Ki Tisa - Trial by Water
(יט) וַֽיְהִ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר קָרַב֙ אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה וַיַּ֥רְא אֶת־הָעֵ֖גֶל וּמְחֹלֹ֑ת וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֣ף מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיַּשְׁלֵ֤ךְ מידו [מִיָּדָיו֙] אֶת־הַלֻּחֹ֔ת וַיְשַׁבֵּ֥ר אֹתָ֖ם תַּ֥חַת הָהָֽר׃ (כ) וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־הָעֵ֨גֶל אֲשֶׁ֤ר עָשׂוּ֙ וַיִּשְׂרֹ֣ף בָּאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּטְחַ֖ן עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁר־דָּ֑ק וַיִּ֙זֶר֙ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הַמַּ֔יִם וַיַּ֖שְׁקְ אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (כא) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר מֹשֶׁה֙ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן מֶֽה־עָשָׂ֥ה לְךָ֖ הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֑ה כִּֽי־הֵבֵ֥אתָ עָלָ֖יו חֲטָאָ֥ה גְדֹלָֽה׃ (כב) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אַהֲרֹ֔ן אַל־יִ֥חַר אַ֖ף אֲדֹנִ֑י אַתָּה֙ יָדַ֣עְתָּ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם כִּ֥י בְרָ֖ע הֽוּא׃

(19) As soon as Moses came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, he became enraged; and he hurled the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain. (20) He took the calf that they had made and burned it; he ground it to powder and strewed it upon the water and so made the Israelites drink it. (21) Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such great sin upon them?” (22) Aaron said, “Let not my lord be enraged. You know that this people is bent on evil.

(לג) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר יי אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה מִ֚י אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָֽטָא־לִ֔י אֶמְחֶ֖נּוּ מִסִּפְרִֽי׃ (לד) וְעַתָּ֞ה לֵ֣ךְ ׀ נְחֵ֣ה אֶת־הָעָ֗ם אֶ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבַּ֙רְתִּי֙ לָ֔ךְ הִנֵּ֥ה מַלְאָכִ֖י יֵלֵ֣ךְ לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וּבְי֣וֹם פָּקְדִ֔י וּפָקַדְתִּ֥י עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם חַטָּאתָֽם׃ (לה) וַיִּגֹּ֥ף יי אֶת־הָעָ֑ם עַ֚ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשׂ֣וּ אֶת־הָעֵ֔גֶל אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשָׂ֖ה אַהֲרֹֽן׃ (ס)

(33) But God said to Moses, “He who has sinned against Me, him only will I erase from My record. (34) Go now, lead the people where I told you. See, My angel shall go before you. But when I make an accounting, I will bring them to account for their sins.” (35) Then God sent a plague upon the people, for what they did with the calf that Aaron made.

(יב) דַּבֵּר֙ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֲלֵהֶ֑ם אִ֥ישׁ אִישׁ֙ כִּֽי־תִשְׂטֶ֣ה אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וּמָעֲלָ֥ה ב֖וֹ מָֽעַל׃ (יג) וְשָׁכַ֨ב אִ֣ישׁ אֹתָהּ֮ שִׁכְבַת־זֶרַע֒ וְנֶעְלַם֙ מֵעֵינֵ֣י אִישָׁ֔הּ וְנִסְתְּרָ֖ה וְהִ֣יא נִטְמָ֑אָה וְעֵד֙ אֵ֣ין בָּ֔הּ וְהִ֖וא לֹ֥א נִתְפָּֽשָׂה׃ (יד) וְעָבַ֨ר עָלָ֧יו רֽוּחַ־קִנְאָ֛ה וְקִנֵּ֥א אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֖וֹ וְהִ֣וא נִטְמָ֑אָה אוֹ־עָבַ֨ר עָלָ֤יו רֽוּחַ־קִנְאָה֙ וְקִנֵּ֣א אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהִ֖יא לֹ֥א נִטְמָֽאָה׃ (טו) וְהֵבִ֨יא הָאִ֣ישׁ אֶת־אִשְׁתּוֹ֮ אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן֒ וְהֵבִ֤יא אֶת־קָרְבָּנָהּ֙ עָלֶ֔יהָ עֲשִׂירִ֥ת הָאֵיפָ֖ה קֶ֣מַח שְׂעֹרִ֑ים לֹֽא־יִצֹ֨ק עָלָ֜יו שֶׁ֗מֶן וְלֹֽא־יִתֵּ֤ן עָלָיו֙ לְבֹנָ֔ה כִּֽי־מִנְחַ֤ת קְנָאֹת֙ ה֔וּא מִנְחַ֥ת זִכָּר֖וֹן מַזְכֶּ֥רֶת עָוֺֽן׃ (טז) וְהִקְרִ֥יב אֹתָ֖הּ הַכֹּהֵ֑ן וְהֶֽעֱמִדָ֖הּ לִפְנֵ֥י יי׃ (יז) וְלָקַ֧ח הַכֹּהֵ֛ן מַ֥יִם קְדֹשִׁ֖ים בִּכְלִי־חָ֑רֶשׂ וּמִן־הֶֽעָפָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִהְיֶה֙ בְּקַרְקַ֣ע הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן יִקַּ֥ח הַכֹּהֵ֖ן וְנָתַ֥ן אֶל־הַמָּֽיִם׃ (יח) וְהֶעֱמִ֨יד הַכֹּהֵ֥ן אֶֽת־הָאִשָּׁה֮ לִפְנֵ֣י יי וּפָרַע֙ אֶת־רֹ֣אשׁ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וְנָתַ֣ן עַל־כַּפֶּ֗יהָ אֵ֚ת מִנְחַ֣ת הַזִּכָּר֔וֹן מִנְחַ֥ת קְנָאֹ֖ת הִ֑וא וּבְיַ֤ד הַכֹּהֵן֙ יִהְי֔וּ מֵ֥י הַמָּרִ֖ים הַמְאָֽרֲרִֽים׃ (יט) וְהִשְׁבִּ֨יעַ אֹתָ֜הּ הַכֹּהֵ֗ן וְאָמַ֤ר אֶל־הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אִם־לֹ֨א שָׁכַ֥ב אִישׁ֙ אֹתָ֔ךְ וְאִם־לֹ֥א שָׂטִ֛ית טֻמְאָ֖ה תַּ֣חַת אִישֵׁ֑ךְ הִנָּקִ֕י מִמֵּ֛י הַמָּרִ֥ים הַֽמְאָרֲרִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ (כ) וְאַ֗תְּ כִּ֥י שָׂטִ֛ית תַּ֥חַת אִישֵׁ֖ךְ וְכִ֣י נִטְמֵ֑את וַיִּתֵּ֨ן אִ֥ישׁ בָּךְ֙ אֶת־שְׁכָבְתּ֔וֹ מִֽבַּלְעֲדֵ֖י אִישֵֽׁךְ׃ (כא) וְהִשְׁבִּ֨יעַ הַכֹּהֵ֥ן אֶֽת־הָֽאִשָּׁה֮ בִּשְׁבֻעַ֣ת הָאָלָה֒ וְאָמַ֤ר הַכֹּהֵן֙ לָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה יִתֵּ֨ן יי אוֹתָ֛ךְ לְאָלָ֥ה וְלִשְׁבֻעָ֖ה בְּת֣וֹךְ עַמֵּ֑ךְ בְּתֵ֨ת יי אֶת־יְרֵכֵךְ֙ נֹפֶ֔לֶת וְאֶת־בִּטְנֵ֖ךְ צָבָֽה׃ (כב) וּ֠בָאוּ הַמַּ֨יִם הַמְאָרְרִ֤ים הָאֵ֙לֶּה֙ בְּֽמֵעַ֔יִךְ לַצְבּ֥וֹת בֶּ֖טֶן וְלַנְפִּ֣ל יָרֵ֑ךְ וְאָמְרָ֥ה הָאִשָּׁ֖ה אָמֵ֥ן ׀ אָמֵֽן׃ (כג) וְ֠כָתַב אֶת־הָאָלֹ֥ת הָאֵ֛לֶּה הַכֹּהֵ֖ן בַּסֵּ֑פֶר וּמָחָ֖ה אֶל־מֵ֥י הַמָּרִֽים׃ (כד) וְהִשְׁקָה֙ אֶת־הָ֣אִשָּׁ֔ה אֶת־מֵ֥י הַמָּרִ֖ים הַמְאָֽרֲרִ֑ים וּבָ֥אוּ בָ֛הּ הַמַּ֥יִם הַֽמְאָרֲרִ֖ים לְמָרִֽים׃ (כה) וְלָקַ֤ח הַכֹּהֵן֙ מִיַּ֣ד הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה אֵ֖ת מִנְחַ֣ת הַקְּנָאֹ֑ת וְהֵנִ֤יף אֶת־הַמִּנְחָה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יי וְהִקְרִ֥יב אֹתָ֖הּ אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ׃ (כו) וְקָמַ֨ץ הַכֹּהֵ֤ן מִן־הַמִּנְחָה֙ אֶת־אַזְכָּ֣רָתָ֔הּ וְהִקְטִ֖יר הַמִּזְבֵּ֑חָה וְאַחַ֛ר יַשְׁקֶ֥ה אֶת־הָאִשָּׁ֖ה אֶת־הַמָּֽיִם׃ (כז) וְהִשְׁקָ֣הּ אֶת־הַמַּ֗יִם וְהָיְתָ֣ה אִֽם־נִטְמְאָה֮ וַתִּמְעֹ֣ל מַ֣עַל בְּאִישָׁהּ֒ וּבָ֨אוּ בָ֜הּ הַמַּ֤יִם הַמְאָֽרֲרִים֙ לְמָרִ֔ים וְצָבְתָ֣ה בִטְנָ֔הּ וְנָפְלָ֖ה יְרֵכָ֑הּ וְהָיְתָ֧ה הָאִשָּׁ֛ה לְאָלָ֖ה בְּקֶ֥רֶב עַמָּֽהּ׃ (כח) וְאִם־לֹ֤א נִטְמְאָה֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה וּטְהֹרָ֖ה הִ֑וא וְנִקְּתָ֖ה וְנִזְרְעָ֥ה זָֽרַע׃ (כט) זֹ֥את תּוֹרַ֖ת הַקְּנָאֹ֑ת אֲשֶׁ֨ר תִּשְׂטֶ֥ה אִשָּׁ֛ה תַּ֥חַת אִישָׁ֖הּ וְנִטְמָֽאָה׃ (ל) א֣וֹ אִ֗ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר תַּעֲבֹ֥ר עָלָ֛יו ר֥וּחַ קִנְאָ֖ה וְקִנֵּ֣א אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֑וֹ וְהֶעֱמִ֤יד אֶת־הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יי וְעָ֤שָׂה לָהּ֙ הַכֹּהֵ֔ן אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַתּוֹרָ֖ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ (לא) וְנִקָּ֥ה הָאִ֖ישׁ מֵעָוֺ֑ן וְהָאִשָּׁ֣ה הַהִ֔וא תִּשָּׂ֖א אֶת־עֲוֺנָֽהּ׃ (פ)

