R. Hisda said that stripes are incurred by [removing] one hair; [the completion of his naziriteship] is held up if two hairs [remain];8 [the naziriteship] does not become void unless the greater part of his hair is removed by a razor.
[Are we to understand that] a razor only [is meant by R. Hisda] but no other method? Is it not taught 'How do we know that all other methods of removing [the hair are equally forbidden] etc.'? — You must therefore say [in R. Hisda's dictum] 'removed as though by a razor.'9
Likewise has it been taught: A nazirite who pulls out [his hair], or plucks it, or trims it but a little [incurs a penalty, but he]10 does not render void [the previous period] unless [he shaves] the greater part of his head with a razor.11 R. Simeon b. Judah in the name of R. Simeon said: Just as two hairs [if they are left] hold up [the termination of the naziriteship], so also [the removal of] two hairs renders void [the previous period].12
We learn elsewhere: There are three who must poll, and whose polling is a religious duty, the nazirite, the leper, and the levites.13 If any one of them polled without a razor, or left behind two hairs, his act is invalid.14
The Master said, 'There are three who must poll and whose polling is a religious duty.' Surely this is obvious?15 It might have been thought that they are simply required to remove their hair, and even smearing it with nasha16 [is valid] and so we are told that this is not so.17
It is [also] stated, 'If any one of them polled without a razor etc. Now we can grant this in the case of a nazirite where there is written, There shall no razor come upon his head,18 and of the levites where there is written, And let them cause a razor to pass over all their flesh,19 but how do we know that a leper must use a razor? Should you reply that this can be inferred from the levites [by the following argument, viz.] The levities require to poll, and the polling must be performed with a razor, and so I will infer of the leper who is required to poll that the polling must be performed with a razor; [your argument] can be refuted. For although it is true of the levites [that they must use a razor, this may be] because they had to be offered as a wave-offering,20 which is not the case with the leper. You will therefore attempt to infer it from the nazirite.21 But [it may be asked] although it is true of the nazirite, [this may be] because his sacrifice must be accompanied by cakes,22 whereas a leper's does not require this. It being thus impossible to infer what is required from one by itself, you will try to infer it from both together in the following way. You will infer it [using the above argument] from the levites. [To the objection] that although it is true of the levites [this may be] because they had to be offered as a wave-offering, [you will reply that] the nazirite will show [that this cannot be the reason].23 [To the objection that] although it is true of the nazirite [this may be] because his sacrifice must be accompanied by cakes, [you will reply that] the levites show [that this cannot be the reason].24 The argument thus goes round; what applies to one side does not apply to the other; and what applies to the other side does not apply to the one side. What they have in common is that they both require to poll25 and this polling must be done with a razor, and so I will infer with regard to the leper26 who is also required to poll that his polling must be done with a razor.
Said Raba of Barnesh27 to R. Ashi: But can it not be objected that another common property of [the levites and the nazirite] is
Nazir 40bthat their sacrifice could not be offered in poverty,1 whereas the sacrifice of a leper could be offered in poverty?2
Raba b. Mesharsheya said to Raba: This Tanna first asserts that [the rule of the nazirite] could not be deduced from that of the leper3 because we must not argue to the less stringent from the more stringent in order to impose on it the same stringency, and then he goes on to say that [the case of the leper itself] should be inferred by argument,4 whereas in fact we are not able to infer it from any argument!5 — [Raba] replied: The former discussion is based on the view of the Rabbis,6 the latter on that of R. Eliezer,7 for we have learnt:8 Whilst there is no penalty9 unless he plucks out [the hair] with a razor. R. Eliezer said that even if he plucks it with tweezers or with a rohitni10 he incurs a penalty.11
What is the reason of the Rabbis?12 It has been taught: Why does Scripture mention his beard?13 Because we find elsewhere14 the verse, Neither shall they shave off the corners of their beards,15 it might be thought that this applies even to [a priest who is] a leper. We are therefore told [that the leper must shave] 'his beard'.16 Whence [do we know] that he must use a razor? — It has been taught: [The verse,] Neither shall they shave off the corners of their beards17 could mean that even if they shaved it with scissors there would be a penalty, and so we are told [elsewhere], Neither shalt thou mar [the corners of thy beard].18 [This last verse alone] could mean that even if he plucks it out with tweezers or a rohitni there is a penalty, and so we are told, Neither shall they shave the corners of their beards. How [do we make the inferences from these verses]? The kind of shaving that also mars [the beard] is with a razor.19
But how does it follow?20 For may it not well be that even if [the leper] uses tweezers or a rohitni he has carried out his religious duty, the purpose of the verse21 being to tell us that even if he uses a razor there is no penalty? — I will explain. If you assume that even if he uses tweezers or a rohitni he has carried out his religious duty, the verse should have remained silent on the subject22 and I should have argued as follows. Seeing that a nazirite, who has done what is forbidden,23 is nevertheless obliged [to use a razor], then [the leper] who is here doing a religious duty24 should certainly [be allowed to use a razor].
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