Thursday, May 15, 2008

Daf: Nazir 64-66

This concludes our Nazir comments. Some interesting material in here, but - as always - it will be more intelligible with a Gemara in your hands.

Pseudo-Rashi, at the bottom of the page, says that water containing the ashes of the פרה אדומה would be dense, and therefore would float atop regular water. I’m not sure of the science here, but that seems a bit odd. Rashi was an experimenter, as noted in his commentary to the chumash (such as in his comments to Shemot 16:14 on the evaporation of dew from inside an eggshell), so I’m not sure he would have written this at all.
Perhaps the ashes would have some grease from the פרה אדומה, and would therefore have a floating film?

The words ותיפטר משתיהן seem very odd here.

Also, we should probably have ואמר רב כהנא just below that, since it’s mid-sentence.

See Tosafos אחד on why we would, or would not, identify an area as a cemetery based on one known body and two newly discovered bodies.

The description of Yosef’s removal from Egypt is cited as a source, or perhaps אסמכתא, for taking out more than just the body itself, but some area around it as well. This is problematic for two reasons:
1) Yosef was embalmed, and therefore he would not have decayed.
2) As the Tosafos Yom Tov (cited in the inside margin) notes, the midrash says that Yosef was not buried in earth at all, but in a box in the Nile.

The verb of פירש associated with R’ Elazar reminds me of פריך ר' אחאי and Tosafos’s comment (Ketuvot 2b) about specific verbs being associated with specific sages.

Note the debate between Tosafos and pseudo-Rashi as to the definition of קססות. The Rosh has a view that these are spices placed with the body; this was done in Talmudic times in order to dispel the aroma of decay.

Note the debate between pseudo-Rashi and the Rosh about the definition of the word עילא. The "cause" definition takes it as עילה.

On the list of 7 things which may cause זיבה, one of them is called מראה. Pseudo-Rashi and Rosh (printed on 66a) disagree as to the nature of מראה.

It seems that Chanah prays for Shemuel to not fear other people; this seems to indicate that many traits of character are Gd-given, or at least Gd-influenced. This fits the idea that HaShem creates us with traits, and our job is to balance those traits. Our Free Will is in the balancing act we perform.

Note that in translating מורה as fear, we equate it with מורא, a very different root.

The Rosh says that the rule here for grabbing the “cup of blessing” applies not just here, but to all blessings.

The issue here of whether it is better to recite a blessing or to listen and respond Amen is particularly interesting in light of the view of Aruch haShulchan and Mishneh Berurah that when many families dine together, only one should recite Kiddush and the rest should answer Amen.

On to Sotah!


  1. this seems to indicate that many traits of character are Gd-given, or at least Gd-influenced.

    Or, more accurately, it seems that Hannah believed that many traits of character come directly from Hashem. Since she was the main influence on him for his first years, and valued this character trait, it's possible that she actively sought-out and reinforced charismatic/fearless actions and attitudes.

    As a parent, there's always that danger of seeing what we want (or fear) to see in our children, rather than seeing them for themselves.

  2. I believe a parent is required to merge his/her own vision for the child, with the child's own abilities. חנוך לנער על פי דרכו, certainly - but חנוך!!!