THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
SOTAH 21-25 - These Dafim have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham-Fauer
in honor of the first Yahrzeit (18 Teves 5761) of her father, Reb Mordechai
ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing the
study of the Talmud be l'Iluy Nishmaso.
1) A FATHER WHO MAKES HIS SON A NAZIR
QUESTION: The Mishnah lists a number of Halachic differences between a man
and a woman. One of those differences is that a man may obligate his minor
son to observe an oath of Nezirus, while a woman may not. RASHI (DH ha'Ish;
see also BARTENURA here) writes that when the father makes his son into a
Nazir, the son remains a Nazir even if he reaches adulthood during the
Nezirus. Why does Rashi find it necessary to point that out here?
2) HALACHIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN
ANSWER: Rashi might be trying to answer an obvious question that arises on
the Mishnah. What significance is there to the Nezirus of a Katan? A Katan
is not obligated in Mitzvos, so how can the Torah require him to observe his
The RAMBAM (Hilchos Nezirus 2:13) answers this question by stating that the
obligations of the child's Nezirus apply to the *father*. The father must
treat his son like a Nazir, keeping him away from wine, haircuts, and
Tum'ah. This also appears to be the intention of the ROSH (Nazir 28b) who
writes that the consequence of the Halachah of the Mishnah is that the
father must bring all of the Korbanos Nezirus for his son.
Rashi is answering that even the child himself is affected by the Nezirus
and not just the father, because -- if he becomes an adult and becomes
obligated in Mitzvos -- he will become obligated in all of the laws of Nazir
due to the Nezirus that took effect on him while he was a Katan. (Even
though Mitzvos do not apply to a Katan, a change of status such as the
status of Nazir does apply to a Katan, like the status of Tum'ah and
RASHI in Makos (22a, DH Nazir Shimshon) and the MEFARESH in Nazir (30a, DH
Ka'im, and DH Hachi Garsinan) also seem to be of the opinion that if the
father makes the son a Nazir, the Nezirus remains even after the son becomes
However, TOSFOS in Nazir (28b, DH v'Ein) and the ROSH and other Rishonim
(ibid.) cite a Tosefta (Nazir 3:9) which states clearly that just like
Macha'ah (the objection of the son or other relatives) ends the son's
Nezirus and prevents him from bringing the Korbanos of a Nazir, so, too,
reaching adulthood (the growth of two Se'aros) ends his Nezirus and prevents
him from bringing the Korbanos of a Nazir. This is clear as well from the
Gemara in Nazir (beginning of 30a) which, according to these Rishonim, is
basing its question on the fact that once the son reaches adulthood, the
Nezirus that his father made for him is no longer valid (and he must make
himself a Nazir if he wants to observe a full Nezirus).
How does Rashi explain the Tosefta? It is possible that Rashi maintains that
when a son reaches adulthood after his father made him a Nazir, although he
still must observe his Nezirus, nevertheless he does not bring the Korbanos
at the conclusion of the Nezirus. The reason is because the Korbanos are
part of the obligation that a person accepts when he first accepts Nezirus
upon himself (see Nedarim 4a). Since the father accepted the obligation of
the Nezirus on behalf of his son, it becomes the *father's* obligation of
Korbanos. When his son leaves the father's domain upon reaching adulthood,
the son does not acquire the obligation of Korbanos from his father, and nor
does the father have to bring the Korbanos, because his son is now out of
his domain. The Tosefta means only that the Nezirus of the son is no longer
applicable with regard to bringing Korbanos, and therefore the laws of a
Korban that was separated for a purpose for which it cannot be brought
(Nazir 28b) apply to a son who reached adulthood after his father made him a
Nazir (that is, if his father set aside for him an animal before he became a
Gadol, it is a Chatas Mesah, etc.).
The Gemara in Nazir (beginning of 30a) also might mean to say that the son
does not have the full laws of Nezirus when he reaches adulthood, since he
does not bring Korbanos. (This also answers the questions of the KEREN ORAH
there on the Mefaresh.)
QUESTION: The Mishnah lists a number of Halachic differences between a man
and a woman. There are, however, a number of important differences that the
Mishnah omits! Why does the Mishnah not mention that a woman is not
obligated to fulfill time-related Mitzvos (Mitzvos Aseh she'ha'Zman Gerama),
or that a woman is not bound by the Lavim of Hakafah and Gilu'ach (shaving
the head and shaving the beard), like the Mishnah mentions in Kidushin
(29a)? In addition, why does our Mishnah not mention the Mitzvos of Talmud
Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, and Pidyon ha'Ben, from which a woman is exempt
(Kidushin 34b), and the Mitzvos that only a father is responsible to do for
his child, such as Milah (Kidushin 29a)?
The Tosefta (2:8) cited by TOSFOS (23b, DH Mah) indeed adds to the Mishnah's
list the difference of Mitzvos Aseh she'ha'Zman Gerama, Hakafah and
Gilu'ach. However, even the Tosefta does not count Talmud Torah, Piryah
v'Rivyah, Pidyon ha'Ben, and Milah. Why does it omit these Mitzvos?
ANSWER: The Mishnah seems to be listing only ways that men and women differ
regarding *details* of Mitzvos, but not regarding obligations or
prohibitions that apply in general to every man or woman. The Mishnah
mentions only these differences because they are related to the Halachah
that the Mishnah discusses regarding the way to sacrifice the Minchah
offering of a Kohen. The Mishnah says that if a Kohen donates a Minchah,
then there is a difference between the way a male Kohen and a female Kohenes
offer the Minchah. This difference is not a general difference between the
Kohen and Kohenes. In contrast, all of the Mitzvos we mentioned in the
question are general obligations incumbent upon the person, and that is why
the Mishnah leaves them out.
The Mishnah's list includes only details of Mitzvos, such as the procedure
required by a woman who is a Metzora or a woman who is a Nezirah, the status
of a son whose mother attempts to make him a Nazir, how a woman is punished
with Sekilah, and how she is treated if she steals, and so on. The Tosefta,
in contrast, is discussing general obligations of a man and woman as well.
If the Tosefta is discussing differences relating to the general obligations
of a man and woman, why, then, does the Tosefta omit the Mitzvos of Talmud
Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, Pidyon ha'Ben, and Milah?
The answer might lie in the wording of the Tosefta. The Tosefta says that a
woman "may *transgress* a Mitzvas Aseh she'ha'Zman Gerama, and not a man."
The Tosefta is only listing Mitzvos which one can *transgress* (such as the
Isur of Hakafah and Gilu'ach, and missing the time to do the Mitzvah, in the
case of a Mitzvas Aseh she'ha'Zman Gerama), but not Mitzvos -- like Talmud
Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, and Pidyon ha'Ben -- which are not limited to a
particular time and therefore it is not possible to discuss "transgressing"
them; the woman could always do them at a later time.
The reason why the Tosefta lists only Mitzvos that one can transgress
perhaps is perhaps because in those cases there is a difference between a
man and a woman regarding the details of the Mitzvah. That is, in Mitzvos
that are "transgressable" there is a difference between a man and woman with
regard to whether he or she receives Malkus d'Oraisa or Malkus d'Rabanan for
transgressing it. The Tosefta does not list these Mitzvos Aseh because of
the difference in their obligation, but because of the detail that affects
them if they violate it. In contrast, the only difference between a man and
a woman with regard to the Mitzvos of Talmud Torah, Piryah v'Rivyah, Pidyon
ha'Ben, and Milah, is the *obligation* itself, and not the *details* of the
obligation, or the outcome (such as the punishment) of the obligation.