Sotah 5bסוטה ה׳ ב
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5bה׳ ב
1 א

(ויקרא יד, נו) ולשאת ולספחת ואין שאת אלא לשון גבוה שנא' (ישעיהו ב, יד) ועל [כל] ההרים הרמים ועל [כל] הגבעות הנשאות ואין ספחת אלא טפילה שנאמר (שמואל א ב, לו) ספחני נא אל אחת הכהונות לאכל פת לחם

“And for a sore [se’et] and for a scab [sappaḥat]” (Leviticus 14:56), and se’et means nothing other than elevated, as it is stated: “And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up [nissaot]” (Isaiah 2:14). And sappaḥat means nothing other than an appendage, as it is stated in the context of the curse given to the descendants of Eli: “Put me [sefaḥeni], I pray of you, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread” (I Samuel 2:36). They will have to be joined with another priestly family to receive their priestly gifts. One can therefore interpret the verses discussing leprosy as teaching that one who initially is arrogant, se’et, will eventually become a sappaḥat, diminished in stature.

2 ב

א"ר יהושע בן לוי בא וראה כמה גדולים נמוכי הרוח לפני הקב"ה שבשעה שבית המקדש קיים אדם מקריב עולה שכר עולה בידו מנחה שכר מנחה בידו אבל מי שדעתו שפלה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו הקריב כל הקרבנות כולם שנאמר (תהלים נא, יט) זבחי אלהים רוח נשברה ולא עוד אלא שאין תפלתו נמאסת שנאמר (תהלים נא, יט) לב נשבר ונדכה אלהים לא תבזה

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: Come and see how great the lowly in spirit are before the Holy One, Blessed be He. For when the Temple was standing, a person would sacrifice a burnt-offering and the merit of a burnt-offering would be his; he would sacrifice a meal-offering and the merit of a meal-offering would be his. But with regard to one whose spirit is lowly, the verse ascribes him credit as if he had sacrificed all the sacrificial offerings, as it is stated: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psalms 51:19), indicating that one who is humble of spirit is regarded as if he offered all the “sacrifices of God.” And not only that, but his prayer is not despised by God, as it is stated at the end of that verse: “A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

3 ג

ואמר ריב"ל כל השם אורחותיו בעולם הזה זוכה ורואה בישועתו של הקב"ה שנאמר (תהלים נ, כג) ושם דרך אראנו בישע אלהים אל תקרי ושם אלא ושם דרך

And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi also says: Whoever appraises his ways in this world, i.e., whoever carefully considers all his actions before deciding on the proper mode of conduct, merits and sees the salvation of the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “And to him that orders his way aright [vesam derekh] will I show the salvation of God” (Psalms 50:23). Do not read it as vesam,” “that orders”; rather, read it as vesham derekh, that appraises his way.

4 ד

[כיצד מקנא לה כו']: הא גופא קשיא אמרת אמר לה בפני שנים אל תדברי עם איש פלוני זה אלמא דבור סתירה הוא

§ The mishna teaches: How does he issue a warning to her in an effective manner? If he says to her in the presence of two witnesses: Do not speak with the man called so-and-so, and she nevertheless spoke with him, she is still permitted to engage in sexual intercourse with her husband. However, if after he told her not to speak with so-and-so, she entered into a secluded place and remained with that man for sufficient time to engage in sexual intercourse, she is forbidden to her home, i.e., to engage in sexual intercourse with her husband, from that moment until she undergoes the sota rite. The Gemara notes the apparent contradiction in the mishna: This matter itself is difficult: You said in detailing the wording of the warning that he said to her in the presence of two witnesses: Do not speak with the man called so-and-so, apparently indicating that speaking is tantamount to seclusion. Therefore, speaking with that man should result in the woman becoming forbidden to her husband.

5 ה

והדר תני דיברה עמו עדיין מותרת לביתה ומותרת לאכול בתרומה אלמא דבור לא כלום הוא

But then the mishna teaches: If she nevertheless spoke with him, she is still permitted to her home, i.e., to engage in sexual intercourse with her husband, and if she is the wife of a priest she is still permitted to partake of teruma, apparently indicating that speaking is nothing. Therefore, issuing a warning to her not to speak with a particular man should not qualify as an effective warning.

