Sotah 28aסוטה כ״ח א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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28aכ״ח א

דאי אית ביה עון בדקי ליה מיא כי אית ביה עון בדידיה מי בדקי לה מיא לדידה והא תניא (במדבר ה, לא) ונקה האיש מעון והאשה ההיא תשא את עונה בזמן שהאיש מנוקה מעון המים בודקין את אשתו אין האיש מנוקה מעון אין המים בודקין את אשתו

that if he has committed a similar iniquity the water evaluates his actions, this is difficult, as in a case where he has committed a similar iniquity does the water even evaluate her fidelity? But isn’t it taught in a baraita that the verse: “And the man shall be clear from iniquity, and that woman shall bear her iniquity” (Numbers 5:31), indicates that only when the man is clear of iniquity does the water evaluate the fidelity of his wife, but if the man is not clear of iniquity the water does not evaluate the fidelity of his wife?

ואלא לבועל ליתני כדקתני סיפא כשם שאסורה לבעל כך אסורה לבועל

And if the mishna is rather referring to the alleged paramour, who is also evaluated by the water that the woman drinks, then let the mishna teach as is taught in its latter clause: Just as she is forbidden to her husband, so too is she forbidden to her paramour. Just as there the paramour is mentioned explicitly, so too here, the mishna should have stated: Just as the water evaluates whether she was unfaithful, so too, it evaluates whether the paramour committed this iniquity.

לעולם לבועל ורישא איידי דתנא אותה תני אותו סיפא איידי דתנא בעל תנא בועל

The Gemara answers: The entire mishna actually does refer to the paramour, and the reason he is not mentioned explicitly in the first clause of the mishna is because since it teaches that the water evaluates whether the wife was unfaithful by using the direct object her, it also teaches that the water evaluates whether the paramour committed the by act using the direct object him, without mentioning the paramour explicitly. In the latter clause of the mishna, on the other hand, since it teaches explicitly that the woman is forbidden to her husband, it also teaches explicitly that she is forbidden to her paramour.

שנאמר ובאו ובאו איבעיא להו באו ובאו קאמר או ובאו ובאו קאמר

§ In the mishna Rabbi Akiva proves that the water evaluates the paramour as well, as it is stated: “And the water that causes the curse shall enter into her” (Numbers 5:24), and: “And the water that causes the curse shall enter into her and become bitter” (Numbers 5:27). A dilemma was raised before the Sages concerning the precise wording of the mishna: Does the mishna state: “Shall enter [ba’u],” “and shall enter [uva’u]”? According to this version of the mishna, it is derived from the superfluous conjoining prefix vav that the paramour is also evaluated by the water. Or, alternatively, does the mishna state: “And shall enter,” “and shall enter,” indicating that this halakha is derived from the repetition of the phrase in two separate verses?

ת"ש כשם שאסורה לבעל כך אסורה לבועל שנאמר נטמאה ונטמאה

Come and hear a proof from Rabbi Akiva’s second statement in the mishna, where he says: Just as she is forbidden to her husband, so too is she forbidden to her paramour, as it is stated: “Is defiled [nitma’a],” “And is defiled [venitma’a]” (Numbers 5:29). Here it seems that Rabbi Akiva derives his interpretation from the superfluous prefix vav rather than from the repetition of the phrase. Therefore, the first derivation should be understood in the same manner.

ועדיין תיבעי נטמאה נטמאה קאמר או נטמאה ונטמאה קאמר

The Gemara asks: But still, let the dilemma be raised with regard to this halakha too: Does Rabbi Akiva state that the source for the halakha is the mention of the phrase “is defiled,” “is defiled,” in two different verses (Numbers 5:14, 29), or does he state that the halakha is derived from the superfluous vav in the phrase “is defiled,” rendering it “and is defiled” (Numbers 5:29)?

