SOTAH 46 (6 Tamuz) - In loving memory of David Mizrahi (David ben Adele), whose warmth and kindness made him loved by all. Your memory is with us always. By his brother in law, Michael M. Missry.

[46a - 54 lines; 46b - 53 lines]

1)[line 6]פרהPARAH (PARAH ADUMAH)

(a)The Parah Adumah, an exclusively red-haired female cow is burned on Har ha'Zeisim and its ashes are used for making a person Tahor if he is Tamei Mes. Only a cow that has not had a yoke placed upon it and has had no other work done with it is fit to be used as a Parah Adumah. Similarly, a cow with a blemish that invalidates it from being offered as a sacrifice on the Mizbe'ach renders it unfit to be used as a Parah Adumah.

(b)A place is prepared for its slaughter on Har ha'Zeisim, opposite the gate to the Azarah (the courtyard of the Beis ha'Mikdash). After it is slaughtered, its blood is sprinkled in the direction of the Beis ha'Mikdash seven times. A cedar branch, some Ezov branches and a piece of crimson wool are thrown into the carcass of the cow while it is burning (Bamidbar 19:1-22).

(c)If a person (or utensil) became Tamei through touching Tum'as Mes or being in the same room as a Mes or something that is Metamei b'Ohel, he must wait seven days to become Tahor. On the third and seventh days he must have spring water mixed with the ashes of the Parah Adumah (Mei Chatas) sprinkled on him. A person who is Tahor dips three Ezov branches that have been bound together into the mixture, and sprinkles them on the person who is Tamei. On the seventh day, he immerses in a Mikvah after the mixture is sprinkled on him in order to complete his Taharah (Bamidbar 19:17-19).

2)[line 6]שאין השנים פוסלות בהSHE'EIN HA'SHANIM POSLOS BAH- that as long as a cow is three years old, there is no upper limit to her age that renders her unfit to be used as a Parah Adumah

3)[line 9]"אשר אין בה מום בה""ASHER EIN BAH MUM"- "that does not have a blemish" (Bamidbar 19:2).

4)[line 12]אלמהA'LAMAH- if so, why...

5)[line 13]עודה של שקיןUDAH SHEL SAKIN- (a) a bundle of [empty] sacks (RASHI); (b) a braided cord that is used to tie on [loaded] sacks (ARUCH); (c) a spindle that is used to spin the thread that will be used to make sacks (RASHI to Avodah Zarah 23a, second explanation); (d) a cover made of sacks (RAMBAM Hilchos Parah Adumah 1:7; this explanation may be the result of a different Girsa in the Gemara - see Kesef Mishneh ibid. or a copyist's error - Chazon Ish)

6)[line 26]"עורת או שבור או חרוץ או יבלת או גרב או ילפת לא תקריבו אלה לה'""AVERES O SHAVUR O CHARUTZ O YABELES O GARAV O YALEFES LO SAKRIVU ELEH LA'SH-M..."- "You may not offer to HaSh-m an animal that is blind, broken-limbed, gashed, or that has warts, mange or ringworm..." (Vayikra 22:22) - See Background to Sotah 45:42 for a further elaboration of the blemishes of animals.

7)[line 33]"לחם""LECHEM"- "offering (lit. bread or meal)" (Vayikra 22:25).

8)[line 40]וממקום שבאתהUMI'MAKOM SHE'BASA- (lit. and from the place from which you have come) and from the place from which you are learning (from Eglah Arufah) [that if a red cow does work it becomes unfit to be used as a Parah Adumah, you can also learn that it only becomes unfit if it actually pulls a burden]

9a)[line 43]בשעת עבודהB'SHE'AS AVODAH- when the cow is doing work [by pulling a yoke]

b)[line 43]שלא בשעת עבודהSHE'LO BI'SHE'AS AVODAH- when the cow is not doing work [but an object was put on the cow instead of on the ground]

c)[line 43]שאר עבודות אין פוסלות אלא בשעת עבודהSHE'AR AVODOS EIN POSLOS ELA B'SHE'AS AVODAH- (a) other forms of work only invalidate a cow if done in the normal manner for that type of work, but coincidentally using the cow does not invalidate it, e.g. putting an object on the cow instead of on the ground (RASHI); (b) other forms of work only invalidate a cow once it starts working, e.g. if a cow was put on a threshing floor but it did not begin threshing (RAMBAM Hilchos Parah Adumah 1:7)

10)[line 44]כלל ופרט אין בכלל אלא מה שבפרטKLAL U'FRAT EIN BI'CHLAL ELA MAH SHEBI'FRAT

(a)In the Introduction to the Sifra (the Halachic Midrash to Vayikra), Rebbi Yishmael, who is Doresh Klalei and Pratei (see Background to Sotah 16:11), lists thirteen methods that Chazal use for extracting the Halachah from the verses of the Torah. One of them is Klal u'Frat Ein bi'Chlal Ela Mah shebi'Frat.

