Sotah 7aסוטה ז׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
Save "Sotah 7a"
Toggle Reader Menu Display Settings
7aז׳ א

יש לה עדים במדינת הים

the case where there are witnesses for her in a country overseas who can testify that she engaged in sexual intercourse, when the bitter water will not evaluate her faithfulness. Therefore, Rabbi Shimon should be concerned that such a dispensation will result in the defamation of the untainted women who drank and were unaffected, as people will view them as guilty women who were not affected because there were witnesses overseas.

לא שכיחא

The Gemara answers: The case of witnesses in a country overseas is not common, and therefore no one will assume that that is the reason why the woman was not affected. By contrast, a woman having merit is common.

מתני׳ כיצד עושה לה מוליכה לבית דין שבאותו מקום ומוסרין לו שני תלמידי חכמים שמא יבא עליה בדרך רבי יהודה אומר בעלה נאמן עליה

MISHNA: The mishna details the procedure for administering the drinking of the bitter water of a sota. What does her husband do with her after she secluded herself with the man about whom she had been warned? He brings her to the court that is found in that location, and the court provides him with two Torah scholars to accompany him, lest he engage in sexual intercourse with her on the way to the Temple, which is not only prohibited but will also prevent the bitter water from evaluating her. Rabbi Yehuda says: Her husband is trusted with regard to her, so there is no need to provide scholars to accompany him.

גמ׳ תרי ואיהו הא תלתא לימא מסייע לי' לרב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב לא שנו אלא בעיר אבל בדרך עד דאיכא שלשה שמא יצטרך אחד מהן לנקביו ונמצא אחד מהן מתייחד עם הערוה

GEMARA: The Gemara assumes that the requirement for there to be two Torah scholars is to avoid the prohibition against a woman being alone with a man. The Gemara notes: Two additional men and he, the husband, are three people altogether. Let us say that this mishna supports the opinion of Rav, as Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: When they taught that it is permitted for a woman to be secluded with two men, they taught that this is permitted only in the town (see Kiddushin 80b). But on the way, when traveling, this is not permitted unless there are three men with the woman. The reason for this stringency is that if there are only two men with her, perhaps one will need to relieve himself and will seek privacy, and it will be found that one of them is in seclusion with a woman forbidden to him.

לא הכא היינו טעמא כי היכי דליהוו עליה סהדי

The Gemara refutes this assumption: No, here, in the case of a sota, this is the reason why there is a requirement for two scholars, so that there are two witnesses with regard to her, i.e., there will be two witnesses to testify in the event that the husband engages in sexual intercourse with her on the way to the Temple. The reason is not to avoid the prohibition against her being alone with a man, as one scholar would suffice for that.

תלמידי חכמים אין כולי עלמא לא לימא מסייע ליה לאידך דרב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב לא שנו אלא כשרין אבל פרוצין אפילו עשרה נמי לא מעשה היה והוציאוה עשרה במטה

The mishna teaches that the husband is provided with Torah scholars. The Gemara further comments: Torah scholars, yes; anyone else, no. It is specifically Torah scholars who are provided to accompany the husband and wife. Let us say that this mishna supports another statement of Rav, as Rav Yehuda says that Rav says: When they taught that it is permitted for a woman to be secluded with two men, they taught that this is permitted only with regard to men of fit morals. But with regard to those of loose morals, she may not be secluded even with ten men. The Gemara adds: There was an incident and ten men carried out a woman on a bier, as if she were dead, and engaged in sexual intercourse with her.

לא הכא היינו טעמא דידעי לאתרויי ביה

The Gemara refutes this assumption: No, here, in the case of a sota, this is the reason why there is a requirement for two scholars, that they know how to properly warn him not to engage in sexual intercourse with her. Therefore, this mishna does not support the opinion of Rav.

רבי יהודה אומר בעלה וכו' תניא רבי יהודה אומר בעלה נאמן מקל וחומר ומה נדה שהיא בכרת בעלה נאמן עליה סוטה שהיא בלאו לא כל שכן

§ The Gemara now discusses Rabbi Yehuda’s statement in the mishna. Rabbi Yehuda says: Her husband is trusted with regard to her. It is taught in a baraita in the Tosefta (1:2): Rabbi Yehuda says: Her husband is trusted due to an a fortiori inference: And just as in the case of a menstruating woman, who is prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse with her husband by penalty of karet, her husband is nevertheless trusted with regard to her, as he is permitted to seclude himself with her, so too, with regard to a sota, who is prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse with her husband only by penalty of a prohibition, is it not all the more so that he should be trusted?

ורבנן היא הנותנת נדה דכרת חמירא ליה ומהימן סוטה דלאו לא חמירא ליה ולא מהימן

And the Rabbis say: That provides support for the contrary opinion, as these considerations lead to the opposite conclusion. A menstruating woman is forbidden by penalty of karet. This is a stringent prohibition for him, and this is why he is trusted not to engage in sexual intercourse with her. By contrast, a sota is forbidden to him only by a prohibition. This is not a stringent prohibition to him, and he is therefore not trusted with her.

ורבי יהודה מק"ו מייתי לה והא רבי יהודה מקראי מייתי לה דתניא (במדבר ה, טו) והביא האיש את אשתו אל הכהן מן התורה האיש מביא את אשתו אבל אמרו חכמים מוסרין לו שני תלמידי חכמים שמא יבא עליה בדרך

The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Yehuda in fact derive this halakha from an a fortiori inference? But Rabbi Yehuda derives it from a verse, as it is taught in a baraita: The verse: “Then shall the man bring his wife to the priest” (Numbers 5:15), teaches that by Torah law the man alone brings his wife to the Temple, but the Sages said: The court provides him with two Torah scholars to accompany him, lest he engage in sexual intercourse with her on the way to the Temple.