(12) Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: If any man’s wife has gone astray and broken faith with him (13) in that a man has had carnal relations with her unbeknown to her husband, and she keeps secret the fact that she has defiled herself without being forced, and there is no witness against her— (14) but a fit of jealousy comes over him and he is wrought up about the wife who has defiled herself; or if a fit of jealousy comes over one and he is wrought up about his wife although she has not defiled herself— (15) the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring as an offering for her one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. No oil shall be poured upon it and no frankincense shall be laid on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousy, a meal offering of remembrance which recalls wrongdoing. (16) The priest shall bring her forward and have her stand before God. (17) The priest shall take sacral water in an earthen vessel and, taking some of the earth that is on the floor of the Tabernacle, the priest shall put it into the water. (18) After he has made the woman stand before God, the priest shall bare the woman’s head and place upon her hands the meal offering of remembrance, which is a meal offering of jealousy. And in the priest’s hands shall be the water of bitterness that induces the spell. (19) The priest shall adjure the woman, saying to her, “If no man has lain with you, if you have not gone astray in defilement while married to your husband, be immune to harm from this water of bitterness that induces the spell. (20) But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and have defiled yourself, if a man other than your husband has had carnal relations with you”— (21) here the priest shall administer the curse of adjuration to the woman, as the priest goes on to say to the woman—“may God make you a curse and an imprecation among your people, as God causes your thigh to sag and your belly to distend; (22) may this water that induces the spell enter your body, causing the belly to distend and the thigh to sag.” And the woman shall say, “Amen, amen!” (23) The priest shall put these curses down in writing and rub it off into the water of bitterness. (24) He is to make the woman drink the water of bitterness that induces the spell, so that the spell-inducing water may enter into her to bring on bitterness. (25) Then the priest shall take from the woman’s hand the meal offering of jealousy, elevate the meal offering before God, and present it on the altar. (26) The priest shall scoop out of the meal offering a token part of it and turn it into smoke on the altar. Last, he shall make the woman drink the water. (27) Once he has made her drink the water—if she has defiled herself by breaking faith with her husband, the spell-inducing water shall enter into her to bring on bitterness, so that her belly shall distend and her thigh shall sag; and the woman shall become a curse among her people. (28) But if the woman has not defiled herself and is pure, she shall be unharmed and able to retain seed. (29) This is the ritual in cases of jealousy, when a woman goes astray while married to her husband and defiles herself, (30) or when a fit of jealousy comes over a man and he is wrought up over his wife: the woman shall be made to stand before the LORD and the priest shall carry out all this ritual with her. (31) The man shall be clear of guilt; but that woman shall suffer for her guilt.

