ל׳ באב ה׳תשע״ה (August 15, 2015)

Nedarim 83a-b: There’s No Such Thing as a Partial Nazir

On yesterday’s daf we learned that the principle of a neder that is partially permitted becomes totally permitted – neder she-hutar miktzato, hutar kulo – can only be applied to hatarat nedarim, when the vow is annulled by a rabbi. When a husband objects to a neder and is meifer, it only removes the part of the neder that is considered innuy nefesh – as causing suffering – leaving the rest of the vow still intact. The Gemara on our daf brings the case of a woman who accepted upon herself to be a Nazerite who cannot drink or eat grape products, cannot cut her hair and cannot come into contact with a dead body, which would make her become ritually defiled. The baraita teaches that if her husband objects to her having taken on this neder of nezirut, she is freed of her obligation, and even if she is unaware of it and drinks wine or touches a dead body, she will not be held liable. The question presented by the Gemara is: if the husband only cancels nedarim of innuy nefesh, perhaps we must assume that he has only annulled her vow with regard to drinking wine, but other rules of nezirut should still remain in force?

Rav Yosef’s response is ein nezirut la-hatza’in – a person cannot be a partial nazir.

The Maharit explains that the rules that apply to nazir do not fit into normal categories of issur heftza – that the objects are forbidden – or of issur gavra – that the person is prohibited from doing a certain action. The rules of nazir are situational in that a person who finds themselves in the situation of being a nazir is obligated to keep the rules of nezirut, similar to the rules that apply to a Jewish king or . Thus it is clear that a person who enters into the situation of a nazir must keep all of the rules that apply to a nazir. In the event that a woman accepts this status, and it is cancelled by her husband by means of hafara, it cannot remove specific rules that apply to the nazir, rather it undoes the entire status of the woman, removing from her all of the obligations that come with that status.

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