Nazir 29 - Father and son, a nazir

We said that a father can pronounce his son a nazir . This can only be true if the son is not grown up, because after that the father would have no rights over his son's religions observances. It is only if the son is young, and the father feels that this would be a proper measure for his son's education, that such a law could be possible.

And yet, who mandated it? Was it the Torah that made a special exception to its usual rules? Or did the Sages decide to give this additional power to the father? If it is the Torah, then we will not question, for example, why it gave this power to the father but not to the mother. This is indeed the view of Rabbi Yochanan. However, Resh Lakish ascribes the rule to the Sages. Now Resh Lakish will have to explain every detail of this enactment. First, he answers that only father and not the mother is responsible for the son's observances.

Furthermore, why did the Sages establish that relatives can annul this father's decree? - Because if the relatives teach the boy to negate the father's command, it is hardly conducive to proper education. But how did the Sages allow to shave off the hair on the head? Isn't it prohibited to shave off the peyot? Resh Lakish will tell you that shaving the whole head is permitted. And yet, how can the Sages permit an animal sacrifice of a nazir if in truth it is not needed!? - Resh Lakish will answer that it is actually permitted to bring unnecessary sacrifices

The father of (future) Rabbi Chanina pronounced his son Chanina a nazir, and they took the boy to Rabban Gamliel, to examine if he was still a child. But Chanina said, "Please do not trouble yourself. If I am still a minor, I do what the father says. And if I am a grownup, then I declare myself a nazir."

Rabban Gamliel kissed Chanina on the forehead and predicted that he would be a great Sages - which indeed soon came to pass.

Art: Haircut day By Hugh Carter