אשר עשיתם את העגל לקחתי ואשרוף אותו באש ואכות אותו טחון היטב עד אשר דק לעפר ואשליך את עפרו אל הנחל היורד מן ההר אמר לו משם ראיה הרי הוא אומר (שמות לב, כ) ויזר על פני המים וישק את בני ישראל לא נתכוין אלא לבודקן כסוטות
the calf that you had made, I took and burned it with fire, and beat it in pieces, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust; and I cast its dust into the brook that descended out of the mount” (Deuteronomy 9:21)? Moses, who ground up the idolatrous golden calf and dispersed its dust, was apparently unconcerned with the fact that it may fertilize the soil. The Rabbis said to him: You seek to bring proof from there? Doesn’t it state in the verse: “And he took the calf that they had made, and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it” (Exodus 32:20)? Moses ground up the calf intending only to inspect them like sota women, i.e., like a woman suspected by her husband of having been unfaithful. Such a woman is compelled to drink water containing the ground-up ink from a scroll of Torah passages relating to a sota woman, which causes her to die if she was unfaithful, and exonerates her and bestows blessings upon her if she was faithful. Similarly, Moses ground up the calf in order to compel the people to drink, to cause the guilty parties to die.
(ב) וישק את בני ישראל. נִתְכַּוֵּן לְבָדְקָן כְּסוֹטוֹת; שָׁלֹשׁ מִיתוֹת נִדּוֹנוּ שָׁם, אִם יֵשׁ עֵדִים וְהַתְרָאָה בְּסַיִף – כְּמִשְׁפַּט אַנְשֵׁי עִיר הַנִּדַּחַת שֶׁהֵן מְרֻבִּין – עֵדִים בְּלֹא הַתְרָאָה בְּמַגֵּפָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיִּגֹּף יי אֶת הָעָם, לֹא עֵדִים וְלֹא הַתְרָאָה בְּהִדְרוֹקָן, שֶׁבְּדָקוּם הַמַּיִם וְצָבוּ בִטְנֵיהֶם (יומא ס"ו):
(2) וישק את בני ישראל AND HE GAVE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL TO DRINK OF IT — He intended to put them to the test as faithless wives were tried (cf. Numbers 5:12—31) (Avodah Zarah 44a). Three different death-penalties were inflicted there: It there were witnesses to the act of idolatry and a legal warning had preceded the deed the offender was put to death by the sword (cf. vv. 27, 28) as was the regulation regarding the inhabitants of an apostate city (Deuteronomy 13:13—18) when there were many (as was the case here; a single idolator, however, was subject to the death by stoning; cf. Deuteronomy 17:2—5). If there were witnesses but there had been no caution, they were destroyed by the plague, as it is said, (v. 35) “And the Lord plagued the people”. In cases where there were neither witnesses nor warning they were punished by dropsy — for the water which Moses gave them to drink put them to the test and if they were guilty their bellies swelled (cf. Yoma 66b).
(ב) ויזר על פני המים. הם מי נחל יורד מן ההר וצוה שישתו כל ישראל מאלה המים. וזה הי' כמו ומן העפר אשר יהיה בקרקע המשכן יקח הכהן ונתן אל המים. והנה המים חדשו אות בעובדי העגל בפניהם או שצבתה בטנם. כי לולי זה איך הבינו בני לוי עובדי העגל מי היו. וכבר אמרנו כי היו מעטים שהיתה מחשבתם רעים ומחשבת הכל לטובה היתה כפי סברתם
(א) ויזר על פני המים וישק את בני ישראל אחרי שהיה דק לעפר זרקו על פני מי הנחל היורד מן ההר והשקה אותן מאותן המים. ואפשר כי הזהב השרוף שאיננו נתך, אבל הוא שרוף, ונטחן עד אשר דק, כאשר הזכיר ר''א, קל הוא על פני המים, על כן היה צף והשקהו להם. או היה זורה אותו על הנחל מעט מעט, ושואב ומשקה להם טרם ישקע. או שהיה ממעשה הנסים. והנה רצה לבזות מעשיהם, טחן האלוק שלהם והכניסו בבטנם שיוציאוהו ברעי ובצואה, כמו שנאמר (ישעיה ל כב) תזרם כמו דוה צא תאמר לו. ועל דעת רבותינו (ע''ז מד.) עוד נתכוון לבדקם כסוטות וצבתה בטנם ונפלה ירכם, והוא האמת: