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Today's Daf Yomi

May 15, 2023 | כ״ד באייר תשפ״ג

  • Masechet Sotah is sponsored by Ahava Leibtag in honor of Dr. Bryna Levy who helped her fall deep in love with learning.

Sotah 47

Today’s daf is sponsored by Ruth Leah Kahan, Jessica Shklar, and Emily Michelson in loving memory of their mother, Kadimah Michelson, Kadimah bat haRav Avraham Tzvi benZion, on her 5th yahrzeit. “We miss you.” 

Fourty-two children were killed in the episode with Elisha and the children who cursed him. This is a later fulfillment of Balak’s attempt to curse the Jews by bringing forty-two sacrifices. Elisha was punished for this as he got sick three times – once for this, once for pushing off Geichazi entirely and a third time at the time of his death. It is learned from Elisha and Yehushua ben Perachia and his student (Jesus of Nazarene) that one should not entirely push someone away. What happened between Elisha and Geichazi and between Yehushua ben Perachia and his student? In the egla arufa ceremony, if the murderer is found before the calf is killed or after, what is done with the calf? What if there are contradictory witnesses regarding whether or not that person is the murderer? The Mishna brings a list of statements with the following structure: When the number of X increased, the ritual of Y was nullified. When the number of murderers increased, they canceled the egla arufa ceremony. When the number of adulterers increased, they sotah water no longer worked. The Mishna brings a number of other changes as well. If the murderer is found after the calf has been killed, the murderer is still convicted to death as the atonement of the calf is only until such time that the murderer is found. One witness is believed regarding the murderer in order to stop the egla arufa ceremony. If so, there seems to be a problem with the cases in the Mishna regarding contradictory testimony. How is this resolved? The Gemara explains the connection between the murderers and adulterers increasing and the egla arufa and sotah ceremony being canceled. They add more statements with the same structure referring to the perversion of the court system and lack of trust in judges.

רב ושמואל חד אמר נס וחד אמר נס בתוך נס מאן דאמר נס יער הוה דובים לא הוו מאן דאמר נס בתוך נס לא יער הוה ולא דובים הוו וליהוי דובים ולא ליהוי יער דבעיתי


Rav and Shmuel had a dispute with regard to this episode. One says there was a miracle, and one says there was a miracle within a miracle. The Gemara explains: The one who says there was a miracle claims that there was already a forest in that place but there were no bears, and the miracle was the appearance of bears. The one who says it was a miracle within a miracle claims that neither was there a forest nor were there bears in that area. The Gemara asks with regard to the second opinion: Why was a double miracle required? And let there be bears and no forest; the forest served no role in the story, so why was it created? The Gemara explains: The forest was necessary, as bears are frightened to venture into open areas but will attack people in their natural habitat, a forest.


אמר רבי חנינא בשביל ארבעים ושנים קרבנות שהקריב בלק מלך מואב הובקעו מישראל ארבעים ושנים ילדים איני


Rabbi Ḥanina says: Due to forty-two offerings that Balak, king of Moab, brought when he tried to have Balaam curse the Jewish people, forty-two children were broken off from Israel, in that incident involving Elisha. The Gemara asks: Is that so? Was that the reward for his offerings?


והאמר רב יהודה אמר רב לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות ואף על פי שלא לשמה שמתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה שבשכר ארבעים ושנים קרבנות שהקריב בלק מלך מואב זכה ויצתה ממנו רות שיצא ממנו שלמה שכתוב ביה אלף עלות יעלה שלמה ואמר רבי יוסי בן חוני רות בתו של עגלון בנו של בלק היתה תאותו מיהא לקללה הוי


But didn’t Rav Yehuda say that Rav says: A person should always engage in Torah study and in performance of mitzvot, even if he does so not for their own sake, as through such acts performed not for their own sake, one will come to perform them for their own sake. He proves the value of a mitzva done not for its own sake: As in reward for the forty-two offerings that Balak, king of Moab, brought, he merited that Ruth descended from him, from whom King Solomon descended, about whom it is written that he brought many offerings: “A thousand burnt-offerings did Solomon offer up” (I Kings 3:4). And Rabbi Yosei ben Ḥoni similarly says: Ruth was the daughter of Eglon, son of Balak. These Sages state that Balak’s reward was to have Ruth descend from him, not that a number of Jewish people perish. The Gemara answers: His desire, in any event, was to curse the Jewish people, and his reward for sacrificing his offerings was that the curse was fulfilled in the incident involving Elisha, as well.


ויאמרו אנשי העיר אל אלישע הנה נא מושב העיר טוב כאשר אדני ראה וגו׳ וכי מאחר דמים רעים וארץ משכלת אלא מה טובתה אמר רבי חנין חן מקום על יושביו אמר רבי יוחנן שלשה חינות הן חן מקום על יושביו חן אשה על בעלה חן מקח על מקחו


The Gemara returns to discussing the incident involving Elisha: “And the men of the city said to Elisha: Behold, please, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the land miscarries” (II Kings 2:19). The Gemara asks: But if the water is bad and the land causes women to miscarry, what is pleasant about it? Rabbi Ḥanin says: The grace of a place is upon its inhabitants, i.e., people are fond of their hometown despite its shortcomings. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: There are three graces that have a similar impact: The grace of a place upon its inhabitants; the grace of a woman upon her husband, despite her faults; and the grace of a purchased item upon its buyer, as one who has bought something views it in a positive light.


תנו רבנן שלשה חלאין חלה אלישע אחד שגירה דובים בתינוקות ואחד שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידים ואחד שמת בו שנאמר ואלישע חלה את חליו אשר ימות בו


§ The Sages taught: Elisha fell ill three times. One was a punishment for inciting the bears to attack the children; and one was a punishment for pushing Gehazi away with both hands, without leaving him the option to return; and one was the sickness from which he died, as an expression of illness is stated three times in the verse about Elisha: “And Elisha became sick [ḥala] with his illness [ḥolyo] from which he would die” (II Kings 13:14). The root ḥet, lamed, heh, which indicates illness, is used twice in this verse, and it is stated once that Elisha will die.


תנו רבנן לעולם תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת לא כאלישע שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידיו ולא כיהושע בן פרחיה שדחפו לישו הנוצרי מתלמידיו בשתי ידיו


The Sages taught: It should always be the left, weaker, hand that pushes another away and the right, stronger, hand that draws him near. In other words, even when a student is rebuffed, he should be given the opportunity to return. This is not like Elisha, who pushed Gehazi away with both hands, and not like Yehoshua ben Peraḥya, who pushed Jesus the Nazarene, one of his students, away with both hands.