ת"ש מדקתני סיפא רבי אומר שני פעמים האמורין בפרשה ונטמאה ונטמאה אחד לבעל ואחד לבועל מכלל דרבי עקיבא ווי קדריש

Come and hear a proof from the fact that the mishna teaches in the latter clause that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The two times that the wife’s defilement is stated in the passage, namely: “And he warns his wife, and she is defiled” (Numbers 5:14), and the later verse: “When a wife, being under her husband, goes astray and is defiled” (Numbers 5:29), indicate that there are two prohibitions due to her defilement. One is to forbid her to her husband and one is to forbid her to her paramour. By inference from the fact that the dissenting derivation of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi is from the repetition of the entire phrase, evidently Rabbi Akiva derives this halakha from the superfluous vav.

הלכך לרבי עקיבא שיתא קראי כתיבי

Therefore, according to the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, since the phrase “and the water…shall enter” is mentioned three times in the passage, and the prefix vav, written each time, is expounded as though the phrase were mentioned twice, the phrase is treated as though it were written in six verses, as follows.

חד לצואה דידה וחד לצואה דידיה

One of the mentions (Numbers 5:27) is interpreted for the command concerning her, the woman, meaning that God empowered the waters to punish the woman; and one, the prefix vav in that same verse, is expounded for the command concerning him, the paramour, i.e., that he too shall be punished by the water if he is guilty.

חד לעשייה דידה וחד לעשייה דידיה

One mention of the phrase, in the description of the drinking of the bitter water of a sota (Numbers 5:24), is interpreted for the execution of her punishment, as the punishment will go into effect so long as the process was performed properly; and one, the prefix vav in that verse, is expounded for the execution of his punishment.

חד לידיעה דידה וחד לידיעה דידיה

One mention (Numbers 5:22) is for her knowledge, i.e., the priest informs her that this punishment will be the result; and one, the prefix vav, is for his knowledge.

ורבי תלתא קראי כתיבי חד לצואה וחד לעשייה וחד לידיעה

But Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi maintains that only three verses worthy of exposition are written with regard to the water entering the woman; he does not derive anything additional from the prefix vav that introduces the various mentions of this matter. He therefore interprets one for the command, and one for the execution, and one for the knowledge, all with regard to the woman herself.

ורבי כשם שהמים בודקין אותה כך בודקין אותו מנא ליה

The Gemara asks: And from where does Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi derive the principle in the mishna that just as the water evaluates whether she was unfaithful, so too, it evaluates whether he committed the sin?

נפקא ליה מדתני' (במדבר ה, כב) לצבות בטן ולנפיל ירך בטנו ויריכו של בועל אתה אומר בטנו ויריכו של בועל או אינו אלא בטנה ויריכה של נבעלת כשהוא אומר וצבתה בטנה ונפלה יריכה הרי בטנה ויריכה של נבעלת אמור ומה אני מקיים לצבות בטן ולנפיל ירך בטנו ויריכו של בועל

The Gemara answers: He derives it from that which is taught in a baraita, that the verse: “And cause the belly to swell and the thigh to fall away” (Numbers 5:22), is referring to the belly and thigh of the paramour. Do you say that the intention is the belly and the thigh of the paramour, or is it only the belly and the thigh of the adulteress? When it says later: “And her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away” (Numbers 5:27), the belly and thigh of the adulteress are explicitly stated. And therefore, how do I realize the meaning of the former verse: “And cause the belly to swell, and the thigh to fall away”? Clearly, it is referring to the belly and thigh of the paramour.

ואידך ההוא דמודע לה כהן דבטן ברישא והדר ירך שלא להוציא לעז על המים המרים

And how does the other tanna, Rabbi Akiva, interpret the repetition of verses? The former verse indicates that the priest informs her that her belly will be afflicted first and then her thigh, so as not to cast aspersions on the bitter water of a sota, i.e., to prevent people from claiming that the guilty woman’s death was not due to the bitter water but rather to some other cause. The reason people might claim this is that the priest says to the woman: “The Lord will make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your thigh fall away, and your belly swell” (Numbers 5:21). This seems to imply that her thigh is supposed to be afflicted before her belly. Therefore, when her belly swells first, people might conclude that it is not due to the water. It is for this reason that the priest needs to inform her that her belly will swell first.

