Sotah 8a:10סוטה ח׳ א
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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8aח׳ א

התם קיימא דמסקינן לה ומחתינן לה כדי לייגעה דתניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר בית דין מסיעין את העדים ממקום למקום כדי שתטרף דעתן עליהן ויחזרו בהן

She is already standing there in the Temple courtyard, as that is where the Sanhedrin sits. The Gemara answers: This teaches that they would bring her up and would bring her down repeatedly in order to fatigue her, with the hope that her worn-down mental state will lead to her confession. This was also done with witnesses testifying in cases of capital law, as it is taught in the Tosefta (Sanhedrin 9:1): Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: In cases of capital law, the court brings the witnesses from one place to another place in order to confuse them so that they will retract their testimony if they are lying.

ששם משקין את הסוטות וכו' בשלמא סוטות דכתיב (במדבר ה, יח) והעמיד הכהן את האשה לפני ה' מצורעין נמי דכתיב (ויקרא יד, יא) והעמיד הכהן המטהר וגו' אלא יולדת מאי טעמא

§ The mishna teaches: Because there, at the Eastern Gate, they give the sota women the bitter water to drink, and there the lepers and women who have given birth are purified. The Gemara asks: Granted, the sota women are given the bitter water to drink there, as it is written: “And the priest shall stand the woman before the Lord” (Numbers 5:18), and the Eastern Gate is directly opposite the Sanctuary, which is the area referred to as “before the Lord.” Similarly, with regard to lepers as well, this is as it is written: “And the priest that cleans him shall set the man that is to be cleansed, and those things, before the Lord” (Leviticus 14:11). But what is the reason that a woman who has given birth must also be purified there?

אילימא משום דאתיין וקיימין אקורבנייהו דתניא אין קרבנו של אדם קרב אלא אם כן עומד על גביו אי הכי זבין וזבות נמי אה"נ ותנא חדא מינייהו נקט

The Gemara suggests: If we say it is because of the requirement for the women who have given birth to come and stand over their offerings, as it is taught in a baraita: The offering of a person is brought only if he stands over it while it is being sacrificed, and that is why they stand at this gate, which is as close to the sacrifice as they are permitted to be while they are ritually impure. If that is so, then the same halakha should apply to men who experience a gonorrhea-like discharge [zavim] and women who experience a discharge of uterine blood after their menstrual period [zavot] as well. They are also ritually impure while their offerings are sacrificed. Why would the mishna then specify women who have given birth? The Gemara answers: Yes, it is indeed so, and the tanna cited one of them, and the same halakha applies to all others in that category.

ת"ר אין משקין שתי סוטות כאחת כדי שלא יהא לבה גס בחבירתה רבי יהודה אומר לא מן השם הוא זה אלא אמר קרא (במדבר ה, יג) אותה לבדה

§ The Sages taught in a baraita in the Tosefta (1:6): Two sota women are not given to drink simultaneously, in order that the heart of each one not be emboldened by the other, as there is a concern that when one sees that the other woman is not confessing, she will maintain her innocence even if she is guilty. Rabbi Yehuda says: This is not for that reason. Rather, it is because the verse states: “And the priest shall bring her [ota] near and stand her before the Lord” (Numbers 5:16). Rabbi Yehuda explains his inference: The word “ota” indicates her alone, and therefore there is a Torah edict not to have two women drink the bitter water simultaneously.

ות"ק הכתיב אותה ת"ק ר"ש היא דדריש טעם דקרא ומה טעם קאמר מה טעם אותה לבדה כדי שלא יהא לבה גס בחבירתה

The Gemara asks: And as for the first tanna, isn’t it written “ota”? The Gemara answers: The first tanna is actually Rabbi Shimon, who interprets the reasons of halakhot written in verses, and he is saying: What is the reason? What is the reason the Torah requires her alone, that each sota drink individually? In order that the heart of each woman not be emboldened by the other.

מאי בינייהו איכא בינייהו רותתת

The Gemara asks: What is the difference between them? Why should it matter if this halakha is due to a logical reasoning or due to a Torah edict? The Gemara answers: The difference between them is in a case where one of the women is trembling from fear. Since she has obviously not been emboldened by the presence of the other, Rabbi Shimon would allow her to be given to drink at the same time as the other.

ורותתת מי משקין והא אין עושין מצות חבילות חבילות

The Gemara asks: And if she is trembling, can the court give her to drink at the same time as the other? But there is a general principle that one does not perform mitzvot in bundles, as one who does so appears as if the mitzvot are a burden upon him, and he is trying to finish with them as soon as possible.