אלישע מאי היא דכתיב ויאמר נעמן הואל קח ככרים וכתיב ויאמר אליו לא לבי הלך כאשר הפך איש מעל מרכבתו לקראתך העת לקחת את הכסף ולקחת בגדים וזיתים וכרמים וצאן ובקר ועבדים ושפחות


The Gemara specifies: What was that incident with Elisha? As it is written: “And Naaman said: Pray, take talents” (II Kings 5:23). Naaman offered Gehazi payment for the help Elisha had given him, and when the verse recounts Elisha’s words to Gehazi, it is written: “And he said to him: Did not my heart go, when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to take money, and to take garments, and olives, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and servants, and maidservants?” (II Kings 5:26). Here Elisha criticizes Gehazi for taking the payment.


ומי שקיל כולי האי כסף ובגדים הוא דשקיל אמר רבי יצחק באותה שעה היה אלישע עוסק בשמנה שרצים אמר לו רשע הגיע עת ליטול שכר שמנה שרצים וצרעת נעמן תדבק בך ובזרעך לעולם וארבעה אנשים היו מצרעים אמר רבי יוחנן זה גחזי ושלשת בניו


The Gemara clarifies the criticism: And did he take all that? But it was only money and garments that he took. Rabbi Yitzḥak says: At that time, Elisha was engaged in the study of the topic of the eight impure creeping animals. He said to Gehazi: Wicked one, it is time for you to receive now, in this temporal world, the reward for studying the topic of the eight impure creeping animals. This is why the verse lists eight items. The Gemara adds parenthetically that Elisha also said to Gehazi: “And the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever” (II Kings 5:27), and that the verse later states: “Now there were four leprous men” (II Kings 7:3), about whom Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This is referring to Gehazi and his three sons.


ויבא אלישע דמשק למה הלך אמר רבי יוחנן שהלך להחזירו לגחזי בתשובה ולא חזר אמר לו חזור בך אמר לו כך מקובלני ממך כל מי שחטא והחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה


The verse states: “And Elisha came to Damascus” (II Kings 8:7). The Gemara asks: For what purpose did he go there? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: He went to help Gehazi in repentance, but Gehazi would not agree to repent from his evil ways. Elisha said to him: Return from your sins. Gehazi said to him: This is the tradition that I received from you: Whoever sins and caused the masses to sin is not given the opportunity to repent.


מאי עבד איכא דאמרי אבן שואבת תלה לו לחטאת ירבעם והעמידו בין שמים לארץ ואיכא דאמרי שם חקק לה אפומה והיתה אומרת אנכי ולא יהיה לך


The Gemara asks: What did Gehazi do that caused the masses to sin? There are those who say that he hung a magnetic rock on Jeroboam’s calf, the golden calf that Jeroboam established as an idol, and used a magnet to pull the calf off the ground so that he suspended it between heaven and earth, i.e., caused it to hover above the ground. This seemingly miraculous occurrence caused the people to worship it even more devoutly. And there are those who say: He engraved the sacred name on its mouth, and it would say: “I am the Lord your God” and: “You shall not have other gods” (Exodus 20:2). The idol would quote the two prohibitions from the Ten Commandments against idol worship, causing people to worship it even more devoutly.


ואיכא דאמרי רבנן דחה מקמיה דכתיב ויאמרו בני הנביאים אל אלישע הנה נא המקום אשר אנחנו ישבים שם לפניך צר ממנו מכלל דעד האידנא לא הוה דחיק


And there are those who say: Gehazi pushed the Sages away from coming before him, preventing them learning from Elisha, as it is written, after the aforementioned incident: “And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, behold this place where we are staying before you is too cramped for us” (II Kings 6:1). This proves by inference that until that time the place was not cramped, as Gehazi would turn people away.


יהושע בן פרחיה מאי היא כדהוה קא קטיל ינאי מלכא לרבנן שמעון בן שטח אטמינהו אחתיה רבי יהושע בן פרחיה אזל ערק לאלכסנדריא של מצרים כי הוה שלמא שלח ליה שמעון בן שטח מני ירושלים עיר הקודש לך אלכסנדריא של מצרים אחותי בעלי שרוי בתוכך ואני יושבת שוממה אמר שמע מינה הוה ליה שלמא


The Gemara returns to the incident in which Yehoshua ben Peraḥya turned away Jesus the Nazarene: What is this incident? When King Yannai was killing the Sages, Shimon ben Shataḥ was hidden by his sister, Yannai’s wife, while Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya went and fled to Alexandria of Egypt. When peace was made between Yannai and the Sages, Shimon ben Shataḥ sent him the following letter: From myself, Jerusalem the holy city, to you, Alexandria of Egypt. My sister, my husband dwells within you, and I am sitting desolate. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya said: I can learn from it that there is peace, and I can return.


כי אתא אקלע לההוא אושפיזא קם קמייהו ביקרא שפיר עבדי ליה יקרא טובא יתיב וקא משתבח כמה נאה אכסניא זו אמר ליה ישו הנוצרי רבי עיניה טרוטות אמר ליה רשע בכך אתה עוסק אפיק ארבע מאה שפורי ושמתיה כל יומא אתא לקמיה ולא קבליה


When he came back to Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi Yehoshua arrived at a certain inn. The innkeeper stood before him, honoring him considerably, and overall they accorded him great honor. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya then sat and was praising them by saying: How beautiful is this inn. Jesus the Nazarene, one of his students, said to him: My teacher, but the eyes of the innkeeper’s wife are narrow [terutot]. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya said to him: Wicked one, is this what you are engaged in, gazing at women? He brought out four hundred shofarot and excommunicated him. Every day Jesus would come before him, but he would not accept his wish to return.


יומא חד הוה קרי קרית שמע אתא לקמיה הוה בדעתיה לקבוליה אחוי ליה בידיה סבר מדחא דחי ליה אזל זקף לבינתא פלחא אמר ליה חזור בך אמר ליה כך מקובלני ממך כל החוטא ומחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה דאמר מר ישו הנוצרי כישף והסית והדיח והחטיא את ישראל


One day, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya was reciting Shema when Jesus came before him. He intended to accept him on this occasion, so he signaled to him with his hand to wait. Jesus thought he was rejecting him entirely. He therefore went and stood up a brick and worshipped it as an idol. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya said to him: Return from your sins. Jesus said to him: This is the tradition that I received from you: Anyone who sins and causes the masses to sin is not given the opportunity to repent. The Gemara explains how he caused the masses to sin: For the Master said: Jesus the Nazarene performed sorcery, and he incited the masses, and subverted the masses, and caused the Jewish people to sin.


תניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר יצר תינוק ואשה תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת:


It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: With regard to the evil inclination, to a child, and to a woman, the left hand should reject and the right hand should welcome. If one pushes too forcefully, the damage might be irreversible.


מתני׳ נמצא ההורג עד שלא נערפה העגלה תצא ותרעה בעדר משנערפה העגלה תקבר במקומה שעל ספק באתה מתחילתה כיפרה ספיקה והלכה לה נערפה העגלה ואחר כך נמצא ההורג הרי זה יהרג


MISHNA: If the killer is found before the heifer’s neck was broken, the heifer shall go out and graze among the herd. It is not considered sacred at all, and it may rejoin the other animals. If the killer is found from the time when the heifer’s neck was broken, even if the rest of the ritual has not yet been performed, it is prohibited to benefit from the animal, despite the killer having been found; it should be buried in its place. This is because the heifer initially came for uncertainty, as the killer was unknown, and it atoned for its uncertainty and left, i.e., it fulfilled its purpose of bringing atonement and is considered a heifer whose neck is broken in all regards. If the heifer’s neck was broken and afterward the killer was found, he is killed. The ritual does not atone for him.


עד אחד אומר ראיתי את ההורג ועד אחד אומר לא ראית אשה אומרת ראיתי ואשה אומרת לא ראית היו עורפין עד אחד אומר ראיתי ושנים אומרים לא ראית היו עורפין שנים אומרים ראינו ואחד אומר להן לא ראיתם לא היו עורפין


If one witness says: I saw the killer, and one other witness says: You did not see him; or if a woman says: I saw, and another woman says: You did not see, they would break the neck of the heifer, as without clear testimony about the identity of the killer the ritual is performed. Similarly, if one witness says: I saw the killer, and two witnesses say: You did not see, they would break the neck of the heifer, as the pair is relied upon. If two witnesses say: We saw the killer, and one witness says to them: You did not see, they would not break the neck of the heifer, as there are two witnesses to the identity of the killer.


משרבו הרוצחנין בטלה עגלה ערופה משבא אליעזר בן דינאי ותחינה בן פרישה היה נקרא חזרו לקרותו בן הרצחן


The mishna further states: From the time when murderers proliferated, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified. The ritual was performed only when the identity of the murderer was completely unknown. Once there were many known murderers, the conditions for the performance of the ritual were no longer present, as the probable identity of the murderer was known. From the time when Eliezer ben Dinai, who was also called Teḥina ben Perisha, came, they renamed him: Son of a murderer. This is an example of a publicly known murderer.


משרבו המנאפים פסקו המים המרים ורבי יוחנן בן זכאי הפסיקן שנאמר לא אפקוד על בנותיכם כי תזנינה ועל כלותיכם כי תנאפנה כי הם וגו׳


The mishna teaches a similar occurrence: From the time when adulterers proliferated, the performance of the ritual of the bitter waters was nullified; they would not administer the bitter waters to the sota. And it was Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai who nullified it, as it is stated: “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for they consort with lewd women” (Hosea 4:14), meaning that when the husbands are adulterers, the wives are not punished for their own adultery.


משמת יוסי בן יועזר איש צרידה ויוסי בן יהודה איש ירושלים בטלו האשכלות שנאמר אין אשכול לאכול בכורה אותה נפשי יוחנן כהן גדול העביר הודיית המעשר אף הוא בטל את המעוררין ואת הנוקפין


From the time when Yosei ben Yo’ezer of Tzereida and Yosei ben Yehuda of Jerusalem died, the clusters ceased, i.e., they were the last of the clusters, as explained in the Gemara, as it is stated: “There is no cluster to eat; nor first-ripe fig that my soul desires” (Micah 7:1). The mishna continues in the same vein: Yoḥanan the High Priest took away the declaration of the tithe. After his time, no one recited the passage about the elimination of tithes that had previously been said at the end of a three-year tithing cycle. He also nullified the actions of the awakeners and the strikers at the Temple.


עד ימיו היה פטיש מכה בירושלים ובימיו אין צריך לשאול על הדמאי:


Until his days the hammer of smiths would strike in Jerusalem on the intermediate days of a Festival, but he banned the practice. And furthermore, in his days there was no need to inquire about doubtfully tithed produce [demai], as everyone was careful to tithe.


גמ׳ תנו רבנן מנין שאם נערפה העגלה ואחר כך נמצא ההורג שאין פוטרת אותו תלמוד לומר ולארץ לא יכפר לדם אשר שפך בה כי אם בדם שפכו:


GEMARA: The Sages taught: From where is it derived that if the heifer’s neck was broken and afterward the killer was found, then the breaking of the neck does not exempt him from punishment? The verse states: “And the land shall not be atoned, for the blood that was spilled in it, but by the blood of he who spilled it” (Numbers 35:33).


עד אחד אומר ראיתי את ההורג כו׳: טעמא דמכחיש ליה הא לא מכחיש ליה עד אחד מהימן


The mishna taught that if one witness says: I saw the killer, and another testifies: You did not see him, they would break the heifer’s neck. The Gemara infers: The reason they break the neck is because the second witness contradicts him, but if no one contradicts him, one witness is relied upon, and they do not break the heifer’s neck.


מנהני מילי דתנו רבנן לא נודע מי הכהו הא נודע מי הכהו אפילו אחד בסוף העולם לא היו עורפין רבי עקיבא אומר מנין לסנהדרין שראו אחד שהרג את הנפש ואין מכירין אותו שלא היו עורפין תלמוד לומר ועינינו לא ראו והלא ראו


From where are these matters derived? The Gemara answers that it is as the Sages taught in a baraita: It states with regard to the heifer whose neck is broken: “It is not known who has smitten him” (Deuteronomy 21:1). Consequently, if it was known who smote him, even if it was only one person at the end of the world who knew, they would not break the neck of the heifer. Rabbi Akiva says: From where is it derived that if the members of the Sanhedrin themselves saw one person kill someone, but they do not recognize him, then they would not break the neck of the heifer? The verse states: “Nor did our eyes see” (Deuteronomy 21:7), and did they not see? Seeing the murder alone obviates the need for the performance of the ritual.


השתא דאמרת עד אחד מהימן אידך חד היכי מצי מכחיש ליה והאמר עולא כל מקום שהאמינה תורה עד אחד הרי כאן שנים ואין דבריו של אחד במקום שנים אמר לך עולא תני לא היו עורפין וכן אמר רבי יצחק תני לא היו עורפין


The Gemara poses a question: Now that you have said that in this case one witness is relied upon, if so, how is the other one able to contradict him? Didn’t Ulla say: Wherever the Torah relies on one witness, there is the equivalent of the testimony of two witnesses here, and the statement of one witness has no standing in a place where it is contradicted by two witnesses. The Gemara answers: Ulla could have said to you that the text of the mishna should be emended and teach the mishna in this way: They would not break the neck of the heifer. And Rabbi Yitzḥak also said to teach: They would not break the neck.


