יֵשׁ לָהּ עֵדִים בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם 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.
לָא שְׁכִיחָא 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.
מַתְנִי׳ כֵּיצַד עוֹשֶׂה לָהּ מוֹלִיכָהּ לְבֵית דִּין שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם וּמוֹסְרִין לוֹ שְׁנֵי תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁמָּא יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר בַּעְלָהּ נֶאֱמָן עָלֶיהָ 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.
גְּמָ׳ תְּרֵי וְאִיהוּ הָא תְּלָתָא לֵימָא מְסַיַּיע לֵיהּ לְרַב דְּאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא בָּעִיר אֲבָל בַּדֶּרֶךְ עַד דְּאִיכָּא שְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁמָּא יִצְטָרֵךְ אֶחָד מֵהֶן לִנְקָבָיו וְנִמְצָא אֶחָד מֵהֶן מִתְיַיחֵד עִם הָעֶרְוָה 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.
לָא הָכָא הַיְינוּ טַעְמָא כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלִיהְווֹ עֲלֵיהּ סָהֲדִי 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.
תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים אִין כּוּלֵּי עָלְמָא לָא לֵימָא מְסַיַּיע לֵיהּ לְאִידַּךְ דְּרַב דְּאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב לֹא שָׁנוּ אֶלָּא כְּשֵׁרִין אֲבָל פְּרוּצִין אֲפִילּוּ עֲשָׂרָה נָמֵי לָא מַעֲשֶׂה הָיָה וְהוֹצִיאוּהָ עֲשָׂרָה בְּמִטָּה 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.
לָא הָכָא הַיְינוּ טַעְמָא דְּיָדְעִי לְאַתְרוֹיֵי בֵּיהּ 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.
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר בַּעְלָהּ וְכוּ׳ תַּנְיָא רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר בַּעְלָהּ נֶאֱמָן מִקַּל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה נִדָּה שֶׁהִיא בְּכָרֵת בַּעְלָהּ נֶאֱמָן עָלֶיהָ סוֹטָה שֶׁהִיא בְּלָאו לֹא כׇּל שֶׁכֵּן § 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?
וְרַבָּנַן הִיא הַנּוֹתֶנֶת נִדָּה דְּכָרֵת חֲמִירָא לֵיהּ וּמְהֵימַן סוֹטָה דְּלָאו לָא חֲמִירָא לֵיהּ וְלָא מְהֵימַן 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.
וְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה מִקַּל וָחוֹמֶר מַיְיתֵי לַהּ וְהָא רַבִּי יְהוּדָה מִקְּרָאֵי מַיְיתֵי לַהּ דְּתַנְיָא וְהֵבִיא הָאִישׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶל הַכֹּהֵן מִן הַתּוֹרָה הָאִישׁ מֵבִיא אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲבָל אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים מוֹסְרִין לוֹ שְׁנֵי תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים שֶׁמָּא יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ 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.
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר בַּעְלָהּ נֶאֱמָן עָלֶיהָ מִקַּל וָחוֹמֶר וּמָה נִדָּה שֶׁהִיא בְּכָרֵת בַּעְלָהּ נֶאֱמָן עָלֶיהָ סוֹטָה שֶׁהִיא בְּלָאו לֹא כׇּל שֶׁכֵּן 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?
אָמְרוּ לוֹ לֹא אִם אָמַרְתָּ בְּנִדָּה שֶׁכֵּן יֵשׁ לָהּ הֶיתֵּר תֹּאמַר בְּסוֹטָה שֶׁאֵין לָהּ הֶיתֵּר וְאוֹמֵר מַיִם גְּנוּבִים יִמְתָּקוּ וְגוֹ׳ 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.
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר מִן הַתּוֹרָה הָאִישׁ מֵבִיא אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶל הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וְהֵבִיא הָאִישׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ 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.
אֲמַר לְהוּ קַל וָחוֹמֶר בְּרֵישָׁא וּפַרְכוּהּ וַהֲדַר אָמַר לְהוּ קְרָא 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.
רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הַיְינוּ תַּנָּא קַמָּא אִיכָּא בֵּינַיְיהוּ אֲבָל אָמְרוּ 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.
מַתְנִי׳ הָיוּ מַעֲלִין אוֹתָהּ לְבֵית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁבִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּמְאַיְּימִין עָלֶיהָ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּאַיְּימִין עַל עֵדֵי נְפָשׁוֹת 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.
וְאוֹמֵר לָהּ בִּתִּי הַרְבֵּה יַיִן עוֹשֶׂה הַרְבֵּה שְׂחוֹק עוֹשֶׂה הַרְבֵּה יַלְדוּת עוֹשָׂה הַרְבֵּה שְׁכֵנִים הָרָעִים עוֹשִׂין 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.
עֲשִׂי לִשְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁנִּכְתַּב בִּקְדוּשָּׁה שֶׁלֹּא יִמָּחֶה עַל הַמַּיִם וְאוֹמֵר לְפָנֶיהָ דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָם כְּדַי לְשׁוֹמְעָן הִיא וְכׇל מִשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית אָבִיהָ 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.
אִם אָמְרָה טְמֵאָה אֲנִי שׁוֹבֶרֶת כְּתוּבָּתָהּ וְיוֹצֵאת 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.
וְאִם אָמְרָה טְהוֹרָה אֲנִי מַעֲלִין אוֹתָהּ לְשַׁעַר הַמִּזְרָח שֶׁעַל פֶּתַח שַׁעַר נִקָּנוֹר שֶׁשָּׁם מַשְׁקִין אֶת הַסּוֹטוֹת וּמְטַהֲרִין אֶת הַיּוֹלְדוֹת וּמְטַהֲרִין אֶת הַמְצוֹרָעִין 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).
וְכֹהֵן אוֹחֵז בִּבְגָדֶיהָ אִם נִקְרְעוּ נִקְרְעוּ וְאִם נִפְרְמוּ נִפְרְמוּ עַד שֶׁהוּא מְגַלֶּה אֶת לִבָּהּ וְסוֹתֵר אֶת שְׂעָרָהּ רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר אִם הָיָה לִבָּהּ נָאֶה לֹא הָיָה מְגַלֵּהוּ וְאִם הָיָה שְׂעָרָהּ נָאֶה לֹא הָיָה סוֹתֵר 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.
הָיְתָה מִתְכַּסָּה בִּלְבָנִים מְכַסֶּהָ בִּשְׁחוֹרִים הָיָה עָלֶיהָ כְּלֵי זָהָב If she was dressed in white garments, he would now cover her with black garments. If she was wearing gold adornments,