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 32
SOTAH 31-35 - These Dafim have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham-Fauer
in honor of the first Yahrzeit (18 Teves 5761) of her father, Reb Mordechai
ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner). May the merit of supporting and advancing the
study of the Talmud be l'Iluy Nishmaso.
1) INVALID WITNESSES
(a) The case in the Mishnah is that a woman testified first.
**** PEREK ELU NE'EMARIN *****
(b) We explain R. Nechemyah's words as follows: Wherever the
Torah believed 1 witness, we follow the majority; 2 women
that contradict 1 woman are as 2 men that contradict a
man (and they are believed);
1. But 2 women that contradict 1 man - we are in doubt
who to believe.
(c) Question: Why must the Mishnah teach 2 clauses about
(d) Answer: One might have thought that we only follow the
majority (of invalid witnesses) to be stringent - we
hear, we even follow them to be lenient.
2) WHAT MUST BE SAID IN HEBREW
(a) (Mishnah): The following may be said in any language: the
Parshah of Sotah; the declaration that one has given his
tithes; Shema Yisrael; prayer; blessing after a meal; the
oath that one does not know testimony; the oath of a
3) THE BLESSINGS AND CURSES
(b) The following must be said in Hebrew: what one recites
when he brings Bikurim (first fruits); the verses said at
Chalitzah; the blessings and curses (on Mount Gerizim and
Mount Eival); the blessing Kohanim give; the blessings of
the Kohen Gadol (on Yom Kipur): the Parshah the king
reads when the nation is gathered (on Sukos); what is
recited at the beheading of a calf (when a murdered body
is found); and what the anointed Kohen says to the
1. We learn that Bikurim must be said in Hebrew as
follows: "You will answer..." - and it also says (by
the blessings and curses) "The Levi'im will answer".
i. Just as the Levi'im answered in Hebrew, also
the recital by Bikurim.
2. Chalitzah - "She will answer and say" - this is also
learned from the Levi'im.
i. R. Yehudah says, we do not need to learn from
the Levi'im - it says, "She will answer and say
thusly" - it must be in the exact language as
in the Torah.
(a) (Continuation of Mishnah) Question: What was the
procedure of the blessings and curses?
(b) Answer: When Benei Yisrael entered Eretz Yisrael, they
came to Mount Gerizim and Mount Eival in Shomron, near
1. 6 tribes ascended Mount Gerizim, and 6 ascended
Mount Eival. The Kohanim, Levi'im, and the Ark were
in the valley below.
(c) (The Levi'im) turned towards Mount Gerizim and started
with a blessing - 'Blessed is the man that will not make
an (idolatrous) graven image or figure from melted
metal'; Yisrael on both sides answered Amen;
2. The Kohanim surrounded the Ark; the Levi'im
surrounded the Kohanim; the rest of Yisrael were on
both sides - "All of Yisrael, the sages, agents of
Beis Din, and judges stand on both sides of the
1. (The Levi'im) turned towards Mount Eival to say the
curse - 'Cursed is the man that will make a graven
image or figure from melted metal'; Yisrael on both
sides answered Amen.
(d) Afterwards, they brought the stones, built an Altar and
plastered it with lime; they wrote the entire Torah on
it, in each of the 70 languages - "Well explained".
2. All the blessings and curses were said thusly.
(e) They took the stones and stayed overnight in their place
4) THINGS SAID IN ANY LANGUAGE
(a) (Gemara): "The Kohen tells the woman" - this teaches that
the Parshah of Sotah may be said in any language.
5) MUST SHEMA YISRAEL BE RECITED IN HEBREW?
(b) (Beraisa): We inform her why she drinks, in what she
drinks, what caused her to be defiled, and for which
adultery the water tests her.
1. Why she drinks - because there was warning and
(c) (Mishnah): The declaration that one has given his tithes
(may be said in any language).
2. In what she drinks - in a vessel of earthenware;
3. What caused her to be defiled - lightheadedness and
4. For which adultery the water tests her - (not if she
was) unaware or forced, (only if she sinned)
knowingly and willingly.
1. It says "You will say in front of Hash-m, 'I
eradicated the sanctified (tithes) from the house'";
we learn from Parshas Sotah, by which it also says
"Saying", and may be said in any language.
(d) Question (Rav Zevid): Why don't we learn from the
(blessings and curses of the) Levi'im, by which it also
says "Saying", and which were in Hebrew?
(e) Answer (Abaye): It is better to learn from Sotah, by
which it says only "Saying" (as by the declaration of
tithes), and not from the Levi'im, by which it says
"Answering" and "Saying".
(f) (Beraisa - R. Shimon bar Yochai): A person should speak
of his own praise in a low voice, and of his detriment in
a loud voice.
1. He should speak of his praise in a low voice - we
learn from declaration of tithes; his detriment in a
loud voice - we learn from what one recites when he
(g) Contradiction: Here, R. Shimon bar Yochai says detriment
should be in a loud voice;
1. (R. Yochanan, citing R. Shimon bar Yochai): Prayer
was instituted to be said quietly, to avoid
embarrassing sinners, just as the Torah said that a
sin-offering should be slaughtered in the same place
(the north) as a (voluntary) burnt-offering (so
people should not know that a person is bringing a
(h) Correction: Rather, a person should speak of his
affliction in a loud voice.
1. (Beraisa): "(A leper) will call out 'Tamei, Tamei'"
- one should publicize his affliction, so others
will ask Hash-m to have mercy upon him.
(i) (R. Yochanan, citing R. Shimon bar Yochai): Prayer was
instituted to be said quietly, to avoid embarrassing
sinners, just as the Torah said that a sin-offering
should be slaughtered in the same place as a
2. The same applies to one that lost a relative.
(j) Objection #1: But the blood of a sin-offering is
sprinkled on top of the Altar, and the blood of a
burnt-offering is thrown below (on corners of the Altar,
and people will know when someone brings a sin-offering)!
(k) Answer: Only the Kohen will know.
(l) Objection #2: A sin-offering is a female, and a
burnt-offering is a male!
(m) Answer: A lamb's tail covers the genitals, onlookers
would not know if it is a female.
1. Question: If the sinner brings a goat as his
sacrifice, onlookers will know it is a female!
2. Answer: He embarrassed himself - if he did not want
people to know, he should have brought a lamb!
3. Question: One who served idolatry has no choice, he
must bring a goat!
4. Answer: For such a severe sin, it is good that he be
embarrassed, to help atone for the sin.
(a) (Mishnah): Shema Yisrael (may be recited in any
1. "Shema (hear)" - in any language you hear (i.e.
(b) (Beraisa - Rebbi): Shema Yisrael must be said as it is
written (i.e. in Hebrew); Chachamim say, in any language.
1. Rebbi learns from "They will be" - as they are (in
(c) Question: What do Chachamim learn from "They will be"?
2. Chachamim learn from "Shema (hear)" - in any
language you hear.
(d) Answer: That it may not be read out of order.
1. Rebbi learns that from the extra letter Hei in
"ha'Devarim (the words)".
(e) Question: What does Rebbi learn from "Shema"?
2. Chachamim do not learn anything from the Hei.
(f) Answer: That one must say the words audibly to his own
1. Chachamim hold that even if one does not say it
audibly, he fulfills the Mitzvah.