ורבי חייא אמר תני היו עורפין ולרבי חייא קשיא דעולא לא קשיא כאן בבת אחת כאן בזה אחר זה


And Rabbi Ḥiyya said that one should teach: They would break the neck. The Gemara asks: And according to Rabbi Ḥiyya, the above ruling of Ulla is difficult. The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as here, in the mishna, the case is discussing when two witnesses came simultaneously, and therefore both of their testimonies are rejected; whereas there, with regard to the statement of Ulla, it is referring to a case when they testified one after the other. Ulla rules that once the testimony of the first witness has been accepted the testimony of the second witness cannot nullify it.


תנן עד אחד אומר ראיתי את ההורג ושנים אומרים לא ראית היו עורפין הא חד וחד לא היו עורפין תיובתא דרבי חייא


We learned in the mishna: If one witness says: I saw the killer, and two say: You did not see, they would break the neck. This cannot be stated just to teach us this halakha, as the fact that two witnesses override one witness is well known. The Gemara assumes that it is stated for the following inference: Therefore, if one testified, and the other one then testified, they would not break the neck. This appears to be a conclusive refutation of Rabbi Ḥiyya, who has the text of: They would break the neck.


וליטעמיך אימא סיפא שנים אומרים ראינו ועד אחד אומר לא ראיתם לא היו עורפין הא חד וחד היו עורפין


The Gemara answers: And according to your reasoning that the mishna states its cases in order to teach an inference, say the latter clause of the mishna: If two witnesses say: We saw, and one witness says: You did not see, they would not break the neck. The Gemara makes an inference from this clause: Therefore, if one came and then the other one came, i.e., they did not come simultaneously, they would break the neck. The two inferences from the different clauses of the mishna consequently contradict one another, and the mishna needs to be explained differently.


אלא מתניתין כולה בפסולי עדות וכדרבי נחמיה דאמר כל מקום שהאמינה תורה עד אחד הלך אחר רוב דעות ועשו שתי נשים באיש אחד כשני אנשים באיש אחד


Rather, the correct understanding is that the entire mishna is not dealing with valid witnesses and stating an obvious halakha in order to enable an inference, but instead it is dealing with people who are disqualified from bearing witness and is also teaching us a novel ruling. And the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Neḥemya, who says: Wherever the Torah relies on one witness, follow the majority of opinions. In other words, if the testimonies of two disqualified witnesses conflict, the court rules in accordance with the testimony provided by more witnesses, whether or not they are qualified to testify. And they established that with regard to the testimony of two women, who are usually disqualified from testifying, when they testify against one man, it should be like that of two men against one man, and the court will rule in accordance with the testimony of the two women.


ואיכא דאמרי כל היכא דאתא עד אחד כשר מעיקרא אפילו מאה נשים כי אחד דמיין והכא במאי עסקינן כגון דאתאי אשה מעיקרא ותרצה לדרבי נחמיה הכי רבי נחמיה אומר כל מקום שהאמינה תורה עד אחד הלך אחר רוב דעות ועשו שתי נשים באשה אחת כשני אנשים באיש אחד אבל שתי נשים באיש אחד כי פלגא ופלגא דמי


And there are those who say a different version of Rabbi Neḥemya’s opinion: Anywhere that one valid witness came at the outset, even one hundred women who later contradict him are considered like one witness, and do not override his testimony. And with what are we dealing here in the mishna? A case where a woman came at the outset, and testified that she saw the killer. Then two other women arrived to contradict her statement. And according to this interpretation you must emend the statement of Rabbi Neḥemya so that it reads like this: Rabbi Neḥemya says: Wherever the Torah relies on one witness, follow the majority of opinions. And they established that two women against one woman are like two men against one man. But two women in opposition to one man who is a valid witness is like half of a pair of witnesses and half of a pair of witnesses, and the mishna did not address that case.


ותרתי פסולי עדות למה לי מהו דתימא כי אזלינן בתר רוב דעות לחומרא אבל לקולא לא קא משמע לן:


The Gemara poses a question on these two interpretations of the mishna: And why do I need two cases in the mishna to teach the halakha that the majority opinion of those disqualified from bearing witness is followed? The Gemara explains: It is necessary, lest you say that when we follow the majority opinion in the case of invalid witnesses, this is when it results in a decision to be stringent and require the performance of the ritual. But when it results in a decision to be lenient and say that the ritual is not required, we do not follow the majority opinion, and the performance of the ritual is required even if there is one witness saying that the killer was not seen. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that there is no difference in this regard, and the majority opinion is followed in any case.


משרבו הרוצחין כו׳: תנו רבנן משרבו הרוצחנין בטלה עגלה ערופה לפי שאינה באה אלא על הספק משרבו הרוצחנין בגלוי בטלה עגלה ערופה:


§ The mishna taught that from the time when murderers proliferated, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified. The Sages taught: From the time when murderers proliferated, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified, because it comes only for a case involving uncertainty with regard to the identity of the murderer. Therefore, when there was an increase of murderers acting openly so that their identities were known, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified.


משרבו הנואפין כו׳: תנו רבנן ונקה האיש מעון בזמן שהאיש מנוקה מעון המים בודקין את אשתו אין האיש מנוקה מעון אין המים בודקין את אשתו ואומר לא אפקוד על בנותיכם כי תזנינה כו׳


The mishna also taught that from the time when adulterers proliferated, the performance of the ritual of the bitter water of a sota was nullified. The Sages taught: It states: “And the man shall be cleared of transgression, and that woman shall bear her transgression” (Numbers 5:31), which indicates that when the man is clear of transgression the waters evaluate if his wife was unfaithful, but if the man is not clear of transgression the waters do not evaluate if his wife was unfaithful. And it states: “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for they consort with lewd women, and they sacrifice with prostitutes; and the people that is without understanding is distraught” (Hosea 4:14).


מאי ואומר וכי תימא עון דידיה אין דבניה ודבנתיה לא תא שמע לא אפקוד על בנותיכם כי תזנינה ועל כלותיכם כי תנאפנה


The Gemara clarifies: What is the purpose of the addition of: And it states? What is lacking in the exposition from the verse of the Torah? The Gemara explains: And if you would say that based on the verse: “And the man shall be cleared of transgression,” the halakha would be that with regard to his transgression, yes, it will cause the waters to be ineffective, but the transgression of his sons and daughters does not impact the effectiveness, come and hear the verse: “I will not punish your daughters,” i.e., I will not punish your wives, due to your daughters, “when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.”


