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 44
SOTAH 44 - dedicated by Marcia and Lee Weinblatt to Jeri and Eli Turkel,
with Mazal Tov wishes for Tamar's marriage to Netanel Casado.
1) TUM'AH AROUND A CORPSE
(a) (R. Yitzchak): R. Eliezer ben Yakov said, one who is
within 4 Amos of a corpse becomes Tamei.
2) WHO DOES NOT FIGHT
1. Support (Mishnah - Beis Shamai): One standing in a
courtyard next to a cave of coffins is Tahor,
provided that the courtyard is 4 Amos (by 4 Amos);
Beis Hillel say, if it is 4 Tefachim (handbreadths,
by 4 Tefachim);
i. This is only if the entrance to the courtyard
is from the top; but if the entrance is from
the side, all agree that it must be 4 Amos.
ii. Objection: It should be the opposite! From the
side, one can enter and leave without towering
over the coffins; if the opening is at the top,
one must spread his limbs when climbing down,
and will tower over the coffins!
iii. Correction: Rather, Beis Hillel only say 4
Tefachim if the entrance to the courtyard is
from the side; but if the entrance is from the
top, all agree that it must be 4 Amos.
(a) (Mishnah): Who is the man that engaged a woman ...
3) THOSE THAT ARE AFRAID
(b) (Beraisa): All of the following do not fight: one who
engaged a virgin, or a widow, one to whom fell a Shomeres
1. Even if 1 of 5 brothers died in war, all the
(c) "He did not (yet fully) marry her" - this one who engaged
a woman forbidden to him, e.g. a widow to a Kohen Gadol,
a divorcee or Chalutzah to a regular Kohen, a Mamzeres or
Nesinah to a Yisrael, or vice-versa.
(d) Suggestion: The Beraisa is not as R. Yosi ha'Gelili, who
says that the (fearful and) softhearted person that
returns is one that is afraid of his sins.
1. R. Yosi ha'Gelili would say that he returns for
engaging a woman forbidden to him!
(e) Rejection: He can hold as R. Yosi ha'Gelili - the
engagement itself is not forbidden.
1. (Rabah): (A Kohen Gadol that engaged a widow) is not
liable (for lashes) until he has relations with her;
the Torah said "He will not engage her" in order
that he should not come to profane (her and his
children, through relations; engagement itself is
(f) (Beraisa): "That built ... that planted ... that engaged"
- the Torah teaches proper conduct, that one should first
build a house and plant a vineyard, and then engage a
1. We also learn this from Proverbs: "Prepare your work
outside, and prepare a field for the future;
afterwards, build your house".
(g) (Mishnah): These do not return: one that built a
gatekeeper's quarters ...
2. Explanation #1: "Prepare your work outside" - this
is a house; "prepare a field for the future" - this
is a vineyard; "afterwards, build your house" - this
is a wife.
3. Explanation #2: "Prepare your work outside" - this
is (learning) written Torah; "prepare a field for
the future" - this is Mishnah; "afterwards, build
your house" - this is Gemara.
4. Explanation #3: "Prepare your work outside" - this
is written Torah and Mishnah; "prepare a field for
the future" - this is Gemara; "afterwards, build
your house" - these are good deeds.
5. R. Yosi ha'Gelili says, "Prepare your work outside"
- this is written Torah, Mishnah and Gemara;
"prepare a field for the future" - these are good
deeds; "afterwards, build your house" - expound in
Torah and receive reward.
1. (Beraisa): (Even R. Yehudah, who said that one who
rebuilds his house as it was does not return, admits
that) if he added on a row of bricks, he returns.
(h) (Mishnah): R. Eliezer says, even one who built a brick
house in Sharon does not return.
1. (Beraisa): This is because the house must be rebuilt
twice every 7 years.
(i) (Mishnah): The following do not even go to the border:
one who built a new house, and is in the 1st year of
(j) (Beraisa): "A new wife" - one might have thought, only a
woman that was not married; "wife" - this includes even a
widow or divorcee.
(k) Question: If so, why does it say "A new wife"?
(l) Answer: She must be new to him, to exclude one who
remarries his ex-wife.
(m) (Beraisa): "He will not go in the army" - one might have
thought, but he does supply water and food and fix the
roads - "No (obligation) will divert him".
1. Suggestion: Perhaps this applies even to one who
built a house and did not inaugurate it, or planted
a vineyard and did not redeem its fruit, or engaged
a woman and did not have Nisu'in!
(n) Question: Since it says, "No (obligation) will divert
him", why must it say, "He will not go to the army"?
2. Rejection: "Him" - he is not diverted, but others
(o) Answer: To forbid serving in the army with a 2nd Lav.
(a) (Mishnah): "The Shotrim will add on ..." - R. Akiva says,
"The one who fears, his heart is soft" - this is as the
simple meaning, he cannot stand in the thick of combat,
to see a drawn sword;
1. R. Yosi ha'Gelili says, this is someone that is
afraid of his sins; therefore, the Torah exempted
those that built houses, planted vineyards, or
engaged a woman, so people should not know who is
leaving because he has sinned.
(b) When the Shotrim finish speaking, they appoint officers
at the front and back of the army;
2. R. Yosi says, a man married to a woman forbidden to
him, e.g. a widow to a Kohen Gadol, a divorcee or
Chalutzah to a regular Kohen, a Mamzeres or Nesinah
to a Yisrael, or vice-versa - he is the one that is
afraid (of his sins).