ואידך א"כ לכתוב קרא בטנה ויריכה מאי בטן וירך ש"מ לבועל

And why does the other tanna, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, disagree with Rabbi Akiva? The Gemara answers: If it is so that the verse: “And cause the belly to swell, and the thigh to fall away” (Numbers 5:22), is referring to the woman, the verse should have written: Her belly…and her thigh. What is meant by the phraseology of “the belly…and the thigh”? Conclude from it that it is referring to the belly and thigh of the paramour.

ואימא כולי להכי הוא דאתא אם כן לכתוב בטנו ויריכו מאי בטן וירך ש"מ תרתי

The Gemara asks: And say that the entire verse comes for this, to indicate that the water evaluates the paramour as well, and does not teach the order of the punishment? The Gemara answers: If so, the Torah should have written: His belly…and his thigh. What is the meaning of the general wording: “The belly…and the thigh”? Conclude from it two conclusions: That the paramour is punished and that the priest informs the woman with regard to the order of the punishment.

א"ר יהושע כך היה דורש זכריה כו'

§ It is stated in the mishna that Rabbi Yehoshua said: That was how Zekharya ben HaKatzav would interpret it. Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The two times that the defilement of the wife is stated in the passage indicate that there are two prohibitions due to her defilement; one is to forbid her to her husband and one is to forbid her to her paramour.

ת"ר שלש פעמים האמורין בפרשה אם נטמאה נטמאה ונטמאה למה אחד לבעל ואחד לבועל ואחד לתרומה דברי רבי עקיבא

The Sages taught in a baraita: With regard to the three times that the defilement of the wife is stated in the passage, namely: “If she is defiled” (Numbers 5:27), “and he warns his wife, and she is defiled” (Numbers 5:14), and “when a wife being under her husband goes astray and is defiled” (Numbers 5:29), why are all three necessary? One is to prohibit her to her husband, and one is to prohibit her to her paramour, and one is to prohibit her from partaking of teruma, even if she is the wife or daughter of a priest. This is the statement of Rabbi Akiva.

אמר רבי ישמעאל קל וחומר ומה גרושה שמותרת לתרומה אסורה לכהונה זו שאסורה בתרומה אינו דין שאסורה לכהונה

Rabbi Yishmael said: It is unnecessary to derive from a verse that it would also be prohibited for this woman to marry a priest, as it can be derived a fortiori: If a divorced daughter of a priest, who is permitted to partake of teruma, is nevertheless forbidden to marry into the priesthood, then with regard to this sota, who is forbidden to partake of teruma, is it not logical that it is also prohibited for her to marry into the priesthood?

מה ת"ל והיא נטמאה והיא לא נטמאה אם נטמאה למה שותה אם לא נטמאה למה משקה מגיד לך הכתוב שהספק אסורה

The baraita continues by citing additional expositions involving the verse: “And she is defiled” (Numbers 5:14): What is the meaning when the verse states with regard to the cases in which a husband can compel his wife to drink the bitter water of a sota: “And he warns his wife, and she is defiled; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him, and he warns his wife, and she is not defiled” (Numbers 5:14)? If she is defiled, why does she need to drink? And if she is not defiled, why does he make her drink? The baraita answers: The verse tells you that it is discussing a case when there is uncertainty as to whether the woman was faithful to her husband, yet it is prohibited for her to engage in sexual intercourse with her husband until the matter is clarified.

מכאן אתה דן לשרץ ומה סוטה שלא עשה בה שוגג כמזיד ואונס כרצון עשה בה ספק כודאי שרץ שעשה בו שוגג כמזיד ואונס כרצון אינו דין שיעשה בו ספק

From here you can derive the halakha in a case of uncertainty with regard to whether the carcass of a creeping animal has imparted ritual impurity: Just as in the case of a sota, where the Torah does not consider unwitting adultery like intentional adultery, and rape is not treated like a willing transgression, because if a married woman committed adultery unwittingly or was raped she is not punished, yet still the Torah considers an uncertain case of adultery like a certain violation inasmuch as the woman is forbidden to her husband until the truth is clarified; so too, with regard to a creeping animal or other agents of ritual impurity, where the Torah does consider unwitting contact with impure items like intentional contact, as one contracts impurity whether or not his contact was intentional and an accident is treated like willing contact, is it not logical that the Torah must also consider an uncertain case of transmission of ritual impurity