וכי תימא עון אשת איש אין עון דפנויה לא תא שמע כי הם עם הזנות יפרדו ועם הקדשות יזבחו וגו׳


And if you would say: With regard to the transgression of adultery with a married woman, yes, it will cause the waters to be ineffective, but the transgression of one who engaged in sexual intercourse with an unmarried woman does not impact the effectiveness, come and hear the continuation of the verse: “For they consort with lewd women, and they sacrifice with prostitutes.”


מאי ועם לא יבין ילבט אמר רבי אלעזר אמר להם נביא לישראל אם אתם מקפידין על עצמכם מים בודקין נשותיכם ואם לאו אין המים בודקין נשותיכם


The Gemara turns its attention to the end of the verse. What is the meaning of: “And the people that is without understanding is distraught”? Rabbi Elazar says: The prophet said to the Jewish people: If you are particular about yourselves, the water evaluates your wives; but if not, the water does not evaluate your wives. This would make people distraught, as they would not know how to overcome their suspicion if they are concerned that their wives have been unfaithful.


משרבו בעלי הנאה נתעותו הדינין ונתקלקלו המעשים ואין נוח בעולם משרבו רואי פנים בדין בטל לא תגורו ופסק לא תכירו ופרקו עול שמים ונתנו עליהם עול בשר ודם


§ The Gemara cites statements similar to those of the mishna. From the time when those who accept benefit from others proliferated, the laws became twisted and deeds became corrupted, and there was no comfort in the world. From the time when those who look at the faces of the litigants in judgment, in order to rule based on the appearance of the litigants, proliferated, the fulfillment of the verse: “You shall not fear the face of any man” (Deuteronomy 1:17), ceased, and the fulfillment of the verse: “You shall not respect faces in judgment” (Deuteronomy 1:17), halted, and they removed the yoke of Heaven from themselves, and placed upon themselves the yoke of flesh and blood.


משרבו לוחשי לחישות בדין רבה חרון אף בישראל ונסתלקה השכינה משום שנאמר בקרב אלהים ישפט משרבו אחרי בצעם לבם הלך רבו האומרים לרע טוב ולטוב רע משרבו האומרים לרע טוב ולטוב רע רבו הוי הוי בעולם


From the time when those who whisper whisperings in judgment, advising judges surreptitiously, proliferated, fierce anger proliferated in Israel, and the Divine Presence departed, because it is stated: “God stands in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He judges” (Psalms 82:1). The Divine Presence that dwells among judges leaves if they judge improperly. From the time when those who are referred to in the verse: “Their heart goes after their covetousness” (Ezekiel 33:31), proliferated, “Those who say to evil good, and to good evil” (Isaiah 5:20) proliferated, i.e., those who treat wicked people as though they were righteous proliferated as a result. From the time when the fulfillment of the verse: “Those who say to evil good, and to good evil,” proliferated, the cry of: Woe, woe, proliferated in the world. There was an increase in troubles that cause people to cry out.


משרבו מושכי הרוק רבו היהירים ונתמעטו התלמידים והתורה חוזרת על לומדיה משרבו היהירים התחילו בנות ישראל להנשא ליהירים שאין דורינו רואה אלא לפנים


From the time when those who show their arrogance by drawing out spittle proliferated, the number of haughty people in general proliferated, and the number of students decreased, as they would say haughtily that there was nothing left for them to learn, and the Torah needs to go around to seek those who study it, as people do not learn of their own initiative. Furthermore, from the time when haughty people proliferated, the daughters of Israel began marrying haughty men, as our generation looks only at the face, i.e., the external aspects of a person, and ignores the inner aspects of a person.


איני והאמר מר האי מאן דמיהר אפילו אאינשי ביתיה לא מיקבל שנאמר גבר יהיר ולא ינוה לא ינוה אפילו בנוה שלו מעיקרא קפצה עליה לסוף מיתזיל עלייהו


The Gemara raises a difficulty: Is that so? Do women wish to marry arrogant men? But didn’t the Master say: One who is haughty is not even accepted by the members of his household, as it is stated: “The haughty man abides not” (Habakkuk 2:5)? “Abides [yinaveh] not” means that even in his abode [naveh], he is not accepted. The Gemara explains: Initially, she jumps at the chance to marry him, because he appears to be a great person to her, but in the end, once she gets to know him, he is demeaned in her eyes.


משרבו מטילי מלאי על בעלי בתים רבה השוחד והטיית משפט ופסקה טובה משרבו מקבלני טובתך ומחזקני טובותיך רבו איש הישר בעיניו יעשה שפלים הוגבהו והגבוהים הושפלו ומלכותא אזלא ונולא משרבו צרי עין וטורפי טרף רבו מאמצי הלב וקופצי ידים מלהלוות ועברו על מה שכתוב בתורה השמר לך פן וגו׳


The baraita continues: From the time when there was an increase in those who placed upon homeowners the obligation to designate the profits from merchandise for the upkeep of judges, bribery and corruption of judgment proliferated and good ceased. From the time when those judges and leaders who say: I accept your favor, and: I hold your favor, proliferated, the fulfillment of the verse: “Every man did that which was right in his eyes” (Judges 17:6), proliferated. Lowly ones were raised and lofty ones were lowered, and the monarchy is increasingly on the decline. From the time when misers and those greedy for profit proliferated, those hardened of heart and who closed their hands from lending proliferated, and they transgressed that which is written in the Torah: “You shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother…Guard yourself in case there is a base thought in your heart…and you do not give him” (Deuteronomy 15:7, 9).


משרבו נטויות גרון ומשקרות עינים רבו מים המרים אלא שפסקו משרבו מקבלי מתנות נתמעטו הימים ונתקצרו השנים דכתיב ושונא מתנת יחיה משרבו זחוחי הלב רבו מחלוקת בישראל משרבו תלמידי שמאי והילל שלא שימשו כל צורכן רבו מחלוקת בישראל ונעשית תורה כשתי תורות משרבו מקבלי צדקה מן הנכרי היו ישראל למעלה והם למטה ישראל לפנים והם לאחור:


From the time when women with “stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes” (Isaiah 3:16) proliferated, the bitter waters of a sota proliferated, as more people were suspected of committing adultery; but they eventually ceased when licentiousness became too widespread. From the time when those who accept gifts proliferated, the days decreased and the years shortened, as it is written: “And he who hates gifts lives” (Proverbs 15:27). From the time when those with boastful [zeḥuḥei] hearts proliferated, dispute proliferated in Israel. From the time when the students of Shammai and Hillel who did not serve their Rabbis sufficiently proliferated, dispute proliferated in Israel, and the Torah became like two Torahs. From the time when those who accept charity from gentiles proliferated, the Jewish people were above and they below; the Jewish people ahead and they behind. This last statement is a euphemism; it was the Jewish people that were below and behind, but the Gemara did not want to say so explicitly.


