Sotah 26aסוטה כ״ו א
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26aכ״ו א

מעוברת חבירו ומינקת חבירו לא שותות ולא נוטלות כתובה דברי ר' מאיר

The baraita continues: A woman who was pregnant with the child of another man at the time of her marriage and a woman who was nursing the child of another man at the time of her marriage neither drink the bitter water nor collect payment of their marriage contracts, as their marriages were prohibited by rabbinic law. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir.

שהיה רבי מאיר אומר לא ישא אדם מעוברת חבירו ומינקת חבירו ואם נשא יוציא ולא יחזיר עולמית וחכמים אומרים יוציא וכשיגיע זמנו לכנוס יכנוס

The baraita continues: The reason for this is as Rabbi Meir would say: A man may not marry a woman who is pregnant with the child of another man or a woman who is nursing the child of another man, until twenty-four months pass after the baby’s birth, so as to ensure that the woman will not become pregnant while the child needs to nurse. And if he married her, he must divorce her and may never remarry her, as the Sages penalized him for transgressing the prohibition. And the Rabbis say: He must divorce her, and when his time to marry her arrives, i.e., twenty-four months after the baby’s birth, he can marry her again.

והרובא שנשא עקרה וזקינה ואין לו אשה ובנים מעיקרא לא שותה ולא נוטלת כתובה ר' אלעזר אומר יכול הוא לישא אחרת ולפרות ולרבות הימנה

The baraita continues: In the case of a young man who married a barren woman or an elderly woman, and he did not have a wife and children beforehand, the woman neither drinks nor collects payment of her marriage contract, as it is prohibited for him to marry a woman with whom he cannot procreate. Rabbi Elazar says: This marriage is not forbidden, as he can marry another woman and procreate through her, and therefore she can drink the bitter water.

אבל המקנא לארוסתו ולשומרת יבם שלו ומשכנסה נסתרה או שותה או לא נוטלת כתובה מעוברת ומינקת עצמו או שותה או לא נוטלת כתובתה הרובא שנשא עקרה וזקינה ויש לו אשה ובנים או שותה או לא נוטלת כתובה

The baraita continues: However, in the case of one who issued a warning to his betrothed, or to his yevama while she was a widow awaiting her yavam, and she secluded herself with the other man after he consummated the marriage, she either drinks the bitter water or does not collect payment of her marriage contract. If his own pregnant or nursing wife becomes a sota, then despite the concern that the bitter water may harm the fetus, she either drinks the bitter water or does not collect payment of her marriage contract. In the case of a young man who married a barren woman or an elderly woman, and he already had a wife and children and was therefore permitted to marry his barren or elderly wife, the woman either drinks the bitter water or does not collect payment of her marriage contract.

אשת ממזר לממזר ואשת נתין לנתין ואשת גר ועבד משוחרר ואיילונית או שותה או לא נוטלת כתובה קתני מיהא איילונית תיובתיה דרב נחמן

The baraita concludes: With regard to the wife of a mamzer who is married to a mamzer in a permitted marriage, and the wife of a Gibeonite who is married to a Gibeonite in a permitted marriage, and the wife of a convert or an emancipated slave, and a sexually underdeveloped woman, if any of these women becomes a sota she either drinks the bitter water or does not collect payment of her marriage contract, as the marriage is permitted. After citing the entire baraita, the Gemara explains the difficulty: In any event, the baraita teaches that a sexually underdeveloped woman can drink the bitter water if the marriage is permitted, and this is a conclusive refutation of the opinion of Rav Naḥman.

אמר לך רב נחמן תנאי היא ואנא דאמרי כי האי תנא דתניא ר' שמעון בן אלעזר אומר איילונית לא שותה ולא נוטלת כתובה שנאמר (במדבר ה, כח) ונקתה ונזרעה זרע מי שדרכה להזריע יצאתה זו שאין דרכה להזריע

The Gemara answers: Rav Naḥman could have said to you: There is a dispute between tanna’im with regard to this matter, and I state my opinion in accordance with the opinion of this tanna, as it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar says: A sexually underdeveloped woman neither drinks nor collects payment of her marriage contract, as it is stated: “And she shall be cleared, and shall conceive seed” (Numbers 5:28), indicating that the sota ritual pertains only to one whose way is to bear seed and give birth, excluding this sexually underdeveloped woman, whose way is not to bear seed.

ורבנן האי ונקתה ונזרעה זרע מאי עבדי ליה מיבעי להו לכדתניא ונקתה ונזרעה [זרע] שאם היתה עקרה נפקדת דברי ר' עקיבא אמר לו ר' ישמעאל אם כן יסתרו כל העקרות ויפקדו וזו הואיל ולא נסתרה הפסידה

The Gemara asks: And as for the Rabbis, what do they do with this verse: “And she shall be cleared, and shall conceive seed”? Since they hold that a sexually underdeveloped woman drinks the bitter water, what do they derive from the verse? The Gemara answers: They require it for that which is taught in a baraita: The verse: “And she shall be cleared, and shall conceive seed” (Numbers 5:28), indicates that if she was barren, she will be remembered and conceive a child; this is the statement of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Yishmael said to him: If so, all the barren women will seclude themselves with other men, and they will be remembered and conceive after drinking the bitter water and being found innocent; but that virtuous barren woman, who does not transgress the prohibition of seclusion, since she does not seclude herself with other men, she loses the opportunity to receive this blessing.

