כ״ט באלול ה׳תשע״ה (September 13, 2015)

Nazir 24a-b: The Animals for Her Offerings

The Mishna on our daf discusses a case where a woman accepts the laws of nezirut on herself, and then sets aside an animal for the sacrifice that she will bring upon completing her nezirut. According to the Mishna, if her husband is mefer and nullifies her vow – based on his powers as described in Bamidbar (30:9) and throughout Massekhet Nedarim – the status of the sacrifice will depend on a number of factors. If the animal belonged to her husband, it can simply be returned to the flock. If the animals belonged to her:

  • The hatat (sin-offering) is left to die, since the hatat cannot be used for any other purpose.
  • The olah (burnt-offering) can be brought as a voluntary olah sacrifice.
  • The shelamim (peace-offering) is brought as a voluntary shelamim sacrifice, but it must be eaten the same day, like the shelamim of a nazir.

If she had put aside money for the sacrifices, if she had not designated them for specific sacrifices, the money become a nedava – it is either given to the Temple for general sacrifices or else she brings olot. If she had designated the money for specific sacrifices, those that can be brought as voluntary sacrifices should go for those purposes; the money designated for the hatat, “Yelkhu le-yam ha-melah” – should go to the Dead Sea.

When the Talmud mentions Yam ha-Melah, the Dead Sea, sometimes the intention is to any salty sea (as opposed to a fresh water lake) while other times it refers specifically to the Dead Sea, known in Talmudic literature as “The Sea of Sodom.” Forbidden object are thrown into the Dead Sea because there are no fishermen or other people who would come across these objects. An additional reason may be that the high concentration of salts in the water of the Dead Sea would dissolve anything that was thrown into it.

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