NAZIR 57 (5 Cheshvan) - Dedicated in honor of the Yahrzeit of Reb Naftali ben Reb Menachem Mendel (Tuli Bodner) Z"L, who was Niftar 5 Cheshvan 5766. Tuli was an Ish Chesed and Ish Ma'aseh radiating joy whose Ahavas Yisrael knew no bounds. Dedicated by his son, Mordechai Bodner of Givat Mordechai, Yerushalayim.


QUESTION: The Gemara relates that Rav Huna's wife shaved the heads of his children in a way that would have constituted a violation of the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh had they been adults. The Gemara infers from here that there is no Isur d'Oraisa which prohibits a woman from shaving the head of a Katan. Similarly, the Gemara in Bava Metzia (10b) teaches that the Torah does not prohibit a woman from shaving the head of a Katan.
The Gemara continues and says that according to Rav Ada bar Ahavah, even a man may shave the head of a Katan. His reasoning is that since the Nikaf (the Katan) is not prohibited from shaving, so, too, the Makif is not prohibited from shaving him, as a Hekesh in the Torah teaches.
Why is one permitted mid'Oraisa to shave the head of a Katan? The Gemara in Yevamos (114a) teaches that one is prohibited from actively feeding forbidden food to a Katan. Similarly, the Gemara there quotes a Beraisa which states that an adult is not permitted to cause a Katan who is a Kohen to become Tamei. Accordingly, an adult should not be permitted to shave the head of a Katan because he thereby causes the Katan to transgress the Isur d'Oraisa of Hakafas ha'Rosh. Causing a Katan to transgress Hakafas ha'Rosh should be prohibited just like feeding Neveilah to a Katan and causing him to become Tamei. (Although the Gemara in Makos (20b) teaches that if a person sits still and lets a barber shave his head he is not liable for Malkus, his passive transgression nevertheless is prohibited by a Lav. The Nikaf is not punished with Malkus because he did not do an active Ma'aseh. If, however, he moves his head and helps the barber cut his hair, he is liable for Malkus. See RA'AVAD and LECHEM MISHNEH, Hilchos Avodah Zarah 12:1, and TOSFOS to Shevuos 3a.)
According to Rav Ada bar Ahavah, the question is not problematic. The Torah compares the Makif to the Nikaf and exempts the Makif from transgressing an Isur. Hence, the act of shaving a Katan is a permitted act and is not the same act as that of shaving an adult. Therefore, it might not be comparable to an act of giving the Katan a forbidden food (SHA'AR HA'MELECH, REBBI AKIVA EIGER to YD 81).
According to Rav Huna, however, the question remains. Rav Huna maintains that only a woman may shave the head of a Katan, but a man may not. He clearly understands that the act of shaving a Katan's head is prohibited. Why, then, does he permit a woman to shave a Katan's head? Shaving a Katan's head should be no different from feeding a Katan a forbidden food, which is prohibited. (MINCHAS CHINUCH, end of Mitzvah 251)
(a) The KEREN ORAH suggests that the Ketanim whom the Gemara here discusses are children who have not reached the age of Chinuch for this Isur, and thus there is no prohibition against causing them to transgress.
The ARZEI HA'LEVANON, however, points out that the ROSH here (DH b'Ishah) explains that the Ketanim whom the Gemara discusses are older and are nearing adulthood.
(b) The BEIS HA'LEVI (1:15) suggests that the Isur of feeding a forbidden food to a Katan applies only when the person who feeds the Katan is also prohibited bound by that Isur. Consequently, a woman -- to whom the Isur of Hakafas ha'Rosh does not apply -- is permitted to shave the head of a Katan.
The ACHIEZER (3:81:7) rejects this suggestion on logical grounds, and based on the words of the Rosh in the beginning of Shabbos.
(c) Perhaps an adult is prohibited from helping a Katan transgress an Isur only when he trains or directs the Katan to do the act which an adult is forbidden from doing. The reason for prohibition against helping a Katan transgress an Isur is that one thereby educates the child to transgress Mitzvos. Accordingly, when the Katan does no action of his own, the adult is not prohibited from causing the Katan to transgress, because the adult's act is not going to accustom the Katan to doing something forbidden. A similar concept is mentioned by in Tosfos (28b, DH Beno) who writes that there is no Mitzvah of Chinuch for a Mitzvah which involves no action on the Katan's part.
According to this approach, however, a woman should be prohibited from shaving the Katan when the Katan moves his head to assist her.