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Nazir, 63


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that a Nazir does not need to be Megale'ach for Tum'as ha'Tehom. This means that if a Nazir completed his Nezirus and then discovered that while he was a Nazir, there was a k'Zayis of a Mes that was hidden somewhere, never seen by a human eye, and he became Tamei from it, the Tum'ah is ignored. However, the Mishnah adds an additional condition that is necessary in order to ignore the Tum'ah. The Mishnah says that if the Tum'ah was buried underneath a water-filled ditch and the Nazir was immersing in the water to become Tahor from Tum'as Mes, then the Tum'as ha'Tehom is not ignored and it makes him remain Tamei, since he has a Chezkas Tamei (he was Tamei until that point). It is only if he was Tahor and was going into the water for another purpose that the Tum'as ha'Tehom is ignored.

Why does the Mishnah say that Tum'as ha'Tehom is not Tahor if the Nazir was Tamei with Tum'as Mes at the time he immersed in the water? Even if he was Tamei with Tum'as Sheretz, he should be considered to have a Chezkas Tamei and the Tum'as ha'Tehom should prevent him from becoming Tahor!


(a) The simple understanding of the Mishnah is that the Chezkas Tamei can affect him only if he was Tamei with the same type of Tum'ah as the Tum'as ha'Tehom (i.e. Tum'as Mes). If, however, he was Tamei with a different type of Tum'as, such as Tum'as Sheretz, then the Chezkas Tamei cannot make him acquire a different Tum'ah, that of Tum'as ha'Tehom (Tum'as Mes).

(b) However, REBBI AKIVA EIGER suggests a different explanation for the Mishnah. The Gemara later (64b) says that if the Nazir Tamei -- on the seventh day of his Tum'ah, after his Tiglachas but before sunset of that day -- came across Tum'as ha'Tehom, he is *not* considered to be b'Chezkas Tamei, because "sunset occurs by itself," and it is as if he is lacking nothing to make him Tahor. TOSFOS (DH Amar Abaye, and the ROSH and RABEINU AZRIEL as cited by the SHITAH MEKUBETZES) adds that Tevilah in a Mikvah (when no Tiglachas is needed) is also not considered something that is lacking to make a person Tahor, because the Mikvah is right there and it is "b'Yado," in his ability, to immerse himself. The only thing that can give the Nazir a Chezkas Tamei is the lack of his Tiglachas; if he did not yet have his Tiglachas of the seventh day, he is considered b'Chezkas Tamei.

Rebbi Akiva Eiger suggests that if the Nazir is only Tamei with Tum'as Sheretz, then he does not have to be Megale'ach and thus he is not considered lacking anything to become Tahor (all he has to do is immerse in a Mikvah and wait for sunset, which are considered insignificant actions), and that is why Tum'as Sheretz does not give the Nazir a Chezkas Tamei to make him Tamei with Tum'as ha'Tehom.

Rebbi Akiva Eiger points out that there is an important practical difference between these two explanations. What would be the Halachah in a case where a Nazir -- who was immersing in water over a Tum'as ha'Tehom -- was immersing in order to become Tahor from the Tum'ah of a Revi'is Dam or of a Rova Kav Atzamos? Although these Tum'os are the same type of Tum'ah that comes from k'Zayis of a Mes (i.e. Tum'as Mes), nevertheless a Nazir who becomes Tamei from a Revi'is Dam or a Rova Kav Atzamos does not need to be Megale'ach (54a). According to the first explanation, the Nazir should have a Chezkas Tamei, since it is the same type of Tum'ah. In contrast, according to Tosfos, as cited in the second explanation, who says that only the lack of Tiglachas could give him a Chezkas Tamei, this Nazir (who became Tamei with Revi'is Dam or Rova Kav Atzamos) should be Tahor from Tum'as ha'Tehom since he does not have a Chezkas Tamei!

(See ME'IRI, who writes clearly that the Nazir is considered b'Chezkas Tamei only if he had the type of Tum'ah that is Soser his Nezirus. This implies that he is learning like Rebbi Akiva Eiger's second explanation, that it is only the lack of Tiglachas that makes the Nazir have a Chezkas Tamei.)


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