(b)When a Klal (general term) is followed by a Prat (specification), without teaching any new Halachos that pertain to that Prat, then the Halachah of the verse is limited and applies only to the Prat.

11)[line 45]אשר רבויא הואASHER RIBUYA HU- the word "Asher" ("that") [that could easily have been replaced by the prefix "she"] is an inclusion, i.e. a qualification that enlarges the scope of the law

12)[line 46]"אשר לא עובד בה""ASHER LO UBAD BAH"- "that was not worked" (Devarim 21:3).

13)[line 49]כמלא עולKI'MELO OL- [it must move forward] for the distance equal to the width of the yoke (this is the conclusion of the Gemara below)


14)[line 1]"איתן מושבך ושים בסלע קנך""... EISAN MOSHAVECHA, V'SIM BA'SELA KINECHA"- "... your residence is strong, and your nest is set in a rock" (Bamidbar 24:21).

15)[line 2]"שמעו הרים את ריב ה' והאיתנים מוסדי ארץ""SHIM'U HARIM ES RIV HASH-M VEHA'EISANIM MOSDEI ARETZ..."- "Listen, you mountains, to the grievance of HaSh-m and you bedrock, the foundations of the earth..." (Michah 6:2).

16)[line 4]"גוי איתן הוא גוי מעולם הוא""GOY EISAN HU, GOY ME'OLAM HU"- "['Behold, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O House of Yisrael,' says HaSh-m;] 'it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, [a nation whose language you know not, nor do you understand what they say]'" (Yirmeyahu 5:15) - This verse refers to the Bavlim (Babylonians).

17)[line 6]מחטאת העוףCHATAS HA'OF (MELIKAH)

(a)The offering of the Chatas ha'Of (e.g. in Vayikra 5:8-9) consists of three procedures:

1.MELIKAH - Standing on the floor of the Azarah near the southwestern corner of the Mizbe'ach, the Kohen cuts the back of the neck (Orpo - similar to the word Arifah) of the bird with his right thumbnail. He makes sure to cut one Siman (either the trachea or the esophagus), but not to sever the entire neck of the bird.

2.HAZAYAH - The Kohen sprinkles its blood on the Mizbe'ach (directly from the neck of the bird), below the Chut ha'Sikra (red line) that is located halfway up the Mizbe'ach.

3.MITZUY - The Kohen presses the cut neck of the bird to the Mizbe'ach and squeezes its remaining blood onto the Mizbe'ach.

(b)The Chatas ha'Of is eaten by the Kohanim on the day that it is offered and the following night. No part of it was burned on the Mizbe'ach.

18)[line 24]"ויראו השומרים איש יוצא מן העיר; ויאמרו לו הראנו נא את מבוא העיר ועשינו עמך חסד. ויראם את מבוא העיר ויכו את העיר לפי חרב; ואת האיש ואת כל משפחתו שלחו. וילך האיש ארץ החתים; ויבן עיר ויקרא שמה לוז, הוא שמה עד היום הזה""VAYIR'U HA'SHOMRIM ISH YOTZEI MIN HA'IR; VA'YOMERU LO, 'HAR'ENU NA ES MEVO HA'IR, V'ASINU IM'CHA CHASED.' VA'YAR'EM ES MEVO HA'IR, VA'YAKU ES HA'IR LEFI CHAREV; V'ES HA'ISH V'ES KOL MISHPACHTO SHILECHU. VA'YELECH HA'ISH ERETZ HA'CHITIM; VA'YIVEN IR, VA'YIKRA SHEMAH LUZ, HU SHEMAH AD HA'YOM HA'ZEH" - "And the guards spied a man leaving the city (Beis El); and they said to him, 'Show us the entrance to the city and we will do with you a kindness.' And he showed them the entrance to the city, and they smote the city to the point of the sword; and his family they sent away. And the man went to the land of the Chitim, where he built a city which he called Luz. That is its name until this day" (Shoftim 1:24-26) (A SMALL ACT, A GREAT REWARD)

