כ״ז בתשרי ה׳תשע״ו (October 10, 2015)

Nazir 49a-b: Sources of Ritual Impurity

While it is clear that a nazir cannot allow himself to become tameh met, not all situations that are considered tum’at met will necessarily force the nazir to begin his nezirut anew. In fact, as we will see in the upcoming mishnayot, there are circumstances in which the nazir will formally be considered tameh met, but he will not need to shave his hair and he will be allowed to return to the nezirut that he began once he has completed the process that will make him tahor (ritually pure) again.

What cases of tum’at met are considered significant enough to force the nazir to shave and begin his nezirut from the beginning? Among the cases listed in the Mishna on our daf are the following:

  • The dead body itself
  • An olive size from the dead body
  • An olive size of netzel – body fluids
  • A full ladle of rakav – dust from a corpse
  • The spine
  • The skull
  • The limb of a dead person
  • The separated limb of a live person

The case of netzel (body fluids) refers to either one of two cases. Certain parts of the living body are in liquid form, such as lubricating fluids in the joints of a healthy person, or pus in the case of an infection. These liquids ordinarily harden after death, since the normal body functions that created them cease to function. A second situation would be found when a dead body is left in a very hot place – for example if someone died in a fire – and the fat in the body may melt and become liquid for a short time, hardening when the heat source is removed. These body fluids that become solid are what the Mishna refers to as netzel.

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