And what is R. Eliezer's reason?5 — It has been taught: Why does Scripture mention 'his head'?6 — Since it says in connection with the nazirite, There shall no razor come upon his head7 it might be thought that this is true even of a nazirite who becomes a leper. We are therefore told that [the leper must shave] his head.8
How does it follow?9 May it not well be that even if he uses tweezers or a rohitni he has carried out his religious duty? And should you object that the razor should not have been mentioned,10 [the answer would be that] this tells us that [the leper] may use even a razor; for I might have thought that because a nazirite who uses a razor11 incurs a penalty, so does a leper12 who uses a razor incur a penalty, and so we are told that this is not so?13 — If you assume that a leper who uses tweezers or a rohitni has carried out his religious duty, then because a razor is not mentioned explicitly [in his case, it should be forbidden entirely], in accordance with the dictum of Resh Lakish.14
What interpretation do the Rabbis put on [the mention of] 'his head'?15 — They require it to override the prohibition against rounding [the corners of the head], as it has been taught: [The verse] Ye shall not round the corners of your heads16 might mean that the same is true of a leper, and we are therefore told [that he must shave] 'his head'.
But this17 can be deduced from [the mention of] 'his beard'. For it has been taught: Why does Scripture mentions his beard? Since it says, Neither shall they shave off the corners of their beards,18 it might be thought that even [a priest who is] a leper may not do so. And we are therefore told [that the leper must shave] 'his beard'. Now why should it be necessary to mention both 'his head' and 'his beard'?19 — It is necessary. For had the All-Merciful mentioned 'his beard' and not 'his head' it might have been thought that the rounding of the whole head is not considered [as infringing the prohibition against] rounding,20 and so the All-Merciful Law also mentions 'his head'.21
Nazir 41bAgain, had 'his head' been mentioned and not 'his beard' I would have understood that two things are implied, first that the positive command [to shave] overrides the prohibition, and secondly that the rounding of the whole head is considered [to infringe the prohibition against] rounding, but there would still remain [the question], how do we know that a razor must be used?1 And so the All-Merciful Law mentions his beard.2
And whence does R. Eliezer learn that a positive command overrides a prohibition? — He infers it from the [command to wear] twisted cords. For it has been taught: Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, [linen and wool together];3
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