THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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1) TWO HAIRS LEFT
The Gemara asks two specific questions regarding the Gilu'ach of a Nazir.
2) COMBING THE HAIR OF A NAZIR
(a) Abaye asks that if a Nazir shaves of all but two of his hairs, leaving
those two hairs while the rest of his hair grows back, and then he cuts
those last two hairs, is that considered a valid Gilu'ach or must he cut the
rest of his hair again as well?
What is the basis for Abaye's question? What reasons are there to say that
it is or is not a valid Gilu'ach?
(b) Rava asks what the Halachah would be in a case where a Nazir shaves all
of his hair except for two hairs, and then one of those two remaining hairs
falls out, and he shaves the remaining hair? The Gemara concludes that this
would not be a valid form of Gilu'ach, and thus the Nazir must wait until
the hair grows back and perform another Gilu'ach.
What is Rava's reason to assume that such a Gilu'ach would be valid? If the
Nazir leaves over two hairs, it is obvious that such a Gilu'ach is not
valid! We know that two hairs are "Me'akev" the Gilu'ach of a Nazir, and
here the Nazir left two hairs, one of which subsequently fell out by itself,
and hence he never did a proper Gilu'ach.
Second, why does Rava specifically phrase his question to say that the Nazir
"cut off" the last hair. What difference does it make if the Nazir cut off
the last hair or it fell out?
Third, why does Rava present his question in a case where only two hairs are
left and the first of those two falls out? Why would the same Halachah not
apply where there are three hairs left and the first one falls out and the
Nazir cuts the remaining two?
(a) The RISHONIM (see SHITAH MEKUBETZES) explain that Abaye's question is
whether the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach of a Nazir means that the Nazir must cut off
his hair, or that he must make his head bald. If it means that he must cut
off his hair, then even though some of the hair grows back before he cuts
off the rest of it, in the end he has cut off all of the hair that was on
his head at the time that he began his act of Gilu'ach. The new hair that
grows in does not have to be cut since those hairs were already cut, and
thus the Nazir has fulfilled his obligation to cut off his hair. On the
other hand, if the Mitzvah of Gilu'ach is to make the head bald, then since
new hair grew in, the Mitzvah will not be completed until he cuts not only
the remaining hairs but also the hairs that grew in. He must make the head
bald in order to do a proper Gilu'ach.
The Rishonim seem to argue whether Abaye means that even a growth of hair
that is less than "Kedei la'Chof Rosho l'Ikro" can prevent the Gilu'ach from
being valid (and therefore the Nazir must wait for that hair to grow the
amount of "Kedei la'Chof" and then cut it). On the other hand, perhaps such
a small growth is ignored and the question of Abaye will arise only if the
hair grows "Kedei la'Chof." (The question of the Rishonim might be whether
the requirement to have "Gilu'ach k'Ein Ta'ar" means to exclude anything
smaller than "Kedei la'Chof," or minutely short hair.)
(b) The SHITAH MEKUBETZES and RABEINU PERETZ explain that Rava's question is
whether or not the hair that fell out interrupts the Gilu'ach with an
irrevocable "Hefsek." If the hair that fell out is not the second to the
last but there are still many hairs on the head at the time that it fell
out, then it is clear that the loss of that strand of hair is not a "Hefsek"
in the Gilu'ach. Since there is still a Shi'ur Gilu'ach in the remaining
hair (i.e. more than two hairs), he may continue the Gilu'ach. Conversely,
if there are only two hairs remaining and both of them fall out, it is
obvious that the Gilu'ach is not valid, since the Nazir did not finish the
Gilu'ach (since the Shi'ur of Gilu'ach -- two hairs -- fell out by
The question of Rava arises when two hairs remain and only the first one of
them falls out. Do we say that since the Nazir cut the last hair, it is
viewed as a continuation of the Gilu'ach and it makes no difference whether
the hair fell out when there were many hairs remaining or only one hair
remaining? Or perhaps we should say that since the minimum amount of hairs
that can comprise a Gilu'ach is two hairs and after the hair fell out only
one hair remained, the cutting of the last hair by itself cannot be called a
Gilu'ach, and so, too, it cannot become part of the Gilu'ach that the Nazir
performed already until the last two hairs. The Gemara concludes that it is
not considered a Gilu'ach, because the hair that fell out separates the last
hair from the Gilu'ach.
QUESTION: The Mishnah teaches that a Nazir may wash his hair with shampoo
("Chofef") and may untangle or part his hair ("Mesfaspes"), but he may not
comb his hair. The Gemara explains that a Nazir is prohibited from combing
his hair because one who combs his hair "has intention to remove the loose
hairs," and thus the Nazir will be intentionally pulling out his hair.
The Gemara seems to be saying that the removal of hair through combing is
not considered a "Davar she'Eino Miskaven," but rather it is a "Davar
Miskaven;" the Nazir has intention to remove hair by combing.
RASHI in Shabbos (50b) and the ROSH here, however, write that a Nazir may
not comb his hair because doing so is a "Pesik Reishei" -- even though he
does not intend to remove hairs, it is inevitable that combing will remove
hairs. How do they reconcile this with the reason that the Gemara here gives
when it says that a person does have intention to remove hair when he combs?
Why do they explain that combing is prohibited because of "Pesik Reishei"
instead of explaining the Gemara in the straightforward sense, that
hair-removal through combing is "Miskaven?"
ANSWERS: The RIVASH (#394) asks this question on Rashi from our Gemara. He
explains that Rashi prefers not to explain the Gemara it the most
straightforward way because the next Mishnah concludes that Rebbi Yishmael
prohibits a Nazir from scrubbing his hair with Adamah (earth, a form of
shampoo) because doing so removes the hair, which clearly implies that one
cannot use Adamah because it is a "Pesik Reishei." Since the beginning of
the Mishnah that is discussing Chofef and the end of the Mishnah that is
discussing Chofef with Adamah are both discussing an act of "Davar she'Eino
Miskaven," it is logical to say that the middle case, of combing, is also a
case of "Davar she'Eino Miskaven." Hence, the only reason it could be
prohibited is because it is a "Pesik Reishei." How, though, does this fit
into the reason that the Gemara gives? (See Rivash there.)
(a) The KEREN ORAH answers that according to Rashi, the Gemara means that a
person uses a comb to separate the hairs *from each other*, but not to
remove the hairs from his head. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that some
hairs will be removed from his head since there are always hairs that are
loose. Even though the Nazir does not intend to remove those hairs but only
intends to separate the hairs from each other, it is prohibited because of
"Pesik Reishei." (This might be what the Rivash means.)
(b) The MAGEN AVRAHAM (OC 303:22) explains that Rashi is adding an
additional reason to the reason that the Gemara gives. The Gemara's reason
applies only when the Nazir actually intends to remove the hairs with the
comb. Rashi's reason applies even when he does not intend to remove the
hairs; he is still prohibited to comb his hair if the comb is a hard comb
and it is a "Pesik Reishei" that hairs will be removed. The Gemara, on the
other hand, does not give Rashi's reason, because it is teaching that even
when the comb is soft, the Nazir is prohibited to comb his hair with it if
he intends to remove hairs.
(c) TOSFOS in Kesuvos (6a) and elsewhere cites the view of the ARUCH who
says that an act of "Pesik Reishei" is prohibited only when the person doing
the act benefits from the act that is done. If the person does not benefit
from the Melachah that inevitably occurs (that is, it is a "Pesik Reishei
d'Lo Nicha Lei"), then it is only a "Davar she'Eino Miskaven" and is not
Asur. Perhaps, according to the Aruch, when the Gemara says that he intends
to remove the loose hairs, it does not mean that he literally intends to
remove them, but that he just benefits from their removal (in that it makes
him look handsome). This might be why the Rosh and Rashi write that combing
is a "Pesik Reishei." (However, the Rosh in Shabbos 103a rejects the opinion
of the Aruch. See also the Rosh in Shabbos (14:9) who maintains that the
Aruch would not permit a "Pesik Reishei d'Lo Nicha Lei" in cases of Isur
other than Isurim of Shabbos.)
(d) It is also possible that the Gemara is giving a *reason* why "Pesik
Reishei" is Asur according to Rebbi Shimon, who holds that a "Davar she'Eino
Miskaven" is not prohibited at all. Rebbi Shimon agrees that if it is
inevitable that a Melachah will occur as a result of the action that the
person intentionally does, then it is as if the person also has intention to
do the resultant Melachah as well, and therefore he is Chayav.