אם כן מה תלמוד לומר ונקתה ונזרעה זרע שאם היתה יולדת בצער יולדת בריוח נקבות יולדת זכרים קצרים יולדת ארוכים שחורים יולדת לבנים

Rabbi Yishmael continues: If so, what is the meaning when the verse states: “And she shall be cleared, and shall conceive seed” (Numbers 5:28)? This means that if in the past she would give birth in pain, from then on she will give birth with ease; if she gave birth to females, she will now give birth to males; if her children were short, she will now give birth to tall children; if her children were black, she will give birth to white children.

אשת ממזר לממזר פשיטא מהו דתימא אפושי פסולין לא ליפוש קא משמע לן

§ The baraita in the Tosefta cited above states: The wife of a mamzer who is married to a mamzer in a permitted marriage… either drinks the bitter water or does not collect payment of her marriage contract. The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious? Since their marriage is permitted, why should the sota ritual not apply? The Gemara answers: It is necessary lest you say that she should not drink, since if she drinks and is found to be innocent of adultery, she is permitted to her husband. This is undesirable since their offspring are also mamzerim, and we do not cause the number of individuals of flawed lineage to proliferate. The baraita in the Tosefta therefore teaches us that this is not a concern, and the wife of a mamzer is permitted to drink.

אשת גר ועבד משוחרר ואיילונית פשיטא

The aforementioned baraita in the Tosefta states: The wife of a convert or an emancipated slave, and a sexually underdeveloped woman can drink the bitter water. The Gemara asks with regard to the wife of a convert or an emancipated slave, who also has the status of a convert: Isn’t that obvious? Since their marriage is permitted, why should the sota ritual not apply?

מהו דתימא (במדבר ה, ו) דבר אל בני ישראל ולא גרים קמ"ל ואימא הכי נמי ואמרת רבויא הוא

The Gemara answers: It is necessary lest you say that she does not drink, as the verse states: “Speak to the children of Israel, and say unto them: If the wife of any man goes astray, and acts unfaithfully against him” (Numbers 5:12). One might have inferred from this verse that the sota ritual applies only to those born as Jews and not to converts; the baraita in the Tosefta therefore teaches us that this is not so. The Gemara asks: Why not say that indeed the verse excludes converts? The Gemara answers: The subsequent term: “And say unto them” (Numbers 5:12) is an amplification, which serves to include converts.

אשת כהן שותה כו' (אשת כהן. שותה) פשיטא מהו דתימא (במדבר ה, יג) והיא לא נתפשה אסורה הא נתפשה מותרת וזו הואיל ונתפשה אסורה אימא לא תשתה קא משמע לן

§ The mishna states: The wife of a priest drinks the bitter water, and if she is found to be innocent of adultery she is permitted to her husband. The Gemara asks: Why does the mishna state: The wife of a priest drinks? Isn’t that obvious? The Gemara answers: It is necessary lest you say that she does not drink, as the verse states: “And a man lay with her…neither was she seized” (Numbers 5:13). This indicates that if the sota was not seized she is forbidden; however, if she was seized, i.e., raped, she is permitted to her husband. And with regard to this woman, the wife of a priest, since even if she was seized she is forbidden to her husband, as a priest may not remain married to his wife if she was raped while they were married, one might say that the sota ritual does not apply to her, and she does not drink. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that she does drink.

ומותרת לבעלה פשיטא אמר רב הונא במתנוונה מתנוונה הא בדקוה מיא

§ The mishna states: The wife of a priest drinks, and if she is found to be innocent of adultery, she is permitted to her husband. The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious? Rav Huna says: The mishna is referring to a case where the woman’s health deteriorates after she drinks the bitter water, and one might have thought that she is defiled. The Gemara asks: In the case of a woman whose health deteriorates, hasn’t the bitter water already evaluated that she was unfaithful? The fact that her health deteriorates indicates that she is defiled and forbidden to her husband, and her death is delayed due to her merit in other matters.

במתנוונה דרך אברים מהו דתימא הא זנויי זנאי והא דלא בדקוה מיא כי אורחיה משום דבאונס זנאי ולגבי כהן אסירא קא משמע לן

The Gemara answers: The mishna is referring to a case where her health deteriorates, but not in the manner of a sota, who is afflicted in her belly and thighs (see Numbers 5:27). Rather, she is afflicted by way of other limbs. Lest you say: This woman engaged in licentious intercourse, and the fact that the bitter water did not evaluate her in the usual manner is because she engaged in licentious intercourse under duress, and with regard to a priest, even rape renders her forbidden to her to her husband, the mishna therefore teaches us that the woman’s deteriorating health does not indicate anything.

אשת סריס שותה פשיטא מהו דתימא מבלעדי אישך אמר רחמנא והאי לאו בר הכי הוא קא משמע לן

§ The mishna states: The wife of a eunuch drinks. The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious? Since their marriage is permitted, why should the sota ritual not apply? The Gemara replies: It is necessary lest you say that she does not drink, since the Merciful One states with regard to the sota: “But if you have gone astray while under your husband, and if you are defiled, and some man has lain with you besides your husband” (Numbers 5:20). This indicates that her husband had lain with her, and this husband, the eunuch, is not capable of that. The mishna therefore teaches us that the wife of a eunuch does drink the bitter water.

על ידי כל עריות מקנין פשיטא

§ The mishna states: A husband can issue a warning to his wife with regard to all those with whom relations are forbidden, e.g., her father or brother. The Gemara asks: Isn’t that obvious?