֵרוֹ וְאָמַר וַאֲנִי אֵין זֶה נָזִיר. שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן זֶה הָאַחֲרוֹן אֶלָּא לוֹמַר שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹהֵב שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לְךָ בֵּן כְּמוֹ זֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא בּוֹשׁ מִמֶּנּוּ:


When a person says: "I will be a nazirite when a son will be born to so-and so,"17 and his colleague heard his statement and said: "And also I," there is an unresolved question concerning the matter. Perhaps his colleague's intent was to become a nazirite like him18 or perhaps he wanted to say that he loved him like the other person did. When there is a question whether a nazirite vow takes effect, we rule leniently.19


הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר כְּשֶׁיִּהְיֶה לִפְלוֹנִי בֵּן וְשָׁמַע חֲבֵרוֹ וְאָמַר וַאֲנִי. הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק שֶׁמָּא לֹא נִתְכַּוֵּן אֶלָּא לִהְיוֹת נָזִיר כְּמוֹתוֹ אוֹ לוֹמַר שֶׁאֲנִי אוֹהֵב אוֹתוֹ כְּמוֹתְךָ. וּסְפֵק נְזִירוּת לְהָקֵל:


[A nazirite vow can take effect in the following situation.] Two people were walking on the road and saw another person approaching them. One of them said: "The person approaching us is Shimon." The other said: "He is Reuven." The first replied: "I will become a nazirite if it is Reuven" and the second responded: "I will become a nazirite if it is Shimon." If he reaches them and he is Reuven, [the first] is a nazirite. If it is Shimon, the second is a nazirite as per the vows. Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. If the person did not reach them, but instead turned backward and disappeared from their sight and they did not discover his identity, neither of them are nazirites.20


שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהָיוּ מְהַלְּכִים בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְרָאוּ אֶחָד בָּא כְּנֶגְדָּן וְאָמַר אֶחָד מִן הַשְּׁנַיִם זֶה הַהוֹלֵךְ כְּנֶגְדֵּנוּ שִׁמְעוֹן הוּא. וְאָמַר חֲבֵרוֹ רְאוּבֵן הוּא. וְאָמַר זֶה הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר אִם יִהְיֶה רְאוּבֵן. וְאָמַר הָאַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר אִם יִהְיֶה שִׁמְעוֹן. הִגִּיעַ אֲלֵיהֶם וַהֲרֵי הוּא רְאוּבֵן הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר. וְאִם הָיָה שִׁמְעוֹן הֲרֵי חֲבֵרוֹ נָזִיר כְּמוֹ שֶׁנָּדְרוּ. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. לֹא הִגִּיעַ אֲלֵיהֶם אֶלָּא חָזַר לַאֲחוֹרָיו וְנֶעְלַם מֵעֵינֵיהֶם וְלֹא יָדְעוּ מִי הוּא אֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶן נָזִיר:


Similarly, when a person says: "I will be a nazirite if there will be 100 kor21 in this grainheap," if when he goes to measure it, he discovers that [some of the produce] was stolen or lost, he is not a nazirite.22 Similar laws apply in all analogous situations. [The rationale is that] When there is a question about whether a nazirite vow takes effect, we rule leniently.


וְכֵן הָאוֹמֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר אִם יִהְיֶה בִּכְרִי זֶה מֵאָה כּוֹר וְהָלַךְ לְמוֹדְדוֹ וּמְצָאוֹ שֶׁנִּגְנַב אוֹ שֶׁאָבַד אֵינוֹ נָזִיר. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. שֶׁסָּפֵק נְזִירוּת לְהָקֵל:


All [of the people who took nazirite vow in the following situation] are nazirites. Several people] were walking on the road and saw a ko'i23 from a distance. One said: "I will be a nazirite if that is a wild beast." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if that is a domesticated animal." Another said:24 "I will be a nazirite if that is not a wild beast." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if that is not a domesticated animal." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if that is neither a wild beast, nor a domesticated animal." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if that is both a wild beast and a domesticated animal." [The rationale is that] in certain matters,25 a ko'i resembles a wild beast. In other matters, it resembles a domesticated animal. In still other matters, it resembles both a wild beast and a domesticated animal and in still other matters, it resembles neither a domesticated animal, nor a wild beast.