דתנן אין משקין שתי סוטות כאחת ואין מטהרין שני מצורעין כאחת ואין רוצעין שני עבדים כאחת ואין עורפין שתי עגלות כאחת לפי שאין עושין מצות חבילות חבילות

As we learned in a baraita: Two sota women are not given to drink simultaneously, and two lepers are not purified simultaneously, and two slaves are not pierced simultaneously, and two heifers do not have their necks broken simultaneously, because one does not perform mitzvot in bundles. Accordingly, even Rabbi Shimon would agree that under no circumstances can a priest give two sota women to drink simultaneously. How, then, can the Gemara say that a trembling woman can be given to drink together with another sota?

אמר אביי ואיתימא רב כהנא לא קשיא כאן בכהן אחד כאן בשני כהנים

Abaye said, and some say it was Rav Kahana who said: This is not difficult. Here, the second baraita, which says that it is prohibited to give two sota women to drink simultaneously because one does not perform mitzvot in bundles, is speaking with regard to one priest. There, Rabbi Shimon in the first baraita, who permits a trembling sota to be given to drink together with another sota, is speaking with regard to two priests. Since no individual priest is giving two women to drink simultaneously, mitzvot are not being performed in bundles.

והכהן אוחז בבגדיה תנו רבנן (במדבר ה, יח) ופרע את ראש האשה אין לי אלא ראשה גופה מנין ת"ל האשה אם כן מה ת"ל ופרע את ראשה מלמד שהכהן סותר את שערה

§ The mishna teaches: And the priest grabs hold of her clothing and pulls them until he reveals her heart, and he unbraids her hair. The Gemara cites the source for these acts. The Sages taught: The verse states: “And the priest shall stand the woman before the Lord and uncover the woman’s head” (Numbers 5:18). From this verse I have derived only that he uncovers her head; from where do I derive that he uncovers her body? The verse states: “The woman,” rather than just stating: And uncovers her head. This indicates that the woman’s body should be uncovered as well. If so, what is the meaning when the verse states specifically: “And uncover her head”? Once it has stated that he uncovers the woman, it is already apparent that she, including her hair, is uncovered. It teaches that the priest not only uncovers her hair but also unbraids her hair.

ר' יהודה אומר אם היה לבה וכו' למימרא דר' יהודה חייש להרהורא ורבנן לא חיישי

The mishna continues by citing that Rabbi Yehuda says: If her heart was attractive he would not reveal it, and if her hair was attractive he would not unbraid it. The Gemara asks: Is this to say that Rabbi Yehuda, who maintains that it is prohibited to uncover an attractive woman, is concerned about onlookers having sexual thoughts, and the Rabbis, who permit it, are not concerned about this?

והא איפכא שמעינן להו דתניא האיש מכסין אותו פרק אחד מלפניו והאשה שני פרקים אחד מלפניה ואחד מלאחריה מפני שכולה ערוה דברי רבי יהודה וחכ"א האיש נסקל ערום ואין האשה נסקלת ערומה

But we have heard the opposite from them, as it is taught in the Tosefta (Sanhedrin 9:6): Although a man condemned to stoning is stoned unclothed, the court covers him with one small piece of material in front of him, to obscure his genitals, and they cover a woman with two small pieces of material, one in front of her and one behind her, because all of her loins are nakedness, as her genitals are visible both from the front and from the back. This is the statement of Rabbi Yehuda. And the Rabbis say: A man is stoned while naked, but a woman is not stoned while naked, but fully clothed. Apparently, Rabbi Yehuda is not concerned that the onlookers seeing the woman unclothed will lead to sexual thoughts, but the Rabbis are concerned about this.

אמר רבה הכא טעמא מאי שמא תצא מב"ד זכאית ויתגרו בה פרחי כהונה התם הא מסתלקא וכי תימא אתי לאיגרויי באחרניית' האמר רבא גמירי דאין יצר הרע שולט אלא במה שעיניו רואות

Rabba said: What is the reason here, with regard to a sota, that Rabbi Yehuda is concerned? Perhaps the sota will leave the court having been proven innocent, and the young priests in the Temple who saw her partially naked will become provoked by the sight of her. There, in the case of a woman who is stoned, she departs from this world by being stoned and there is no concern for sexual thoughts. The Gemara comments: And if you would say that the fact that she is killed is irrelevant to their sexual thoughts, as the onlookers will be provoked with regard to other women, this is not a concern. As didn’t Rava say: It is learned as a tradition that the evil inclination controls only that which a person’s eyes see.

אמר רבא דר' יהודה אדר' יהודה קשיא דרבנן אדרבנן ל"ק אלא אמר רבא דר' יהודה אדר' יהודה ל"ק כדשנין

Rava said: Is the contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yehuda and the other statement of Rabbi Yehuda difficult, while the contradiction between one statement of the Rabbis and the other statement of the Rabbis is not difficult? There is also an apparent contradiction between the two rulings of the Rabbis, as with regard to a sota, they are not concerned about sexual thoughts, but with regard to a woman who is stoned they are. Rather, Rava said: The contradiction between one statement of Rabbi Yehuda and the other statement of Rabbi Yehuda is not difficult, as we answered above.