THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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NAZIR 41 & 42 - sponsored by Harav Ari Bergmann of Lawrence, N.Y., out of
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1) HALACHAH: SHAVING A NAZIR'S BEARD
The Gemara derives from "Zekano" (Vayikra 14:9) that a Metzora shaves his
hair, including his beard, even if he is a Kohen (who is normally prohibited
to shave his beard, Vayikra 21:5). Rebbi Eliezer learns from "Rosho" (14:9)
that a Metzora must shave his head even if he is a Nazir (who is normally
prohibited to shave his head). TOSFOS points out that if this verse did not
teach that a Nazir-Metzora shaves, we might have thought that a Nazir-Metzora
does not shave the hair of his head but shaves only the hair of the rest of
his body. Since there is an extra word "Rosho" in the verse, it teaches that
a Nazir-Metzora must shave even the hair on his head.
It seems clear from the Gemara, as well as from Tosfos, that the only hair
that the Isur of Nezirus prohibits a Nazir from shaving is the hair on his
head. A Nazir is permitted to shave the rest of the hair on his body,
including the hair of his *beard* (as we find that "Zekano" is another word
in the verse (14:9) that teaches which hair a Metzora shaves). The verse
describing the Mitzvah of a Nazir mentions only his head and makes no mention
of his beard, and all of the Gemaras and Poskim (such as the Rambam) who
discuss the laws of a Nazir discuss only shaving his head.
What, though, is the dividing point between the hair of his head and the hair
of his beard? The dividing point may be learned from the Mishnah in Nega'im
(10:9) which discusses Nega'im of the head and of the beard and says that
they do not combine to make a Shi'ur (of a Gris). The Mishnah there lists
explicitly where on the head the dividing point is located ("Perek Shel
Lechi;" see Background to Chulin 134b).
2) USING A SCISSORS TO SHAVE
QUESTIONS: The Gemara explains that according to the Rabanan the verse of
"Rosho" (Vayikra 14:9) teaches that Hakafah of the entire head is considered
Hakafah, and that the shaving of a Metzora overrides the Lo Ta'aseh of
Hakafas ha'Rosh (a Lo Ta'aseh which is not Shaveh ba'Kol). We cannot learn,
though, from "Rosho" that the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach of a Metzora must be done
with a Ta'ar (razor). TOSFOS (DH Hashta, and in Shevuos 2b, see previous
Insight) proves from here that the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh is not limited to
a Ta'ar, but it also includes doing Hakafah of the head with scissors.
(a) Why should Tosfos have to prove that Hakafas ha'Rosh is prohibited with
scissors? Why would we have thought that it is not prohibited? The verse
says merely, "Do not circle your head [by removing your hair]" (Vayikra
19:27). What implication is there in the verse that it is prohibited only
with a Ta'ar?
(b) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas to Shevuos 2b, and in a question
written to the CHASAM SOFER, printed in Teshuvos Chasam Sofer YD 139) asks
that according to Tosfos, it should be prohibited for any person to comb his
Pe'os. The Mishnah (42a) states that a Nazir may not comb his hair because
it is inevitable ("Pesik Reshei") that hair will be pulled out. It is even
prohibited for a Nazir to pull out hair with his hands. According to Tosfos,
who says that the prohibition of Hakafas ha'Rosh is not limited to a Ta'ar,
it should be prohibited for any man to pull out the hair of his beard or
Pe'os with his hand, and it should be prohibited to use a comb on his Pe'os
because it is a "Pesik Reshei" that he will put out hair! Yet we do not find
that anyone prohibits such a thing, and everyone uses combs.
(a) REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Gilyon ha'Shas; see also Teshuvah of the Chasam
Sofer loc. cit.) suggests that Tosfos reasoned that Hakafas ha'Rosh should
be prohibited only when done with a Ta'ar because the Torah puts the Isur of
Hakafah in the same verse as the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan (shaving one's
beard), comparing the two Isurim.
Why does Tosfos only discuss whether Hakafah is prohibited with scissors?
Tosfos should be equally in doubt whether Melaket and Rehitni are
prohibited, and yet Tosfos (Shevuos 2b) seems to take for granted that they
are prohibited! Rebbi Akiva Eiger answers that the verse which compares the
Isur of Hakafah to the Isur of Gilu'ach says "Lo Sashchis Es Pe'as
Zekanecha" (Vayikra 19:27) -- one should not do "Hashchasah" to his beard,
and the Gemara says that this implies that one should not cut it at the
root, like the way a Ta'ar, Melaket, and Rehitni cut. Therefore, we might
have thought that Hakafah is only prohibited when done "b'Derech
Hashchasah," but cutting the hair with a scissors -- which does not cut the
hair off at the root -- it is permitted. (Even though we learn from another
verse that Gilu'ach is not Asur when done with a Melaket or Rehitni but only
with a Ta'ar, nevertheless since *this* verse of Gilu'ach does not clearly
permit Melaket and Rehitni, we might have thought that Hakafah is Asur with
a Melaket and Rehitni, and it is only permitted when done with scissors.)