Similar laws apply if they saw an androgynus and argued whether the person was a man or a woman and took vows similar to those mentioned with regard to a ko'i. They are all nazirities, because there are matters26 in which an androgynus resembles a man, matters where the resemblance is to a woman, matters in which there is no resemblance to either a man or a woman, and matters in which there is a resemblance to both a man and a woman.


הָיוּ מְהַלְּכִין בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְרָאוּ אֶת הַכּוֹי מֵרָחוֹק וְאָמַר אֶחָד מֵהֶם הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁזֶּה חַיָּה. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁזֶּה בְּהֵמָה. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵין זֶה חַיָּה. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵין זֶה בְּהֵמָה. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵין זֶה לֹא חַיָּה וְלֹא בְּהֵמָה. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁזֶּה בְּהֵמָה וְחַיָּה הֲרֵי כֻּלָּם נְזִירִים. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַכְּוִי יֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה בָּהֶן לְחַיָּה וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה בָּהֶן לִבְהֵמָה וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה לְחַיָּה וְלִבְהֵמָה וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה לֹא לִבְהֵמָה וְלֹא לְחַיָּה. וְהוּא הַדִּין אִם רָאוּ אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס וְנֶחְלְקוּ בּוֹ אִם הוּא אִישׁ אוֹ אִשָּׁה וְנָדְרוּ עַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁנָּדְרוּ אֵלּוּ בִּכְוִי הֲרֵי כֻּלָּם נְזִירִים. שֶׁהָאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס יֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים שָׁוֶה בָּהֶן לְאִישׁ. וּדְרָכִים שָׁוֶה בָּהֶן לְאִשָּׁה. וּדְרָכִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ שָׁוֶה בָּהֶן לֹא לְאִישׁ וְלֹא לְאִשָּׁה. וּדְרָכִים שֶׁהֵן שָׁוִין לְאִישׁ וּלְאִשָּׁה:


All of the above applies to the person's status with regard to the mitzvot and not with regard to his nature and physical characteristics. Similarly, the factors involving a ko'i apply with regard to the mitzvot and not with regard to its nature and physical characteristics.

What is implied? [When] a ko'i [is slaughtered, its] blood must be covered as the blood of a wild beast must.27 Its fat is forbidden as is the fat of a domesticated animal.28 It is considered a union of mixed species if it is mated with either a domesticated animal or a wild beast,29 as if it were neither a wild beast or a domesticated animal. And it must be ritually slaughtered as is required for both a domesticated animal or a wild beast. Similarly, there are other halachic considerations that apply with regard to it and they will all be explained in their appropriate place.30

Similarly, an androgynus becomes impure because of a seminal emission like a man and because of uterine bleeding like a woman.31 He cannot be sold as a Hebrew servant, [differing in this way] from both a man and a woman.32 And a person who kills him is executed like one who kills either a man or a woman. There are also other laws applying to him. Each one will be stated in its place.33


וְכָל הַדְּרָכִים הָאֵלּוּ בְּעִנְיְנֵי הַמִּצְוֹת וְלֹא בְּטִבְעוֹ וְתוֹלַדְתּוֹ. וְכֵן דַּרְכֵי הַכְּוִי בְּעִנְיְנֵי הַמִּצְוֹת לֹא בְּטִבְעוֹ וְתוֹלַדְתּוֹ. כֵּיצַד. דָּמוֹ טָעוּן כִּסּוּי כְּחַיָּה וְחֶלְבּוֹ אָסוּר כִּבְהֵמָה. וַהֲרֵי הוּא כִּלְאַיִם עִם הַבְּהֵמָה וְכֵן עִם הַחַיָּה כְּאִלּוּ אֵינָהּ חַיָּה וְלֹא בְּהֵמָה. וְטָעוּן שְׁחִיטָה כִּבְהֵמָה וְחַיָּה. וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דְּרָכִים אֲחֵרִים וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן יִתְבָּאֵר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. וְכֵן אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס מִטַּמֵּא בְּלֹבֶן כַּאֲנָשִׁים. וּמִטַּמֵּא בְּאֹדֶם כְּנָשִׁים. וְאֵינוֹ נִמְכָּר בְּעֶבֶד עִבְרִי לֹא כַּאֲנָשִׁים וְלֹא כְּנָשִׁים. וְהַהוֹרְגוֹ נֶהֱרָג עָלָיו כַּאֲנָשִׁים וּכְנָשִׁים. וְיֵשׁ בּוֹ דִּינִים אֲחֵרִים וְכָל אֶחָד יִכָּתֵב בִּמְקוֹמוֹ:


Similar [laws apply]34 if [several people] saw a group of men approaching them which contained sighted people and blind people. One said: "I will be a nazirite if they are sighted people." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if they are not sighted people." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if they are blind." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if they are not blind." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if among them are sighted people and blind people." Another said: "I will be a nazirite if among them are those who are not sighted people and those who are not blind." Similar laws apply in all analogous situations.


וְכֵן אִם רָאוּ אֲנָשִׁים בָּאִים כְּנֶגְדָּם מֵהֶם פִּקְחִים וּמֵהֶם סוּמִים וְאָמַר אֶחָד הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵלּוּ פִּקְחִין. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵין אֵלּוּ פִּקְחִין. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵי אֲנִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵלּוּ סוּמִין. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵין אֵלּוּ סוּמִין. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵלּוּ פִּקְחִין וְסוּמִין. וְאָמַר אַחֵר הֲרֵינִי נָזִיר שֶׁאֵין אֵלּוּ לֹא פִּקְחִין וְלֹא סוּמִין. הֲרֵי כֻּלָּם נְזִירִים. וְכֵן כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:


When a minor reaches the age when his vows are of consequence35 and he takes a nazirite vow, he is a nazirite and must bring his sacrifices36 even though he has not manifested signs of physical maturity, as he [must uphold] his other vows.

A father may administer a nazirite vow to his son who is underage even though he has not reached the age when his vows are of consequence. A woman, by contrast, may not administer a nazirite vow to her son.37 This is a concept conveyed by the Oral Tradition. It does not apply with regard to other vows.


קָטָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לְעוֹנַת נְדָרִים וְנָדַר בְּנָזִיר הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר וּמֵבִיא קָרְבְּנוֹתָיו. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא הֵבִיא שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת כִּשְׁאָר הַנְּדָרִים. וְהָאִישׁ מַדִּיר אֶת בְּנוֹ קָטָן בְּנָזִיר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בָּא לְעוֹנַת נְדָרִים. וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה מַדֶּרֶת אֶת בְּנָהּ בְּנָזִיר. וְדָבָר זֶה הֲלָכָה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה הוּא וְאֵינוֹ נוֹהֵג בִּשְׁאָר נְדָרִים:


What is implied? A father told his son who was a minor: "You are a nazirite"; he said: "My son, so-and-so, is a nazirite;" or he said, [pointing to his son,] "He is a nazirite," and the son remained silent,38 the son is a nazirite. The father must have him conduct himself according to all the particulars of the nazirite laws.39 If [the son] becomes impure, he must bring the sacrifices [associated with the termination] of impurity. When he completes his nazirite vow, he must bring the sacrifices [required when a nazirite vow is completed in] purity.40


