ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Sotah 22
SOTAH 21-25 - 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
(a) Rebbi Elazar ben P'das refers to someone who has learned Chumash and Mishnah but
not Gemara, as an Am ha'Aretz - in which case, they are not believed regarding
Ma'asros and Taharos, and their touch renders Tamei.
(b) Rebbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini calls him a Bur and Rebbi Yanai, a Kuti. The
difference between ...
1. ... an Am ha'Aretz and a Bur (see Agados Maharsha) - is that the latter does not
even have Midos either, whereas the former has at least that.
(c) Rav Acha bar Ya'akov calls him a Magush and Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak agrees with
him. A 'Magush' is a magician who tricks people with his sleight of hand tricks;
likewise this 'Talmid-Chacham' tricks people into thinking that he is very learned by
quoting lots of sources, though he does really understand them.
2. ... an Am ha'Aretz and a Kuti - is that whereas the latter's bread and wine are
forbidden too (because his lack of interest in learning Gemara demonstrates his
unreliability, and he only studied Mishnah for show), the former's are not.
(a) Rebbi Meir in a Beraisa, defines an Am ha'Eretz as someone who does not read the
Shema with the B'rachos each day (Rashi appears not to have had 'with the B'rachos'
in his text) see Agados Maharsha. The Chachamim and ben Azai respectively define it -
as someone who does not wear Tefilin every day, or one who wears a four-cornered
garment without Tzitzis.
(b) Rebbi Yonasan ben Yosef defines an Am ha'Aretz as someone who does not educate
his children to study Torah, and Acheirim, in the same way as Rebbi Elazar ben P'das
(whose opinion we saw earlier). The Pasuk ...
1. ... "Ve'zara'ti es Beis Yisrael ve'es Beis Yehudah Zera Adam *ve'Zera Beheimah*" -
is referring to people who have not even learned Chumash and Mishnah, in which case
they are no better than an animal.
(c) The reason for this advice - because it is dangerous to rule from Mishnayos
without first having learned the Gemara.
2. ... "Yerei es Hashem, B'ni u'Melech, ve'Im *Shonim* Al Tis'arev", according to
Rebbi Yitzchak - is referring to those who learn Mishnah (which the Tana calls
'Halachos'), and with whom Shlomoh advised his son Rechav'am not to mix.
(d) If not for Rebbi Yitzchak, we would have established "Shonim" like Rav Huna - who
says that once a person has performed a sin and repeated it, he considers as if it
was actually permitted (and the word "Shonim" would then mean those who repeat their
(a) The Pasuk "Halichos Olam Lo" refers to - those who learn the Mishnahs, thereby
establishing the basis of Halachos.
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua reconciles the statement 'ha'Tana'im Mevalei Olam' with this Pasuk
- by establishing the Pasuk with regard to those who compile the Mishnayos, and the
statement with regard to those who issue rulings from the Mishnah.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan learned ...
1. ... fear of sin from a young virgin - who fell on her face and whom he overheard
praying that no-one should sin because of her, to lose their portion in Gan Eden and
to inherit Gehinom on account of her.
(b) The Tana of a Beraisa, who includes a praying woman in his list of those who
destroy the world is referring - (not to such a sincere woman, but rather) to someone
of the caliber of Yuchni bas Retivi, who would use sorcery to stop pregnant women
from bearing their children, and then pretend to pray for them whilst she simply
removed the spell, until the time that someone discovered her bubbling pot.
2. ... the concept of reward from a widow - who used to Daven in his Shul every
single day, even though she lived at the other end of town. When he asked her whether
there was no Shul closer to her, she responded that she wanted not only the reward
for Tefilah, but also for walking further (S'char Pesi'os).
(c) The Tana also included an Almanah Shovavis - a widow who was constantly visiting
her neighbors (whose real intention is to live an immoral lifestyle).
