Monday, May 12, 2008

Daf: Nazir 59-63 - Women, Weapons and non-Jewish nazirites

Getting toward the end of Nazir here. Some very interesting discussions of cross-dressing, as well as women carrying weapons, and a non-Jewish nazir.

The discussion of cross-dressing and of women carrying (let alone wielding) weapons of war begs the question of Yael the Keini’s actions in killing Sisera. Pseudo-Rashi here offers the standard explanation, that this is why Yael used a tent peg rather than a dagger. It isn’t clear that the whole story is a problem in the first place, though, since Yael, it may be argued, was not Jewish. This is subject to the debate of whether Yitro, Yael’s ancestor, returned home and converted his family, or not.
Note that when the Jews went to war against Amalek under Shaul in Shemuel II 15, they asked the Keini to move away from Amalek first. It certainly sounds as though the Keini did not consider themselves Jewish.
For more on the issue of women and weapons of war, see Abarbanel on Devorah, as well as Tzitz Eliezer 20:31:1 on Devorah. See also Targum to Shoftim 5:26 on Yael. For modern applications, see Yechaveh Daat 5:55, Igrot Moshe 4:9 and 4:75:3, and Tzitz Eliezer 18:63.

See Tosafot חזינא and ההוא, and the Rosh, regarding the status of scissors for male shaving of פיאות.

The title of בר פחתי is, of course, reminiscent of הקריבהו נא לפחתך. The word פחה is linked to pasha, I believe.

See the Rosh explaining how this was supposed to sharpen the minds of the students.

The last five lines on the page appear to be a restatement of what we know from before? Noet that the Rosh has לישנא אחרינא here.

I am troubled by the statement, from the Erchin discussion, that בני ישראל is global rather than Jewish-specific – it’s only because of the additional word איש that we are able to say it is universal in the ערכין case! But I’ve never found an answer for this.

Tosafos quotes a pasuk to show that an עכו"מ does not have the פרה אדומה ritual.

Lest anyone ask how the Torah could legislate such a prohibition for an עכו"מ, outside the 7 mitzvos bnei noach, I’d point out that we have prohibitions against עכו"מ learning Torah (Sanhedrin 59a) and observing Shabbat (Sanhedrin 58b).

Note, on the first mishnah, that when the אדון forces the עבד כנעני to break his vow and drink, the vow remains binding such that when the עבדות ends, the vow is reinstated. (Rosh, and gemara later)

Note the reversal of the names of Abbaye and Rava. This is standard, based on the idea that since Abbaye started out as Rava’s rebbe, he does not respond to Rava’s ideas, but rather Rava responds to his. Sometimes Rava’s name is edited to “Rabbah” for the same reason.

The use of רגלים לדבר here is odd. The phrase means that we have observed an event or a fact which indicates that certain results or associated events/facts are also likely. It comes from the term רגל as “cause” (as well as “foot,” much as עקב is also “cause” as well as “heel”). Here, though, the term רגלים לדבר doesn’t fit. The Rosh notes as much.

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