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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nazir

Folio 15a

[Defilement] is different, for the All-Merciful Law says, And he defile his consecrated head,1  showing that [the penalty for defilement lies] wherever the nazirite ship depends on the head.2

An objection was raised: A nazirite who has completed his period is forbidden to poll, or drink wine, or have contact with the dead. Should he poll or drink wine, or have contact with the dead he is to receive the forty stripes. [This is] a refutation of R. Jose son of R. Hanina.


GEMARA. Rab said: The seventieth day itself is reckoned as part of both periods.5

We learnt: IF [A SON] BE BORN TO HIM BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF SEVENTY DAYS, HE LOSES NONE OF THIS PERIOD. Now if you assume that [the day of birth] is reckoned as part of both periods, [not only does he not lose but] he actually profits!6  — Strictly speaking there should have been no mention of the period-before the seventieth day,7  but because it says in the subsequent clause [of the Mishnah], that [birth] after the seventieth day renders these seventy days void, the period before the seventieth day is mentioned in the first clause.

Come [then] and hear the subsequent clause: 'IF IT BE BORN AFTER THE SEVENTIETH DAY,8  THE SEVENTY DAYS ARE VOID9  — The meaning of 'AFTER' is, after [the day] after [the seventieth day],10  You say then that [a birth on] the day after [the seventieth day] itself,11  would not render void [the previous period]. But if this is so, why should we be told that if the birth occurs before the seventieth day none of the period is lost, seeing that the same is true [of a birth occurring] on the day after the seventieth day? — It is consequently to be inferred that 'AFTER' means [the day] after literally, and thus the Mishnah unquestionably [contradicts] Rab.

Whose authority was Rab following in making this assertion? Shall we say it was Abba Saul, [in connection with whom] we have learnt: If a man bury his dead three days before a festival, the enactment of seven days' [full mourning] ceases to apply to him, if eight days before the festival, the enactment of thirty days [halfmourning] ceases to apply, and he may trim his hair on the eve of the festival. Should he, however, fail to trim his hair on the eve of the festival, he is not permitted to do so afterwards [until the thirty days' half-mourning elapse].

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Num. VI, 9.
  2. I.e., as long as his head is unpolled. though the 'days of his consecration are fulfilled'.
  3. I.e., He counts a naziriteship of thirty days on account of his son, and then completes the hundred days on his own account.
  4. And since there are not thirty days left over from the first naziriteship, the whole of it becomes void, and he has to start his one hundred days over again.
  5. So that on the one hand seventy days of his own naziriteship are completed, and on the other he need only reckon twenty-nine more days for the naziriteship following the birth of his son. The same will of course be true of the last day of this naziriteship, when he must again commence the remainder of his own (Rashi).
  6. For each of the days between the naziriteships counts as two.
  7. Because there is no manner of doubt as to what the law should be and he does in fact gain.
  8. I.e., as we should suppose on the seventy-first.
  9. Whereas if Rab be right, a birth on the seventy-first day should not render void the previous period, since reckoning both ways, thirty days remain.
  10. I.e., The seventy-second day, which on any reckoning would not leave more than twenty-nine.
  11. I.e., seventy-first day.
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Nazir 15b

Abba Saul said: Even if he should fail to trim his hair before the festival, he is permitted to do so afterwards, for just as the observance of three days [before the festival] causes the enactment of seven days [full mourning] to lapse, so the observance of seven days [full-mourning before the festival] causes the enactment of thirty days [half-mourning] to lapse. Now, Abba Saul's reason is surely that the seventh day is reckoned as part both of [the full-mourning] and of [the halfmourning]!1  — Possibly Abba Saul only makes this avowal in connection with the periods of the seven days'2  mourning which are a rabbinic enactment, whereas he would not do so in connection with naziriteship, a scriptural enactment?3  It must therefore be that Rab follows R. Jose. for it has been taught: R. Jose said that a woman, 'on the wait' for gonorrhoenic issue,4  on whose behalf [the paschal lamb] has been slaughtered and [its blood] sprinkled, on the second day [of her waiting], and who later [in the same day] observes an issue, may not eat [of the passover],5  and does not have to prepare the second passover.6  Now R. Jose's reason is surely because in his opinion, part of the day counts as a whole day, so that she becomes unclean only from the moment [of observing the issue] and thereafter.7

Is this indeed R. Jose's opinion?8  Has it not been taught: R. Jose said that a sufferer from gonorrhoea who has observed unclean issue on two occasions, and on whose behalf [the paschal lamb] has been slaughtered and [its blood] sprinkled 'on the seventh day [of his impurity], and Similarly a woman, on the wait' for gonorrhoeic issue on whose behalf [the paschal lamb] has been slaughtered and [its blood] sprinkled — if they afterwards observe an unclean issue, then even though they render unclean couch and seat9  retrospectively, they are not obliged to offer the second passover?10  — [The uncleanness] is retrospective only by enactment of the Rabbis. This is indeed evident, for if it were scriptural, on what grounds would they be exempt from the second passover?11  [No!]12  In point of fact it would be possible for the uncleanness [to be retrospective] in biblical law also, the concealed impurity13  of gonorrhoea not being reckoned a ban [to the offering of the passover].

R. Oshaya. too, is of the opinion that the retrospective incidence is rabbinic in origin,14  for it has been taught:15  R. Oshaia said that one who observes a gonorrhoeic issue on his seventh day, renders void the preceding [seven days]. R. Johanan said to him: Only that day itself becomes void. But consider! [What is R. Johanan saying?] If it renders void at all, it should render all [seven days] void, otherwise it should not render void even the same day? — Read therefore: [R. Johanan said that] it does not even render void the same day,

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. In the same way as Rab reckons the 70th day twice over.
  2. The argument applying with greater force to the period of half-mourning.
  3. Hence Rab cannot appeal to his authority.
  4. V. Lev. XV, 25ff. Should a woman observe issue after her menstrual period, she becomes unclean until evening. From that time she is 'on the wait', and if there is an issue on the second day, she becomes unclean for seven days. A third day certifies her as gonorrhoeic, and she must then bring a sacrifice after purification; v. Sanh. (Sonc. ed.) p. 577. n. i. Whilst unclean she must not eat the flesh of sacrifices.
  5. For she is now unclean for seven days.
  6. On the 14th day of the following month, Iyar; v. Num. IX, 9ff.
  7. She was fit to offer the Passover, although she cannot now eat it. Adopting the reading of Tosaf., Asheri and others.
  8. That she becomes unclean only from that moment.
  9. Cf. Lev. XV, 4.
  10. Since they render unclean couch and seat retrospectively, the day must count as belonging wholly to the unclean period!
  11. Since they were already unclean when the paschal lamb was killed.
  12. This would afford no proof.
  13. Lit., 'impurity of the abyss', a technical term for an impurity of which there is no sign until its issue.
  14. In the opinion of R. Jose.
  15. [var. Iec.: For R. Oshaia said].
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