6 ו

אמר אביי הכי קאמר אל תדברי ודברה אל תדברי ונסתרה (ולא כלום) אל תסתרי ודברה עמו עדיין מותרת לביתה ומותרת לאכול בתרומה נכנסה עמו לבית הסתר ושהתה כדי טומאה אסורה לביתה ואסורה לאכול בתרומה

Abaye said an explanation: This is what the mishna is saying: If he said to her: Do not speak with so-and-so, and she later spoke with him; or if the husband said to her: Do not speak with so-and-so, and she later secluded herself with him, it is nothing, as this was not an effective warning. Similarly, if he said to her: Do not seclude yourself with so-and-so, and then she spoke with him without secluding herself with him, she is still permitted to her home, i.e., her husband, and she is still permitted to partake of teruma. However, if after he issued a warning to her not to seclude herself with someone, she entered with that man into a secluded place and remained there with him for a period of time sufficient for defilement, then she is forbidden to her home, i.e., her husband, and forbidden to partake of teruma.

7 ז

ואם מת חולצת אמאי תתייבם נמי יבומי

§ The mishna teaches that after a woman who was warned by her husband not to seclude herself with another man, nevertheless secludes herself with another man, she becomes forbidden to her husband, and if her husband dies childless before she drank the bitter water, she performs ḥalitza with her late husband’s brother and does not enter into levirate marriage. The Gemara asks: Why must she perform ḥalitza? Let her enter into levirate marriage. After all, although she secluded herself with the other man after the warning, there is only an unverified suspicion of adultery. Why should it be prohibited for her to enter into levirate marriage with her deceased husband’s brother, the yavam?

8 ח

אמר רב יוסף אמר קרא (דברים כד, ב) ויצאה מביתו והלכה והיתה לאיש אחר לאיש אחר ולא ליבם

Rav Yosef said: With regard to a man who divorces his wife because: “He has found some unseemly matter about her” (Deuteronomy 24:1), i.e., he suspects her of sexual impropriety, the verse states: “And she departs out of his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife” (Deuteronomy 24:2). It is inferred from this that she is free to marry another man, but she is not permitted to marry the yavam. The yavam is not considered “another man,” as he takes the place of his brother.

9 ט

א"ל אביי אלא מעתה חליצה נמי לא תיבעי א"ל אילו איתיה לבעל מי לא בעיא גט השתא נמי תיבעי חליצה

Abaye said to him: If that is so, that the Torah explicitly prohibits levirate marriage in this case, then she should not require ḥalitza as well, as the verse explicitly permitted her to marry another man, seemingly abrogating the need for ḥalitza to free her from the bond to the yavam. Rav Yosef said to him in response: If the husband were alive, would she not require a bill of divorce to permit her to remarry, even though she was forbidden to him? Now, as well, she should require ḥalitza in order to release her bond with the yavam, even though, as the verse indicates, it remains prohibited for them to enter into levirate marriage.

10 י

ואית דאמרי אמר רב יוסף רחמנא אמר ויצאה מביתו והלכה והיתה לאיש אחר דלא ליסתריה לביתיה ואת אמרת תתייבם נמי יבומי

And there are those who say that say that in answer to Abaye’s question Rav Yosef said: The Merciful One said with regard to a man who divorces his wife because he has found some unseemly matter about her: “And she departs out of his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,” indicating that the man should divorce her so that his house not be destroyed by his continuing to dwell with her, and you want to say that she should enter into levirate marriage? How can it be that the same verse instructing the husband to divorce her would also instruct the yavam to marry her? However, there is no reason to exempt her from performing ḥalitza.

11 יא

אמר ליה אביי אלא מעתה לאחר לא תינשא דלא תיסתריה לביתיה

Abaye said to him: If that is so, that the verse would not tell the yavam to marry her, she should not marry another man either, so that the second husband’s house not be destroyed. How can it be that the same verse instructing the husband to divorce her would also instruct another man to marry her?

12 יב

אמר ליה

Rav Yosef said to him: