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 35
SOTAH 31-35 - These Dafim have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham-Fauer
in honor of the first Yahrzeit (18 Teves 5761) of her father, Reb Mordechai
ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing the
study of the Talmud be l'Iluy Nishmaso.
1) THE SPIES RETURN
(a) "They returned from touring the land, and they went (to
Moshe)" - this equates their going to their return,
2) TRANSPORTING THE ARON
1. Just as they returned with an evil counsel, they
went with an evil counsel.
(b) (R. Yochanan) "And they said, 'We came ... but it is for
naught, for the inhabitants are (too) strong" - any
Lashon ha'Ra (slander) which does not include some truth
at the beginning, will not last.
(c) (Rabah): "And Kalev hushed the nation towards Moshe" - he
enticed them with words.
1. He had seen that when Yehoshua tried to speak, they
silenced him - 'One whose head is cut off, will he
(d) (Rava): "The land consumes its inhabitants" - Hash-m
intended to help them, but they saw it as a bad thing.
2. He reasoned: If I defend Eretz Yisrael, they will
silence me also.
3. He said: 'Is this the only thing Moshe did to us?!'
They thought he was going to criticize Moshe, so
they let him continue.
4. 'He took us out of Mitzrayim, he split the sea for
us, he brought Man down for us - if he would tell us
to make ladders and ascend to Heaven, shouldn't we
listen!' "We will go up and inherit the land!"
5. (R. Chanina bar Papa): "The spies that went with him
said 'We cannot ... he is stronger Mimenu'" - do not
translate, 'than us', rather, 'than He'.
i. As if to say, the owner of the house cannot
retrieve his vessels from his house.
1. Wherever the spies went, one of the important
Kena'anim died; this distracted them, so they did
not occupy themselves with the spies.
(e) (Rav Mesharshiya): "We were as grasshoppers in our eyes,
and also in their eyes" - this was a falsity!
2. Others explain, Iyov had died, and all were busy
1. They could know how they viewed themselves - but
they could not know how the Kena'anim viewed them!
(f) Rejection: They could know! The Kena'anim would give a
1st meal to a mourner under a cedar tree; when the spies
were seen, they climbed into trees. They heard the
Kena'anim say that they saw ant-sized people in the
(g) "The whole congregation raised their voices and cried" -
it was the eve of the 9th of Av; Hash-m said, they cried
for no reason, I will fix the day as a day of crying for
(h) (R. Chiya bar Aba): "The whole congregation said that
they will stone them (Yehoshua and Kalev); the honor of
Hash-m appeared in the tent of meeting" - they threw
stones up towards Hash-m.
(i) (Reish Lakish): "The men that gave a bad report of the
land died harshly in a plague" - this was a bizarre
1. Opinion #1 (R. Chanina bar Papa): Their tongues hung
out and stretched to their bellybuttons; worms came
from their tongues and entered their bellybuttons
2. Opinion #2 (Rav Papa): They died of croup.
(a) (Beraisa): Once the last Yisrael alighted from the
Jordan, the water returned to its place - "As the
Kohanim, carriers of the Aron alighted from the Jordan,
their feet touched the dry land, the water returned as it
used to be, on all its banks."
(b) The Aron, its carriers, and the Kohanim were on 1 side of
the Jordan, and Yisrael were on the other side.
(c) "When Yisrael finished crossing, the Aron and the Kohanim
passed in front of the nation" - the Aron carried its
1. Uza was punished for not learning from this - "When
they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uza stuck
out is hand to hold the Aron."
(d) (R. Elazar): "va'Yichar (it was distressing) to David
that Hash-m made a breach by Uza" - his face turned white
as a Chararah (cake).
2. Hash-m rebuked him: The Aron can even carry its
carriers - all the more so, it can carry itself!
"Hash-m's anger flared at Uza; he struck him there
on the Shal".
3. (R. Yochanan or R. Elazar): For his (Shelo) affairs.
4. (The other of R. Yochanan and R. Elazar): He
relieved himself in front of the Aron.
