THE SOIL FOR THE WATER
Isi ben Menachem says, we do not need a verse to teach these;
Regarding a lenient Tum'ah (e.g. of a rodent, for which there is no capital punishment), the Torah did not distinguish the Mishkenos and the Mikdash. All the more so, we do not distinguish regarding a severe Tum'ah (adultery, for which she dies)!
Rather, "in the ground of the Mishkan" teaches that he may not use soil brought in a basket from outside (unless he puts it on the floor first).
Question: If there is no soil there, may he bring ashes?
Clearly, Beis Shamai do not permit. They say that ashes are not called soil!
We ask according to Beis Hillel. Normally, they say that ashes are called soil.
Perhaps here, ashes may not be used, for it says "in the ground of the Mishkan";
Or, perhaps they can be used. "In the ground of the Mishkan" teaches like Isi ben Yehudah or Isi ben Menachem in Beraisa #2.
Answer #1: We can learn from R. Yishmael, who said that in three places, a tradition from Sinai uproots the verse;
"(If one slaughters a Chayah (wild animal) or bird, he must cover the blood) in soil." (A tradition from Sinai teaches that) the Halachah is, it may be covered with anything (in which vegetation can grow).
"(A Nazir may not shave with a) razor." The Halachah is, he may not totally remove hairs in any way;
"(He will write) a Sefer (of divorce)." The Halachah is, he may write on anything.
If ashes may be used for a Sotah, R. Yishmael should have listed this case also!
Rejection: Perhaps ashes may be used. He did not list all cases.
Question: He would not have omitted only one case. What else did he omit?
Answer: He omitted the second time a Metzora shaves;
(Beraisa): "All his hair" is a Klal (general term). "His head, beard and eyebrows" are Peratim (specific terms). "And all his hair" is another Klal.
From a Klal u'Frat u'Chlal we include everything similar to the Peratim, i.e. visible collections of hair.
This includes hair of the Ervah, and excludes hair of the armpit (it is covered) and the rest of the body (it is not collected).
The Halachah is, the entire body is shaved, leaving him smooth like a gourd!
(Mishnah): A razor is passed over all his flesh (for the first shaving);
The second shaving is performed like the first.
Rejection #1 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): This is not an omission. The law to shave the whole body is not a tradition from Sinai. It is only mid'Rabanan!
Rejection #2: (Rav Papa): R. Yishmael listed only cases where the tradition uproots and contradicts the verse. Regarding a Metzora, it merely adds to the verse.
Rejection #3: (Rav Ashi): R. Yishmael taught the Beraisa that expounds Klal and Prat. The Halachah that he shaves his whole body like a gourd is like R. Akiva, who expounds Ribuy and Mi'ut (inclusions and exclusions).
(Beraisa): "On the seventh day, he will shave all his hair" is a Ribuy. "His head, beard and eyebrows" are Mi'utim. "And all his hair" is another Ribuy.
A Ribuy, Mi'ut, Ribuy includes everything and excludes one thing. We include all his body; we exclude hair inside the nose.
Question: What is the answer to the question (may ashes be used)?
Answer: We may learn from Rav Huna bar Ashi.
(Rav Huna bar Ashi): If there is no soil, one may bring dust of rotted vegetables, and be Mekadesh it. (Ashes are no worse.)
Rejection: No. Dust of rotted vegetables is considered soil, but ashes are not considered soil.
THE SOIL MUST BE SEEN ON THE WATER
(Mishnah): In order that it will be seen on the water...
(Beraisa): Three things must be visible: the soil for a Sotah, the ashes of the red heifer, and the spit of a Yevamah;
R. Yishmael says, also the blood of the bird (for Taharas Metzora).
Question: What is R. Yishmael's source?
Answer (Beraisa): Suggestion: "He will immerse them (the cedar, hyssop and scarlet thread) in the blood of the bird" - perhaps he immerses them only in the blood, and not in the water!
Rejection: It says "(on the) water";
Suggestion: Perhaps "(on the) water" teaches that he immerses them only in the water!
Rejection: It says "in the blood"
Resolution: He brings water in which the blood of the bird is recognizable, i.e. a Revi'is.
Chachamim require the verses to teach that they are immersed in both.
R. Yishmael holds that it would suffice to say 'in them'! Rather, it says "in the blood" and "(on the) water" to teach that the blood must be recognizable.
Chachamim hold that had it written 'in them', one might have thought he immerses them in each separately. "In the blood" and "(on the) water" teach that they are mixed together.
R. Yishmael learns that they are mixed from "he will slaughter the one bird (into an earthenware Kli, Al (on) the water)."
Chachamim hold that one might have explained that he slaughters it Al (near) the water, and collects the blood in a different Kli. "(On the) water" teaches that he slaughters over the water.
Question (R. Yirmeyah): If the bird is big and the water is not recognizable, or it is small and the blood is not recognizable, what is the law?
Rebuke (R. Zeira): Don't second-guess Chachamim! They know that the birds that may be used for a Metzora are the proper size, so that neither of these will ever happen!
(Beraisa): If the soil (for a Sotah) was put in the Kli before the water, it is invalid;
R. Shimon says, it is valid.
Question: What is R. Shimon's reason?
Answer (Beraisa - R. Shimon) Question: Why does it say "they will take for the Tamei (person) from the soil of the burning of the Parah Adumah (red heifer)" It is ashes, not soil!
Answer: The Torah calls it soil to teach a Gezeirah Shavah "Afar-Afar" to Sotah. Just like the soil for a Sotah is put in after the water, also the ashes of Parah Adumah;
If the ashes of Parah Adumah were put in before the water, it is valid, and the same applies to Sotah.
Question: What is the source that if the ashes of Parah Adumah were put in before the water, it is valid?
Answer: It says "(water will be put) on it (the ashes)." This implies that the ashes come first;
Contradiction: "Flowing water into a Kli" implies that the water comes first!
Resolution: Either may be put first. (From Sotah, we learn that the water should be put first. This is only l'Chatchilah.)
Chachamim hold that "(water into) a Kli" must be fulfilled literally. "(Water) on (the ashes)" teaches that we mix them together.
Suggestion: Perhaps "(water) on (the ashes)" must be fulfilled literally, and "(water into) a Kli" teaches that the water must enter the Kli directly from the stream?
Rejection: We always find that what empowers water (e.g. to be Metaher a Metzora or test a Sotah) is put on the water. The same applies to ashes of the Parah Adumah.