Sotah 8bסוטה ח׳ ב
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8bח׳ ב

דרבנן אדרבנן נמי לא קשיא הכא טעמא מאי משום (יחזקאל כג, מח) ונוסרו כל הנשים התם אין לך ייסור גדול מזה

The contradiction between one ruling of the Rabbis and the other ruling of the Rabbis is not difficult as well. Here, with regard to a sota, what is the reason that her hair and body are uncovered? Because of what is stated in the verse, that other women should be warned: “Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be chastened not to do after your lewdness” (Ezekiel 23:48). There, with regard to stoning, you have no greater chastening than seeing this stoning itself.

וכי תימא לעביד בה תרתי אמר רב נחמן אמר רבה בר אבוה אמר קרא (ויקרא יט, יח) ואהבת לרעך כמוך ברור לו מיתה יפה

And if you would say that two forms of chastening, both stoning and humiliation, should be done with her, Rav Naḥman said that Rabba bar Avuh said: The verse states: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18), teaching that even with regard to a condemned prisoner, select a good, i.e., a compassionate, death for him. Therefore, when putting a woman to death by stoning, she should not be humiliated in the process.

לימא דרב נחמן תנאי היא לא דכולי עלמא אית להו דרב נחמן והכא בהא קמיפלגי מר סבר בזיוניה עדיף ליה טפי מצערא דגופיה ומר סבר צערא דגופיה עדיף ליה טפי מבזיוניה

The Gemara suggests: Let us say that the statement of Rav Naḥman is a dispute between tanna’im, and according to Rabbi Yehuda there is no mitzva to select a compassionate death. The Gemara refutes this: No, it may be that everyone agrees with the opinion of Rav Naḥman, and here they disagree about this: One Sage, i.e., the Rabbis, holds: Minimizing one’s degradation is preferable to him than minimizing his physical pain. Therefore, the Rabbis view the more compassionate death as one without degradation, even if wearing clothes will increase the pain of the one being executed, as the clothes will absorb the blow and prolong death. And one Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds that minimizing physical pain is preferable to a person than minimizing his degradation, and therefore the one being executed prefers to be stoned unclothed, without any chance of the clothing prolonging the death, although this adds to the degradation.

היתה מכוסה לבנים וכו' תנא אם היו שחורים נאים לה מכסין אותה בגדים מכוערים

§ The mishna teaches: If she was dressed in white garments, he would cover her with black garments. A Sage taught: If black garments are becoming to her, then she is covered in unsightly garments.

היו עליה כלי זהב וכו' פשיטא השתא נוולי מנוויל לה הני מיבעיא מהו דתימא בהני אית לה בזיון טפי כדאמרי אינשי שליח ערטיל וסיים מסאני קמ"ל

The mishna teaches: If she was wearing gold adornments or other jewelry, they are removed from her. The Gemara asks: Isn’t this obvious? Now that the priest renders her unattractive by uncovering her and dressing her in unsightly garments, is it necessary to teach that they remove these adornments from her? The Gemara answers: Lest you say that with these adornments on her, she has more degradation, as people say in a known aphorism: Undressed, naked, and wearing shoes. This means that a naked person who wears shoes emphasizes the fact that he is naked. Perhaps one would think that by a sota wearing jewelry, her nakedness is emphasized and her degradation is amplified. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that this is not so.

ואחר כך מביא חבל וכו' בעא מיניה רבי אבא מרב הונא חבל המצרי מהו שיעכב בסוטה משום שלא ישמטו בגדיה מעליה הוא ובצלצול קטן נמי סגי או דילמא משום דאמר מר היא חגרה לו בצלצול לפיכך כהן מביא חבל המצרי וקושר לה למעלה מדדיה מעכב

The mishna continues: And afterward the priest would bring an Egyptian rope, and he would tie it above her breasts. Rabbi Abba raised a dilemma before Rav Huna: What is the halakha as to whether the lack of an Egyptian rope will preclude the performance of the rite with regard to a sota? Does any means of tying suffice? Perhaps the primary function of the rope is so that her clothes will not fall off her, and therefore even a small ribbon [tziltzul] would also suffice. Or, perhaps the rope is used because of what the Master said: She girded herself with a comely ribbon when she committed her transgression, and therefore the priest brings specifically an Egyptian rope, which is coarse, and ties it above her breasts. If that is the case, then the Egyptian rope should be indispensable.

