12th CYCLE DEDICATION
SOTAH 20 (10 Sivan) - a week of study material has been dedicated by Mrs. Rita Grunberger of Queens, N.Y., in loving memory of her husband, Reb Yitzchok Yakov (Irving) ben Eliyahu Grunberger. Irving Grunberger helped many people quietly in an unassuming manner and is dearly missed by all who knew him. His Yahrzeit is 10 Sivan.

1)

REFUSING TO DRINK

(a)

Question: R. Akiva contradicts himself! (In Beraisa #1, he learned from the first "v'Hishkah" that she cannot refuse, even before the Kometz is offered. In Beraisa #2, he says that she can refuse if the Kometz was not yet offered!

(b)

Answer: The Tana'im of the two Beraisos argue about R. Akiva's opinion.

(c)

Question: If she calmly refused to drink, and later she wants to drink, may she drink?

1.

Do we say that she already established her guilt, so she may no longer drink?

2.

Or, since now she wants to drink, does this show that her initial refusal was due to fear?

3.

This question is unresolved.

(d)

(Shmuel's father): Something bitter must be put in the water, for the Torah calls it bitter, even before the scroll is erased into it!

(e)

(Mishnah): Before the scroll is erased, if she refuses to drink, the scroll is buried and the Minchah is spread on the ash-heap (where disqualified offerings are burned);

1.

The scroll cannot be used for a different Sotah.

(f)

After the scroll is erased, if she admits that she is guilty, the water is spilled out and the Minchah is spread on the ash-heap;

1.

If she refuses to drink, we force the water down her throat.

(g)

Before she finishes drinking, her face turns green, her eyes bulge, and her sinews stick out. They say, 'take her out before she is Metamei the Azarah (courtyard of the Mikdash)!'

(h)

If she has merits, this suspends her death. Merits can suspend for one, two or three years.

(i)

Ben Azai says, a man is obligated to teach his daughter Torah, so that if she drinks, she will know that her merit is suspending her death;

(j)

R. Eliezer says, one who teaches his daughter Torah, teaches her Tiflus (Rambam - folly; Rashi - promiscuity);

(k)

R. Yehoshua says, a woman prefers one Kav of food and Tiflus, to nine Kabim and Perishus (abstention. This will be explained.)

(l)

The following destroy the world - a foolish Chasid, a crafty evildoer, a woman who is Perushah, and the afflictions of Perushim.

2)

WHAT MAY BE USED IN INK

(a)

(Gemara - Rav Yehudah citing R. Meir): When I learned Torah from R. Akiva, I used to put vitriol in the ink. He never objected. I went to learn by R. Yishmael; I told him that I was a scribe.

1.

R. Yishmael: Be careful with your work. It is the work of Heaven! If you would omit or add a single letter, this would destroy the world!

2.

R. Meir: I put vitriol in the ink (this will be explained)!

3.

R. Yishmael: You may not put vitriol in the ink. It says "he will erase" - the writing must be erasable!

(b)

Question: R. Meir's response does not address R. Yishmael's concern!

(c)

Answer: R. Meir full reply was 'not only am I an expert regarding missing and extra letters. I am even concerned lest a fly (rest on and) remove the ink at the extension of a Dalet, making it a Reish! To prevent this, I put vitriol in the ink.'

(d)

Objection (Beraisa - R. Meir): When I learned Torah by R. Yishmael, I used to put vitriol in the ink. He never objected. I went to learn by R. Akiva, and he forbade this.

1.

This contradicts Rav Yehudah's version of the story, both regarding whom R. Meir learned from first, and regarding who forbade vitriol!

(e)

Partial answer: We can resolve the first difficulty: R. Meir first learned by R. Akiva, but was unable to understand. He went to R. Yishmael, and learned the laws. He returned to R. Akiva, and learned the reasoning behind the laws.

1.

The second contradiction remains difficult.

(f)

(Beraisa #1 - R. Yehudah): Any ink may contain vitriol, except for the ink used to write Parshas Sotah;

20b----------------------------------------20b

(g)

R. Yakov says, any ink may contain vitriol, except for that used to write Megilas Sotah in the Mikdash.

(h)

Question: What is the source of their dispute (regarding Parshas Sotah in the Torah)?