(a) He finally listed a minor whose years are not yet completed. Some explain this to
mean a disciple who rebels against his Rebbe. Rebbi Aba connects it with a statement
by Rebbi Avahu Amar Rav Huna Amar Rav, who learns from the Pasuk ...
1. ... "Ki Rabim Chalalehah *Hipilah*" - that someone who has not yet attained the
age to issue rulings, should not do so (from the word 'Nefel' [a premature baby]).
(b) One is considered unfit to issue rulings - until the age of forty.
2. ... "*va'Atzumim* Kol Harugehah" - that someone who has, should not refrain from
doing so (from the word 'Otzem' [to close]).
(c) Rabah issued rulings for a number of years (despite the fact that he died at the
age of forty) - because he was equal to the greatest Talmid-Chacham in town. One
would also be permitted to issue rulings if there was nobody older than forty.
(a) The Beraisa lists seven Perushin - meaning people who make a pretense of
abstaining from evil, but who are not sincere. What they have in common is that they
comprise the 'Makos P'rushin' who destroy the world, mentioned by Rebbi Yehoshua in
(b) Parush ...
1. ... Shichmi - refers to someone who performs good deeds purely so that others
should hold him in high esteem (like the inhabitants of Sh'chem, who performed the
Milah purely for the material benefits that they hoped to gain from it.
(c) Parush Kiza'i is someone who pretends to close his eyes so as not to look at
women, banging his head against the wall in the process. 'Parush Maduchya' - refers
to people who walk with heads bent in fake modesty (like a pestle with a bent
2. ... Nakfi - refers to someone who takes short steps without lifting his feet from
the ground (so as to appear modest), banging his feet against stones in the
(d) Parush 'Mah Chovasi' seems to be a good thing. What he really means to say is -
'What more can I possibly do that I have not done already?'
1. ... Parush me'Ahavah' - is someone who abstains from evil out of love of reward.
(b) Abaye and Rava instructed the Beraisa-expert to erase them from the text because
of what Rav Yehudah Amar Rav - who said that one is obligated to study Torah and
perform Mitzvos even for motives other than that Hashem commanded them, because doing
so leads a person to perform them for the right motive.
2. ... Parush mi'Yir'ah' - is someone who does so out of fear of punishment.
(a) Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak says that - the Beis-Din shel Ma'alah will punish those
people who 'cover their heads with a Talis' (pretending to be Tzadikim), when really
they are not.
(b) Yanai ha'Melech told his wife 'Shelomis' on his death-bed that she need fear
neither the Perushim nor the Tzedokim. She might have had reason to fear the Perushim
- who hated Yanai for having killed many of their number during his life-time, and
they might take it out of her or out of their children.
(c) Yanai nevertheless instructed her not to be afraid of them - because they were
Tzadikim and would not punish her or their children on account of what he had done.
(d) When he said 'Osin Ma'aseh Zimri u'Mevakshin S'char ke'Pinchas' - he was
referring to the 'Tzevu'in' (the pretenders) who make out that they are Perushim when
really they are Tzedokim (they behave like Zimri but they want reward like Pinchas -
or with regard to modesty; they are decadent in their personal conduct, but pretend
to be exceptionally modest.
(a) Rebbi Shimon in our Mishnah rejects the concept of merits protecting a Sotah from
punishment - because first of all, it weakens the deterrent quality of the water in
the eyes of the women who might have to drink it; and secondly, because it will give
a bad name to those women who drink and are truly innocent, since people will now
accuse them of bring guilty, and ascribe nothing happening to them to their merits.
Should a Sotah's Minchah become Tamei ...
(b) According to Rebbi - a woman who had merits would neither have children nor would
she improve. In fact, she would begin to decline until she died the death that was
1. ... before it is placed in a K'li Sha'res - it may be redeemed (like any other
Minchah), and a replacement purchased with the proceeds.
2. ... afterwards - it must be burned (like any other Minchah), because Kedushas
ha'Guf cannot be redeemed.