א"ל תניתוה ואח"כ מביא חבל המצרי וקושרו לה למעלה מדדיה כדי שלא ישמטו בגדיה מעליה

Rav Huna said to him: You learned the answer to this dilemma in a baraita that teaches: And afterward the priest would bring an Egyptian rope and he would tie it above her breasts, so that her clothes would not fall off her. The baraita states that the use of an Egyptian rope is primarily for holding up her clothing, and therefore use of specifically Egyptian rope is not essential.

וכל הרוצה לראות בה יראה וכו' הא גופא קשיא אמרת כל הרוצה לראות בה רואה אלמא לא שנא גברי ולא שנא נשי והדר תני כל הנשים מותרות לראותה נשים אין אנשים לא

§ The mishna teaches: And anyone who desires to watch her may watch, except for her slaves and maidservants, who are not permitted to watch because her heart is emboldened by them. And all of the women are permitted to watch her. The Gemara comments: This matter is itself difficult, as there is an internal contradiction in the mishna. First you say: And anyone who desires to watch her may watch. Apparently, there is no difference whether the onlookers are men and there is no difference whether they are women; all are permitted to observe the rite. And then the mishna teaches: And all of the women are permitted to watch her, which indicates women, yes, they may watch her, but men, no, they may not.

אמר אביי תרגמה אנשים אמר ליה רבא והא כל הרוצה לראות בה רואה קתני

Abaye said: Interpret the first statement, which permits all people to observe the sota, as pertaining to women, but men may not be onlookers. Rava said to him: But it teaches in that first statement that anyone who desires to watch her may watch, and one cannot limit this to women.

אלא אמר רבא כל הרוצה לראות בה רואה לא שנא גברי ולא שנא נשי ונשים חייבות לראותה שנאמר (יחזקאל כג, מח) ונוסרו כל הנשים ולא תעשינה כזמתכנה

Rather, Rava said: Anyone who desires to watch her may watch, there is no difference whether the onlookers are men and there is no difference whether they are women. And the next clause of the mishna teaches that women are obligated to watch her, as is stated: “Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be chastened not to do after your lewdness” (Ezekiel 23:48).

מתני׳ במדה שאדם מודד בה מודדין לו היא קשטה את עצמה לעבירה המקום נוולה היא גלתה את עצמה לעבירה המקום גלה עליה בירך התחילה בעבירה תחילה ואחר כך הבטן לפיכך תלקה הירך תחילה ואחר כך הבטן ושאר כל הגוף לא פלט

MISHNA: The mishna teaches lessons that can be derived from the actions and treatment of a sota. With the measure that a person measures, he is measured with it. For example, she, the sota, adorned herself to violate a transgression, the Omnipresent therefore decreed that she be rendered unattractive; she exposed herself for the purpose of violating a transgression, as she stood in places where she would be noticed by potential adulterers, so the Omnipresent therefore decreed that her body be exposed publicly; she began her transgression with her thigh and afterward with her stomach, therefore the thigh is smitten first and then the stomach, and the rest of all her body does not escape punishment.

גמ׳ אמר רב יוסף אף על גב דמדה בטילה במדה לא בטיל

GEMARA: Rav Yosef says: Although the measure with regard to court-imposed capital punishment has ceased, as there is no court today empowered to adjudicate and apply corporal punishment, punishment that is suitable to be applied with a measure by God has not ceased, as a person is punished by Heaven in accordance with his sin.

