Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Daf: Nazir 50-53

As we get to the end of Nazir, most of my comments are technical. The casual reader may find the tooth note on 51a interesting, and the method issue of the 3rd-man-in מכריע on 53a.

On the thick honey known as דבש הזיפים, see the Rosh’s interesting explanation, from a gemara in Sotah, that this may refer to a honey which was so thick that merchants would dilute it (זיוף) and people couldn’t tell the difference.

The מפורד text is odd, when referring to something that had been in many tiny pieces – and, sure enough, the Rosh has מפורר, crumby, which seems to fit better.

How could there be atzamos without gidin? See the Rosh.

The common denominator for hair, teeth and nails, as the Rosh brings from the gemara in Niddah, is that either they are not created at birth, or they regenerate.

The discussion of teeth and tumah is particularly interesting because of the debate about Rabbi Yochanan’s practice, recorded in the beginning of gemara Berachos, of consoling mourners by saying to them דין גרמא דעשיראה ביר, which seems to translate to “This is the bone of my tenth son,” for he had lost ten sons, and apparently showing them the bone. This practice is highly problematic, both in terms of spreading tumah and in terms of failing to bury the bone! Some suggest that it was a bone from the Seudas Havraah (הבראה/ביר), but others suggest it was a tooth; as indicated here, there would be no concern for tumah, and perhaps that would also mean there would be no concern for burial.

The Rosh explains our differentiation re: heels as being about calloused flesh on the bottom of the foot.

Abayye prefaces a comment with נקיטינן here. Elsewhere, Rashi notes that this is a term for something Abayye considers to be practical halachah.

The Rosh labels the laws about graves discovered in fields as הלכה למשה מסיני.

The gemara has the term שגידר regarding a spine which its vertebrae removed. The Rosh’s term שגירד seems to fit better.

The Rosh (start of the page) notes that the law with אבר מן המת here automatically includes אבר מן החי.

Here we say that we would not rely on a third view, from a later generation, to resolve (מכריע) a debate between two earlier views. Tosafos and the Rosh have different view of the problem. Tosafos (2nd half of בית דין) says the problem is not with using a later view in general, but rather the problem is that this “third view” is really a third view, with its own logic – it isn’t really a vote for either of the original views (see also Tosafos on this issue in Pesachim 21a). Rosh, on the other hand, seems to say we don’t accept the third view because it is of later origin.

The gemara says that a sword which touches a corpse has the same tumah status as the corpse itself. The Rosh notes that this rule applies to all metal implements, even though the Torah’s term is חרב.

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