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Sotah 8

SOTAH 8 (3 Teves) - Dedicated by Sid and Sylvia Mosenkis of Queens, N.Y., in memory of Sylvia's father, Shlomo ben Mordechai Aryeh, who passed away 3 Teves 5751/1990.



(a) The Tana states that they took the Sotah up to Sha'ar Nikanor, despite the fact that she was already there - because they would move her around, making her walk a considerable distance in order to wear down her resistance, in an attempt to get her to confess.

(b) We have a precedent for this from a statement by Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar - who issued a similar ruling with regard to witnesses of matters of life and death (that they would move them around to get them to retract should they not be quite certain of their testimony).

(a) We know that a Sotah and a Metzora had to stand by Sha'ar Nikanor, because the Torah writes "Lifnei Hashem". A Yoledes has to stand there too - just like everybody else who brought a Korban, because it is not befitting to bring a Korban and not stand by it (at least in the same area - of "Lifnei Hashem") when it is brought.

(b) We learn from the word "*Tishmeru* Lehakriv Li be'Mo'ado" - that a person is expected to stand by his Korban whilst it is being brought.

(c) A Zav (and a Zavah) is obligated to stand in the same spot for the same reason as a Yoledes.

(d) The Tana Kama of a Beraisa prohibits giving two Sotos to drink simultaneously, because the one might encourage the other to dig in her heels and persist that she is innocent. According to Rebbi Yehudah - this reason is superfluous, seeing as we already have a Pasuk "ve'Hishbi'a *Osah"* ha'Kohen" (one and not two).

(a) The Tana Kama does not argue with Rebbi Yehudah's D'rashah - only the Tana Kama is Rebbi Shimon, who Darshens the Torah's reasons and fixes the Halachah accordingly.

(b) The ramifications of Rebbi Shimon's D'rashah - are by a Sotah who is trembling with fear at the effect of the water, who is unlikely to be fortified by the second Sotah.

(c) According to Rebbi Shimon then, if the first Sotah appears afraid of the water, we are permitted to tend to another Sotah at the same time. In view of the principle 'Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos Chavilos' ...

1. ... says Abaye, this is permitted - provided the two Sotos are handled by two independent Kohanim.
2. ... it is permitted to pierce the ears of two Avadim Ivrim (who want to remain beyond the initial six-year period) - provided the two servants either belong to two different masters, or the ceremony takes place in two different Batei-Din.
(d) The reason for the principle 'Ein Osin Mitzvos Chavilos Chavilos' is - because by performing two Mitzvos simultaneously, one conveys the impression that the Mitzvos are a burden and that one is trying to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
(a) We learn that the Kohen is obligated to uncover not only the Sotah's hair, but also part of her body - from the Pasuk "u'Para es Rosh *ha'Ishah*" - because otherwise, the Torah should have written "u'Para es Roshah".

(b) And we learn from the word "Rosh" - that the Kohen not only uncovers her hair, but that he also undoes her plats.

(a) When stoning a man, says Rebbi Yehudah in a Beraisa, one covers him in front with a loin-cloth (but no more, in order not to prolong his death and increase the pain ); whereas a woman one covers at the back, too. The Rabbanan say - that a woman is stoned fully-clothed.

(b) Rabah reconciles Rebbi Yehudah in the Beraisa with Rebbi Yehudah in the Mishnah like this: In the latter case he is more concerned about the effect of the woman on the young Kohanim (and others men present) than the Rabbanan, because assuming the woman to be innocent, they will be proceed to molest her for the rest of her life; whereas in the former case, where she is about to die anyway, there is nothing to worry about.

(c) Whereas Rava reconciles the seemingly contradictory opinions of the Rabbanan in the two places - by reminding us that their reason in our Mishnah is based on the Pasuk in Yechezkel "ve'Nosru Kol ha'Nashim" (so that all the women who are there should take note what happens to a woman who behaves in this way), a lesson which is unnecessary in the case of the Beraisa, where the woman's death will serve that purpose admirably.




(a) According to Rebbi Yehudah, we are not afraid that the men present might molest other women - because Rava (or Rabah) has already taught us that it is not the way of the Yetzer-ha'Ra for a man to stalk one woman because he saw another one.

(b) The Rabbanan do not want to increase the warning by disgracing the guilty woman too, says Rav Nachman Amar Rabah bar Avuhah - because of the Pasuk in Kedoshim "ve'Ahavta le'Rei'acha Kamocha", which teaches us to treat every person with respect.

(c) Rebbi Yehudah however, does require the woman to be killed partially uncovered. This does not mean that Rav Nachman's statement is confined to the opinion of the Rabbanan - because although Rebbi Yehudah generally agrees with his principle, he maintains that here, reducing the pain of the woman's death takes precedence.

(d) Whereas the Rabbanan hold - that her dignity takes precedence over the pain.

(a) We learned in our Mishnah that the Kohen would change her white clothes for black ones - provided she did not look more alluring in black clothes.

(b) Having taught us that the Kohen uncovered the top of her body to make her look ugly, he nevertheless needs to add that he should remove her jewelry - because we may otherwise have thought that a woman in that state wearing jewelry looks silly, and that she should therefore be allowed to wear it.

(c) 'Sheli'ach Artil ve'Sayam Mesa'ani' means - that a naked man wearing shoes looks ridiculous.

(a) Rebbi Aba asked Rav Huna whether the reason for tying the Chevel ha'Metzari around the Sotah's chest is to stop her clothes from falling down - in which case any rope will do (should a Chevel ha'Metzari not be available); or whether it was 'measure for measure' (because she wore a nice belt to attract her lover), and Chazal insisted on that kind of rope because it is ugly.

(b) Rav Huna replied - by citing the Mishnah, which specifically gives the first of the two reasons (as the main one).

(c) First the Tana of our Mishnah says that whoever wanted to come and watch was welcome to do so; then he says that only the women were invited. Rava rejects Abaye's suggestion that the Tana throughout is only speaking about women - on the grounds that, in the Reisha, he specifically writes '*Kol* ha'Rotzeh Lir'os ... '.

(d) So *he* reconciles the two statements by establishing the first one as being voluntary (that men are invited to watch the spectacle should they so wish) - whereas the second one as obligatory (obligating all women in the vicinity of the Sha'ar Nikanor to witness the spectacle).

(a) Hashem always punishes measure for measure. The Tana of our Mishnah portrays this principle here in her punishment for the way she behaved in the three stages of sin - her ornaments are removed because she adorned herself in preparation for the sin; she is exposed - because she exposed herself to her lover at the commencement of the sin, and the curse begins with her thigh and ends with her stomach - because that is the order in which she actually sinned.

(b) Rav Yosef (as well as the Tana of a Beraisa) stated with regard to nowadays, that, even though there is no longer a Sanhedrin to put into practice the four deaths of Beis-Din - the Din of the four deaths nevertheless takes effect.

(c) Someone who deserves S'kilah, might die by falling off the roof, someone who deserves S'reifah might be burned to death. Alternatively, a person who deserves to die by ...

1. ... stoning - might be bowled over and killed by a lion.
2. ... burning - might be poisoned by a snake.
(d) And someone who deserves Hereg might be captured and put to death by the ruling power, whereas someone who deserves Chenek might drown. Alternatively, someone who deserves to die by ...
1. ... the sword - might be killed by armed robbers.
2. ... by strangulation - might contract quinsy (a form of illness that strangles a person to death).
(a) We learn from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "be'Sa'asah be'Shalchah Terivenah" - that Hashem punishes measure for measure.
2. ... "Ki Chol Se'on So'en be'Ra'ash" - that the principle of measure for measure (is not confined to those who are Chayav Misah, but) extends even to smaller sins.
(b) We learn from the Pasuk "Achas le'Achas Limtzo Cheshbon" - that sometimes Hashem punishes bit by bit until the punishment is complete.

(c) Based on these Pesukim ...

1. ... the Sotah is stood by Sha'ar Nikanor to be disgraced in front of everybody - because she stood outside her house to receive her lover.
2. ... her head-cover is removed and placed at her feet - because she wore beautiful hats when he came to visit her.
3. ... her face turned yellow - because she painted her face to look pretty.
4. ... her eyes protruded - because she painted her eyes to look attractive.
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