MISHNAH. IF HE SAYS, 'THIS HEIFER IS SAYING I SHALL BECOME A NAZIRITE IF I RISE,'3 OR 'THIS DOOR IS SAYING I SHALL BECOME A NAZIRITE IF I OPEN', BETH SHAMMAI SAYS THAT HE BECOMES A NAZIRITE, BUT BETH HILLEL SAY THAT HE DOES NOT BECOME A NAZIRITE. R. JUDAH SAID: EVEN THOUGH BETH SHAMMAI DID AFFIRM [THAT THE FORMULA WAS OF SOME EFFECT], IT WAS ONLY WHERE HE SAYS:4 'THIS HEIFER SHALL BE [FORBIDDEN] TO ME AS IS A SACRIFICE, IF IT SHOULD STAND UP [OF ITSELF]'.
GEMARA. Is it possible for a heifer to talk? — Rami b. Hama replied: [The Mishnah] here, refers to where a heifer lay crouching before him, and he said, 'This heifer thinks that it is not going to stand up. I intend to be a nazirite [and abstain] from its flesh, if it stands up of its own accord,' and it then arose of its own accord. Beth Shammai now apply their customary view and Beth Hillel their customary view. Beth Shammai who affirm that [in spite of his saying], 'from dried figs and pressed figs', he becomes a nazirite, assert here that [even] when he says 'from its flesh', he becomes a nazirite, whilst Beth Hillel declare that he does not become a nazirite.
But have not Beth Shammai asserted this once, already? Raba replied: A second and a third time5 [did they repeat it]. R. Hiyya, too, taught it a second and a third time, and so did R. Oshaia teach it a second and a third time, and they are all necessary statements; For if the rule had been stated merely in the case of dried figs and pressed figs, [it might have been argued] that Beth Shammai were of the opinion there that his words take effect and he becomes a nazirite because [figs and] grapes can be confused,6 whereas flesh and grapes cannot be confused. Similarly had it been affirmed regarding flesh [it might have been argued] that Beth Shammai were of the opinion in this instance that he becomes a nazirite, because flesh and wine [are naturally associated],7 but it would not apply to dried figs and pressed figs, and so this case also is given explicitly. Again, had it been affirmed in these two cases [only, it might have been argued] that only in these cases was Beth Shammai's assertion to be applied, whilst as concerns the door, they would defer to Beth Hillel.8 Further, had only the door been referred to, [it might have been argued] that only in this case do Beth Hillel dissent, but in the other two they defer to Beth Shammai, and so we are told that this is not so.
[Nevertheless,] said Raba, does the Mishnah say if [the cow] rises of its own accord?9 But, said Raba, we must explain thus: The heifer, for example, is recumbent before him, and he says, 'I undertake to bring it as a sacrifice'.
This is all very well as regards the heifer which can be offered as a sacrifice but can a door be sacrificed?10 — Raba therefore [corrected himself and] said: The heifer, for example, is recumbent before him,11
Nazir 10band he says, 'I undertake a nazirite-vow [to abstain] from wine if it does not stand up,' and it then stood up of its own accord. In Beth Shammai's opinion, the substance1 of this man's vow lay in his intention to cause [the heifer] to rise by force,2 and this he did not do,3 whereas Beth Hillel are of the opinion that [the vow was made] because [the heifer] was recumbent,4 and it has risen.5
If this is [the meaning of the Mishnah], how is the subsequent clause to be understood, viz.: R. JUDAH SAID: EVEN THOUGH BETH SHAMMAI DID AFFIRM [THAT THE FORMULA WAS OF SOME EFFECT], IT WAS ONLY WHERE HE SAYS, AND SHALL BE FORBIDDEN TO ME AS A SACRIFICE ETC.'? Does [his vow] then, attach to the heifer at all?6 — [It must be] therefore, that he said, for example, 'I undertake a nazirite vow [to abstain] from its flesh if it should not stand up,' and it then stands up of its own accord. In Beth Shammai's opinion, the substance of this man's VOW is his intention to cause [the heifer] to rise by force, and this he has not done, whereas according to Beth Hillel, the substance of his vow lies in the fact that [the heifer] was recumbent, and it has risen.7
But are Beth Hillel of the opinion that if [the heifer] does not stand up, [the man] becomes a nazirite? Have they not said that [by a vow to abstain] from flesh, he does not become a nazirite?8 — They were arguing on the premises of Beth Shammai. In our opinion, he does not become a nazirite even if [the heifer] should not stand up, but you who say that he does become a nazirite9 should at least admit that the substance of his vow lay in the fact that [the heifer] was recumbent, and it has since risen. Beth Shammai reply that this is not so, and the substance of the man's vow lay in his intention to cause [the heifer] to rise by force, and this he has not done.10
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