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Sotah 2

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.


QUESTION: Rav Shmuel bar Rav Yitzchak says in the name of Reish Lakish that a man's Zivug is made only according to his deeds ("l'Fi Ma'asav"). Rabah bar bar Chanah adds in the name of Rebbi Yochanan that making a Zivug is as difficult as Keri'as Yam Suf.

The Gemara challenges Reish Lakish's assertion that a Zivug is determined based on a person's deeds from the statement of Rav Yehudah in the name of Rav, who says that forty days before the creation of the embryo, a Bas Kol issues forth and pronounces who his Zivug will be ("Ploni l'Bas Ploni"). If the Zivug is already determined, based on Mazal, then how can it be determined based on one's deeds?

The Gemara answers that only the "Zivug Sheni" is determined by one's deeds. The "Zivug Rishon" is based on Mazal.

The reason why the Zivug is determined based according to one's deeds is because if a person's deeds are meritorious, he is given a better Zivug (see Rashi). Why, though, is the Zivug Rishon -- which is decreed before the person is born -- not dependent on the person's deeds? That Zivug should also depend on the person's deeds! Why should a person who is a Tzadik be stuck with a woman who is not a Tzadekes just because that is what was decreed for him at the time of his creation?


(a) When Hashem first created man, He created Adam and Chavah together as one, and then He separated them. The RASHBA (TESHUVOS HA'RASHBA 1:60) explains that Hashem first created man and woman together and then separated them, so that they would later be able to come together and be joined and feel like a single unit. Perhaps it is for this reason that before the man is born a Bas Kol announces who his Zivug will be -- this shows that they both come from the same spiritual root, and that the woman that he eventually marries will be part of his own Neshamah. It would be impossible to bond their souls together in such a way *after* they are created, and therefore Hashem bonds them together before they are created in order for them to be able to bond together strongly. (If one of them is a Tzadik and the other is a Rasha, then one can influence the other to improve since they are bonded together so strongly.) It is only possible, of course, for one man to be bonded to one woman. A second Zivug cannot come from the same spiritual root, and therefore the Zivug Sheni must be "l'Fi Ma'asav," determined according to one's deeds.

(b) RABEINU TAM cited here by TOSFOS SHANTZ explains that "Zivug Sheni" refers to a widow or widower. The Zivug Sheni can only occur after the first Zivug occurred. In order for the Zivug Sheni to occur, Hashem must take the life of one of the spouses in the Zivug Rishon. Rabeinu Tam explains that this is the similarity between Zivug Sheni and Keri'as Yam Suf. In both of them, Hashem must take the life of some in order to benefit others.

According to Rabeinu Tam, it is possible that everything that occurs to a person is based normally on Mazal, unless he is an outstanding Tzadik (as Tosfos says in Shabbos 156a), and when it says that the Zivug Rishon is announced before the person is born, it means that his Mazal is determined already from the time that he is born. The Zivug Sheni also should be determined by his Mazal just like the other major events in his life. However, there are times when a woman loses her husband not because it was the Mazal of her husband to die, but because of the great Zechuyos of another person who deserved her as his wife. This is the Zivug Sheni to which the Gemara is referring.

(c) The ME'IRI takes the opposite approach. He says that, normally, the Zivug should always be determined by the Zechus and actions of a person, like we asked in our question. When the Gemara says that the Zivug Rishon is determined by Mazal, it is referring to the Zivug that a person finds upon reaching the age of Mitzvos, which is the proper time for getting married (see ROSH, Kuntrus Pidyon ha'Ben, end of Bechoros). Since he did not yet have a chance to do many Mitzvos or Aveiros, his Zivug is still determined by his Mazal. However, any spouse that he finds after he has reached the age at which he is rewarded or punished for his deeds, then his Zivug is determined according to his deeds. The Gemara calls it "Zivug Sheni" since when a person gets married at this age it is normally the second marriage (since most people, at that time, became married at the age of Bar Mitzvah).

(d) The Mekubalim explain that "Zivug Sheni" does not refer to a second marriage. Rather, it means a second *matching*. Hashem determines -- before a person is born -- who will be the best match for the person. But he only gets that match if he is Zocheh to it through his Ma'asim Tovim. If he is not Zocheh, then he ends up with another woman, and that is what the Gemara calls "Zivug Sheni" (it is like a "secondary" match in place of the primary one). (HAGAHAH in BE'ER SHEVA; YA'AVETZ; see also TASHBETZ 2:1.)


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