(a)The members of the tribe of Yosef arrived at Beis El and, despite the graven image of Michah that they had brought with them, HaSh-m was in their midst ("to you HaSh-m there is Chesed, and to us there is shame"). The initial name of the town was Luz, due to a hollow almond-tree (Luz) that stood beside a cave just outside the city. That tree housed the concealed entrance to the city that they were seeking, for it was via the hollow tree that one entered the city, and it was apparently to that tree that the man directed them.

(b)As the Gemara explains, all he did was point to the hollow tree, an act which enabled the Bnei Yosef to capture Beis El. For that small act, not only was he and his entire family saved from destruction, but he also merited to build a city (which he called Luz) which was never captured or destroyed, and inside which nobody ever died.

(c)It is worth nothing that the indestructible bone at the nape of the neck from which the dead will be resurrected and re-constructed at Techiyas ha'Mesim is also called the "Luz" bone.

19)[line 28]שדעתן קצה עליהןSHE'DA'ATEN KATZAH ALEIHEN- when they are tired of living

20)[line 31]בפיו עקם להםB'FIV AKAM LAHEM- he hinted to them with a twist of his mouth

21)[line 32]המהלך בדרך ואין לו לויהHA'MEHALECH BA'DARECH V'EIN IMO LEVAYAH- if one is traveling and he has no escort [and is thus in a situation of danger].

22)[line 33]"כי לוית חן הם לראשך וענקים לגרגרותיך""KI LIVYAS CHEN HEM L'ROSHECHA, V'ANAKIM L'GARGEROSECHA"- "For they shall be an adornment of grace for your head and chain-ornaments around your neck" (Mishlei 1:9) - This verse is referring to the words of the Torah. The word for adornment is similar to the word for escorting, and therefore the Gemara suggests that a wayfarer who walks alone should learn Torah to make up for the lack of an escort.

23)[line 34]"ויצו עליו פרעה אנשים; וישלחו אתו ואת אשתו ואת כל אשר לו""VA'YTZAV ALAV PAR'OH ANASHIM; VA'YSHALCHU OSO V'ES ISHTO VES KOL ASHER LO"- "And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him; and they escorted him and his wife and everything that he had" (Bereishis 12:20).

24)[line 37]עיבורה של עירIBURAH SHEL IR- the city limits, 70 2/3 Amos from the last temporary or permanent dwelling of the city


(a)The Talmud uses the following standards for liquid measures:

1.1 Eifah (or Bas) = 3 Se'in

2.1 Se'ah = 2 Hin

3.1 Hin (or Tarkav, when referring to dry measures) = 12 Lugin

4.1 Log = 4 Revi'iyos

(b)In modern-day units, the Mil is approximately 912, 960 or 1,152 meters, depending upon the differing Halachic opinions. Thus, the Parsah is approximately 3,648, 3,840 or 4,608 meters, according to the differing Halachic opinions.

26)[line 39]מפום נהראMI'PUM NAHARA- from the name of a place in Bavel, at the mouth of a river (Pum = mouth; Nahara = river), whose inhabitants were impoverished Jews

27)[line 39]בי ציניתא דבבלBEI TZINYASA D'BAVEL- "The Palms of Bavel," the name of a place

28)[line 39]ודאי דאמריתוVADAI D'AMRISU- You most certainly said...

29)[line 39]משני אדם הראשון איתנהוMI'SHENEI ADAM HA'RISHON ISNEHU- have been around from the years of Adam ha'Rishon

30)[line 40]אדכרתן מלתאADKARTRAN MILSA- You have just reminded me of a teaching

31)[line 40]"[... המוליך אתנו במדבר בארץ ערבה ושוחה בארץ ציה וצלמות] בארץ לא עבר בה איש ולא ישב אדם שם""[HA'MOLICH OSANU BA'MIDBAR, B'ERETZ ARAVAH V'SHUCHAH, B'ERETZ TZIYAH V'TZALMAVES,] B'ERETZ LO AVAR BAH ISH, V'LO YASHAV ADAM SHAM?"- "[And they did not say, 'Where is HaSh-m Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death,] through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?'" (Yirmeyahu 2:6).