From Tosfos in our Sugya it seems that there is an additional reason why he
assumes that it is permitted to do Hakafah with scissors. The Mishnah
describes Hakafah as "leveling the area from the forehead to behind the
ears" by making the skin above the ears as bald as the skin on both sides
(the forehead, and behind the ears). This implies that the Hakafah must make
the sides of the head entirely hairless. Tosfos cites a Tosefta to this
effect which says that Hakafas ha'Rosh is only prohibited when it is done
"k'Ein Ta'ar," in the manner that a Ta'ar cut hair. The Gemara tells us that
scissors does not cut the hair at its root, for the scissor-action requires
that it leave behind the width of the bottom blade (40b, Tosfos DH d'Tanya).
Therefore, perhaps cutting hair with scissors is not called Hakafah. Melaket
and Rehitni, though, remove the hair at the root, so they are certainly
included in the Isur of Hakafah. In fact, TOSFOS RID permits using scissors
to cut the Pe'os for this reason. However, Tosfos proves that even scissors
are included in the Isur of Hakafah, for we find that the Gemara earlier
(40b) implies that scissors are a valid form of Gilu'ach (that is, had the
verse not excluded scissors from the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan with the
phrase, "Lo Sashchis," it would have been prohibited to shave with
scissors). Since the Mitzvah of Metzora is "v'Gilach," it follows that if
the Torah does not tell us otherwise, the Gilu'ach of a Metzora may be done
with scissors. If the Torah permits a Metzora to be Docheh the Isur of
Hakafas ha'Rosh, the Gemara should learn from this that a Metzora may *not*
use scissors. It must be that Hakafas ha'Rosh cannot be done with scissors
either, and therefore we do not have any proof that a Metzora may not use
scissors. Even though scissors leave a little bit of stubble, the amount is
so little that the scissors' action can be called "k'Ein Ta'ar." This is
clear from the Mishnah earlier (39a) which teaches that a Nazir is Chayav
Malkus for cutting his hair with scissors even though he is only Chayav
Malkus for cutting the hair "k'Ein Ta'ar" (see Tosfos 39b, DH Tanu Rabanan).
(This is what Tosfos means when he says at the end of DH Hashta that even
cutting with scissors can be called "k'Ein Ta'ar.")
(b) Regarding Rebbi Akiva Eiger's question why is it permitted to comb the
Pe'os, the CHASAM SOFER points out that the wording of the Mishnah (42a)
implies that only a Nazir is prohibited from combing his hair; a normal
person may comb any part of his hair, including his Pe'os. Apparently, even
if the prohibition of Hakafas ha'Rosh includes using scissors or Melaket and
Rehitni, it does *not* include plucking hairs from the head. Plucking hairs
("Korchah") is not a normal form of hair removal and cannot possibly be
included in the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan or the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh.
What, then, is the difference between using a Melaket or Rehitni and
plucking hair? RASHI (Shabbos 97a, Kidushin 35b) explains that Melaket and
Rehitni are both tools similar to a plane used for smoothing down rough
surfaces. They are comprised of a metal blade that cuts the hair and does
not pull out the hair. Pulling out the hair, though, perhaps is permitted.
This would be consistent with the fact that when the Mishnah (39a, 42a)
discusses the Isurim of a Nazir it says that a Nazir may not "pull out"
hair, rather than saying that he may not use a Melaket or Rehitni, and yet
when discussing the Isur of Gilu'ach, the Beraisa says only that one may not
use a Melaket or Rehitni.
However, the RAMBAM seems to have learned differently. The Rambam (Perush
ha'Mishnayos, end of Makos; see also Aruch, Erech "Melaket") writes that
Melaket and Rehitni are forms of tweezers which pluck out hair. If plucking
out hairs constitute the Isur of Gilu'ach ha'Zakan, then plucking out hairs
should also constitute the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh.
The Chasam Sofer himself points out that the Tosefta (Makos 4:4) clearly
states that it is possible for a person to transgress multiple Isurim by
plucking out two hairs, including the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh and the Isur
of Gilu'ach of a Nazir.
Why, then, according to the Rambam, is it permitted to comb one's Pe'os?
First, the Rambam (Hilchos Avodah Zarah 12:6) rules that the Isur of Hakafas
ha'Rosh is to cut the hair with a Ta'ar, but it is permitted to use other
means of cutting the hair, such as with scissors. Second, the Rambam there
writes that Hakafas ha'Rosh requires that one leave at least forty hairs. It
seems that the Rambam only prohibits Hakafah in a case where one removes so
much hair that less than forty hairs remain. (See Chasam Sofer.)