משמת יוסי בן יועזר כו׳: מאי אשכולות אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל איש שהכל בו: יוחנן כהן גדול העביר הודיית המעשר כו׳: מאי טעמא אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא לפי שאין נותנין אותו כתיקונו דרחמנא אמר דיהבי ללוים


§ The mishna taught that from the time when Yosei ben Yo’ezer died the clusters ceased. The Gemara poses a question: What is the meaning of clusters [eshkolot]? Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: It means a man who contains all [ish shehakol bo] elements of Torah and mitzvot. The mishna further taught that Yoḥanan the High Priest took away the declaration of the tithe. The Gemara poses a question: What is the reason he did this? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Because they did not give the tithe in the proper manner as stated by the Torah. In what way is that? As the Merciful One states in the Torah that they should give the first tithe to the Levites,


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Sotah 47

רב ושמואל חד אמר נס וחד אמר נס בתוך נס מאן דאמר נס יער הוה דובים לא הוו מאן דאמר נס בתוך נס לא יער הוה ולא דובים הוו וליהוי דובים ולא ליהוי יער דבעיתי


Rav and Shmuel had a dispute with regard to this episode. One says there was a miracle, and one says there was a miracle within a miracle. The Gemara explains: The one who says there was a miracle claims that there was already a forest in that place but there were no bears, and the miracle was the appearance of bears. The one who says it was a miracle within a miracle claims that neither was there a forest nor were there bears in that area. The Gemara asks with regard to the second opinion: Why was a double miracle required? And let there be bears and no forest; the forest served no role in the story, so why was it created? The Gemara explains: The forest was necessary, as bears are frightened to venture into open areas but will attack people in their natural habitat, a forest.


אמר רבי חנינא בשביל ארבעים ושנים קרבנות שהקריב בלק מלך מואב הובקעו מישראל ארבעים ושנים ילדים איני


Rabbi Ḥanina says: Due to forty-two offerings that Balak, king of Moab, brought when he tried to have Balaam curse the Jewish people, forty-two children were broken off from Israel, in that incident involving Elisha. The Gemara asks: Is that so? Was that the reward for his offerings?


והאמר רב יהודה אמר רב לעולם יעסוק אדם בתורה ובמצות ואף על פי שלא לשמה שמתוך שלא לשמה בא לשמה שבשכר ארבעים ושנים קרבנות שהקריב בלק מלך מואב זכה ויצתה ממנו רות שיצא ממנו שלמה שכתוב ביה אלף עלות יעלה שלמה ואמר רבי יוסי בן חוני רות בתו של עגלון בנו של בלק היתה תאותו מיהא לקללה הוי


But didn’t Rav Yehuda say that Rav says: A person should always engage in Torah study and in performance of mitzvot, even if he does so not for their own sake, as through such acts performed not for their own sake, one will come to perform them for their own sake. He proves the value of a mitzva done not for its own sake: As in reward for the forty-two offerings that Balak, king of Moab, brought, he merited that Ruth descended from him, from whom King Solomon descended, about whom it is written that he brought many offerings: “A thousand burnt-offerings did Solomon offer up” (I Kings 3:4). And Rabbi Yosei ben Ḥoni similarly says: Ruth was the daughter of Eglon, son of Balak. These Sages state that Balak’s reward was to have Ruth descend from him, not that a number of Jewish people perish. The Gemara answers: His desire, in any event, was to curse the Jewish people, and his reward for sacrificing his offerings was that the curse was fulfilled in the incident involving Elisha, as well.


ויאמרו אנשי העיר אל אלישע הנה נא מושב העיר טוב כאשר אדני ראה וגו׳ וכי מאחר דמים רעים וארץ משכלת אלא מה טובתה אמר רבי חנין חן מקום על יושביו אמר רבי יוחנן שלשה חינות הן חן מקום על יושביו חן אשה על בעלה חן מקח על מקחו


The Gemara returns to discussing the incident involving Elisha: “And the men of the city said to Elisha: Behold, please, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad and the land miscarries” (II Kings 2:19). The Gemara asks: But if the water is bad and the land causes women to miscarry, what is pleasant about it? Rabbi Ḥanin says: The grace of a place is upon its inhabitants, i.e., people are fond of their hometown despite its shortcomings. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: There are three graces that have a similar impact: The grace of a place upon its inhabitants; the grace of a woman upon her husband, despite her faults; and the grace of a purchased item upon its buyer, as one who has bought something views it in a positive light.


תנו רבנן שלשה חלאין חלה אלישע אחד שגירה דובים בתינוקות ואחד שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידים ואחד שמת בו שנאמר ואלישע חלה את חליו אשר ימות בו


§ The Sages taught: Elisha fell ill three times. One was a punishment for inciting the bears to attack the children; and one was a punishment for pushing Gehazi away with both hands, without leaving him the option to return; and one was the sickness from which he died, as an expression of illness is stated three times in the verse about Elisha: “And Elisha became sick [ḥala] with his illness [ḥolyo] from which he would die” (II Kings 13:14). The root ḥet, lamed, heh, which indicates illness, is used twice in this verse, and it is stated once that Elisha will die.


תנו רבנן לעולם תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת לא כאלישע שדחפו לגחזי בשתי ידיו ולא כיהושע בן פרחיה שדחפו לישו הנוצרי מתלמידיו בשתי ידיו


The Sages taught: It should always be the left, weaker, hand that pushes another away and the right, stronger, hand that draws him near. In other words, even when a student is rebuffed, he should be given the opportunity to return. This is not like Elisha, who pushed Gehazi away with both hands, and not like Yehoshua ben Peraḥya, who pushed Jesus the Nazarene, one of his students, away with both hands.


אלישע מאי היא דכתיב ויאמר נעמן הואל קח ככרים וכתיב ויאמר אליו לא לבי הלך כאשר הפך איש מעל מרכבתו לקראתך העת לקחת את הכסף ולקחת בגדים וזיתים וכרמים וצאן ובקר ועבדים ושפחות


The Gemara specifies: What was that incident with Elisha? As it is written: “And Naaman said: Pray, take talents” (II Kings 5:23). Naaman offered Gehazi payment for the help Elisha had given him, and when the verse recounts Elisha’s words to Gehazi, it is written: “And he said to him: Did not my heart go, when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to take money, and to take garments, and olives, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and servants, and maidservants?” (II Kings 5:26). Here Elisha criticizes Gehazi for taking the payment.