(c) They appoint valorous men at the front; others are at the
back, with iron arrows, and they are allowed to cut the
legs of anyone that wants to go back.
***** PEREK EGLAH ARUFAH *****
1. This is because falling is the beginning of fleeing
- "Yisrael fled form the Philistines, and there was
a great plague among the nation";
(d) All this applies to an optional war; but in a war which
is a Mitzvah, everyone goes to fight, even a Chasan from
his room and a Kalah from the bridal canopy;
i. Also - "Yisrael fled form the Philistines, and
their corpses fell".
(e) R. Yehudah says, all this applies to a war that is a
Mitzvah; but in an obligatory war, everyone goes to
fight, even a Chasan and a Kalah.
(f) (Gemara) Question: On what do R. Yosi ha'Gelili and R.
(g) Answer: R. Yosi ha'Gelili says that even one that
transgressed a Mitzvah mid'Rabanan does not fight; R.
Yosi says, only one that transgressed a Mitzvah
(h) Question: As whom is the following Beraisa?
1. (Beraisa): One that talked in between putting on the
head Tefilin and the hand Tefilin - this is a sin,
and it disqualifies him from fighting.
(i) Answer: It is as R. Yosi ha'Gelili.
(j) Question: As whom is the following Beraisa?
1. (Beraisa): One that is shaken when he hears horns
sounding, and shields clashing; he wets his pants
when swords are brandished - he returns from the
(k) Answer: No, it is even as R. Yosi ha'Gelili - "He will
not soften the heart of his brothers as his own heart".
2. Suggestion: This is as R. Akiva, not as R. Yosi
(l) (Mishnah): When the Shotrim finish ...
(m) Objection: Falling is not the beginning of fleeing -
rather, fleeing is the beginning of falling!
(n) Correction: That is the correct text of the Mishnah.
(o) (Mishnah): All this applies to an optional war ...
(p) (R. Yochanan): What Chachamim call an optional war, R.
Yehudah calls a Mitzvah; what Chachamim call a war of
Mitzvah, R. Yehudah calls an obligatory war.
1. (Rava): All agree, Yehoshua's war to conquer (the 7
nations of Eretz Yisrael) was obligatory; all agree,
David's war for additional territory was optional;
2. They argue regarding a war against Nochrim so they
should not attack us later - Chachamim call this
optional, R. Yehudah calls it a Mitzvah.
i. According to R. Yehudah, one engaged in such a
war is exempt form performing other Mitzvos
which arise; according to Chachamim, he is
obligated to do the other Mitzvos.
4) THE BEHEADING OF THE CALF
(a) (Mishnah): The Parsha of the beheaded calf is said in
Hebrew - "When you will find a corpse on the ground, your
elders and judges will go out".
(b) 3 judges of the great Sanhedrin in Yerushalayim go out;
R. Yehudah says, 5.
1. "Your elders" - this is 2; And judges" - another 2;
and since we do not make a Beis Din with an even
number of judges, we add a 5th.
(c) If the corpse is found covered in a mound, or hanging
from a tree, or floating on the water, a calf is not
beheaded - "On the ground", not hidden; "That fell", not
hanging from a tree; "In the field", not floating on the
(d) If it is found near the border (of Eretz Yisrael), or
near a city that is mostly Nochrim, or near a city
without a Beis Din (Sanhedrin), they do not behead a
calf; they only measure to a city that has a Beis Din.
(e) (Gemara) Question: How does the verse show that the
Parsha is said in Hebrew?
(f) Answer (R. Avahu): Since it says "They will answer and
say" - which is also said by the blessings and curses on
Har Gerizim and Har Eival.
1. Just as those were in Hebrew, also the Parsha of the
(g) (Mishnah): R. Yehudah says 5 ...
2. The continuation of the Mishnah (they will go
out...) merely details the procedure of beheading
(h) (Beraisa - R. Yehudah): "Your elders and your judges will
go out" - 'Your elders' teaches 2 judges; 'and your
judges' teaches 2 judges; we do not make a Beis Din with
an even number of judges, so we add a 5th;
1. R. Shimon says, 'Your elders' teaches 2 judges; we
do not make a Beis Din with an even number of
judges, so we add a 3rd.
(i) Question: Why doesn't R. Shimon add 2 for 'And your
(j) Answer: He uses that to teach that the most special of
the judges go (i.e. from the great Sanhedrin).
(k) Question: How does R. Yehudah learn this?
(l) Answer #1: From the fact that it says "Your elders", as
opposed to 'Elders'.
1. Question: Why doesn't R. Shimon learn this way?
(m) Answer #2: R. Yehudah learns a Gezeirah Shavah
"Elders-elders" from the judges that lean on the
sacrifice brought for a mistake of the great Sanhedrin.
2. Answer: R. Shimon says, had the Torah said 'Elders',
it would mean any aged people; if it only said "Your
elders", it would mean members of any Sanhedrin; it
had to say also "And your judges", to teach that
members of the great Sanhedrin must go. (This
refutes the answer given for R. Yehudah!)
(n) Objection: If so, he should learn 5 judges directly (5
judges lean there) - what would he learn from "Your
elders", and "And your judges"?!
(o) Answer #3: Really, he learns as R. Shimon; however, he
expounds "And (your judges)" to teach another 2.
1. R. Shimon does not expound "And".