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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Sotah 21

SOTAH 21-25 - These Dafim have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham-Fauer in honor of the first Yahrzeit (18 Teves 5761) of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing the study of the Talmud be l'Iluy Nishmaso.


(a) On what grounds do we initially reject the suggestion that the merits that protect the Sotah from the water are those of the Mitzvah of Torah-study?

(b) On what grounds do we also query the suggestion that it is the merit of the Mitzvos that protect her?

(c) Rebbi Menachem b'Rebbi Yossi Darshens the Pasuk in Mishlei "Ki Ner Mitzvah ve'Torah Or".
What is the difference between "Ner" and "Or"?

(d) How does that explain why the Pasuk compares Mitzvah to a Ner and Torah to Or?

(a) Rebbi Menachem b'Rebbi Yossi extrapolates from the Pasuk in Mishlei "be'His'halech'cha Tancheh Osach, be'Shochbecha Tishmor Alecha Ve'hekitzosa Hi Sesisecha" that Torah shields forever.
Which 'world' is meant by ...
  1. ... "be'His'halech'cha"?
  2. ... "be'Shochbecha"?
  3. ... "Ve'hekitzosa"?
(b) In Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Menachem's parable, how is the night-traveler saved from ...
  1. ... thorns and pits?
  2. ... wild beasts and armed robbers? What happens when he arrives at the crossroads?
(c) If the lamp analogizes Mitzvos and daylight, Torah, what does the crossroads analogize?

(d) What other problem do we have in ascribing the Sotah's merits to Mitzvos (though ascribing them to Torah would be fine if she were commanded, due to the Pasuk in Shir Hashirim "Mayim Rabim Lo Yuchlu Lechabos es ha'Ahavah")?

(a) To resolve the initial problem, Rav Yosef maintains that a Mitzvah can protect a person, even at the time when he is not actually performing it.
Then how does he explain Rebbi Menachem b'Rebbi Yossi, who says that Mitzvos are only able to protect as long as one is actually performing them?

(b) What Kashya does Rabah ask on Rav Yosef from Do'eg and Achitofel?

(c) So Rava explains that even Torah can only protect from both punishment and from sin as long as one is studying it.
What power does ...

  1. ... Torah have when one is not studying it?
  2. ... the performance of Mitzvos have ... when one is performing them?
  3. ... when one is not performing them? How does that answer our original Kashya on Sotah?
(d) Ravina ascribes the Sotah's merits to Torah-study after all.
How does he get round the fact that women are not commanded to study Torah (and are therefore not subject to such great reward for doing so)?
(a) Rav Chisda explains the crossroads in Rebbi Menachem's parable to mean the day of death of a Talmid-Chacham (as we explained above). According to Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, it refers to a Talmid-Chacham who develops a fear of Hashem (which prevents him from sinning).
How does Mar Zutra explain it?

(b) Why did Do'eg and Achitofel 'chase after David'?

(c) What did they Darshen from the Pasuk in Tehilim "Leimor Elokim Azavo" and from the Pasuk in Ki Seitzei "ve'Lo Yir'eh Becha Ervas Davar ... " with regard to David?

(d) What did Rebbi Menachem b'Rebbi Yossi Darshen that would have saved them from committing this terrible transgression against David?

(a) We just quoted the Pasuk in Shir Hashirim "Im Yiten Ish es Kol Hon Beiso be'Ahavah, Boz Yavuzu Lo".
What does this Pasuk mean?

(b) Why does it apply to Hillel and his brother Shevna?

(c) Why does it not apply to Shimon Achi Azaryah or to Rebbi Yochanan and the Bei Nesi'a?

Answers to questions



(a) How can Rebbi Eliezer possible say that someone who teaches his daughter Torah, teaches her immorality?

(b) Based on the Pasuk in Mishlei "Ani Chochmah Shecheinasi Armah", how does Rebbi Avahu explain Rebbi Eliezer's statement?

(c) The Chachamim (it is unclear why this title is given to ben Azai) explain this Pasuk like Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina, who says 'Ein Divrei Torah Miskaymin Ela be'Mi she'Ma'amid/she'Meisim Atzmo Arum Aleihen'.
What is the meaning of ...

  1. ... 'Ein Divrei Torah Miskaymin Ela be'Mi she'Ma'amid Atzmo Arum Aleihen'?
  2. ... 'Ein Divrei Torah Miskaymin Ela be'Mi she'Meisim Atzmo Arum Aleihen'.
(d) What does Rebbi Yochanan learn from the Pasuk in Iyov "ve'ha'Chochmah me'Ayin Timatzei"?
(a) We amend Rebbi Yehoshua's statement in our Mishnah 'Rotzah Ishah be'Kav ve'Tiflus mi'Tish'ah Kabin u'Perishus' to read 'Rotzah Ishah be'Kav ve'Tiflus *Imah*, mi'Tish'ah Kabin u'Perishus'.
What does it now mean?

(b) He included in his list of people who destroy the world 'a Chasid Shoteh'.
What is an example of a Chasid Shoteh?

(a) He also includes a 'Rasha Arum'. Rebbi Yochanan (or Rebbi Chanina)'s example of a Rasha Asum is a litigant who discusses his case with the Dayan before his disputant arrives (thereby creating a soft spot in the Dayan's heart in advance of the actual hearing). According to Rebbi Avahu, it pertains to someone who gives a Zuz (i.e. a Dinar) to a poor man who has a hundred and ninety-nine Zuz.
What is wrong with that?

(b) Rebbi Asi Amar Rebbi Yochanan's example of a Rasha Arum is someone who advises an heir to sell 'Nechasim Mu'atim'.
What is wrong with that? What ought to happen to Nechasim Mu'atim?

(c) If the heir acted on the above advice, would his sale be valid?

(a) Abaye gives the example of Rasha Arum of someone who advises his friend to sell the property in the following case: 'Nechasai Lach, ve'Acharecha li'Peloni'. Rebbi holds that the first beneficiary is forbidden to sell the property; in the event that he does, the second beneficiary may retrieve what he sold in Beis-Din.
What does Raban Shimon ben Gamliel say?

(b) According to whom does Abaye establish the case of Rasha Arum, Rebbi or Raban Shimon ben Gamliel?

(c) Rav Yosef bar Chama Amar Rav Sheishes explains a Rasha Arum as one who is 'Machri'a Acheirim be'Orchosav'.
What does this mean?

(a) Rebbi Zerika Amar Rav Huna establishes it as someone who adopts the lenient view for himself but rules strictly for others. The last opinion is that of Ula.
How does he describe a Rasha Arum?

(b) What is the reason for this? Why should such a person be termed a 'Rasha Arum'?

Answers to questions

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