ומי שקיל כולי האי כסף ובגדים הוא דשקיל אמר רבי יצחק באותה שעה היה אלישע עוסק בשמנה שרצים אמר לו רשע הגיע עת ליטול שכר שמנה שרצים וצרעת נעמן תדבק בך ובזרעך לעולם וארבעה אנשים היו מצרעים אמר רבי יוחנן זה גחזי ושלשת בניו


The Gemara clarifies the criticism: And did he take all that? But it was only money and garments that he took. Rabbi Yitzḥak says: At that time, Elisha was engaged in the study of the topic of the eight impure creeping animals. He said to Gehazi: Wicked one, it is time for you to receive now, in this temporal world, the reward for studying the topic of the eight impure creeping animals. This is why the verse lists eight items. The Gemara adds parenthetically that Elisha also said to Gehazi: “And the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever” (II Kings 5:27), and that the verse later states: “Now there were four leprous men” (II Kings 7:3), about whom Rabbi Yoḥanan says: This is referring to Gehazi and his three sons.


ויבא אלישע דמשק למה הלך אמר רבי יוחנן שהלך להחזירו לגחזי בתשובה ולא חזר אמר לו חזור בך אמר לו כך מקובלני ממך כל מי שחטא והחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה


The verse states: “And Elisha came to Damascus” (II Kings 8:7). The Gemara asks: For what purpose did he go there? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: He went to help Gehazi in repentance, but Gehazi would not agree to repent from his evil ways. Elisha said to him: Return from your sins. Gehazi said to him: This is the tradition that I received from you: Whoever sins and caused the masses to sin is not given the opportunity to repent.


מאי עבד איכא דאמרי אבן שואבת תלה לו לחטאת ירבעם והעמידו בין שמים לארץ ואיכא דאמרי שם חקק לה אפומה והיתה אומרת אנכי ולא יהיה לך


The Gemara asks: What did Gehazi do that caused the masses to sin? There are those who say that he hung a magnetic rock on Jeroboam’s calf, the golden calf that Jeroboam established as an idol, and used a magnet to pull the calf off the ground so that he suspended it between heaven and earth, i.e., caused it to hover above the ground. This seemingly miraculous occurrence caused the people to worship it even more devoutly. And there are those who say: He engraved the sacred name on its mouth, and it would say: “I am the Lord your God” and: “You shall not have other gods” (Exodus 20:2). The idol would quote the two prohibitions from the Ten Commandments against idol worship, causing people to worship it even more devoutly.


ואיכא דאמרי רבנן דחה מקמיה דכתיב ויאמרו בני הנביאים אל אלישע הנה נא המקום אשר אנחנו ישבים שם לפניך צר ממנו מכלל דעד האידנא לא הוה דחיק


And there are those who say: Gehazi pushed the Sages away from coming before him, preventing them learning from Elisha, as it is written, after the aforementioned incident: “And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, behold this place where we are staying before you is too cramped for us” (II Kings 6:1). This proves by inference that until that time the place was not cramped, as Gehazi would turn people away.


יהושע בן פרחיה מאי היא כדהוה קא קטיל ינאי מלכא לרבנן שמעון בן שטח אטמינהו אחתיה רבי יהושע בן פרחיה אזל ערק לאלכסנדריא של מצרים כי הוה שלמא שלח ליה שמעון בן שטח מני ירושלים עיר הקודש לך אלכסנדריא של מצרים אחותי בעלי שרוי בתוכך ואני יושבת שוממה אמר שמע מינה הוה ליה שלמא


The Gemara returns to the incident in which Yehoshua ben Peraḥya turned away Jesus the Nazarene: What is this incident? When King Yannai was killing the Sages, Shimon ben Shataḥ was hidden by his sister, Yannai’s wife, while Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya went and fled to Alexandria of Egypt. When peace was made between Yannai and the Sages, Shimon ben Shataḥ sent him the following letter: From myself, Jerusalem the holy city, to you, Alexandria of Egypt. My sister, my husband dwells within you, and I am sitting desolate. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya said: I can learn from it that there is peace, and I can return.


כי אתא אקלע לההוא אושפיזא קם קמייהו ביקרא שפיר עבדי ליה יקרא טובא יתיב וקא משתבח כמה נאה אכסניא זו אמר ליה ישו הנוצרי רבי עיניה טרוטות אמר ליה רשע בכך אתה עוסק אפיק ארבע מאה שפורי ושמתיה כל יומא אתא לקמיה ולא קבליה


When he came back to Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi Yehoshua arrived at a certain inn. The innkeeper stood before him, honoring him considerably, and overall they accorded him great honor. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya then sat and was praising them by saying: How beautiful is this inn. Jesus the Nazarene, one of his students, said to him: My teacher, but the eyes of the innkeeper’s wife are narrow [terutot]. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya said to him: Wicked one, is this what you are engaged in, gazing at women? He brought out four hundred shofarot and excommunicated him. Every day Jesus would come before him, but he would not accept his wish to return.


יומא חד הוה קרי קרית שמע אתא לקמיה הוה בדעתיה לקבוליה אחוי ליה בידיה סבר מדחא דחי ליה אזל זקף לבינתא פלחא אמר ליה חזור בך אמר ליה כך מקובלני ממך כל החוטא ומחטיא את הרבים אין מספיקין בידו לעשות תשובה דאמר מר ישו הנוצרי כישף והסית והדיח והחטיא את ישראל


One day, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya was reciting Shema when Jesus came before him. He intended to accept him on this occasion, so he signaled to him with his hand to wait. Jesus thought he was rejecting him entirely. He therefore went and stood up a brick and worshipped it as an idol. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Peraḥya said to him: Return from your sins. Jesus said to him: This is the tradition that I received from you: Anyone who sins and causes the masses to sin is not given the opportunity to repent. The Gemara explains how he caused the masses to sin: For the Master said: Jesus the Nazarene performed sorcery, and he incited the masses, and subverted the masses, and caused the Jewish people to sin.


תניא רבי שמעון בן אלעזר אומר יצר תינוק ואשה תהא שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת:


It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: With regard to the evil inclination, to a child, and to a woman, the left hand should reject and the right hand should welcome. If one pushes too forcefully, the damage might be irreversible.