5. (R. Yochanan): "He died there with the Aron of
Hash-m" - This teaches that Uza came to the world to
i. Just as the Aron lasts forever, also Uza.
(e) Question: Should we expound every occurrence of the word
'va'Yichar' this way?!
(f) Answer: In other places, it says 'va'Yichar Af' (his
anger flared); here, it only says 'va'Yichar'.
(g) (Rava): David was punished because he called words of
Torah 'songs' - "Your statutes were songs to me".
1. Hash-m rebuked him - "Words of Torah, by which it
says "Wink your eye (for 1 moment, neglect) them,
and they are gone" - you call them songs?! I will
make you stumble in something which is known even to
children learning from their Rebbi.
(h) Question: "He struck the men of Beis Shemesh, because
they saw the Aron" - is this a reason to strike them?!
2. "He did not give (wagons) to (the Levi'im,) the
children of Kehas, because they carry the most
sanctified things (they will carry on their
shoulders)", and David brought the Aron on a wagon.
(i) Answer #1 (R. Avahu or R. Elazar): They bowed to it
without pausing from reaping.
(j) Answer #2 (The other of R. Avahu and R. Elazar): They
also spoke disrespectfully - 'Who angered you (the Aron,
that you allowed yourself to be captured), and who
appeased you (that you returned on your own)?
(k) (R. Avahu or R. Elazar): "He struck among the people 70
men and 50,000 men" - 70 died, and each was worthy as
3) THE ROCKS
(l) (The other of R. Avahu and R. Elazar): 50,000 died, and
each was worthy as 70, the Sanhedrin.
(m) Contradiction: 1 verse says "When the carriers of the
Aron took 6 steps, they sacrificed a bull and a fattened
bull"; a 2nd verse says "7 bulls and 7 rams"!
(n) Answer #1: (Rav Papa bar Shmuel): After each step, a bull
and fattened bull; after every 6 steps, 7 bulls and 7
1. Objection (Rav Chisda): If they sacrificed after
every step, the whole land would be full of private
(o) Answer #2 (Rav Chisda): After every 6 steps, a bull and
fattened bull; after every 6 sets of steps, 7 bulls and 7
(p) Contradiction: 1 verse says "(The threshing floor of)
Kidon"; another verse calls it "Nachon"!
(q) Answer (R. Yochanan): First it was Kidon (as a spear,
i.e. it caused Uza's death), later it was Nachon (it
established the family of Oved Edom with many children).
(a) (Beraisa): There were 3 sets of rocks.
1. Moshe set up rocks in Mo'av - "In Mo'av, Moshe
started to explain"; we learn a Gezeirah Shavah from
"You will write on (the rocks) the Torah (well
(b) (Beraisa - R. Yehudah): "You will write on the rocks this
entire Torah" - they wrote on the rocks, and later
plastered over it.
2. Yehoshua set up 12 rocks in the Jordan.
3. Yehoshua set up 12 other rocks in Gilgal.
1. Question (R. Shimon): If so, how were the Nochrim
able to learn it?
(c) R. Shimon says, they wrote the Torah over the plaster; at
the bottom, they wrote "(You will kill the 7 Kena'ani
nations) so they will not teach you to do as (their
2. Answer (R. Yehudah): Hash-m gave them extra
cleverness. They sent scribes who peeled off the
plaster and copied the Torah.
i. Since they had the opportunity to learn, but
did not, they were condemned to Gehinom.
1. This shows, if Kena'anim outside of Eretz Yisrael
(whom we did not have to kill) wanted to convert, we
would have accepted them.
(d) (Rabah bar Shila): R. Shimon learns from "The nations
will be as fired plaster" - on account of affairs of
1. R. Yehudah explains, they are as plaster - just as
plaster can only be fixed through fire, Nochrim can
only be purified through fire (of Gehinom).
(e) Question: As which Tana is the following?
(f) (Beraisa): "And you will capture a captive (and desire
her)" - this includes Kena'anim in Chutz la'Aretz, that
we accept them as converts.