Sotah 2b:25סוטה ב׳ ב:כה
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2bב׳ ב
1 א

ממשמע שנאמר לא יקום עד באיש איני יודע שהוא אחד מה ת"ל אחד זה בנה אב כל מקום שנאמר עד הרי כאן שנים עד שיפרוט לך הכתוב אחד

The baraita infers a general principle from this verse by asking: By inference from that which is stated in the verse, even with the omission of the word “one”: “A witness shall not rise up against a man” (Deuteronomy 19:15), do I not know that it is referring to one witness, as the term “rise up [yakum]” is written in the singular form? What is the meaning when the verse states explicitly: “One witness,” since it is obviously referring to only one witness? The baraita answers: This established a paradigm that every place where the word “witness [ed]” is stated in the Torah without specifying a number, there are two witnesses here, unless the verse specifies that it is referring to only one witness by writing the word “one.”

2 ב

ואמר רחמנא תרי לית בה אלא חד (במדבר ה, יג) והיא לא נתפשה אסורה

The baraita returns to discuss the verse concerning a sota. And the Merciful One states: “There is no witness [ed] against her” (Numbers 5:13), which therefore means that there are not two witnesses to the sexual intercourse that could testify with regard to her; rather, there is only one witness. The baraita completes its interpretation: Further in the verse it states: “And she was not taken,” indicating that the verse is referring to a case in which it is known that the woman had not been raped. This knowledge is based on the testimony of only one witness, as the verse had already stated that there were not two witnesses, and since one witness saw her willingly engage in sexual intercourse with another man, she is forbidden.

3 ג

אלא טעמא דכתיב לא יקום עד אחד באיש הא לאו הכי הוה אמינא עד דסוטה חד הוא ואי אפילו חד ליכא אלא במאי מיתסרא

The Gemara questions this reasoning: But this would seem to indicate that the only reason to interpret the verse concerning a sota as referring to a case where there is only one witness is that it is written in the other verse: “One witness shall not rise up against a man” (Deuteronomy 19:15), indicating that any unspecified usage of the word ed in the Torah refers to two witnesses, but were it not for this inference, I would say that when the term witness is employed in the verse concerning a sota it is referring to one witness. However, this would mean that the woman is forbidden to her husband even if there is not even one witness who saw the alleged sexual intercourse, and if there is not even one witness to testify, then with what testimony does she become forbidden to her husband? Obviously, even without another verse, it must be understood that the verse is indicating that there are not two witnesses but there is one, or else there would be no testimony to her actions.

4 ד

איצטריך סד"א עד אין בה אין נאמן בה

The Gemara answers: It was necessary to infer the interpretation of the verse concerning the sota from the other verse mentioning one witness. Otherwise it might enter your mind to say that the verse here that states: “There is no witness against her,” means that a single witness testifying about the sexual intercourse is not deemed credible with regard to her under any circumstances, and the testimony of one witness is not accepted in the case of a sota.

5 ה

אין נאמן בה ואלא מאי בעי

The Gemara questions this analysis: What would be the logic in interpreting the verse as indicating that a single witness is not deemed credible with regard to her? But if that is the interpretation, what does the verse require in order for a sota to be rendered forbidden?

6 ו

עד דאיכא תרי לישתוק קרא מיניה דאתיא דבר דבר מממון ואנא ידענא מידי דהוה אכל עדיות שבתורה

The Gemara explains its question: If the verse is understood as indicating that a woman isn’t forbidden until there are two witnesses to testify to her infidelity, then let the verse be silent from any mention of witnesses, as the requirement for two witnesses in matters of sexual impropriety is derived by means of a verbal analogy from the word “matter” written with regard to forbidden relations, and the word “matter” written with regard to monetary matters. The verbal analogy by which it is learned that two witnesses are required is as follows: A verse concerning forbidden relations states: “Because he has found some unseemly matter about her” (Deuteronomy 24:1), and a verse concerning monetary matters states: “By the mouth of two witnesses or by the mouth of three witnesses shall a matter be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15). And I would know that the requirement that two witnesses testify applies in the case of a sota, just as it does in all other matters of testimony in the Torah.

