QUESTION: In the Mishnah, Rebbi Nehora'i and Rebbi Yosi disagree about whether Shmuel ha'Navi was a Nazir. The Gemara which follows discusses a completely unrelated topic -- whether it is preferable to be the one who recites a blessing or to be the one who responds "Amen" to a blessing. In way is the Gemara's discussion related to the subject of the Mishnah?
(a) RAV YAKOV EMDEN (in Hagahos ha'Ya'avetz) points out that no other Mishnah in Shas records a statement in the name of Rebbi Nehora'i. Therefore, the Gemara finds this Mishnah as an appropriate place to record the Beraisa in which a statement of Rebbi Nehora'i appears.
(The Gemara in Nazir (5a) cites another Beraisa in which Rebbi Nehora'i and Rebbi Yosi argue. Rebbi Nehora'i maintains that a Nazir Olam may shave once every thirty days, and Rebbi Yosi maintains that he may shave once every seven days. That Beraisa should have been recorded here, because it is related to the dispute in the Mishnah which also discusses the topic of Nazir Olam. In fact, their dispute in the Beraisa may be the basis for their dispute in the Mishnah here. Rebbi Yosi, who rules that a Nazir Olam may shave every seven days, maintains that the words "u'Morah Lo Ya'aleh Al Rosho" (Shmuel I 1:11) do not mean that Shmuel was a Nazir who was forbidden to use a razor, because Shmuel -- as a Nazir Olam -- was permitted to shave once every seven days. (See the Rambam, who explains that the dispute in the Mishnah here is whether Shmuel was a Nazir Olam, and not whether he was a Nazir Shimshon).)
(b) The MAHARSHA explains that the Gemara wants to conclude the Masechta with a discussion of the concept of blessing, because the effect of a blessing is similar to the effect of Nezirus. Through the recitation of a blessing, a person overcomes the prosecuting angels and opens the Divine flow of blessing to the world. (This is why the Gemara compares a blessing to a war. The recitation of a blessing is a war against the prosecuting angels.) Similarly, Nezirus serves as a way of bonding oneself to Hash-m in order to overcome the prosecuting angels and receive a Divine flow of blessing. This is why Shimshon's Nezirus entitled him to the Divine blessing of strength. REBBI TZADOK (LIKUTEI MA'AMARIM, p. 224) adds that the Gemara in Berachos (35a) alludes to the war in which a blessing is victorious when it says that before a person recites a blessing, everything is under the ownership of Hash-m, and that the blessing "conquers" it and makes it the property of people.
(c) The concept of a blessing and the concept of Nezirus share another common theme. Both a blessing and Nezirus involve the temporary suppression of physical desires. When a person recites a blessing before he eats, he temporarily suppresses his desire for the food in order to acknowledge and thank Hash-m. When a person becomes a Nazir, he abstains from grapes and wine in order to become closer to Hash-m and to bring Korbanos to Him. (See Nazir 4b.)
The reason why it may be more preferable to respond "Amen" to someone else's blessing than to recite the blessing oneself may be that the person who responds "Amen" arouses himself to acknowledge Hash-m even before he has a lust for food. In contrast, the person who recites the blessing over the food first has a lust which prompts him to eat, which requires that he first recite a blessing to acknowledge Hash-m. For the same reason, when a person hears or sees someone else accept an oath of Nezirus, and he accepts upon himself to be a Nazir like the first person, his Nezirus may be considered a higher level of Nezirus (like the one who answers "Amen") because he did not need to become a Nazir in order to conquer a lust but rather he saw someone else become a Nazir to become closer to Hash-m and he decided that he, too, wanted to become closer to Hash-m. Accordingly, the Gemara here may allude to the first Nazir mentioned in the Masechta (2a). In the first Mishnah, a person sees a Nazir and says, "Ehei" ("I will be"), in order to become a Nazir. The Gemara here implies that he is on a higher level than the first person who became a Nazir, just as the one who says "Amen" is greater than the one who recites the blessing.
This approach may also explain why Maseches Nazir precedes Maseches Sotah. The Gemara (Nazir 2a, Sotah 2a) says that when a person sees a Sotah being punished, he should become a Nazir and refrain from wine. This means that he should not wait to become a Nazir until he is overcome by lust. Rather, he should learn from the mistakes of others and when he sees a Sotah being punished he should immediately became a Nazir and refrain from wine as a preventative measure in order to become closer to Hash-m without having the lust to overcome in the first place. In that way, he is greater than the person who becomes a Nazir in response to a lust he had.
