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Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Sotah 47

SOTAH 47, 48 - have been anonymously dedicated by a very special Marbitz Torah and student of the Daf from Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.


(a) (Rav or Shmuel): This was a miracle.
(b) (The other of Rav and Shmuel): This was a miracle within a miracle.
1. The 1st opinion holds that a forest already was there; the bears came miraculously.
2. The 2nd opinion holds that also the forest came miraculously.
(c) Question: Why was it necessary to miraculously bring a forest - just bring the bears!
(d) Answer: The bears would be too timid to attack if they did not have a place to hide.
(e) (R. Chanina): Because of the 42 sacrifices that Balak brought, 42 Jewish children died.
(f) Question: But Rav Yehudah taught, his reward was that Rus descended from him, and from her Shlomo, who brought thousands of sacrifices!
1. (R. Yosi ben Choni): Rus was the daughter of Eglon, who was the son of Balak.
2. We learn from Balak that a person should always engage in Torah and Mitzvos, even for ulterior motives, for he will come to engage in them for pure motives!
(g) Answer: Balak's intention was to curse Yisrael (i.e. to diminish Yisrael).
(h) Question: "The people of the city told Elisha, this is a good city, as you can see" - how could they say this, the water was bad, and there were miscarriages!
(i) Answer (R. Chanin): People love the place they live in.
1. (R. Yochanan): Three things always find grace: people love the place they live in; a wife has grace in the eyes of her husband; a buyer is happy with what he bought.!
(j) (Beraisa): Elisha fell sick 3 times: as a result of causing the bears (through his curse); for casting off Gechazi with both hands; and the sickness he died from.
(k) (Beraisa): A person should dispel with the left hand, and bring close with the right, unlike Elisha and Yehoshua ben Prachyah, who dispelled with both hands.
1. Question: "(Elisha rebuked Gechazi) You took the money, garments, olives, vineyards, flock, cattle, male and female servants" - but he only took money and garments!
2. Answer (R. Yitzchak): At the time, Gechazi was learning about the 8 rodents from Elisha. Elisha mentioned 8 things in his rebuke to hint to him - 'The time has come for you to receive your reward for learning about the 8 rodents.'
(l) (R. Yochanan): "The leprosy of Na'aman should cling to you forever" - the 4 lepers mentioned later are Gechazi and his 3 sons.
(m) (R. Yochanan): "Elisha went to Dameshek" - he went to get Gechazi to repent.
1. Gechazi: You taught me - one who sinned and made many others sin, he is not able to repent.
(n) Question: What did Gechazi do?
(o) Answer #1: He used a magnet to suspend Yeravam's idols in the air (to make people believe that they have powers).
(p) Answer #2: He carved Hash-m's name on the mouth of the idol, and the idol would say the first 2 of the 10 commandments.
(q) Answer #3: He rejected Talmidim that wanted to learn from Elisha.
1. After he left, there were so many Talmidim that they were cramped.
(a) When King Yanai killed the Chachamim, his wife hid her brother, Shimon ben Shetach, to save him. R. Yehoshua ben Prachyah fled to Aleksandriya. When the danger subsided, Shimon ben Shetach wrote to R. Yehoshua ben Prachyah, suggesting that he return.
(b) On his way back, he stayed at an inn; he was treated respectfully.
1. R. Yehoshua ben Prachyah: Our hostess is very nice!
2. A Talmid: But her eyes are round!
3. R. Yehoshua: Evil one - you gaze at married women?!
(c) R. Yehoshua excommunicated him in front of 400 people. Each day, the Talmid came before him, but he refused to see him. One day, he came before him when R. Yehoshua was reading Shma Yisrael. He gestured that he would see him when he finished.
(d) The Talmid misinterpreted the gesture, and thought that he would not see him. He set up a brick and worshipped it.