7 ז

איצטריך סד"א סוטה שאני דרגלים לדבר שהרי קינא לה ונסתרה ליתהימן בה עד אחד

The Gemara answers: It was necessary that the verse be stated in the case of a sota as well, for it might enter your mind to say that testimony concerning a sota is different from other testimony, and even testimony of one witness would be sufficient because there is a basis for anticipating the matter. Since the husband issued a warning to her about this particular man and she then secluded herself with him, perhaps even one witness should be deemed credible with regard to her. Therefore, the verse informs us that one witness is not deemed credible to render her forbidden to her husband.

8 ח

ומי מצית אמרת דאין נאמן בה ושריא והא מדכתיב והיא לא נתפשה מכלל דאסורה

The Gemara asks another question concerning its earlier analysis: But how can you think to say that the verse would be stating that one witness is not deemed credible with regard to her having engaged in sexual intercourse and she would remain permitted to her husband? But from the continuation of the same verse, from the fact that it is written: “And she was not taken,” which indicates that the verse is referring to a case where she was not raped, one concludes by inference that the verse is referring to a woman who becomes forbidden to her husband for engaging in consensual adulterous sexual intercourse.

9 ט

איצטריך סד"א אין נאמן בה עד דאיכא תרי ובתרי נמי היא דלא נתפשה קמ"ל

The Gemara answers: Nevertheless, it still was necessary to teach the principle derived from the other verse that the term “ed” is referring to two witnesses even in the context of a sota, as it might enter your mind to say that the verse should be understood to mean that one witness is not deemed credible with regard to her, and she remains permitted until there are two witnesses who testify to the sexual intercourse, and with the testimony of two witnesses as well, it is only when she was not seized and forced to cohabit with the man. Therefore, to refute this possible interpretation, the baraita teaches us that “ed” always refers to two witnesses unless stated otherwise. Therefore, the phrase in the verse concerning a sota that says: “There is no witness [ed] against her,” means that there were not two witnesses, but if there was only one witness he is deemed credible.

10 י

רבי יהושע אומר מקנא לה על פי שנים וכו' מ"ט דרבי יהושע אמר קרא (במדבר ה, יג) בה בה ולא בקינוי בה ולא בסתירה

The mishna teaches that Rabbi Yehoshua says: He both issues a warning to her based on two witnesses, and he gives the bitter water to her to drink based on the testimony of two witnesses who saw her secluded. The Gemara asks: What is the reasoning of Rabbi Yehoshua? The Gemara answers: The verse states: “And there is no witness [ed] against her [bah]” (Numbers 5:13), which was explained to mean there were not two witnesses, but only one, who testified concerning her defilement. Rabbi Yehoshua derives from the term bah, which could also be understood as: With regard to it, that in this matter of defilement one witness suffices, but not with regard to the warning. Additionally, he derives: With regard to it, but not with regard to the seclusion. Therefore, there must be two witnesses to testify about both the warning and the seclusion.

11 יא

ורבי אליעזר אומר בה ולא בקינוי

The Gemara now explains Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion. And Rabbi Eliezer says that the only derivation to be learned is: With regard to it, but not with regard to the warning. Therefore, the warning, unlike the defilement, requires two witnesses. The seclusion is not contrasted with the defilement, and, like the defilement, requires only one.

12 יב

ואימא בה ולא בסתירה סתירה איתקש לטומאה דכתיב (במדבר ה, יג) ונסתרה והיא נטמאה

The Gemara questions Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion: But why not say that one should also derive: With regard to it, but not with regard to the seclusion, as does Rabbi Yehoshua? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Eliezer does not accept that derivation, as seclusion is juxtaposed to defilement by the verse, as it is written: “And she was defiled secretly” (Numbers 5:13), and the term “secretly” is referring to seclusion. Therefore, the same halakha should apply to both.

13 יג

קינוי נמי איתקש לטומאה דכתיב (במדבר ה, יד) וקנא את אשתו והיא נטמאה הא מיעט רחמנא בה

The Gemara asks: But the warning is also juxtaposed to defilement, as it is written: “And he warned his wife, and she had become defiled” (Numbers 5:14) and the same halakha should apply to both. The Gemara answers: The Merciful One excluded at least one of the two by use of the expression bah, which teaches that in one matter other than defilement, two witnesses are required.

