What Sin? by Yosef Novetsky


In Parshat Naso, the Torah discusses the ritual the Nazir follows if he became Tamei.  This process consists of the Nazir shaving off all of his hair, and the giving of several animals as offerings.  But one of these animals is given as a sin offering.  This prompts the question.  If the Torah gives one the option of being a Nazir, then why does this merit a Korban Chatat?  In Masechet Taanit (11a), Gemara cites a Braita that presents two answers to this problem.  The first answer is that a Nazir takes a vow to make himself holy to Hashem, and now that he has become Tamei he must offer a Korban Chatat, as this constitutes a violation of his vow.  The second answer is that the Nazir took it upon himself not to drink alcohol, cut his hair, etc., and now that he is absolving his vows he must offer a Korban Chatat, because he was given many forms of pleasure from Hashem, which he gave back to Hashem and said that he didn’t wish to enjoy the pleasures of life that were given to him by G-d. 

The Rambam accepts the second answer of the Braita.  In Hilchot Deot 3:1, the Rambam states that it is an evil path to divorce himself from pride and passion by not eating meat, drinking wine, and foregoing other worldly pleasures.  He cites Kohelet where it states אל תהי צדיק הרבה ואל תתחכם יותר “Do not be overly righteous or excessively wise.” The Ramban, however, follows the first opinion.  In addition, the Rambam at the conclusion of Hilchot Nezirut adopts a positive attitude towards the Nazir, as he states that being a Nazir is the first step towards becoming a Navi.

A Mitzva with Good Taste by Dr. Joel Berman

Peace and Order by Jonathan Weinstein