ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Sotah 35
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.
(a) The Pasuk writes "Va'yashuvu mi'Tur ha'Aretz ... Va'yelchu Va'yavo'u".
The Torah adds the word "Va'yelchu (which appears superfluous), says Rebbi
Shimon ben Yochai - to teach us that already at their departure (like when
they returned), they intended to speak evil about the land (because they
were subconsciously afraid of losing their positions of leadership upon
(b) "Efes Ki Az ha'Am" (implying that the land is unconquerable) was a lie.
The spies preceded this with the statement that the land does indeed flow
with milk and honey, which is true - because nobody will believe a total
lie, unless one begins with something that is true.
(c) The people stopped Yehoshua from speaking - on the grounds that, since
he had no children (presumably his daughter was not yet born) who would
inherit his portion in Eretz Yisrael (or who would be killed by the
Cana'anim), he had no right to speak on their behalf.
(d) Kalev cunningly got them to listen to him without stopping him, says
Rabah - by referring to Moshe as if he meant to castigate him ('Is that all
Moshe did *to us* [which is translated as 'Lanu', which can also mean *for
(a) Kalev continued - 'He took us out of Egypt, split the Sea and fed us the
(b) When he said "Aloh Na'aleh Ve'yarashnu Osah" - he meant that even if
Moshe were to order us to build ladders to climb to the heavens and capture
it, we would succeed.
(c) The other spies insisted however, that it was impossible to capture the
land. When they said "Ki Chazak Hu Mimenu", says Rav Chanina bar Papa - they
meant that the Cana'anim were stronger than Hashem (Kevayachol), and even if
He wanted to remove vessels that He had deposited there, He would be unable
to do so.
(d) When they called Eretz Yisrael "Eretz Ocheles Yoshvehah", says Rava -
Hashem commented that He had done them a favor by killing many of the
inhabitants of the land in order to keep the people occupied, to prevent
them from concerning themselves with the spies, of whom they were fully
(a) Some say that a great man had just died and it was when the spies saw
the size of the Hesped, they perhaps thought that many people had died and
expressed the above comment. The name of that man was Iyov.
(b) The spies said "Va'nehi be'Eineinu ka'Chagavim, *ve'Chein Hayinu
be'Einehem"*. Rav Mesharshaya comments on this - that the spies lied when
they said "ve'Chein Hayinu be'Einehem", because they could not possibly have
known what the Cana'anim were thinking.
(c) He was mistaken however - on the grounds that, afraid to stand in full
view of the Cana'anim, the spies climbed trees to hide in the foliage, from
where they overheard them expressing surprise at the human-looking
grasshoppers in the trees.
(a) The spies returned - on the eighth of Av, says Rebbi Yochanan (and cried
throughout the night of the ninth). Consequently, Hashem responded to
Yisrael's tears with the words - 'They cried in vain, I will fix for them
good reason to cry for future generations'.
(b) Rebbi Chiya bar Aba explains the juxtaposition of the two phrases
"Va'yomru Kol ha'Eidah *Li'rgom Osam ba'Avanim, u'Chevod Hashem* Nir'ah
be'Ohel Mo'ed" - inasmuch as they not only planned to stone Yehoshua and
Kalev, but they even threw stones upwards towards the Shechinah
(c) According to Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak, the spies died of croup (an
illness in the throat which fits the crime of Lashon ha'Ra. He Darshens this
from the Pasuk "Va'yamusu ha'Anashim ... *ba'Mageifah* Lifnei Hashem"
(rather than "*be'Mageifah*") - implying that the plague fitted the crime.
(d) According to Resh Lakish - they died when their tongues extended down to
their navels, and worms crawled from their tongues to their navels and from
their navels to their tongues.
(a) The wall of water (of the Yarden) returned to its course - after the
last person had crossed the river, and the Kohanim had stepped back onto the
east bank of the Yarden.
(b) The Kohanim - then flew across the flowing river transported by the
(c) The Pasuk "Va'yehi Ka'asher Tam Kol ha'Am La'avor, Va'ya'avor Aron
Hashem ve'ha'Kohanim" (suggesting that the Kohanim crossed to the west bank
of the Yarden immediately, together with the rest of the people) cannot be
in its correct place - because if it was, how could Yehoshua subsequently
command the Kohanim to leave the Yarden?
(a) The above episode caused Uza's death - when, thinking that the Aron was
slipping from the wagon on which David had placed it, he grabbed hold of it
to prevent this from happening. He should have realized however, that if the
Aron was able to support those who were holding it, as we just learned, then
it could also support itself.
(b) Rebbi Yochanan and Rebbi Elazar argue over this. One of them learns that
Uza died solely for the reason that we just explained, and "Va'yakeihu Sham
*al ha'Shal*" [Shmuel] means because of his mistake. The other one explains
"Va'yakeihu Sham *al ha'Shal*" to also (see Agados Maharsha) mean - that he
urinated in front of the Aron (from the word "Ki Yishal Zeisecha" which
means to drop from a high place to a low one).
(c) Rebbi Yochanan learns from the Pasuk "Va'yamas Sham Im Aron ha'Elokim" -
that Uza received a portion in Olam ha'Ba (i.e. he lived permanently just
like the Aron is permanent).
(a) Rebbi Elazar explains the Pasuk "*Va'yichar* le'David al Asher Paratz
Hashem be'Uza" to mean - that David's face turned black (like a "Chararah"
[a cake that has been baked on coals]) from the pain that he felt.
(b) We cannot however, explain every "Va'yichar ... " in T'nach in this
way - because the Pasuk always adds the word "Af".
(a) The connection between the Pasuk "Zemiros Hayu Li Chukecha be'Veis
Megurai" and this episode is - that it was because David referred to Torah
as songs that it occurred.
(b) Hashem's response to David's statement lies in the Pesukim "Ha'sa'if
Einecha Bo ve'Einenu" and "ve'Livnei Kehos Lo Nasan ... " - meaning that
Hashem was angry with David for referring to the Torah (which requires
constant concentration in order not to forget it) as songs. Consequently,
Hashem said, He would cause David to forget an explicit Pasuk which even
small children knew "ve'Livnei Kehos Lo Nasan ... " (which teaches us that
the Aron must always be carried on the shoulders and not be transported on a
(c) When the Aron returned from the P'lishtim (in the time of Shmuel), the
people of Beis Shemesh died because they looked at (or inside) the Aron. The
problem with this is - that this is hardly sufficient justification for the
(d) Rebbi Avahu and Rebbi Elazar argue over the real reason for their death.
One of them ascribes it to the fact that they carried on reaping even as
they bowed down to the Aron - the other one ascribes it to what they said as
they looked at it - 'Who made you angry when you vented your anger and
failed to save yourself from captivity? And who appeased you now that you
came back on your own volition'?
(a) The Pasuk in Shmuel gives the number of those who died as seventy men
and fifty thousand men. Rebbi Avahu and Rebbi Elazar argue over its
interpretation. One of them explains that each of the seventy men who died
was equal to fifty thousand. The other one explain - that fifty-thousand
died, each one of whom was equal to the seventy members of the Sanhedrin.
(b) Rav Papa bar Shmuel reconciles the Pasuk in Shmuel which describes how,
when David transported the Aron to the house of Oved Edom ha'Giti, they
sacrificed an ox and a fat ox with every six steps, with the Pasuk in Divrei
Hayamim, where it writes seven bulls and seven rams - by establishing the
former, with every step, and the latter, with every six steps.
(c) Rav Chisda objects to this explanation, on the grounds that this would
have entailed filling the land with Bamos. Consequently, he reconcile the
two Pesukim - by establishing the former, with every six steps, and the
latter, with every six sets of six steps.
(a) According to Rebbi Yochanan - the Pasuk in Divrei Hayamim which refers
to the granary where the incident with Uza occurred as "Goren Kidon" refers
to the time of the incident; whereas the Pasuk in Shmuel, which calls it
"Goren Nachon" (which means established) refers to the six-month period that
followed it, during which time the wife of Oved Edom ha'Giti and his eight
daughters-in-law each gave birth to six children.
(b) According to Rebbi Menachem b'Rebbi Chelbo's interpretation of Rebbi
Yochanan, the granary under discussion is that of Aravna ha'Yevusi, which
was the location on which the Beis Hamikdash was later built. 'Mit'chilah
Nachon, ve'li'Besof Kidon' (inverted from the way it was previously cited) -
refers to the Mizbe'ach, which was initially built and later destroyed.
(a) We learned earlier that after demolishing the Mizbe'ach that they had
constructed from the twelve stones which they took from the Yarden, they set
them up in Gilgal. According to the Seifa of that Beraisa (which is quoted
here) they set-up three groups of stones; one in the Plains of Mo'av, one in
the Yarden, whilst they were crossing, and one in Gilgal (see Agados
(b) The Pasuk explicitly obligates the setting-up of the stones in the
Yarden and in Gilgal. And we learn that they did likewise already in the
plains of Mo'av on the east-bank - from a 'Gezeirah-Shavah' "Ho'il Moshe
*Ba'er* ... " from "Ve'chasavta Aleihen ... *Ba'er* Heitev" (written in
connection with Har Gerizim and Har Eival).
(c) Rebbi Shimon responded 'According to you, how did the nations study
them' - when Rebbi Yehudah said that they wrote on the stones and covered
the writing with lime.
(d) Rebbi Yehudah replied - that Hashem filled with the understanding to
send their scribes to peel off the lime and copy the Torah in their
(a) Rebbi Shimon learns from the Pasuk "Ve'hayu Amim le'Misrefos Sid" - that
they wrote on top of the lime, and it was because they did not take the
teachings that they had copied to heart, they deserved to burn in Gehinom.
(b) The significance of the words ...
1. ... "Hacharem Tacharimem' that was written on top of the stones" was -
that all Cana'anim (members of the seven nations) who lived in Eretz
Yisrael, had to be destroyed and that Teshuvah would not help.
(c) Teshuvah would not help the Cana'anim who had not left Eretz Cana'an -
because their Teshuvah stemmed from fear and was therefore not genuine.
2. ... "Lema'an Asher Lo Yelamdu Eschem Od ... " that was written at the
bottom (both, according to Rebbi Shimon) was - that Teshuvah would help for
those Cana'anim who lived outside Eretz Yisrael. They would not be killed if
they did Teshuvah.
(a) Rebbi Yehudah interprets the Pasuk "Ve'hayu Amim le'Misrefos Sid" - to
mean like lime, which has no purpose other than to be burned, so too, did
the Cana'anim who lived outside Eretz Cana'an would burn in Gehinom, unless
(b) The author of the Beraisa which includes Cana'anim who lived in Chutz
la'Aretz in the Pasuk "Va'shaviso Shevyo" (meaning that they could be kept
alive) - is Rebbi Shimon.