14 יד

ומה ראית מסתברא סתירה עדיפא שכן אוסרתה כטומאה

The Gemara asks: And what did you see to determine that the exclusion from the halakha of one witness sufficing is with regard to the warning? Perhaps the exclusion from the halakha of one witness sufficing is with regard to the seclusion. The Gemara answers: It stands to reason that it is preferable to compare seclusion to defilement, as testimony with regard to seclusion forbids her to her husband just as testimony with regard to defilement does.

15 טו

אדרבה קינוי עדיף שכן עיקר גרם לה

The Gemara rejects this reasoning: On the contrary, it is preferable to compare the warning to the defilement, as it is the main cause of her becoming forbidden. Seclusion alone, absent a warning, would not cause her to be forbidden to her husband.

16 טז

אי לאו סתירה קינוי מי איכא ואי לאו קינוי סתירה מאי אהני

The Gemara counters: If there is no seclusion, is there any significance to the warning? The warning results in a prohibition only after the warned woman secludes herself with the man. The Gemara counters: And if there is no warning, what effectiveness does seclusion have? Both the warning and the seclusion are required for her to be forbidden.

17 יז

אפ"ה סתירה עדיפא דאתחלתא דטומאה היא

The Gemara concludes: Even so, it is preferable to compare the seclusion to the defilement, as the seclusion is the beginning of defilement. Therefore, just as the testimony of one witness suffices with regard to the defilement, the testimony of one witness suffices with regard to the seclusion.

18 יח

מתני' דלא כי האי תנא דתניא רבי יוסי ברבי יהודה אומר משום ר' אליעזר המקנא לאשתו מקנא ע"פ עד אחד או ע"פ עצמו ומשקה לה על פי שנים השיבו חכמים לדברי רבי יוסי ברבי יהודה אין לדבר סוף

The Gemara comments: The mishna is not in accordance with the opinion of this tanna, who presents a different version of Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, as it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta 1:1) that Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says in the name of Rabbi Eliezer: One who issues a warning to his wife issues a warning based on one witness or based on his own testimony, and he gives the bitter water to her to drink based on the testimony of two witnesses who saw her secluded. The baraita further states that the Rabbis responded: According to the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, as to Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion that one need not issue a warning in the presence of two witnesses, there is no end to the matter, as the Gemara will explain.

19 יט

מ"ט דר' יוסי ברבי יהודה אמר קרא בה ולא בסתירה

The Gemara explains: What is the reasoning of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda? The verse states: “Bah,” from which he infers that one witness suffices to testify with regard to it, i.e., the defilement, but not with regard to seclusion, as above.

20 כ

ואימא בה ולא בקינוי קינוי איתקש לטומאה דכתיב וקנא את אשתו והיא נטמאה

The Gemara asks: But why not say that one should also derive: With regard to it, but not with regard to the warning? The Gemara answers: The warning is juxtaposed to defilement, as it is written: “And he warned his wife, and she had become defiled” (Numbers 5:14), and the same halakha should apply to both.

21 כא

סתירה נמי איתקש לטומאה דכתיב ונסתרה והיא נטמאה ההוא לכמה שיעור סתירה כדי טומאה הוא דאתא

The Gemara counters this argument: Seclusion is also juxtaposed in the verse to defilement, as it is written: “And she was defiled secretly” (Numbers 5:13). Therefore, the same halakha should apply to both. The Gemara responds: That verse is coming to teach how much is the measure of seclusion, i.e., the amount of time that the man and woman must be secluded together for it to be defined as seclusion, which, as the comparison indicates, is the amount of time sufficient for defilement.

22 כב

השיבו חכמים לדברי ר' יוסי בר' יהודה אין לדבר סוף מאי ניהו דזמנין דלא קני ואמר קנאי

The Gemara continues to clarify the baraita. The Rabbis responded: According to the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, as to Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, there is no end to the matter. The Gemara asks: What is the meaning of: There is no end to the matter? The Gemara answers: It is that there may be times when the husband did not warn his wife but after hearing of her seclusion with another man says: I warned her, which will be sufficient to render her forbidden to him until she drinks.

23 כג

הא למשנתינו יש לדבר סוף זמנין דלא איסתתר ואמר איסתתר

The Gemara is puzzled by this logic: But according to our mishna, does the matter in fact have an end? Rabbi Eliezer states in the mishna that a woman must drink the bitter water based upon her husband’s own statement that she secluded herself with the man about whom he had warned her. There too, one could ask whether there may be times when she did not seclude herself with the other man and where her husband says: She secluded herself, thereby rendering her forbidden to him until she drinks the bitter water. If so, why do the Rabbis take issue only with the version of Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion as presented by Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, and not with the version recorded in the mishna?