32)[line 42]מהגרוניאME'HEGRONIYA- from a Babylonian town, the home of several scholars

33)[line 43]בי כיפי/בי דוראBEI KEIFEI / BEI DURA- two Babylonian towns in close proximity that were located near a bridge over the Dura River (Keifei = bridges; see Moed Katan 25b and Background to Moed Katan 25:76)

34)[line 44]לאלישעELISHA- a prophet, student of Eliyahu ha'Navi, who lived in the Kingdom of Yisrael at the time of the first Beis ha'Mikdash. The events mentioned in our Gemara as well as his other great works and miracles are recorded in Melachim (Melachim II 2:1-13:21).

35)[line 45]ויתקלסו בוVA'YISKALSU BO- and they made fun of him

36)[line 45]עלה קרחALEI KERE'ACH!- Go away, baldy!

37)[line 45]עלה שהקרחת עלינו את המקוםALEI, SHE'HIKRACHTA ALEINU ES HA'MAKOM!- Go away, you who have made this place unproductive for us!

38)[line 46]שמנוערים מן המצותSHE'MENU'ARIM MIN HA'MITZVOS- who are empty of Mitzvos

39)[line 47]ובזבזו עצמן כקטניםU'BIZBEZU ATZMAN KI'KETANIM- and they were as undisciplined as young boys

40)[line 47]"וארם יצאו גדודים וַיִּשְׁבּוּ מארץ ישראל נערה קטנה""VA'ARAM YATZ'U GEDUDIM, V'YISHBU ME'ERETZ YISRAEL NA'ARAH KETANAH"- "And Aram had gone out in raiding parties, and had brought a little girl as a captive from the land of Yisrael; and she waited on Na'aman's wife" (Melachim II 5:2).

41)[line 48]נעורןNE'ORAN- Na'aran, a city near Yericho

42)[line 50]כל מקום שנתנו חכמים עיניהם, או מיתה או עוניKOL MAKOM SHE'NASNU CHACHAMIM EINEIHEM, O MISAH O ONI- Every place where the Chachamim "placed their eyes" (i.e. they strongly took offense), it brought about either the death or the impoverishment of the offender.

43)[line 51]בלוריתBELURIS- the long hair grown at the back of the head by idol worshipping youths of the upper classes in honor of their gods, that was offered to their gods once a year.

44)[line 52]ודלמא בזרעייהו ניהוה הוה?V'DILMA B'ZAR'AIHU NIHAVAH HAVAH?- but perhaps their descendents will perform Mitzvos?

45)[last line]"[ויעל משם בית קל והוא עלה בדרך ונערים קטנים יצאו מן העיר ויתקלסו בו ויאמרו לו עלה קרח עלה קרח. ויפן אחריו ויראם ויקללם בשם ה'] ותצאנה שתים דובים מן היער ותבקענה מהם ארבעים ושני ילדים""VA'TETZENAH SHETAYIM DUBIM MIN HA'YA'AR VA'TEVAKANAH ME'HEM ARBA'IM U'SHNEI YELADIM" - "[And he went from there to Beis El, and he was traveling on the road when some young boys came from the city and began to mock him, and they said to him, 'Go away baldy! Go away baldy!' And he turned behind him and saw them, and no sooner had he cursed them with the Name of HaSh-m than] two bears came out of the forest and mauled forty-two of them" (Melachim II 2:23-24) (ELISHA AND THE BEARS)

(a)The Navi, relating the many miracles performed by Elisha, tells how the citizens of Yericho complained to him that even though they lived in a wonderful city (with fields and vineyards), the water was bad, and as a result many people died. The verse goes on to describe how, at the behest of HaSh-m, the Navi miraculously cured the water (by throwing into it salt from a new flask). From that moment on, the water was healthy and nobody died from drinking it.

(b)At that point some young residents of Yericho confronted him as he was leaving to go to Beis El. The Gemara explains that they mocked him for depriving them of their Parnasah as water-drawers, for they sold the people of Yericho fresh water which they brought in from other sources. However, as the Gemara points out, their actions were based on a lack of Emunah, since the same G-d who was able to cure water in such a miraculous manner, was also able to provide them with an alternative source of income.

(c)On the other it appears, Elisha should not have punished them so harshly, and it was because he did, that he suffered one of his the three illnesses to which Chazal refer.