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Sotah 46

SOTAH 46 - Generously dedicated by Ha'Rav Aviezer Wolfson, an Ohev Torah and Mokir Torah and the prime example of Torah u'Gedulah b'Makom Echad. May he and his wife be blessed with much Nachas from all of their illustrious progeny.

1) [line 6] PARAH (PARAH ADUMAH)
(a) The Parah Adumah, an exclusively red-haired female cow is burned on Har ha'Zeisim and its ashes are used for making a person Tahor if he is Tamei Mes. Only a cow that has not had a yoke placed upon it and has had no other work done with it is fit to be used as a Parah Adumah. Similarly, a cow with a blemish that invalidates it from being offered as a sacrifice on the Mizbe'ach renders it unfit to be used as a Parah Adumah.
(b) A place is prepared for its slaughter on Har ha'Zeisim, opposite the gate to the Azarah (the courtyard of the Beis ha'Mikdash). After it is slaughtered, its blood is sprinkled in the direction of the Beis ha'Mikdash seven times. A cedar branch, some Ezov branches and a piece of crimson wool are thrown into the carcass of the cow while it is burning (Bamidbar 19:1-22).
(c) If a person (or utensil) became Tamei through touching Tum'as Mes or being in the same room as a Mes or something that is Metamei b'Ohel, he must wait seven days to become Tahor. On the third and seventh days he must have spring water mixed with the ashes of the Parah Adumah (Mei Chatas) sprinkled on him. A person who is Tahor dips three Ezov branches that have been bound together into the mixture, and sprinkles them on the person who is Tamei. On the seventh day, he immerses in a Mikvah after the mixture is sprinkled on him in order to complete his Taharah. (Bamidbar 19:17-19)

2) [line 6] EIN HA'SHANIM POSLOS BAH - as long as a cow is three years old, there is no upper limit to her age that renders her unfit to be used as a Parah Adumah

3) [line 9] "ASHER EIN BAH MUM" - "that does not have a blemish" (Bamidbar 19:2)
4) [line 12] A'LAMAH - if so, why...
5) [line 13] UDAH SHEL SAKIN - (a) a bundle of [empty] sacks (RASHI); (b) a braided cord that is used to tie on [loaded] sacks (ARUCH); (c) a spindle that is used to spin the thread that will be used to make sacks (RASHI to Avodah Zarah 23a, second explanation); (d) a cover made of sacks (RAMBAM Hilchos Parah Adumah 1:7; this explanation may be the result of a different Girsa in the Gemara -- see Kesef Mishneh ibid. or a copyist's error -- Chazon Ish)

6) [line 26] AVERES O SHAVUR O CHARUTZ O YABELES O GARAV O YALEFES LO SAKRIVU ELEH LA'SH-M..." - "You may not offer to HaSh-m an animal that is blind, broken-limbed, gashed, or that has warts, mange or ringworm..." (Vayikra 22:22) - See Background to Sotah 45:42 for a further elaboration of the blemishes of animals.

7) [line 33] "LECHEM" - offering (lit. bread or meal)
8) [line 40] UMI'MAKOM SHE'BASA - (lit. and from the place from which you have come) and from the place from which you are learning (from Elgah Arufah) [that if a red cow does work it becomes unfit to be used as a Parah Adumah, you can also learn that it only becomes unfit if it actually *pulls* a burden]

9a) [line 43] SHE'AS AVODAH - when the cow is doing work [by pulling a yoke]
b) [line 43] SHE'LO BI'SHE'AS AVODAH - when the cow is not doing work [but an object was put on the cow instead of on the ground]
c) [line 43] SHE'AR AVODOS EIN POSLOS ELA B'SHE'AS AVODAH - (a) other forms of work only invalidate a cow if done in the normal manner for that type of work, but coincidentally using the cow does not invalidate it, e.g. putting an object on the cow instead of on the ground (RASHI); (b) other forms of work only invalidate a cow once it starts working, e.g. if a cow was put on a threshing floor but it did not begin threshing (RAMBAM Hilchos Parah Adumah 1:7)

