POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Sotah 17
SOTAH 17 - This Daf has been dedicated in honor of the engagement of Naomi Katz to
1) WRITING THE MEGILAH
(a) (Mishnah - R. Meir) (The Kohen) starts writing the scroll
(that will be erased into the water) from "If a man did
not lie with you ... since you strayed under your
2) HOW WE MERITED THE MITZVAH OF SOTAH
1. He omits "The Kohen imposes an oath on her"; he
writes "Hash-m should make you a (means for people
to) curse and swear ...The cursing water should come
into your innards, to make the stomach swell and the
thigh fall"; he does not write "The woman says Amen,
(b) R. Yosi says, he does not interrupt (i.e. he does not
skip in the middle).
1. R. Yehudah says, he only writes "Hash-m should make
you a (means for people to) curse and swear ... The
cursing water should come into your innards..."; he
does not write "The woman says Amen, Amen".
(c) (Gemara): The Tana'im argue on how to expound "The Kohen
will write ha'Alos ho'Elu (these curses) in the Sefer".
(d) R. Meir says, "Alos (curses)" - these are the (explicit)
curses; the letter Hei prefixed to Alos - this includes
curses which are inferred from blessings (i.e. if the
conditions for the blessings are not true, curses
1. "Elu (these)" - this excludes the curses in
Deuteronomy; the letter Hei prefixed to Elu - this
excludes directives ("The Kohen imposes an oath...")
and acceptances ("The woman says Amen, Amen").
(e) R. Yosi learns as R. Meir, with one exception: The word
"Es" teaches that he writes directives and acceptances.
1. R. Meir does not expound the word "Es".
(f) R. Yehudah learns that the entire verse comes to exclude.
1. "Alos (curses)" - these are the (explicit) curses;
the letter Hei prefixed to Alos - this excludes
curses which are inferred from blessings;
(g) Question: Why does R. Meir say that the letter Hei
prefixed to Alos comes to include, but the Hei prefixed
to Elu comes to exclude?
2. "Elu (these)" - this excludes the curses in
Deuteronomy; the letter Hei prefixed to Elu - this
excludes directives and acceptances.
(h) Answer: Alos comes to include, so the Hei prefixed to it
also includes; Elu excludes, so the Hei prefixed to it
(i) Question: (How can R. Meir include curses inferred from
blessings) - R. Meir holds, we cannot infer the positive
from the negative!
(j) Answer (R. Tanchum): The blessing "Hinaki (you will be
clean)" may be read (by substitution of 2 similar
letters) 'Chanki' (you will choke).
(a) (R. Akiva): When a husband and wife merit, the Divine
Presence is between them; if they do not merit, fire
consumes them (as hinted at by the letters of Ish and
3) THE WRITING OF THE MEGILAH
(b) (Rava): The fire that consumes the wife is worse.
(c) Question: Why?
(d) Answer: Esh (fire) is part of the word Isha, without
(e) Question (Rava): Why did the Torah say that dirt should
be used for a Sotah?
(f) Answer (Rava): If she is innocent, she will merit having
children as Avraham, who said "I am dirt and ashes"; if
she is guilty, she will return to the dirt she was
(g) (Rava): As a reward for Avraham saying "I am dirt and
ashes", his descendants merited the Mitzvos of ashes of
the red heifer and the dirt of Sotah.
1. Question: Why did Rava omit the dirt of covering the
blood (of a slaughtered fowl or wild animal)?
(h) (Rava): As a reward for Avraham saying "(I will not take)
from a thread to a shoelace" his descendants merited 2
Mitzvos: the thread of Techeiles (wool died blue, of
Tzitzis) and the strap of Tefilin.
2. That Mitzvah has no direct benefit (i.e. above the
reward Hash-m pays for fulfilling it).
1. We know the direct benefit of Tefilin - "All the
nations will see that the name of Hash-m is called
i. (Beraisa - R. Eliezer ha'Gadol): This refers to
the head Tefilin.
2. Question: What direct benefit is there to the thread
3. Answer (Beraisa - R. Meir): The color of Techeiles
resembles the sea; the sea is as the sky; the sky is
as Hash-m's throne of glory - "They saw Hash-m, and
under his legs, as the sapphire brick, as clear as
i. It also says "As the sapphire brick, resembling
(a) (Mishnah): He does not write on a tablet, nor on papyrus,
nor on an unworked parchment, only on a Megilah (a proper
parchment) - "In a Sefer".
(b) He does not write with sap nor vitriol nor any dye that
is absorbed into parchment, only with ink.
1. "He will blot out" - the writing must be erasable.
(c) (Gemara - Rava): If the scroll for a Sotah was written at
night, it is invalid.
1. We learn this from a Gezeirah Shavah "Torah-Torah".
(d) (Rava): If it was written out of order, it is invalid.
2. By Sotah, it says "The Kohen will do this whole
Torah (procedure) to her"; another verse says
"According to the Torah they will teach you, and the
i. Just as law (Rashi - monetary laws; Tosfos -
capital laws, such as a rebellious sage) is
judged by day, also the scroll of a Sotah.
1. We learn this from "He will write these curses" - as
they are written (in the Torah).
(e) (Rava): If he wrote it before she accepted the oath, it
1. It says "He imposes the oath on her"; later, it says
"He will write".
(f) (Rava): If he wrote it as a letter, it is invalid.
1. It says "A Sefer".