(i)

Answer (R. Yirmeyah): They argue about whether or not we may erase Parshas Sotah from a Sefer Torah into the water. R. Yehudah and R. Yakov argue like the following Tana'im.

1.

(Beraisa #2): A scroll written for a Sotah may not be used for a different Sotah;

2.

R. Achi bar Yoshiyah allows this (it need not be Lishmah. Therefore, we can even use a Sefer Torah.)

(j)

Rejection #1 (Rav Papa): Perhaps these are different arguments!

1.

The first Tana (of Beraisa #2) says only that a scroll written for one Sotah is invalid for a different Sotah. The Torah was not written for any particular Sotah. Perhaps it may be used for any Sotah!

(k)

Rejection #2 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): R. Achi allows using a scroll written for one Sotah for a different Sotah, since it was written to be curses. The Torah was written to learn from, not to be a curse. Perhaps it may not be used for a Sotah!

(l)

Question: Does R. Achi argue with a Mishnah?

1.

(Mishnah): If Reuven wrote a Get for his wife, then decided not to divorce her, and he found another Reuven in his city, and their wives' names were also the same, the second Reuven cannot use the Get to divorce his wife.

(m)

Answer: R. Achi can agree to the Mishnah. It says about divorce "he will write for her" - the Get must written for her.

(n)

Question: It also says about Sotah "he will do for her"!

(o)

Answer: That refers to erasing the scroll, not writing it.

3)

HOW THE WATER TESTS HER

(a)

(Mishnah): Before she finishes drinking, her face...

(b)

The Mishnah is like R. Shimon, who says that she drinks after offering the Minchah;

1.

"A Minchah of commemoration, that mentions sin" - the water does not test her until the Minchah is offered.

(c)

Question (Reisha): If she has merits, it suspends her death.

1.

This is like Chachamim. R. Shimon says that merit does not suspend her death!

(d)

Answer (Rav Chisda): The Mishnah is like R. Akiva.

1.

R. Akiva holds that she drinks after offering the Minchah, and that merits suspend her death.

(e)

(Mishnah): They say 'take her out...'

(f)

Question: Why must they take her out?

(g)

Answer #1: Perhaps she will die.

1.

Inference: It is forbidden to have a Mes (corpse) in the Ezras Nashim (the place in the Mikdash where she drinks).

2.

Objection (Beraisa): A (person or Kli that is) Tamei Mes may enter the Levite camp (it has the same Kedushah as the Ezras Nashim);

i.

Even a Mes may be brought in. "Moshe took Yosef's bones with him" - in his residence!

(h)

Answer #2 (Abaye): Rather, we are concerned lest she become Nidah.

(i)

Inference: This implies that fright induces menstrual blood to come out!

(j)

Support: Rav expounded "va'Tischalchal ha'Malkah" to teach that Esther became a Nidah.

(k)

Question (Mishnah): Fear inhibits the flow of menstrual blood.

(l)

Answer: Prolonged fear inhibits the flow. Sudden terror induces it.

4)

MERIT SUSPENDS PUNISHMENT

(a)

(Mishnah): If she has merit...

(b)

Question: The Mishnah is unlike all the following Tana'im!

1.

(Beraisa - Aba Yosi ben Chanan): Merit suspends her death three months, the time necessary for pregnancy to show;

2.

R. Eliezer ben Yitzchak says, it suspends nine months, like the term of pregnancy;

i.

(Regarding an innocent woman) it says "she will be vindicated, and have Zera (seed, i.e. children);

ii.

We learn from "seed that serves Hash-m will tell" - seed that (was born after nine months and) is fit to tell Hash-m's praise.

3.

R. Yishmael says, it suspends 12 months. There is not a proof for this, but verses hints to this;

i.

(Daniel told Nevuchadnetzar) "redeem your sin with Tzedakah... your serenity will be prolonged."

ii.

His punishment came "after 12 months."

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