(a) In the Introduction to the Sifra (the Halachic Midrash to Vayikra), Rebbi Yishmael, who is Doresh Kelalei and Peratei (see Background to Sotah 16:11), lists thirteen methods that Chazal use for extracting the Halachah from the verses of the Torah. One of them is Kelal u'Frat Ein bi'Chlal Ela Mah shebi'Ferat.
(b) When a Kelal (general term) is followed by a Perat (specification), without teaching any new Halachos that pertain to that Perat, then the Halachah of the verse is limited and applies only to the Perat.

11) [line 45] "ASHER" RIBUYA HU - the word "Asher" ("that") [that could easily have been replaced by the prefix "she"] is an inclusion, i.e. a qualification that enlarges the scope of the law

12) [line 46] "ASHER LO UBAD BAH" - "that was not worked" (Devarim 21:3)
13) [line 49] KI'MELO OL - [it must move forward] for the distance equal to the width of the yoke (this is the conclusion of the Gemara below)


14) [line 1] "...EISAN MOSHAVECHA, V'SIM BA'SELA KINECHA." - "...your residence is strong, and your nest is set in a rock." (Bamidbar 24:21)

15) [line 2] "SHIM'U HARIM ES RIV HASH-M VEHA'EISANIM MOSDEI ARETZ..." - "Listen, you mountains, to the grievance of HaSh-m and you bedrock, the foundations of the earth..." (Michah 6:2)

16) [line 4] "GOY EISAN HU, GOY ME'OLAM HU" - "['Behold, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O House of Yisrael,' says HaSh-m;] 'it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, [a nation whose language you know not, nor do you understand what they say.']" (Yirmeyahu 5:15) - this verse refers to the Bavlim (Balbylonians)

17) [line 6] CHATAS HA'OF (MELIKAH)
(a) The offering of the Chatas ha'Of (e.g. in Vayikra 5:8-9) consists of three procedures:

1. MELIKAH - Standing on the floor of the Azarah near the southwestern corner of the Mizbe'ach, the Kohen cuts the back of the neck (*Orpo* - similar to the word Arifah) of the bird with his right thumbnail. He makes sure to cut one Siman (either the trachea or the esophagus), but not to sever the entire neck of the bird.
2. HAZAYAH - The Kohen sprinkles its blood on the Mizbe'ach (directly from the neck of the bird), below the Chut ha'Sikra (red line) that is located halfway up the Mizbe'ach.
3. MITZUY - The Kohen presses the cut neck of the bird to the Mizbe'ach and squeezes its remaining blood onto the Mizbe'ach.
(b) The Chatas ha'Of is eaten by the Kohanim on the day that it is offered and the following night. No part of it was burned on the Mizbe'ach.

18) [line 28] DA'ATEN KATZAH ALEIHEN - when they are tired of living
19) [line 31] B'FIV AKAM LAHEM - he hinted to them with a twist of his mouth
20) [line 32] HA'MEHALECH BA'DARECH V'EIN IMO LEVAYAH - if one is traveling and he has no escort [and is thus in a situation of danger].

21) [line 33] "KI LIVYAS CHEN HEM L'ROSHECHA, V'ANAKIM L'GARGEROSECHA." - "For they shall be an adornment of grace for your head and chain-ornaments around your neck." (Mishlei 1:9) - This verse is referring to the words of the Torah. The word for adornment is similar to the word for escorting, and therefore the Gemara suggests that a wayfarer who walks alone should learn Torah to make up for the lack of an escort.

22) [line 34] "VA'YTZAV ALAV PAR'OH ANASHIM; VA'YSHALCHU OSO V'ES ISHTO VES KOL ASHER LO." - "And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him; and they escorted him and his wife and everything that he had." (Bereishis 12:20)

23) [line 37] IBURAH SHEL IR - the city limits, 70 2/3 Amos from the last temporary or permanent dwelling of the city


  • 3 Parsa'os = 24000 Amos = 90 Ris = 12 Mil
  • 1 Parsah = 8000 Amos = 30 Ris = 4 Mil
  • 1 Mil = 2000 Amos = 7.5 Ris
  • 1 Ris = 266.66 Amos
  • 1 Amah = 2 Zerasos = 6 Tefachim
  • 1 Zeres = 3 Tefachim
  • 1 Tefach = 4 Etzba'os
1 Parsah = approximately 3648, 3840 or 4608 meters, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions
25) [line 39] PUM NAHARA - the name of a place in Bavel, at the mouth of a river (Pum = mouth; Nahara = river), whose inhabitants were impoverished Jews

26) [line 39] BEI TZINYASA D'BAVEL - "The Palms of Bavel", the name of a place

27) [line 39] VADAI D'AMRISU - You most certainly said...
28) [line 39] MI'SHENEI ADAM HA'RISHON ISNEHU - have been around from the years of Adam ha'Rishon

29) [line 40] ADKARTRAN MILSA - You have just reminded me of a teaching
30) [line 40] "[...HA'MOLICH OSANU BA'MIDBAR, B'ERETZ ARAVAH V'SHUCHAH, B'ERETZ TZIYAH V'TZALMAVES,] B'ERETZ LO AVAR BAH ISH, V'LO YASHAV ADAM SHAM?" - "[And they did not say, 'Where is HaSh-m Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death,] through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?'" (Yirmeyahu 2:6)

31) [line 42] HEGRONIYA - a Babylonian town, the home of several scholars
32) [line 43] BEI KEIFEI / BEI DURA - two Babylonian towns in close proximity that were located near a bridge over the Dura River (Keifei = bridges; see Moed Katan 25b and Background to Moed Katan 25:76)

33) [line 44] ELISHA - a prophet, student of Eliyahu ha'Navi, who lived in the Kingdom of Yisrael at the time of the first Beis ha'Mikdash. The events mentioned in our Gemara as well as his other great works and miracles are recorded in Melachim II 2:1-13:21

34) [line 45] VA'YISKALSU BO - and they made fun of him
35) [line 45] ALEI KERE'ACH! - Go away, baldy!
36) [line 45] ALEI, SHE'HIKRACHTA ALEINU ES HA'MAKOM! - Go away, you who have made this place unproductive for us!

37) [line 46] SHE'MENU'ARIM MIN HA'MITZVOS - who are empty of Mitzvos
38) [line 47] BIZBEZU ATZMAN KI'KETANIM - they were as undisciplined as young boys

39) [line 47] "VA'ARAM YATZ'U GEDUDIM, V'YISHBU ME'ERETZ YISRAEL NA'ARAH KETANAH." - "And Aram had gone out in raiding parties, and had brought a little girl as a captive from the land of Yisrael; and she waited on Na'aman's wife." (Melachim II 5:2)

40) [line 48] NE'ORAN - Na'aran, a city near Yericho

41) [line 50] KOL MAKOM SHE'NASNU CHACHAMIM EINEIHEM, O MISAH O ONI Every place where the Chachamim "placed their eyes" (i.e. they strongly took offense), it brought about either the death or the impoverishment of the offender.

42) [line 51] BELORIS - the long hair grown at the back of the head by idol worshipping youths of the upper classes in honor of their gods, that was offered to their gods once a year.

43) [line 52] V'DILMA B'ZAR'AIHU NIHAVAH HAVAH? - but perhaps their descendents will perform Mitzvos?

44) [last line] "...VA'TETZENAH SHTAYIM DUBIM MIN HA'YA'AR, V'TEVAKANAH ME'HEM ARBA'IM U'SHNEI YELADIM." - "[And he turned back, and looked at them, and cursed them in the name of HaSh-m.] And two bears came out of the woods, and tore forty two children of them." (Melachim II 2:24)

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