1. R. Yehoshua: Repent!
2. The Talmid: You taught me - one who sinned and made many sin, he is not able to repent.
3. The Talmid did witchcraft, enticed individuals and the masses to serve idols, and caused Yisrael to sin.
(e) (R. Shimon ben Elazar): The evil inclination, a child, and a wife - the left hand should repel them, the right hand should draw them close.
(a) (Mishnah): If the murderer was found before beheading the calf, the calf may graze with the herd (i.e. it is not forbidden in any way);
1. If the calf was already beheaded, it is buried in its place - it is always brought to atone before the murderer is found, lest he will not be found! Finding the murderer later does not change the status of the calf.
(b) If the murderer is found after beheading the calf, he is killed.
(c) If 1 witness says that he saw the murderer, and 1 witness contradicts him; or, 1 woman says that she saw the murderer, and 1 woman contradicts her - we behead a calf;
(d) If 1 witness says that he saw, and 2 witnesses contradict him, we behead a calf; if 2 witnesses say that they saw, and 1 witness contradicts them, we do not behead a calf.
(e) After murder became widespread, the ritual of the beheaded calf was abolished;
1. This was at the time of Eliezer ben Dinai, who was called Techina ben Prisha; they started calling him the murdering son.
(f) When adultery became rampant, R. Yochanan ben Zakai abolished the Sotah water - "I will not visit upon your daughters, for they have extramarital relations, and your daughter-in-laws, for they commit adultery..."
(g) When Yosi ben Yo'ezer of Tzreidah and Yosi ben Yehudah of Yerushalayim died, there were no more clusters (to be explained later).
(h) Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolished the recital of the Ma'aseros, the arousers, and the beaters (to be explained later);

(i) Until his day, one would hear hammers pounding during Chol ha'Moed in Yerushalayim;
(j) In his day, there was no need to ask about doubtfully tithed produce.
(k) (Gemara - Beraisa): "Atonement for the land will only come through the blood of the murderer" - this teaches that if the murderer is found after beheading the calf, he is killed.
(a) (Mishnah): If 1 witness says that he saw the murderer ...
(b) The only reason we do not behead a calf is because 1 witness contradicts him - otherwise, the witness would be believed.
(c) Question: What is the source for this?
(d) Answer (Beraisa): "It is not known who killed him" - if even 1 person at the end of the world would know, a calf is not brought.
(e) R. Akiva says "Our eyes did not see" - if the Sanhedrin saw the murder, even though they do not recognize the murderer, they do not bring a calf.
(f) Question: If 1 witness is believed, how can 1 witness contradict him?
1. (Ula): Wherever the Torah believed 1 witness, he is believed as 2, and the other witness is not believed against 2!
(g) Answer #1 (Ula and R. Yitzchak): The Mishnah should say that a calf is not brought.
(h) (R. Chiya): A calf is brought.
1. Question: How does R. Chiya answer the above question?
2. Answer (And this is a 2nd answer to question (f)): The Mishnah speaks when the witnesses testify together; Ula's law only applies when they come at different times.
(i) (Mishnah): 1 witness says that he saw, 2 contradict him - a calf is brought.
1. Question: We infer, if only 1 witness contradicted him, a calf is not brought - this refutes R. Chiya!
2. Counter-question (Mishnah): 2 say that they saw, 1 contradicts them - a calf is not brought.
i. We infer, if only 1 witness saw, a calf is brought (this supports R. Chiya and refutes Ula)!
3. Answer: Both Ula and R. Chiya must explain that these last 2 clauses of the Mishnah speak of invalid witnesses, as R. Nechemyah.
(j) (Beraisa - R. Nechemyah): Wherever the Torah believed 1 witness, we follow the majority;
1. Version #1: 2 women that contradict a man are as 2 men that contradict a man (and they are believed).
2. Version #2: If a valid witness came first, even if 100 women later contradict him, they are only considered as 1 man (and they are not believed, since the valid witness was believed as 2).
(k) The case in the Mishnah is that a woman testified first.
