[We have said that] Rabbi's reason [for interpreting 'yamim' as a year] is because of its occurrence in connection with houses in walled cities. But has not Rabbi himself said that 'yamim' [in that connection] means not less than two days?3 — The only reason that he uses the comparison at all4 is because of the reference to the heaviness [of Absalom's hair],5 and two days' growth is not heavy.6
Why should it not be two years, in accordance with the verse, And it came to pass at the end of two full years?7 From a text containing 'yamim' without mention of years' conclusions may be drawn concerning another text containing 'yamim' without mention of years';8 but no conclusion can be drawn here from this verse where there is mention of 'years'.
Why should it not be thirty days, for there is a verse, but a whole month?9 — From a text mentioning 'yamim' without 'months', conclusions may be drawn concerning another text mentioning 'yamim' without 'months',10 but this verse affords no indication since 'months' are mentioned therewith.
Why should not the inference be made from mi-yamim yamimah ['from days to days']?11 — Conclusions may be drawn concerning a text containing 'yamim'. from another' [text] containing 'yamim', but not from one containing 'yamimah'.
But what is the difference [between 'yamim' and 'yamimah']? Have not the school of R. Ishmael taught that in the verses, And the priest shall come again,12 Then the priest shall come in,12 'coming again' and 'coming in' mean one and the same thing?13 — Inference [from nonidentical expressions] is permissible where there is no identical expression [on which to base the inference], but where an identical expression exists, the inference must be drawn from the identical expression.14
Another reply [to the suggestion that inference be made from 'yamimah']: How do we know [with certainty] that [they went] once every three months? May not the four times per annum have occurred alternately at intervals of four months and of two months?15
'R. Nehorai said: [Absalom] used to poll every thirty days.' What is his reason? — [Ordinary] priests [poll every thirty days]16 because [their hair] becomes burdensome, and so here it would become burdensome [after thirty days].17
'R. Jose said: He polled on the eve of each Sabbath, [etc.]' What difference then was there between him and his brothers?18 — When a festival occurred in mid-week, his brothers polled, but he did not do so. Alternatively, his brothers [if they wished] could poll on Friday morning, but he could not do so until the late afternoon.
What were the forty years referred to [by Absalom]?19 — R. Nehorai, citing R. Joshua, said that it means 'forty years after [the Israelites] had demanded a king.'20 It has been taught: The year in which they demanded a king, was the tenth year [of the principate of] Samuel the Ramathean.21
MISHNAH. A NAZIRITE VOW OF UNSPECIFIED DURATION [REMAINS IN FORCE] THIRTY DAYS.
GEMARA. Whence is this rule derived? — R. Mattena said: The text reads He shall be [yihyeh] holy,22 and the numerical value23 of the word yihyeh is thirty.24 Bar Pada said: [The duration of the vow] corresponds to the number of times that parts of the root nazar are found in the Torah,25 viz., thirty less one.26 Why does not R. Mattena derive [the number of days] from the [occurrences of the various] parts of nazar? — He will tell you that [some of] these are required for teaching special lessons. [Thus the verse.] He shall abstain [yazzir] from wine and strong drink,27 is required to prohibit wine the drinking of which is a ritual obligation as well as wine the drinking of which is optional;28 [whilst the verse,] Shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a nazirite to consecrate himself,29 teaches that one nazirite vow can be superimposed on another.30
Nazir 5bTo which Bar Pada can reply: Is there not even one [recurrence of a part of nazar] that is not needed for a special lesson? Since this one may be used for computation. 1
We have learnt: A NAZIRITE VOW OF UNSPECIFIED DURATION [REMAINS IN FORCE] THIRTY DAYS. Now, this fits in well enough with the view of R. Mattena, but how can it be reconciled with Bar Pada's view?2 — Bar Pada will tell you that because [the period of the vow closes with] the thirtieth day, on which the nazirite polls and brings his sacrifices, [the Mishnah] says thirty [days].
We have learnt: If a man says, 'I declare myself a nazirite,' he polls on the thirty-first day.3 Now, this fits in well enough with the view of R. Mattena, but how is it to be reconciled with Bar Pada's view? — Bar Pada will say: Consider the clause which follows, [viz.:] Should he poll on the thirtieth day, his obligation is fulfilled. We see, then, that the second clause [of this Mishnah] lends support to his view, whilst the original clause [must be read] as though it contained the word [I declare myself a nazirite for thirty] 'whole' [days].4 Does not this second clause need to be reconciled with R. Mattena's view?5 — He considers part of a day equivalent to a whole day.6
But have we not learnt: '[Should someone say,] "I intend to be a nazirite for thirty days," and poll on the thirtieth day, his obligation is not fulfilled'?7 — [We presume that] he said, 'whole days'.
We have learnt: If a man undertakes two naziriteships, he polls for the first one on the thirty-first day, and for the second on the sixty-first day.7 This fits in well enough with the view of R. Mattena
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