TalmuDigest

For the week ending 26 April 2008 / 21 Nisan 5768

Nazir 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

  • Conversion of permitted matter into forbidden
  • When taste is considered as substance
  • The many applications of the measure of revi’it to halachic matters
  • How a nazir can be liable for many sets of lashes for transgressing
  • The nazir whose hair was prematurely cut
  • How the hair grows
  • Source for prohibiting any method of removing a nazir's hair
  • The hair removal of the nazir, metzora and the Biblical Levites
  • When a positive command is in conflict with a prohibition
  • If all the nazir's hair is not removed when the time comes for his haircut
  • Washing or combing the hair of the nazir during the period when removing it is forbidden
  • When multiple transgressions of a nazir are punishable by only one set of lashes
  • When a kohen may be involved in burying any Jew and when he is prohibited from burying even his father

The Emergency Burial

  • Nazir 43b

Although a kohen is prohibited to have contact with any dead person aside from his seven close relatives, the Torah made an exception in the case of a met mitzvah — a corpse with no one around but the kohen to bury him. The dignity due to such a Jew overrides the sanctity of the kohen.

What is the rule, however, in a case where there is a non-kohen who could handle the burial? Tosefot rules that in such a case it is the non-kohen who must take care of the burial even if he is not a relative of the deceased.

This ruling is based on a later mishna (Nazir 47a), which states that if a kohen gadol and a nazir come upon a met mitzvah it is the nazir who must take care of the burial because his sanctity is less than that of the kohen gadol. It then follows that in the choice between a regular kohen and a non-kohen, where the gap in sanctity is even wider, the responsibility for burial is incumbent upon the non-kohen.

What the Sages Say

"Wherever there is a conflict between a positive commandment and a prohibition, you must try to reconcile the conflict and fulfill both. But if you are unable to do so the prohibition must be put aside in favor of the positive commandment."

  • Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish - Nazir 41a

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