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 37
SOTAH 37 (3 Shevat) - Dedicated l'Iluy Nishmas: R' Zvi ben R' Zev zt'l --
HaRav Hirschel Milner, who passed away on 3 Shevat 5755 (January 4, 1995),
by his granddaughter, Chani (Pogrow) Shaw and family.
1) YEHUDAH'S SANCTIFICATION OF HASHEM'S NAME
(a) The tribe of Binyamin entered the sea first - "There,
Binyamin, the youngest, Rodem (rules over them)" - this
may be read, "Red Yam (descended into the sea); the
officers of Yehudah were stoning them".
2) BLESSINGS, CURSES AND COVENANTS
(b) Therefore, Binyamin merited to be host to the Divine
Presence (the holiest part of the Beis ha'Mikdash) -
"Between (Binyamin's) shoulders he will dwell."
(c) R. Yehudah: No - Rather, each tribe refused to be the
first to enter; Nachshon ben Aminadav jumped into the sea
first - "They surrounded me with the denial of Efrayim,
and the deception of Beis Yisrael, and still, Yehudah
descended (into the sea) with (faith in) Hash-m"
(d) "Save me Hash-m, for the waters have come to the point of
taking my life"; "Do not let the depth swallow me". Moshe
was praying at length.
1. Hash-m: My dear ones are drowning in the sea, and
your are praying to me at length?!
(e) Because (Nachshon of) Yehudah entered first, Yehudah
merited to rule over Yisrael - "Yehudah sanctified
Hash-m, and became rulers over Yisrael" - because "The
sea saw and fled".
2. Moshe: What can I do?
3. Hash-m: Tell Bnei Yisrael to go (in the sea); take
your staff and stretch your hand ...
(a) (Beraisa - R. Eliezer ben Yakov) Question: You cannot say
that the Leviyim stayed below, for the Torah says that
they will be on the mountain (Grizim); you cannot say
that they ascended, for in Sefer Yehoshua, it says that
they stayed below!
(b) Answer #1 (R. Eliezer ben Yakov): The elders of the
Kohanim and Leviyim stayed below; the rest ascended.
(c) Answer #2 (R. Yoshiyah): All fitting to serve (carry the
Aron) stayed below, the rest ascended.
(d) Answer #3 (Rebbi): All the Leviyim remained below. They
faced Har Grizim for the blessings, and faced Har Eival
for the curses.
(e) Question: But it says that they will be Al (on) the
(f) Answer: Al can mean near.
1. (Beraisa - Rebbi): You will put Al (on) the set of
breads pure frankincense - this means, near it.
(g) (Beraisa): They faced Har Grizim for the blessings ...
i. Suggestion: Perhaps it really means on!
ii. Rejection: It says, (the curtain) will shield
Al (on) the Aron - we see, Al (can) mean near.
(h) (Beraisa): The blessings were said in general and in
particular; also, the curses; they were said regarding
those that will (or will not) learn, teach, guard and
(i) In summary, each Mitzvah was said 16 times. This is also
true at Har Sinai and in Arvos Mo'av - "These are the
words of the covenant"; "You will guard this covenant".
3) THE BLESSING GIVEN BY THE KOHANIM
1. In total, there were 48 covenants on each Mitzvah.
(j) The 1st Tana and R. Shimon argue as R. Akiva and R.
2. R. Shimon excludes covenants on Har Sinai, but
includes those in the tent of meeting.
1. (Beraisa - R. Yishmael): The basics of the Mitzvos
were given on Har Sinai; the details were given in
the tent of meeting;
(k) Question: On what does Rebbi argue with the previous
2. R. Akiva says, the basics and the details were given
on Har Sinai and repeated in the tent of meeting;
i. Every Mitzvah in the Torah had 48 covenants
3. R. Shimon bar Yehudah citing R. Shimon says, every
Mitzvah had 48 covenants, each of which had 603,550
covenants on it.
4. Rebbi says, according to R. Shimon bar Yehudah,
every Mitzvah had 48 covenants, each of which had
603,550 covenants on it; for each Yisrael, 603,550.
(l) Answer: Rebbi holds that each Yisrael is responsible for
each Yisrael's responsibility for each Yisrael (to keep
the Mitzvos); the previous Tana holds that each Yisrael
is only responsible for each Yisrael (to keep the
(m) (R. Yehudah Ban Nachmani): All the curses refer to
1. Support: "Cursed is the man that will make a graven
or molten image (for idolatry)" - the punishment for
idolatry is much greater than a mere curse!
(n) (Beraisa) Question: "You will give the blessing on Har
Grizim, and the curse..." - what does this teach?
2. Rather, we must say that the verse speaks of an
adulterer who fathered a Mamzer, and the Mamzer
served idolatry; the parents are cursed for having
1. Suggestion: If that the blessing will be on Har
Grizim, and the curse on Har Eival - that is already
explicit in the Torah!
(o) Answer: Rather, that the blessing precedes the curse.
1. Suggestion: Perhaps all the blessings precede the
(p) The verse also equates the blessings to the curses.
2. Rejection: "Blessing (singular)... curse (singular)"
- 1 blessing precedes a curse, not all the blessings
before all the curses.
1. Just as the Leviyim say the curses, in a loud voice,
in Hebrew, in general ("That will not stand up all
the words of this Torah") and in particular, and all
the people answer Amen - all of these also apply to
(a) (Mishnah): The blessing of the Kohanim: outside the
Mikdash, it is said as 3 blessings, in the Mikdash, as 1