(d) RAV YISRAEL AZOR shlit'a proposes that the Gemara here answers the question posed by the RADAK in the beginning of Sefer Shmuel (Shmuel I 1:11). Rebbi Nehora'i maintains that Shmuel was a Nazir because his mother made an oath that the child would be a Nazir when she said, "Morah Lo Ya'aleh Al Rosho." Why was her declaration a binding oath of Nezirus for her son? The Mishnah earlier (28b) clearly states that a father can make his child a Nazir but a mother cannot! (See GILYON HA'SHAS there.) If, on the other hand, Chanah told her husband, Elkanah, that she wanted Shmuel to be a Nazir and she asked him to make the child a Nazir after he was born, why does the verse make no mention of his oath of Nezirus for the child? The verse mentions only her declaration of Nezirus, which was not binding. (The Radak wonders why Chazal themselves do not ask this question.)
Rav Yisrael Azor explains that the Gemara here addresses this question as follows. The Mishnah earlier (20b) teaches that if a woman says to her husband, "I am a Nezirah and you are," and her husband says "Amen," he becomes a Nazir as a result of his consent to the Nezirus which his wife accepted on his behalf. The Gemara suggests that Chanah told Elkanah that the child will be a Nazir and Elkanah said "Amen" to her oath. Since he said "Amen," her Neder took effect.
Why, though, does the verse make no mention of Elkanah's role in the Nezirus? The reason why the verse mentions only Chanah's role, and not Elkanah's, in the acceptance of Nezirus for their child is the same reason why the Torah relates that Tziporah performed the Bris for her son and makes no mention of Moshe Rabeinu in the incident (Shemos 4:25). The Gemara in Avodah Zarah (27a) asks whether the verse proves that a woman may perform Milah to her son. The Gemara answers that the verse is no proof because perhaps Tziporah merely began the Milah and Moshe Rabeinu finished it, and the verse merely attributes the act to her since she initiated it (even though the fulfillment of the Mitzvah is attributed to the one who completes it). In the same way, since Chanah initiated the acceptance of Nezirus for her son, the verse attributes it to her even though it was her husband who made it binding.
This answers the Radak's question, why Chazal do not ask how Chanah was able to accept Nezirus on behalf of her son. The answer is that the Gemara does address this question when it discusses the topic of responding "Amen" to a blessing, immediately after the Mishnah which says that Shmuel was a Nazir. The Gemara presents an opinion that it is more preferable to recite a blessing than to say "Amen" to one -- which may be inferred from the fact that the verse mentions only the oath that Chanah made and does not mention that Elkanah answered "Amen" after her oath, an indication that the one who initiates the blessing (or declaration) is greater.


QUESTION: The Gemara concludes the Masechta with the statement that Talmidei Chachamim bring peace to the world. How is this statement related to the topic of the Masechta?
(a) The MAHARSHA explains that the Gemara's statement is related to the discussion in the Mishnah. Shmuel and Shimshon were both Shoftim, judges, who brought peace during their reigns by judging the people righteously and causing peace to prevail among them, and by protecting them from foreign nations.
(b) The LEKET HA'KOTZRIM explains that this statement is related to the Gemara's previous discussion. Although some Amora'im maintain that it is more preferable to seize the opportunity to recite a blessing before having to say "Amen" to someone else's blessing, the Gemara wants to emphasize that no one should get involved in a quarrel about it because it is the manner of Talmidei Chachamim to bring peace to the world.
(c) The EINEI SHMUEL suggests that the Gemara here alludes to the connection between Maseches Nazir and Maseches Sotah which follows. The reason why Sotah follows Nazir is that when a person sees a Sotah being punished, he should become a Nazir and refrain from wine (Sotah 2a). Similarly, if a husband or wife suspects the other of adultery, the suspected spouse should refrain from wine in order to show that he or she is innocent and has no temptation to succumb to immoral lusts. The Gemara here teaches that if a couple has children who are Talmidei Chachamim ("v'Chol Banayich Limudei Hash-m..."), they may rest assured that neither of them have been unfaithful, because the Gemara in Shabbos (55b) teaches that "one who has relations with a Zonah will not have children who are Talmidei Chachamim." Hence, when a couple's children are Talmidei Chachamim, peace reigns in the home!