דאמר רב יוסף וכן תני ר' חייא מיום שחרב בהמ"ק אע"פ שבטלה סנהדרי ארבע מיתות לא בטלו והא בטלו אלא דין ארבע מיתות לא בטלו

As Rav Yosef says, and Rabbi Ḥiyya similarly teaches: From the day that the Temple was destroyed, although the Sanhedrin ceased, the four types of court-imposed capital punishment have not ceased. The Gemara asks: But they have ceased; court-imposed capital punishment is no longer given. Rather, the intention is: The law of the four types of court-imposed capital punishment has not ceased.

מי שנתחייב סקילה או נופל מן הגג או חיה דורסתו מי שנתחייב שריפה או נופל בדליקה או נחש מכישו מי שנתחייב הריגה או נמסר למלכות או ליסטין באין עליו מי שנתחייב חניקה או טובע בנהר או מת בסרונכי

The Gemara explains: How so? One who is liable to be executed by stoning either falls from a roof or an animal mauls him and breaks his bones. This death is similar to the experience of stoning, in which the one liable to be executed is pushed from a platform and his bones break from the impact of the fall. One who is liable to be executed by burning either falls into a fire and is burned or a snake bites him, as a snakebite causes a burning sensation. One who is liable to be executed by slaying of the sword either is turned over to the authorities and they execute him with a sword, or robbers come upon him and murder him. One who is liable to be executed by strangling either drowns in a river and is choked by the water or dies of diphtheria [seronekhi], which causes his throat to become clogged, and he dies.

תניא היה רבי אומר מנין שבמדה שאדם מודד בה מודדין לו שנאמר (ישעיהו כז, ח) בסאסאה בשלחה תריבנה

It is taught in a baraita in the Tosefta (3:1–5) that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi would say: From where is it derived that with the measure that a person measures, he is measured with it? As it is stated: “In full measure [besase’a], when you send her away, you contend with her” (Isaiah 27:8). In other words, in the measure, bese’a, that one used in one’s sin, God will contend with, i.e., punish, him.

אין לי אלא סאה מנין לרבות תרקב וחצי תרקב קב וחצי קב רובע וחצי רובע תומן ועוכלא מנין תלמוד לומר (ישעיהו ט, ד) כי כל סאון סואן ברעש

The baraita continues: I have derived only the relatively large measurement of a se’a, which alludes to a significant sin. From where do I know to include even lesser sins that are comparable to smaller measurements, e.g., a half-se’a [tarkav] and a half-tarkav; a kav and a half-kav; a quarter-kav and half of a quarter-kav; an eighth-kav [toman] and an ukla, which is one-thirty-second of a kav. From where is it derived that all these lesser sins are also dealt with in accordance with the measure of the sin? The verse states: “For every boot [sa’on] stamped with fierceness, and every cloak rolled in blood, shall even be for burning, for fuel of fire” (Isaiah 9:4), indicating that every sa’on, which Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi interprets as a small se’a, is “stamped with fierceness” and doesn’t go unpunished.

ומנין שכל פרוטה ופרוטה מצטרפת לחשבון גדול תלמוד לומר (קהלת ז, כז) אחת לאחת למצוא חשבון

And from where is it derived that each and every peruta combine to add up to a great sum, alluding to the notion that even if one is not immediately punished for a small transgression, in the final accounting all misdeeds will combine together and be addressed by the imposition of a large punishment? The verse states: “Behold, this have I found, says Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account” (Ecclesiastes 7:27).

וכן מצינו בסוטה שבמדה שמדדה בה מדדו לה היא עמדה על פתח ביתה ליראות לו לפיכך כהן מעמידה על שער נקנור ומראה קלונה לכל היא פרסה לו סודרין נאין על ראשה לפיכך כהן נוטל כפה מעל ראשה ומניחו תחת רגליה היא קשטה לו פניה לפיכך

The baraita continues: And we found this with regard to a sota, that with the measure with which she measured, she is measured with it: She stood by the opening of her house to exhibit herself to her paramour, therefore a priest has her stand at the Gate of Nicanor and exhibits her disgrace to all; she spread beautiful shawls [sudarin] on her head for her paramour, therefore a priest removes her kerchief from her head and places it under her feet; she adorned her face for her paramour, therefore