Monday, April 28, 2008

Stubble Left Behind

They inquired (Daf Yomi: Nazir 39a): Does the new growth of hair grow from the bottom or from the top (and the hairs closest to the head do not move at all)?

The Gemora explains a halachic difference between them. The case is as follows: Bandits shaved a nazir’s head and they left over enough hair to bend the top of the hair to its root. If hair grows from the bottom, they have removed his hairs of nezirus (and his days are forfeited). However, if hairs grow from the top, the hair which he sanctified still remains (and his days are not forfeited).

It is evident from this Gemora that if the bandits left less than enough to bend the top of the hair to its root, the nazir will forfeit all his previous days.

Tosfos HaRosh asks that this would seemingly be inconsistent with Rav Chisda’s ruling below (40a), who states that a nazir is only liable if he cuts his hair similar to that of a razor. This means that he cuts the hair down to the skin, leaving no stubble at all!

He answers that Rav Chisda is only referring to a case where the nazir shaved most of his head (but not all the hairs on his head). That is when the halacha is that the hairs must be completely cut in order to forfeit the previous days. However, if he (or the bandits) cuts all the hairs on his head, he will forfeit his previous days even if the hairs are not completely cut.

The Sfas Emes (and others) say that Rav Chisda disagrees with our Gemora.