רבי יוסי אומר בעלה נאמן עליה מקל וחומר ומה נדה שהיא בכרת בעלה נאמן עליה סוטה שהיא בלאו לא כ"ש

The baraita records a second opinion. Rabbi Yosei says: Her husband is trusted with regard to her based on an a fortiori inference: And just as a menstruating woman, who is prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse with her husband by penalty of karet, and her husband is nevertheless trusted with regard to her, then with regard to a sota, who is prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse with her husband by penalty of only a prohibition, should he not all the more so be trusted?

אמרו לו לא אם אמרת בנדה שכן יש לה היתר תאמר בסוטה שאין לה היתר ואומר (משלי ט, יז) מים גנובים ימתקו וגו'

The Sages said to him: No, if you say that this is true with regard to a menstruating woman, the reason he is trusted is not due to the severity of the prohibition. Rather, he is trusted because she has the ability to become permitted to her husband after her menstrual flow has ceased and she has immersed in a ritual bath. Shall you also say that this is the case with regard to a sota, who potentially does not have the ability to become permitted to her husband due to her suspected adultery? And proof to the notion that people will more readily commit illicit acts that are permanently prohibited comes from the verse that states: “Stolen waters are sweet and bread eaten in secret is pleasing” (Proverbs 9:17). Consequently, there is a concern that the husband will engage in sexual intercourse with his sota wife if not accompanied by scholars.

ר' יהודה אומר מן התורה האיש מביא את אשתו אל הכהן שנא' והביא האיש את אשתו

The baraita quotes a third opinion. Rabbi Yehuda says: By Torah law, the man alone brings his wife to the Temple, as is stated: “Then shall the man bring his wife to the priest.” This baraita states explicitly that Rabbi Yehuda derives this halakha from the verse itself, not from an a fortiori inference.

אמר להו קל וחומר ברישא ופרכוה והדר אמר להו קרא

The Gemara answers: Rabbi Yehuda first said to them the a fortiori inference, and they refuted it as mentioned above, and he then said to them the derivation from the verse.

רבי יהודה היינו תנא קמא איכא בינייהו אבל אמרו

The Gemara clarifies: Apparently, the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda is the same as that of the first tanna in the baraita, who also cites the verse as proof that by Torah law the husband alone brings his wife to the priest. The Gemara explains: The difference between them concerns the following clause: But the Sages said that the court provides him with two Torah scholars to accompany him. The first tanna holds that the Sages require two scholars to accompany the husband and wife, while Rabbi Yehuda holds that they do not.

מתני׳ היו מעלין אותה לבית דין הגדול שבירושלים ומאיימין עליה כדרך שמאיימין על עדי נפשות

MISHNA: The mishna details the next stage of the process. They would bring her up to the Sanhedrin that was in Jerusalem, and the judges would threaten her in order that she admit her sin. And this was done in the manner that they would threaten witnesses testifying in cases of capital law. In those cases, the judges would explain to the witnesses the gravity of their testimony by stressing the value of human life. Here too, the judges would attempt to convince the woman to admit her sin, to avoid the loss of her life.

ואומר לה בתי הרבה יין עושה הרבה שחוק עושה הרבה ילדות עושה הרבה שכנים הרעים עושין

And additionally, the judge would say to her: My daughter, wine causes a great deal of immoral behavior, levity causes a great deal of immoral behavior, immaturity causes a great deal of immoral behavior, and bad neighbors cause a great deal of immoral behavior. The judge encouraged her to admit her sin by explaining to her that he understands that there may have been mitigating factors.

עשי לשמו הגדול שנכתב בקדושה שלא ימחה על המים ואומר לפניה דברים שאינם כדי לשומען היא וכל משפחת בית אביה

The judge then continues: Act for the sake of His great name, so that God’s name, which is written in sanctity, shall not be erased on the water. If the woman admits to having committed adultery, the scroll upon which the name of God is written will not be erased. And additionally, the judge says in her presence matters that are not worthy of being heard by her and all her father’s family, in order to encourage her to admit her sin, as the Gemara will explain.

אם אמרה טמאה אני שוברת כתובתה ויוצאת

If after the judge’s warning she says: I am defiled, she writes a receipt for her marriage contract. That is, she writes a receipt indicating that she has no claims on her husband with regard to the sum written in her marriage contract, as a woman who admits to adultery forfeits her right to this payment. And she is then divorced from her husband.

ואם אמרה טהורה אני מעלין אותה לשער המזרח שעל פתח שער נקנור ששם משקין את הסוטות ומטהרין את היולדות ומטהרין את המצורעין

But if after the warning she maintains her innocence and says: I am pure, they bring her up to the Eastern Gate, which is at the opening of the Gate of Nicanor, because three rites were performed there: They give the sota women the bitter water to drink, and they purify women who have given birth (see Leviticus 12:6–8), and they purify the lepers (see Leviticus 14:10–20).

וכהן אוחז בבגדיה אם נקרעו נקרעו ואם נפרמו נפרמו עד שהוא מגלה את לבה וסותר את שערה רבי יהודה אומר אם היה לבה נאה לא היה מגלהו ואם היה שערה נאה לא היה סותר

The mishna continues describing the sota rite. And the priest grabs hold of her clothing and pulls them, unconcerned about what happens to the clothing. If the clothes are torn, so they are torn; if the stitches come apart, so they come apart. And he pulls her clothing until he reveals her heart, i.e., her chest. And then he unbraids her hair. Rabbi Yehuda says: If her heart was attractive he would not reveal it, and if her hair was attractive he would not unbraid it.

היתה מתכסה בלבנים מכסה בשחורים היה עליה כלי זהב

If she was dressed in white garments, he would now cover her with black garments. If she was wearing gold adornments,