כֵּיצַד. הָאָב שֶׁאָמַר לִבְנוֹ הַקָּטָן הֲרֵי אַתָּה נָזִיר. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר בְּנִי פְּלוֹנִי נָזִיר אוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר. וְשָׁתַק הַבֵּן. הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר וְחַיָּב הָאָב לִנְהֹג בּוֹ כָּל דִּקְדּוּקֵי נְזִירוּת וְאִם נִטְמָא מֵבִיא קָרְבַּן טֻמְאָה. וּכְשֶׁיַּשְׁלִים נְזִירוּתוֹ מֵבִיא קָרְבַּן טָהֳרָה כִּשְׁאָר הַנְּזִירִים הַגְּדוֹלִים:


If the son did not desire this and objected to the matter,41 his relatives objected,42 he cut off his hair, or his relatives cut off his hair - thus performing a deed that indicates that either he or his relatives did not desire the nazirite vow,43 he is not a nazirite.44 Until when may his father administer a nazirite vow to him? Until he attains majority,45 and becomes an adult.


לֹא רָצָה הַבֵּן וּמִחָה בְּדָבָר זֶה אוֹ שֶׁמִּחוּ קְרוֹבָיו אוֹ שֶׁגִּלֵּחַ שְׂעָרוֹ אוֹ שֶׁגִּלְּחוּהוּ קְרוֹבָיו שֶׁהֲרֵי נַעֲשָׂה מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁגִּלָּה דַּעְתּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא רָצָה הוּא אוֹ קְרוֹבָיו בִּנְזִירוּת זוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה אֵינוֹ נָזִיר. וְעַד מָתַי יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַדִּירוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּגְדִּיל וְיֵעָשֶׂה אִישׁ:


The concept of a nazirite vow does not apply to gentiles, for [Numbers 6:2]46 "Speak to the children of Israel."


הָעַכּוּ''ם אֵין לָהֶן נְזִירוּת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ו ב) "דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל":


The concept of a nazirite vow does apply to women and servants.47 A father or a husband may nullify a nazirite vow taken by a woman if he so desires as is the case with regard to other vows.48 With regard to a servant, [to nullify his nazirite vow,]49 his master must compel him to drink [wine] or become impure due to contact with the dead. If he does not compel him,50 he must observe the nazirite vow.


נָשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים יֵשׁ לָהֶן נְזִירוּת. וְהָאָב אוֹ הַבַּעַל מֵפֵר נְזִירוּת הָאִשָּׁה אִם רָצָה כִּשְׁאָר הַנְּדָרִים. אֲבָל הָעֶבֶד יֵשׁ לְרַבּוֹ לָכֹף אוֹתוֹ לִשְׁתּוֹת וּלְהִטָּמֵא לַמֵּתִים וְאִם לֹא כָּפָה אוֹתוֹ נוֹהֵג נְזִירוּת:


When a servant takes other vows that involve personal aggravation or that prevent his performance of work or makes a valuation assessment,51 his master does not have to compel him [to act against the vow to nullify it].52 [The rationale is that the servant] is not the owner of his self and he cannot cause a vow to take effect regarding his person. To what can the matter be compared? To a person who [takes a vow] forbidding produce belonging to another person to the owner of that produce.53

If, however, a vow does not involve personal aggravation and it is not a matter which holds back work, [the master] cannot compel him [not to observe it].54

If a servant took a nazirite vow and his master told him: "It is nullified for you," [when] he receives his freedom,55 he is obligated to complete his nazirite vow.56 [The rationale is that] a servant must be compelled to nullify his vow. We do not nullify it verbally. If one nullifies it verbally, he is granted his freedom.


נָדַר הָעֶבֶד שְׁאָר נְדָרִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן עִנּוּי נֶפֶשׁ אוֹ שֶׁמְּעַכְּבִין אֶת הַמְּלָאכָה אוֹ שֶׁהֶעֱרִיךְ. אֵין רַבּוֹ צָרִיךְ לְכֻפּוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין נַפְשׁוֹ קְנוּיָה לוֹ וְלֹא יָחוּל עָלָיו נֶדֶר. לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְאוֹסֵר פֵּרוֹת אֲחֵרִים עֲלֵיהֶם. אֲבָל אִם אֵין שָׁם עִנּוּי וְלֹא דָּבָר שֶׁמְּעַכֵּב מְלָאכָה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְכֻפּוֹ. נָדַר עַבְדּוֹ בִּנְזִירוּת וְאָמַר לוֹ מוּפָר לְךָ יָצָא לְחֵרוּת וְחַיָּב לְהַשְׁלִים נְזִירוּתוֹ. שֶׁהָעֶבֶד כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ וְאֵין מְפֵרִין לוֹ. וְאִם הֵפֵר יָצָא לְחֵרוּת:


When a servant took a nazirite vow and fled from or abandoned his master,57 he is forbidden to drink wine. [This measure was enacted so that] he would suffer difficulty and return to his master's domain.58

If he took a nazirite vow, completed it, and shaved,59 without his master knowing of this, and afterwards, was granted his freedom, he is considered to have satisfied the requirements of his nazirite vow.60 If, however, he took a nazirite vow, but did not shave, and was granted his freedom, he is not considered to have fulfilled his nazirite vow.61 If he became impure and then was granted his freedom, he must begin reckoning [the days of his nazirite vow] from the time he became impure.62


עֶבֶד שֶׁנָּדַר בִּנְזִירוּת וּבָרַח אוֹ שֶׁהָלַךְ מֵרַבּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לִשְׁתּוֹת יַיִן כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּצְטַעֵר וְיַחְזֹר לִרְשׁוּת רַבּוֹ. נָזַר וְהִשְׁלִים נְזִירוּתוֹ וְגִלֵּחַ וְלֹא יְדָעוֹ רַבּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָצָא לְחֵרוּת הֲרֵי זֶה יָצָא יְדֵי נִדְרוֹ. אֲבָל אִם נָדַר וְלֹא גִּלֵּחַ וְיָצָא לְחֵרוּת לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי נִדְרוֹ. נִטְמָא וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָצָא לְחֵרוּת מוֹנֶה מִשָּׁעָה שֶׁנִּטְמָא:


Nazirite vows must be observed both while the Temple is standing and while the Temple was not standing. Therefore when a person takes a nazirite vow in the present era, he must observe it forever,63 because we do not have a Temple where he can go and offer his sacrifices at the conclusion of his nazirite vow.


נְזִירוּת נוֹהֶגֶת בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת וְשֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת. לְפִיכָךְ מִי שֶׁנָּדַר בְּנָזִיר בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה הֲרֵי זֶה נָזִיר לְעוֹלָם. שֶׁאֵין לָנוּ בַּיִת כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּבִיא קָרְבְּנוֹתָיו בִּמְלֹאת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ:


A nazirite vow may be observed only in Eretz Yisrael.64 When a person takes a nazirite vow in the Diaspora, he is penalized and obligated to ascend to Eretz Yisrael65 and observe his nazirite vow there for as long as he vowed.66 Accordingly, when a person takes a nazirite vow in the Diaspora in the present era, we compel him to ascend to Eretz Yisrael and observe his nazirite vow there67 until he dies or until the Temple is built and he brings his sacrifices there at the conclusion of the span of his vow.


אֵין הַנְּזִירוּת נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. וּמִי שֶׁנָּזַר בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ קוֹנְסִין אוֹתוֹ וּמְחַיְּבִין אוֹתוֹ לַעֲלוֹת לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלִהְיוֹת נָזִיר בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמִנְיַן הַיָּמִים שֶׁנָּזַר. לְפִיכָךְ מִי שֶׁנָּדַר בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לַעֲלוֹת לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלִהְיוֹת נוֹהֵג שָׁם נְזִירוּת עַד שֶׁיָּמוּת אוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וְיָבִיא קָרְבְּנוֹתָיו בִּמְלֹאת יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ:


Throughout the entire time he is in the Diaspora, he is forbidden to drink wine, to become impure due to contact with the dead, and to cut his hair.68 He must uphold all of the requirements stemming from a nazirite vow, despite the fact that the days are not counted for him. If he transgressed and drank [wine], cut his hair, or touched a corpse or the like,69 he is liable for lashes.


וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁהוּא בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לִשְׁתּוֹת יַיִן וּלְהִטָּמֵא לַמֵּתִים וּלְגַלֵּחַ וְכָל דִּקְדּוּקֵי נְזִירוּת עָלָיו וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין יָמִים אֵלּוּ עוֹלִין לוֹ. וְאִם עָבַר וְשָׁתָה אוֹ גִּלֵּחַ אוֹ נָגַע בְּמֵת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּנְגִיעָה לוֹקֶה:

Test Yourself on This Chapter


E.g., he said: "I will be nazirite if I ate today," and he was under the impression that he had not eaten, but in fact he had eaten (Nedarim 25b). See Hilchot Nedarim 8:3 and Chapter 1, Halachah 15.


I.e., people compelled him to take the nazirite vows. See Hilchot Nedarim 4:1.


He said: "I will be a nazirite if you do not eat at my home." See Hilchot Nedarim 4:3.


He said: "I will be a nazirite if I did not see an army as numerous as the Jewish people when they left Egypt." See Hilchot Nedarim 4:1; Hilchot Sh'vuot 3:5.


See Hilchot Nedarim 4:5.


We do not automatically say: Had he known that the animal would have been stolen he would not have taken the vow. If, however, he asks a sage to absolve the vow on this account, it is absolved. See Hilchot Nedarim 8:5; Hilchot Sh'vuot 6:12.


I.e., his vow was taken on a false assumption, for he believed that he possessed these animals. See Hilchot Nedarim 8:3.


I.e., as illustrated in the following halachah, he states that a nazirite vow taken by a colleague should also apply to him.


Hilchot Nedarim 3:3.


See Chapter 1, Halachah 5.


I.e., "just as he is forbidden to drink wine, so am I."


I.e., "just as he is forbidden to cut his hair, so am I."


This term refers to a specific span of time, the time it takes to say: Shalom Elecha Rebbi (Hilchot Sh'vuot 2:17).


I.e., each one speaking immediately thereafter his colleague.


In contrast to the person who took the vow who does not become a nazirite until the child is born (Chapter 1, Halachah 17). This is the conclusion the Rambam derives from the discussion of the issue in Nazir 13a. The Ra'avad offers a different interpretation of the passage. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh justify the Rambam's understanding.


I.e., were he not to make such a statement, it would appear that he does not have genuine love for him. Because of the above, we say that his vow was not made sincerely and he never intended to become a nazirite.


In contrast to the situation described in the previous halachah, in this instance, the person mentioned in the nazirite vow was not present when the vow was taken.


Since the person was not present, we feel that it is less likely that his statements were made merely to make an impression (see Nazir 13a).


The rationale is that at the time of the completion of the vow, the person is required to offer sacrifices. Were his vow not to have taken effect, he would be slaughtering non-sacrificial animals in the Temple courtyard which is forbidden (Rabbenu Nissim).


Because as stated at the conclusion of the previous halachah, if there is a doubt where a nazirite vow is binding, we rule leniently.


A dry measure used in the Talmudic period equivalent to 30 se'ah (Hilchot Arachin 4:4).


For he desired the nazirite vow to take effect only if there was the said amount of grain in the grain heap.


A ko'i is a hybrid born from breeding a deer and a goat. There is an unresolved question among our Sages if it is considered as a domesticated animal (behemah) or a wild beast {(chayah) the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, Bikkurim 2:8}. In Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 1:13, he states that the term refers to any hybrid that comes from mating a domesticated animal with a wild beast.


In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nazir 5:6), the Rambam states that if one person made all these statements, he is obligated to fulfill an equivalent number of nazirite vows.


See the following halachah where the Rambam elaborates on these points.


See the following halachah where the Rambam elaborates on these points.


See Hilchot Shechitah 14:4.


See Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 1:13.


See Hilchot Kilayim 9:5.


See Hilchot Shechitah 12:8-9; Hilchot Bikkurim 9:5; 10:7; Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTumah 1:6, et al.


I.e., either semen or the secretion of a zav. See Hilchot Mita'amei Mishkav UMoshav 1:7; Hilchot Mechusarei Kapparah 3:7.


See Hilchot Avadim 4:1.


See Hilchot Tzitzit 3:9; Hilchot Yibbum VeChalitzah 6:8; Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 22:11, et al.


Note the Radbaz who offers an explanation why all three illustrations of the principle are necessary.


I.e., twelve for a male and eleven for a female. He or she must also be aware of the One for whose sake they are taking vows (Hilchot Nedarim 11:1-4).


The Ra'avad questions this ruling, noting that there are authorities who maintain that the obligation for a minor to keep his vow is Rabbinic in origin. According to their view, it would be forbidden for the minor to bring a sacrifice, for that would be bringing non-sacramental animals as offerings. The Radbaz and the Kessef Mishneh maintain that those authorities follow a minority position.


The commentaries discuss this issue, noting that seemingly, the prophetess Chanah administered a nazirite vow to her son Samuel. They explain that although the inspiration for the vow came from Chanah, it was actually administered by Elkanah, Samuel's father.


I.e., his silence is considered as acceptance. If, however, he refuses to become a nazirite, he is not bound by his father's statements, as stated in the following halachah.


See Chapter 6, Halachot 3, 11.


See Chapter 8, Halachah 1.


The Kessef Mishneh and the Radbaz refer to the difference of opinion between Rashi and Tosafot (Nazir 28b) whether the objection must be made immediately or whether they can be made throughout the span of the nazirite vow. In his Commentary to the Mishnah (Nazir 4:6), the Rambam espouses the view shared by Tosafot that once the son began observing the nazirite vow, he cannot object to it.


The Minchat Chinuch (mitzvah 368) writes that if the child agrees to observe the nazirite vow, it is binding even if the relatives object.


See the Or Sameach who debates whether drinking wine is also considered a deed which registers the son's objections.


For his father's authority over him is not absolute.


Becomes thirteen years old and manifests signs of physical maturity (Hilchot Ishut 2:2; see the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah, loc. cit.).


The verse which introduces the laws of a nazirite vow. By addressing the passage to Jews, the Torah indicates that it does not apply to gentiles.


Numbers 6:2 specifically mentions a woman taking a nazirite vow. With regard to servants, Nazir 62b explains how this concept can be explained by Biblical exegesis.


See Hilchot Nedarim, chs. 11-13.


We are speaking about a Canaanite servant who is his master's property. Accordingly, vows he takes are dependent on his master's consent as indicated by the following halachah.


I.e., with regard to a servant, a verbal nullification of the nazirite vow is not sufficient. The master must physically compel him not to observe it.


See Hilchot Arachin 1:2.


I.e., as the Rambam continues to explain, the vow is void without the master having to take any action at all.


According to the Rambam (based on Nazir 62b) , there are four different rulings with regard to vows or oaths a servant takes:

a) All oaths and valuation assessments that a servant takes are nullified automatically. The rationale is that "his body is not his property so that the oath he takes will be effective. With regard to oaths, [Numbers 30:3] states: 'forbid something upon one's soul.' [Implied is that the verse applies to] someone whose soul is his property. It excludes a servant who is someone else's property" (Hilchot Sh'vuot 12:6).

b) Vows other than a nazirite vow that are either aggravating or prevent the servant from working are automatically nullified. The rationale is that, with regard to an oath, Leviticus 5:4 states: "Whether he will do harm or do good." Implied is that he can take an oath - or a vow, because an association is established between vows and oaths - only when he has the choice of either doing good or doing harm to himself. This does not apply to these oaths. Since they harm his master, he has no right to take them.

c) Nazirite vows are not automatically nullified, because the association with vows does not apply with regard to them. Nevertheless, since the servant belongs to his master, the master has the right to nullify his vow.

d) Vows other than a nazirite vow that are neither aggravating nor prevent the servant from working must be fulfilled. The rationale is that in contrast to an oath in which the prohibition is incumbent on the servant (the gavra), for a vow, the prohibition falls upon the object (the cheftza). Since there is no harm to the master involved, such vows can take effect.


Since the master does not suffer any loss, there is no reason that the vow should not take effect.


When a master desires to nullify a vow taken by his servant, he must physically compel him to break it, as mentioned above. If he does not do so, but instead, verbally nullifies it, he is indicating that he no longer considers his servant as having that status, but has freed him. See parallels in Hilchot Avadim 8:17.

Based on a different version of Nazir 62b, the Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and does not agree that verbally nullifying a servant's vow is an indication that he must be freed. The commentaries support the Rambam's understanding.


For the verbal nullification made by his master is of no consequence.


Fleeing from his master is not equivalent to attaining his freedom (Radbaz).


The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, noting that Nazir 9:1 mentions that this issue is the subject of a difference of opinion between Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Yossi. Generally, in such instances, the halachah follows Rabbi Yossi and yet the Rambam follows Rabbi Meir's view. The Radbaz explains that the fact that Nazir 61a concludes by mentioning Rabbi Meir's view indicates that the halachah follows his opinion. The Kessef Mishneh suggests (- this, however, is not borne out by the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishnah -) that the Rambam's text of the mishnah read opposite to the standard version. Others support the Rambam's ruling, based on Tosafot who states that the halachah follows Rabbi Meir with regard to his decrees.


I.e., completed the process required of a nazirite at the conclusion of his vow.


We do not say that since the vow was fulfilled without the knowledge of his master, its fulfillment is of no consequence. Although his master could have nullified his vow, since in fact he did not do so, it is considered significant (Radbaz).


I.e., he must begin counting the days of his nazirite vow anew as a free man, without counting the days during which he observed as a servant.

The rationale why these days are not counted is that since he did not complete his vow (by shaving), the status of the vow is left open. For at any time, his master could compel him to drink wine and nullify his vow. As such, he is never considered to have completed a valid nazirite vow. Although the Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, the commentaries justify his approach.


I.e., he does not bring a sacrifice as would a free man who became impure in the midst of his nazirite vow. Instead, he begins his nazirite vow anew when he becomes pure after he attains his freedom.


See Chapter 3, Halachah 12, for a description of how this vow is observed.


This is not a point of Scriptural Law. Instead, the rationale is that since our Sages decreed that the Diaspora - its earth and even its air - conveys ritual impurity, a nazirite cannot observe his vow there (Nazir 54a; see Hilchot Tuma'at Meit 11:1).


So that he can observe his nazirite vow in purity.


Nazir 19b, 20a relates that Queen Heleni took a vow that if her son would return safe from a war, she would be a nazarite for seven years. She observed her vow and came to the Temple to offer her sacrifices. The School of Hillel ruled that she should remain in Eretz Yisrael and observe her vow for another seven years, for the time she observed it in the Diaspora was not counted.


The Ra'avad questions what purpose will be served by ascending to Eretz Yisrael in the present era. We are all impure because of contact with a human corpse (or impurity that results from that) and there are no ashes from the red heifer to purify ourselves. If so, what difference is there between Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora? In neither place, will one be able to complete his nazirite vow in purity. Hence, the Ra'avad concludes, it is forbidden to take a nazirite vow in the present age, whether in the Diaspora or in Eretz Yisrael.

The Radbaz states that although we are ritually impure, abiding in the Diaspora increases that impurity. Hence, it is preferable for one who takes a nazirite vow to ascend to Eretz Yisrael. The Kessef Mishneh goes further and states that since a person can prevent himself from coming into contact with the ritual impurity associated with a corpse, there is no prohibition against taking a nazirite vow in the present age.


See the parallel in Chapter 6, Halachah 7, for parallels.


For even though we are all ritually impure at present, a nazirite who is impure who comes in contact with a corpse is liable for lashes for each time he comes in contact (Chapter 5, Halachah 17).

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah