(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Sotah, 4


QUESTION: The Gemara cites various opinions of Tana'im regarding the minimum amount of time necessary for the seclusion to be considered Setirah. The Gemara concludes that each of the Tana'im measured the amount of time based on personal experience. If they measured based on personal experience, then what are they arguing about? The amount of time depends on each person!


(a) The CHAFETZ CHAIM in LIKUTEI HALACHOS (in Ein Mishpat) seems to learn that the simple reading of the Gemara is that the Tana'im are *not* arguing about the Shi'ur of Setirah. (Hence, for each person, the Shi'ur indeed might be different.)

(b) However, the Chafetz Chaim points out that the Rambam records one of the opinions as the Halachah. It seems that the Rambam *does* consider these Tana'im to be arguing. How could they be arguing if each one was giving an opinion based on his own personal experience?

Perhaps the Rambam understands the words "b'Atzmo Shi'er" as meaning *not* that each Tana measured the length of time that unique to himself, but rather these words mean that each Tana had the same experience in terms of the amount of time of seclusion, and each one chose a certain average amount of time to serve as the standard amount of time to be considered a Halachic form of Setirah. When the Gemara says that each one measured the time according to his own experience, it just means that because of considerations of Tzeni'us, the Tana'im did not survey other people.


AGADAH: Rava says that a person who has relations with an Ishah Zonah will end up begging for bread. This theme is reflected in the verse, "v'Ro'eh Zonos Ye'abed Hon" (Mishlei 29:3), which teaches that one who involves himself in Z'nus will lose his money. The KLI YAKAR (Parshas Mikeitz, Bereishis 42:55) explains that this is why Yosef told the Mitzrim to perform Milah to themselves at the outbreak of the years of famine (see Rashi there). The people of Mitzrayim were notorious for their licentiousness (see Rashi to Bereishis 12:19). Yosef was afraid that this would cause them to suffer even more from the famine. Therefore, Yosef had them all perform Milah, because Milah curbs the Ta'avah for Z'nus and it would make the people less prone for Z'nus so that they would be able to retain whatever food they still had.

What is the reason why Z'nus brings about such a punishment? Perhaps it is because through Z'nus, children are born who do not know who their father is (see Yevamos 37b), and they have no source of support. Hence, measure for measure, the person who brings such children into the world is punished by losing his source of support.

OPINIONS: The Gemara says that if a person eats his bread without drying his hands after washing them, it is as if he eats bread that is Tamei. What is so bad about eating bread with wet hands that the bread should be considered Tamei?

(a) RASHI explains that "Tamei" here means that it is so repulsive to eat bread that is wet and soggy from the water on one's hands, that it is comparable to Tum'ah which is also repulsive.

(b) RABEINU CHANANEL cited by the BI'UR HALACHAH (OC 158:12) explains that when one touches the bread with wet hands, the bread because fit to become Tamei -- "Much'shar l'Kabel Tum'ah," and if a person who is Tamei then touches the bread without washing his hands, the bread will become Tamei. The Gemara means that since the person has enabled the bread to become Tamei by eating with wet hands, it is as if he is eating bread that is Tamei.

(c) The BACH (OC 165, DH v'Af Al Gav) explains that the Gemara means that when a person does not dry his hands after washing them, his act of Netilas Yadayim is lacking and it as if his hands are still Tamei. The Mishnah in Yadayim (2:1) says that if a person washes his hands for Netilas Yadayim with less than a Revi'is, the water that was used to be Metaher his hands becomes Tamei from his hands, and thus he must pour water over his hands a second time in order to be Metaher the water that is on his hands. In such a case, if he does not pour water a second time, then what he eats certainly becomes Tamei because of the water. That is not what the Gemara here is referring to, though, because the Gemara says that it is *as if* the bread is Tamei, and not that the bread actually is Tamei. The Gemara is referring to when a person washes his hands with a full Revi'is of water, in which case he does not have to wash off the water with a second pouring, because the water is Metaher itself when it is a Revi'is. Nevertheless, the Gemara says that it is recommended that he pour water over his hands a second time in order to remove the Revi'is of water, and if he does not pour water a second time, it is as if he is eating bread that is Tamei. The Bach explains that this is why we find that a person is supposed to recite a Berachah on Netilas Yadayim before drying his hands, since drying his hands is considered part of the Mitzvah (see OC 158:12). If he washed with less than a Revi'is, it is understandable that he must dry his hands in order to complete the Mitzvah of Netilas Yadayim, since the water that is Tamei must be removed. However, if he washed with a Revi'is, why is drying his hands part of the Mitzvah? It must be that the Rabanan considered there to be some degree of Tum'ah even when he washes with a Revi'is, and thus he has not finished the Mitzvah until he dries his hands.

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,