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SOTAH 2 - Today's Dafim are dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas Malka bas Menashe
Krause, mother of Gitle Bekelnitzky, Fred Krause and Fran Vogel. During very
difficult times, under both material and spiritual duress, she and her
husband raised their children in the spirit of our fathers, imbuing them
with a love for Torah and Yiddishkeit. Her home was always open to the
needy, even when her family did not have enough to feed themselves.
1) [line 1] HA'MEKANEI L'ISHTO (SOTAH: KINUY / STIRAH)
(a) A Sotah is a woman who is suspected of committing adultery because she
was warned by her husband not to seclude herself with a certain man and she
violated the warning. The process of warning her in front of witnesses is
called Kinuy. The witnesses who see her seclude herself with the suspected
adulterer are called Eidei Stirah. The time of seclusion must be at least
for the time that it takes to roast an egg and swallow it. The woman is
forbidden to her husband and the alleged adulterer until she drinks Mei
Sotah (see (c), below).
(b) The husband must bring his wife to the Beis ha'Mikdash, along with a
sacrifice consisting of 1/10 of an Eifah (approx. 2 quarts) of barley meal
as a Minchah offering. The Kohen reads Parshas Sotah, the portion of the
Torah describing the curses with which a Sotah is cursed, out loud (in any
language that the Sotah understands) and makes the Sotah swear that she has
been faithful to her husband.
(c) An earthenware jug is then filled with half a Lug of water from the
Kiyor, and dirt from the floor of the Azarah is placed on top of the water.
Parshas Sotah (that contains numerous appearances of Hash-m's name) is
written on parchment and then immersed in the water, which causes the ink to
dissolve, erasing the Holy Names. The Sotah afterwards drinks from the
water. If she was unfaithful to her husband and allowed herself to become
defiled, the water would enter her body and poison her, causing her belly to
swell out and her thigh to rupture. If she was faithful to her husband, she
remained unharmed and would be blessed that she would become pregnant
(Bamidbar 5:11-31). In times when there is no Mei Sotah such as in the
present day, she must be divorced and does not receive her Kesuvah.
(d) A Sotah Vadai is an ordinary married woman (that is, not a Na'arah
ha'Me'urasah -- see Background to Nedarim 75:1) who committed adultery. She
is prohibited to her husband and the adulterer and she may not eat Terumah.
If she committed the act after not heeding the warning of two witnesses, is
put to death by Chenek (choking), as it states in the Torah (Devarim 22:22).
2) [line 3] U'MASKAH AL PI ED ECHAD - and he causes her to drink the Mei
Sotah even if only one witness saw that she went into seclusion with the man
to whom her husband's Kinuy was directed
2) [line 11] CHOLETZES V'LO MISYABEMES (YIBUM / CHALITZAH)
(a) If a married man dies childless, his widow must undergo Yibum (the
marriage of a dead man's brother with his wife), as it states in Devarim
25:5-10. Chazal learn from the verses that there is a preference for the
oldest brother to perform Yibum.
(b) If the brother chooses not to marry her, he must perform Chalitzah (a
procedure in Beis Din that absolves her of the Mitzvah of Yibum - ibid.). He
appears before a Beis Din of three and states, "I do not want to marry her,"
after which his sister-in-law approaches him before the elders, takes off
his right sandal and spits in front of him. She then declares, "This is what
shall be done to the man who will not build up a family for his brother,"
and she is then free to marry whomever she wants.
(c) The *connection* of the brother to the dead man's wife, which obligates
one of the two, is called Zikah. It is comparable to the state of Eirusin
(betrothal) before a marriage. The Tana of the Mishnah from Yevamos rules
that the Zikah "connects" the Yevamah with all of the brothers, not only the
oldest. While the Yevamah is waiting for Yibum or Chalitzah, she is called a
3) [line 12] MI'NAZIR SALIK - has just finished (lit. has come up from)
3) [line 15] B'KILKULAH - in her ruin/degradation
4) [line 22] EIN MEZAVGIN LO L'ADAM ISHAH ELA LEFI MA'ASAV - a wife is only
paired with a man (by Heaven) according to his deeds
5) [line 23] "KI LO YANU'ACH SHEVET HA'RESHA AL GORAL HA'TZADIKIM; [L'MA'AN
LO YISHLECHU HA'TZADIKIM B'AVLASAH YEDEIHEM.]" - "For the reign (lit. rod)
of wickedness shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; [so that the
righteous shall not stretch their hands into iniquity.]" (Tehilim 125: 3)
6) [line 25] "ELOKIM MOSHIV YECHIDIM BAISAH, MOTZI ASIRIM BA'KOSHAROS; [ACH
SORERIM SHACHENU TZECHICHAH.]" - "Elokim settles individuals into a
household; He releases prisoners at suitable moments; [only the rebellious
dwell in the thirsty land.]" (Tehilim 68:7) - The Chachamim learn that the
second part of this verse is referring to the Redemption from Egypt. They
render 'ba'Kosharos' as a contraction of the words 'Bechi' (weeping) and
'Shiros' (songs). When Benei Yisrael were released from slavery, it was a
time of weeping for the Eyptians and of song for Benei Yisrael. HaSh-m
redeemed Yisrael from Egypt in the most suitable (Kosher) season of the
year - springtime - for then the weather is optimal for traveling on the
road; it is neither to hot nor too cold (RASHI ibid.) According to the
Midrash, this phrase also relates to the formation of the family unit. When
HaSh-m matches a couple, their union is undoubtedly suitable and has the
potential for happiness. Ultimately, however, only the efforts of the
husband and wife determine whether or not the match will succeed. If they
appreciate HaSh-m's choice, the resulting happiness will cause them to sing
'Shiros' (songs) of joy and gratitude; but if they refuse to accept their
Divinely designated mates, they will be engulfed in unhappy 'Bechi'
(weeping) (Bereishis Rabbah 68:4). Furthermore, if the couple is fearful of
HaSh-m, they will be 'Motzi Asirim ba'Kosharos,' i.e. bring forth scholarly
sons who are able to decide what is Halachically 'Asur' or 'Kasher.' If the
couple is not meritorious, however, their sons will be ignoramuses whose
parched minds are barren of Torah knowledge (ARTSCROLL Tehilim ibid.).
7) [line 30] ZIVUG/ZEVEG RISHON - first marriage
8) [last line] "LO YAKUM ED ECHAD B'ISH [L'CHOL AVON UL'CHOL CHATAS B'CHOL
CHET ASHER YECHETA; AL PI SHENEI EDIM O AL PI SHELOSHAH EDIM YAKUM
DAVAR.]" - "One witness shall not rise up against a man [for any iniquity,
or for any sin, in any sin that he may commit; according to two witnesses or
three witnesses, shall the matter be established.]" (Devarim 19:15)
9) [line 2] BANAH AV (BINYAN AV)
In the Introduction to the Sifra (the Halachic Midrash to Vayikra), Rebbi
Yishmael lists thirteen methods that Chazal use for extracting the Halachah
from the verses of the Torah. One of them is called Binyan Av. A Binyan Av
(lit. 'building through a father,' -- father in this sense means a Biblical
source), is a rule of Biblical interpretation in which one subject is deemed
a prototype in order to apply a Halachah stated in that subject to other
10) [line 5] "...V'HI LO NISPASAH." - "...and she was not seized." (Bamidbar
11) [line 11] D'ASYA DAVAR DAVAR MI'MAMON - it is learned through a Gezeirah
Shavah of Davar-Davar from monetary matters [which can be found on the
bottom of Daf 3b]
12) [line 13] D'RAGLAYIM LA'DAVAR - there is a logical foundation to presume
that she sinned
13) [line 28] IY LAV STIRAH, KINUY MI IKA? V'IY LAV KINUY, STIRAH MI IKA? -
If not for Stirah, would the Kinuy alone create any Halachic ramifications?
And if not for the Kinuy, would the Stirah have any effect?
14) [line 36] D'ZIMNIN D'LO KANI, V'AMAR KANA'I - For example, [if an angry
husband] who actually did not do Kinuy, but claimed that he did [in order to
have her drink the Mei Sotah after finding witnesses to an innocent Stirah]
15) [line 39] L'MISHNASEINU IKA IKAR - Our Mishnah contains the main part,
(namely, Kinuy at a time where he was not under the influence of his anger)
13) [line 41] LO LEIMA INISH L'ITESEI BI'ZEMAN HA'ZEH, "LO TISTERI BAHADEI
PELONI" - a man should not say to his wife in our times, "Do not go into
seclusion with so-and-so" [rather he should say something else to same
effect, e.g. "If you go into seclusion with so-and-so, I'll throw you out of
14) [line 45] MAI D'KAMA D'KA BADLAH? - Why is she all of a sudden keeping
away [from certain people]?