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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nazir

Folio 39a

quoted the passage in contradiction [of Abaye] because of the five [scourgings], and if five is not mentioned in it, why did he quote it as a contradiction? — R. Papa said [to himself]: I imagined that [Abaye's opinion] was not a tradition [he had received], and so he would retract [on hearing my quotation], for I did not know that it was a tradition and that he would not retract.1

R. ELEAZAR B. AZARIAH SAID etc.: R. Joseph said: In agreement with whom is the rendering in the Targum2  as 'from the kernels even unto the skins'?3  — In agreement with the opinion of R. Jose.4


GEMARA. [The Academy] wished to know whether the growth of the hair takes place at the roots or at the tips.8  [The knowledge] is of importance for the case of a nazirite polled by bandits who left enough [of each hair] for the end to be curled in towards the root.9  If [the hair] grows at the roots the consecrated part has been removed,10  but if it grows at the tips, then the part he consecrated is still there.11

Judge from the live nit found at the root of a strand [of hair], for if it were true that the growth is at the root ought it not to be found at the tip?12  — The growth may well be at the tip, but the nit, being alive, continually moves down [towards the root].

Judge13  from a dead nit [that is found] at the end of a strand[ of hair], for if it were true that the growth takes place at the end, ought it not to be found near the root? There again [it may well be] because it has no power [to grasp the hair]14  that it slides more and more along it.

Judge from the pigtails of heathens15  that loosen near the root after growing [for some time]!16  There too, [it may well be] because of its being creased by his lying on it that it grows loose.17

Judge from the sekarta18  for the wool grows fresh again underneath [the marking], and this is something which we learned [in a Mishnah];19  further when old men dye their beards, these grow white again

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Instead he tried to explain away the Baraitha as quoted, and so R. Papa explained that there was in fact no contradiction.
  2. V. Targum Onkelos on Num. VI, 4.
  3. Instead of from the 'pressed-grapes (skins) even to the grape-stone as our versions have.
  4. V. Our Mishnah.
  5. This statement is repeated here (from supra 5a) to explain the rule of the next sentence.
  6. Before bringing his sacrifices.
  7. So that he should have a nazirite's poll when his sacrifices are offered and the vow terminated.
  8. I.e., Does the growth of the hair result from new portions emerging from beneath the scalp, so that the part at first in contact with the scalp is afterwards found at a distance from it; or does this part remain where it is, and the growth take place in the visible part of the hair?
  9. I.e., a seven-days growth, v. infra 39b.
  10. And so this nazirite would have to observe a further thirty days as enjoined in the Mishnah.
  11. And he may proceed to bring his sacrifices and poll in the ordinary manner. In this argument it is taken for granted that a nazirite consecrates the hair on his head at the time of his vow.
  12. Assuming that the nit stays on the same point of the strand all the time.
  13. Lit., 'come and hear'.
  14. Now that it is dead.
  15. [Heb. belorith (etym. obscure), a heathen fashion of growing locks from the crown of the head hanging down in plaits at the back; v. Krauss, TA I, 645.]
  16. So that new hair must have appeared near the roots.
  17. And not because new hair has grown.
  18. A red paint with which the tenth animals were marked during tithing, v. Bek. IX, 7 (58a).
  19. The Mishnah (Bek. IX, 7) would not have suggested marking with sekarta if the markings were to become hidden shortly afterwards by a new growth. Mishnaic verification is always preferable to a mere argument.

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Nazir 39b

at the roots.1  From this we can justly infer that hair increases at the roots. This proves it.

But it has been taught [as follows]: A nazirite polled by bandits who left sufficient [of each hair] for the end to be curled inwards towards the root is not required to render void [his naziriteship].2  Now if it is true that the hair grows from beneath, why should he not render it void? — It is here assumed that they polled him after the termination [of his naziriteship], and the author is R Eliezer in whose opinion whatever happens after the termination of the naziriteship renders void only seven days,3  his reason being that he applies the same rule to polling in ritual purity4  as to polling after defilement. Just as in polling after defilement seven days become void,5  so in polling in ritual purity seven days are to be come void; and the Rabbis knew for a fact that every seven days enough hair grows for the tip to be curled inwards towards the root.6

A NAZIRITE WHO POLLS HIMSELF, NO MATTER WHETHER HE USES A RAZOR OR A SCISSORS,7  OR WHO TRIMS [HIS HAIR] HOWEVER LITTLE INCURS A PENALTY: Our Rabbis taught: [From the word] razor,8  I only know [that he is forbidden to use] a razor. How do I know that if he pulls [his hair] out, or plucks it [with tweezers] or trims it however little [he is equally culpable]? The verse continues, He shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow long.9  The above is the opinion of R. Josiah, whereas R. Jonathan said that 'razor' implies razor only, and if he plucks [his hair] or pulls it out, or trims it but a little there is no penalty.10  But it says, He shall be holy etc.?11  — This is to tell us that if he removes it with a razor, he has transgressed both a positive and a negative precept.12

Another [Baraitha] taught: 'Razor' tells me only [that he is forbidden to use] a razor. How do I know that if he pulls out [his hair], or plucks it, or trims it but a little [he is equally culpable]? The verse reads, [A razor] shall not come upon his head.13  Now seeing that we are finally [intended] to include all means [of removing the hair], why are we told that a razor shall not come upon his head? This is because we should not otherwise be able to infer that the final polling must be done with a razor.14  For it is impossible to derive this from the leper15,

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. So that the same is true of human hair as of sheep's wool.
  2. But may proceed to bring his sacrifices and Poll in the ordinary manner.
  3. This view is stated in connection with a nazirite who contracted defilement after the termination of his period. V. supra. Mishnah and Gemara 160.
  4. I.e. polling after the termination of the vow in ritual purity. Before the termination, in both cases thirty days become void according to R. Eliezer; Ibid.
  5. Viz.: the seven days during which he is unclean.
  6. So that if this amount was already left by the bandits, he need not wait at all.
  7. In the Mishnah the order is, scissors or razor'.
  8. 'There shall no razor come upon his head' (Num. VI, 5) — of the nazirite.
  9. Indicating that the objection is to removing the hair and not simply to the use of a razor, as the means of removing it.
  10. It is not even forbidden to do this according to R. Jonathan (v. Tosaf.).
  11. Implying at least that it is forbidden to remove his hair by any means, even if there is no penalty (see previous note).
  12. I.e., the implication is also a razor only, the prohibition of its use being merely strengthened.
  13. Interpreted, omitting the first word 'razor', as 'he shall not remove (the hair) of his head'.
  14. At the termination of the naziriteship; v. Num. VI, 18, where the instrument to be used for polling is not mentioned, and so we infer it from the mention of the razor earlier in the passage.
  15. Who is also required to poll; v. Lev. XIV, 8-9.

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