י״ג באלול ה׳תשע״ה (August 28, 2015)

Nazir 7a-b: A Permanent Nazirite

We have learned in Massekhet Nazir that stam nezirut sheloshim yom – the standard length of time for nezirut is 30 days – but that a person can accept a longer period of nezirut, as well. For example, had a tradition that a person could accept nezirut olamnezirut that would remain in force for a person’s entire life. The Mishna and Gemara on our daf discuss how we interpret a person’s statement about the length of nezirut. Thus we find that statements like, “I accept upon myself a large nezirut,” or, “I accept upon myself a small nezirut,” are understood to mean simply that the individual sees his nezirut as “a big deal” or not. They do not affect the length of the nezirut, which remains the standard 30 days. Even a statement like “I accept nezirut from here until the end of the world” will be interpreted to mean that the person accepting the nezirut sees it as a serious, difficult commitment, but that statement will not affect the length of the nezirut.

In order for a person to be obligated in nezirut forever, his statement must be a clear one. A person who says that his nezirut should extend his entire life becomes a nazir olam. Similarly, statements like “I accept nezirut like the dust of the sea” or “like the sand on the oceans” will obligate the person to be a nazir olam. The Me’iri and others distinguish between these cases and the case in the Mishna, of “I accept nezirut from here until the end of the world,” by pointing to the expression mi-kan – “from here” – which indicates an out-of-the-ordinary intent, as explained above. Rashi on the Mishna, however, does not distinguish between these cases and suggests that in all cases where the implication is that a person accepted nezirut olam, he is obligated in nezirut for his entire life. The case in the Mishna is where the individual says “I accept upon myself a large nezirut, from here until the end of the world.” Only in such a case will we interpret his intention to be simply a statement that he accepts a standard nezirut, which appears to him to be a very difficult task.

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