(l) We explain R. Nechemyah's words as follows: Wherever the Torah believed 1 witness, we follow the majority; 2 women that contradict 1 woman are as 2 men that contradict a man (and they are believed);
1. But 2 women that contradict 1 man - we are in doubt who to believe.
(m) Question: Why must the Mishnah teach 2 clauses about invalid witnesses?
(n) Answer: One might have thought that we only follow the majority (of invalid witnesses) to be stringent - we hear, we even follow them to be lenient.
(a) (Mishnah): After murder became widespread ...
(b) (Beraisa): After murder became widespread, the ritual of the beheaded calf was abolished, since it only comes when the murderer is unknown.
1. The murderers killed in public.
(c) (Mishnah): When adultery became rampant ...
(d) (Beraisa): "The man will be clean from sin" - the water only checks his wife when the man is clean from sin;
1. It also says "I will not visit upon your daughters, for they have extramarital relations ..."
(e) Question: Why is the 2nd verse needed?
(f) Answer: One might have thought, only his own sin prevents the water from working, but not the sin of his children - the 2nd verse teaches that his children's sins also prevent the water from working.
(g) Suggestion: Perhaps only adultery prevents the water from working, but not relations with a single woman.
(h) Rejection: "They are company with harlots ..."
(i) Question: What does it mean, "A nation that does not understand will grow weary (from punishments)"?
(j) Answer (R. Elazar): The prophet told them: if you yourselves conduct morally, the water will test your wives; if not, not.
(k) (Continuation of Beraisa): When judges that seek pleasures increased, judgments became distorted and deeds became perverted, and the world is not pleasing to Hash-m;
(l) When there increased judges that show favoritism, fulfillment of "Do not fear (in judgment)" ceased;
1. They cast of the yoke of Heaven, and the yoke of human kings was put upon them.
(m) When there increased those that try to persuade judges, Hash-m's anger against Yisrael increased, and the Divine Presence departed - "Hash-m will judge amidst the judges".
(n) When there increased those that pursue pleasure, flatterers increased; when flatterers increased, woe increased;
(o) When there increased those that draw out their spit, haughtiness increased, and Talmidim decreased, and the Torah seeks those that will learn it;
1. When haughtiness increased, Bnos Yisrael started marrying haughty men - in our generation, only the external is seen.
2. Question: But it was taught, one who is haughty, even his household do not accede to him - "A man is haughty, his dwelling will not last" - he will not even dwell in his home!
3. Answer: At first, Bnos Yisrael pursued (to marry) haughty men; later, the men were disgraced in their eyes.
(p) When there increased judges that ask merchants to do business for them, increased bribery and tilting of judgment, and goodness ended;
1. When there increased judges that showed their appreciation of favors, there was an increase in people doing as fit in their own eyes; the lowly were raised, the great ones were lowered, and the kingship in Yisrael degenerated.
(q) When there increased stingy people and thieves, there was more callousness and refusal to lend money;
1. People transgressed "Lest there be a base thought in your heart..."
(r) When there increased people that walk with raised necks and scorning eyes, there were more Sotos, but they ceased having them drink.
(s) When there increased people that receive gifts, days and years were shortened - "One who hates gifts will live".
(a) When there increased people that rely on their own understanding, dispute increased in Yisrael; when the Talmidim of Hillel and Shamai increased, who did not learn from their Rebbeim as long as they should have, dispute became rampant, and it is as if there are 2 Toros.
(b) When there increased people that take Tzedakah from Nochrim, Yisrael (a euphemism) rose and they declined; Yisrael was in front, and they, in back.
(c) (Mishnah): When Yosi ben Yo'ezer of Tzreidah died ...
(d) Question: What are the clusters?
(e) Answer (Rav Yehudah): Men that contain everything (Chachmos and good traits).
(f) (Mishnah): Yochanan Kohen Gadol abolished the recital of the Parsha of Ma'aseros ...
(g) (R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): He did this because Ma'aseros were not given properly;
1. The Torah says that Ma'aser Rishon should be given to a Levi, and we give it to Kohanim.
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