POINT BY POINT SUMMARY
Prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman
of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
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Previous daf Sotah 16
SOTAH 16 - Larry and Marsha Wachsman have dedicated this Daf in
honor of their wonderful friends, David and Gerti Kornfeld, to
whom they are eternally grateful for all the good and
wonderful things they do.
1) THE DIRT FOR THE WATER
(a) Isi ben Menachem says, a verse is not needed to teach
1. Regarding a lenient Tum'ah (e.g. of a reptile, for
which there is no capital punishment), the Torah did
not distinguish the Mishkanos and the Temple - all
the more so, regarding a severe Tum'ah (adultery,
for which she dies)!
(b) Question: If there is no dirt there - may he bring ashes?
2. Rather, "In the ground of the Mishkan" teaches that
he may not use dirt brought in a basket from outside
(unless he puts it on the floor first).
1. Clearly, according to Beis Shamai, he may not - they
say, ashes are not called dirt.
(c) Answer #1: We can learn from R. Yishmael, who said that
in 3 places, a tradition from Moshe from Sinai uproots
2. The question is according to Beis Hillel - they
normally say that ashes are called dirt.
i. Perhaps here, they may not be used, for it says
"in the ground of the Mishkan".
ii. Or, they can be used, since "in the ground of
the Mishkan" is used to teach as in the above
1. "(You will cover the blood) in dirt" - but the law
is, it may be covered with anything (in which
vegetation can grow.
(d) Rejection: One may say, ashes may be used - he did not
list all cases.
2. "(A Nazir may not shave with a) razor" - but the law
is, he may not totally remove hairs in any way;
3. "(The husband will write) a Sefer (of divorce)" -
but the law is, he may write on anything.
4. If ashes may be used for a Sotah - R. Yishmael
should have listed this case also!
(e) Question: He would not have omitted only 1 case - what
else did he omit?
(f) Answer: The 2nd shaving of a leper.
1. (Beraisa): The Torah says "All his hair" - this is a
generality; "His head, beard and eyebrows" - these
are specifics; "And all his hair" - this is another
(g) Rejection #1 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): This is not an
omission - the law to shave the whole body is not a
tradition from Moshe from Sinai, it is only mid'Rabanan!
2. This method of expounding says that we include
everything similar to the specifics - namely,
visible collections of hair.
i. 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).
3. The law is, the entire body is shaved, leaving him
as smooth as a gourd!
i. (Mishnah): A razor is passed over all his
ii. (Mishnah): The second shaving is performed the
same way as the first.
(h) Rejection #2: (Rav Papa): He only listed cases where the
tradition uproots and contradicts the verse - by a leper,
it merely adds to the verse.
(i) Rejection #3: (Rav Ashi): R. Yishmael taught the Beraisa
which expounds generalities and specifics;
(j) The law, that he shaves his whole body as a gourd, is as
R. Akiva, who expounds inclusions and exclusions.
2) THE DIRT MUST BE SEEN ON THE WATER
1. (Beraisa): "On the 7th day, he will shave all his
hair" - this is an inclusion; "His head, beard and
eyebrows" - these are exclusions; "And all his hair"
- this is another inclusion.
(k) Question: What is the answer to the question (may ashes
2. When we have an inclusion, exclusion and inclusion,
we include everything and exclude 1 thing.
i. We include all his body; we exclude hair inside
(l) Answer: We may learn from Rav Huna bar Ashi.
1. (Rav Huna bar Ashi): If there is no dirt, one may
bring dust of rotted vegetables, and sanctify it.
(And ashes would be no worse.)
(m) Rejection: No - dust of rotted vegetables is considered
dirt, but ashes are not considered dirt.
(a) (Mishnah): In order that it will be seen on the water ...
(b) (Beraisa): 3 things must be visible - the dirt for a
Sotah, the ashes of the red heifer, and the spit of a
1. R. Yishmael says, also the blood of the bird (of a
(c) Question: What is R. Yishmael's source?
(d) Answer (Beraisa): "He will immerse them in the blood of
the bird" - one might have thought, only in the blood,
not in the water - "(On the) water";
1. Since it says, "(On the) water", one might have
thought, only in the water - "In the blood";
(e) 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?
2. To fulfill both verses, he brings water in which the
blood of the bird is recognizable - this is a
3. Chachamim say, the verses are needed to teach that
they are immersed in both.
4. R. Yishmael: If so, it would suffice to say 'In
them'! The Torah said "In the blood" and "(On the)
water" to teach that the blood must be recognizable.
5. Chachamim: No - had it written 'In them', one might
have thought he immerses them in each separately -
therefore, it had to say "In the blood" and "(On
the) water" to teach that they are mixed together.
6. R. Yishmael: Another verse teaches us that they are
mixed - "He will slaughter the 1 bird (into an
earthenware vessel, Al (on) the water)".
7. Chachamim: If only that verse, one might have
thought that he slaughters it Al (near) the vessel,
and collects the blood in a different vessel - "In
the blood" and "(On the) water" teaches that they
(f) Rebuke (R. Zeira): Don't second-guess Chachamim! They
know that the wild birds that may be used for a leper are
the proper size in order that neither of these will ever
(g) (Beraisa): If the dirt (for a Sotah) was put in the
vessel before the water, it is invalid; R. Shimon says,
it is valid.
(h) Question: What is R. Shimon's reason?
(i) Answer (Beraisa - R. Shimon):"They will take for the
Tamei (person) from the dirt of the burning of the
heifer" - really, it is ashes, not dirt!
1. The Torah calls it dirt so we may learn a Gezeirah
Shavah "Afar-Afar" to Sotah.
(j) Question: By the red heifer, how do we know that if the
dirt was put in before the water, it is valid?
i. Just as by Sotah, the dirt is put in after the
water - also by the red heifer;
ii. Just as by the red heifer, if the dirt was put
in before the water, it is valid - also by
(k) Answer: It says "(Water will be put) on it (the ashes)",
implying, the ashes come first
1. It also says "Living (running) water into a vessel",
implying, the water comes first!
2. From both, we learn that either may be put first.
(From Sotah, we learn that the water should be put
first - this is only Lechatchilah).
3. Chachamim say, "(Water into) a vessel" must be
fulfilled literally; "(Water) on (the ashes)"
teaches that we mix them together.
4. Suggestion: Why don't we say, "(Water) on (the
ashes)" must be fulfilled literally; "(Water into) a
vessel" teaches that the water must enter the vessel
directly from the stream!
5. Rejection: We always find, the thing that empowers
water (e.g. to purify a leper or test a Sotah) is
put on the water - also, by the ashes of the red