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Sotah, 16

SOTAH 16 - Larry and Marsha Wachsman have dedicated this Daf in honor of their wonderful friends, David and Gerti Kornfeld, to whom they are eternally grateful for all the good and wonderful things they do.


QUESTION: The Gemara quotes a Beraisa in which the Tana Kama and Rebbi Shimon argue whether Mei Sotah that was made by placing the dirt in the utensil before the water is valid or not. RASHI (DH Hikdim) explains that according to the Tana Kama, the reason why the water must be placed in the utensil first is because the verse says, "the Kohen shall take from the dirt that is on the floor of the Mishkan and put it in the water" (Bamidbar 5:17), implying that the water should be placed in the utensil first. That this order must be followed (and if it is not followed, it is Me'akev) is learned from the fact that the Torah adds, "The Kohen shall do for her this entire law" (Bamidbar 5:30).

Why does Rashi need to add a source to prove that the order is Me'akev? The first verse that Rashi cites ("and he shall place it in the water") should suffice to teach that the water must be placed first and that it is Me'akev! (KEREN ORAH)


(a) There is a rule that in all areas of Kodshim, the procedure that is written in the Torah is Me'akev only when the verse repeats it, adding an additional verse. The TORAS HA'KENA'OS points out that it could be that Rashi maintains that the preparation of the Mei Sotah is considered a matter of Kodshim, and therefore the order would *not* be Me'akev unless there was an additional verse. That is why Rashi points out that there *is* an additional verse, the verse of, "The Kohen shall do...." What, though, is Rashi's source to say that Mei Sotah is considered Kodshim?

The Toras ha'Kena'os points out that Rebbi Yochanan in the Yerushalmi says that Mei Sotah will become Pasul through Linah (this is also the view of the Rambam in Hilchos Sotah 4:12). He explains that Rebbi Yochanan holds that since the water of the Mei Sotah comes from the Kiyor, and the dirt comes from the floor of the Mikdash, there is reason to say that it has some degree of Kedushah and that is why it is considered like Kodshim with regard to needing an additional verse to teach that the order is Me'akev.

(See, however, Devar Sha'ul to Sotah 20a, who questions the suggestion that Mei Sotah has the status of Kodshim based on the fact that it may be brought to Sha'ar Niknor and is not disqualified through "Yotzei.")

(b) The TORAS HA'KENA'OS answers further that this rule -- that regarding Kodshim a procedure in the Torah is Me'akev only when the Torah adds an extra verse, while regarding non-Kodshim related topics a procedure is Me'akev even without an additional verse -- applies only with regard to the actual performance of the procedure itself. With regard to the *order*, though, even with regard to non-Kodshim related topics, the order is not Me'akev unless there is an additional verse to teach that it is Me'akev.

(See, however, TOSFOS 17b, DH Kodem, who implies that a verse is even needed to touch that every part of the Sotah process is Me'akev, and not only to teach that the order is Me'akev. Perhaps acts which are clearly *secondary* acts and not integral to the Sotah-checking process are only Me'akev if the verse says so explicitly.)

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