24 כד

אמר רב יצחק בר יוסף א"ר יוחנן אף לדברי רבי יוסי בר' יהודה אין לדבר סוף

Rav Yitzḥak bar Yosef says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The Rabbis in the baraita meant to state that even according to the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, there is no end to the matter. The Rabbis wished to say that even according to his version of Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion, the husband can cause her to drink if he were to lie. The same is obviously true for the mishna.

25 כה

אף לדברי רבי יוסי בר' יהודה ולא מיבעיא למשנתינו אדרבה למשנתינו איכא עיקר התם ליכא עיקר

The Gemara notes: The phrase even according to the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, indicates it is a lesser novelty to say that there is no end to the matter according to him, and it is not necessary to say that the same would be true according to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in our mishna. The Gemara asks: On the contrary, according to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in our mishna, there is a legitimate basis of suspicion with regard to the woman, as there are witnesses who saw the husband issue a warning to her, and therefore, it is understandable that the testimony of the husband may be relied upon when he testifies that she secluded herself with another man. By contrast, there, according to the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, there is no legitimate basis to prohibit her to him, since there are no witnesses that she had been warned by her husband at all. Therefore, it may be that the Rabbis took issue only with the version of Rabbi Eliezer’s opinion presented by Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda.

26 כו

אלא אי איתמר הכי איתמר א"ר יצחק בר יוסף א"ר יוחנן לדברי ר' יוסי בר' יהודה אף למשנתינו אין לדבר סוף

The Gemara clarifies the statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan: Rather, if it was stated, it was stated like this: Rav Yitzḥak bar Yosef says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says that the Rabbis said: According to the statement of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, who is not concerned that accepting the testimony of one person with regard to the warning will enable false claims by the husband, even according to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer cited in our mishna there is no end to the matter, since the concern there is less severe, as there is no legitimate basis to render her forbidden to her husband.

27 כז

א"ר חנינא מסורא לא לימא איניש לאיתתיה בזמן הזה לא תיסתרי בהדי פלוני דילמא קי"ל כרבי יוסי בר' יהודה דאמר קינוי על פי עצמו ומיסתתרא וליכא האידנא מי סוטה למיבדקה וקאסר לה עילויה איסורא דלעולם

Rav Ḥanina of Sura says: In the present a man should not say to his wife: Do not seclude yourself with so-and-so. The reason is that perhaps we maintain that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, who says that a warning is effective even based on his own testimony, and if she were then to seclude herself with that man she would be required to drink the bitter water to render herself permitted to her husband, and since today the bitter water of a sota is not used to evaluate her fidelity and permit her to her husband, he will end up forbidding her to himself with an irrevocable prohibition.

28 כח

אמר ריש לקיש מה לשון קינוי דבר המטיל קנאה בינה לבין אחרים אלמא קסבר קינוי על פי עצמו וכולי עלמא לא ידעי דקני לה ואמרי מאי דקמא דקא בדלה ואתו למיעבד קנאה בהדה

§ Reish Lakish says: What is the meaning of the term: Warning [kinnui]? It means a matter that causes anger [kina] between her and others, as other men will not understand why she does not wish to be friendly with them any longer. The Gemara comments: Apparently, he holds that a warning is effective based on the husband’s own testimony, and therefore everyone else will not know that her husband issued a warning to her, and they will say: What is this matter happening before us that she separates herself from us, and they will come to act in anger with her.

29 כט

ורב יימר בר ר' שלמיא משמיה דאביי אמר דבר המטיל קנאה בינו לבינה אלמא קסבר קינוי על פי שנים עדים כולי עלמא ידעי דקני לה ואיהו הוא דאתי למיעבד קנאה בהדה

And Rav Yeimar bar Rabbi Shelemya says in the name of Abaye: The term kinnui means a matter that causes anger between him and her, i.e., between husband and wife. The Gemara comments: Apparently, he holds that a warning is effective based on the testimony of two witnesses. And since there are two witnesses, everyone knows that he issued a warning to her. Therefore, the warning does not cause anger between her and others. And the husband is he who will come to act in anger with her, as they will have mutual antagonism toward each other.