מתני׳ נמצא ההורג עד שלא נערפה העגלה תצא ותרעה בעדר משנערפה העגלה תקבר במקומה שעל ספק באתה מתחילתה כיפרה ספיקה והלכה לה נערפה העגלה ואחר כך נמצא ההורג הרי זה יהרג


MISHNA: If the killer is found before the heifer’s neck was broken, the heifer shall go out and graze among the herd. It is not considered sacred at all, and it may rejoin the other animals. If the killer is found from the time when the heifer’s neck was broken, even if the rest of the ritual has not yet been performed, it is prohibited to benefit from the animal, despite the killer having been found; it should be buried in its place. This is because the heifer initially came for uncertainty, as the killer was unknown, and it atoned for its uncertainty and left, i.e., it fulfilled its purpose of bringing atonement and is considered a heifer whose neck is broken in all regards. If the heifer’s neck was broken and afterward the killer was found, he is killed. The ritual does not atone for him.


עד אחד אומר ראיתי את ההורג ועד אחד אומר לא ראית אשה אומרת ראיתי ואשה אומרת לא ראית היו עורפין עד אחד אומר ראיתי ושנים אומרים לא ראית היו עורפין שנים אומרים ראינו ואחד אומר להן לא ראיתם לא היו עורפין


If one witness says: I saw the killer, and one other witness says: You did not see him; or if a woman says: I saw, and another woman says: You did not see, they would break the neck of the heifer, as without clear testimony about the identity of the killer the ritual is performed. Similarly, if one witness says: I saw the killer, and two witnesses say: You did not see, they would break the neck of the heifer, as the pair is relied upon. If two witnesses say: We saw the killer, and one witness says to them: You did not see, they would not break the neck of the heifer, as there are two witnesses to the identity of the killer.


משרבו הרוצחנין בטלה עגלה ערופה משבא אליעזר בן דינאי ותחינה בן פרישה היה נקרא חזרו לקרותו בן הרצחן


The mishna further states: From the time when murderers proliferated, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified. The ritual was performed only when the identity of the murderer was completely unknown. Once there were many known murderers, the conditions for the performance of the ritual were no longer present, as the probable identity of the murderer was known. From the time when Eliezer ben Dinai, who was also called Teḥina ben Perisha, came, they renamed him: Son of a murderer. This is an example of a publicly known murderer.


משרבו המנאפים פסקו המים המרים ורבי יוחנן בן זכאי הפסיקן שנאמר לא אפקוד על בנותיכם כי תזנינה ועל כלותיכם כי תנאפנה כי הם וגו׳


The mishna teaches a similar occurrence: From the time when adulterers proliferated, the performance of the ritual of the bitter waters was nullified; they would not administer the bitter waters to the sota. And it was Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai who nullified it, as it is stated: “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for they consort with lewd women” (Hosea 4:14), meaning that when the husbands are adulterers, the wives are not punished for their own adultery.


משמת יוסי בן יועזר איש צרידה ויוסי בן יהודה איש ירושלים בטלו האשכלות שנאמר אין אשכול לאכול בכורה אותה נפשי יוחנן כהן גדול העביר הודיית המעשר אף הוא בטל את המעוררין ואת הנוקפין


From the time when Yosei ben Yo’ezer of Tzereida and Yosei ben Yehuda of Jerusalem died, the clusters ceased, i.e., they were the last of the clusters, as explained in the Gemara, as it is stated: “There is no cluster to eat; nor first-ripe fig that my soul desires” (Micah 7:1). The mishna continues in the same vein: Yoḥanan the High Priest took away the declaration of the tithe. After his time, no one recited the passage about the elimination of tithes that had previously been said at the end of a three-year tithing cycle. He also nullified the actions of the awakeners and the strikers at the Temple.


עד ימיו היה פטיש מכה בירושלים ובימיו אין צריך לשאול על הדמאי:


Until his days the hammer of smiths would strike in Jerusalem on the intermediate days of a Festival, but he banned the practice. And furthermore, in his days there was no need to inquire about doubtfully tithed produce [demai], as everyone was careful to tithe.


גמ׳ תנו רבנן מנין שאם נערפה העגלה ואחר כך נמצא ההורג שאין פוטרת אותו תלמוד לומר ולארץ לא יכפר לדם אשר שפך בה כי אם בדם שפכו:


GEMARA: The Sages taught: From where is it derived that if the heifer’s neck was broken and afterward the killer was found, then the breaking of the neck does not exempt him from punishment? The verse states: “And the land shall not be atoned, for the blood that was spilled in it, but by the blood of he who spilled it” (Numbers 35:33).


עד אחד אומר ראיתי את ההורג כו׳: טעמא דמכחיש ליה הא לא מכחיש ליה עד אחד מהימן


The mishna taught that if one witness says: I saw the killer, and another testifies: You did not see him, they would break the heifer’s neck. The Gemara infers: The reason they break the neck is because the second witness contradicts him, but if no one contradicts him, one witness is relied upon, and they do not break the heifer’s neck.


מנהני מילי דתנו רבנן לא נודע מי הכהו הא נודע מי הכהו אפילו אחד בסוף העולם לא היו עורפין רבי עקיבא אומר מנין לסנהדרין שראו אחד שהרג את הנפש ואין מכירין אותו שלא היו עורפין תלמוד לומר ועינינו לא ראו והלא ראו


From where are these matters derived? The Gemara answers that it is as the Sages taught in a baraita: It states with regard to the heifer whose neck is broken: “It is not known who has smitten him” (Deuteronomy 21:1). Consequently, if it was known who smote him, even if it was only one person at the end of the world who knew, they would not break the neck of the heifer. Rabbi Akiva says: From where is it derived that if the members of the Sanhedrin themselves saw one person kill someone, but they do not recognize him, then they would not break the neck of the heifer? The verse states: “Nor did our eyes see” (Deuteronomy 21:7), and did they not see? Seeing the murder alone obviates the need for the performance of the ritual.


השתא דאמרת עד אחד מהימן אידך חד היכי מצי מכחיש ליה והאמר עולא כל מקום שהאמינה תורה עד אחד הרי כאן שנים ואין דבריו של אחד במקום שנים אמר לך עולא תני לא היו עורפין וכן אמר רבי יצחק תני לא היו עורפין


The Gemara poses a question: Now that you have said that in this case one witness is relied upon, if so, how is the other one able to contradict him? Didn’t Ulla say: Wherever the Torah relies on one witness, there is the equivalent of the testimony of two witnesses here, and the statement of one witness has no standing in a place where it is contradicted by two witnesses. The Gemara answers: Ulla could have said to you that the text of the mishna should be emended and teach the mishna in this way: They would not break the neck of the heifer. And Rabbi Yitzḥak also said to teach: They would not break the neck.


ורבי חייא אמר תני היו עורפין ולרבי חייא קשיא דעולא לא קשיא כאן בבת אחת כאן בזה אחר זה


And Rabbi Ḥiyya said that one should teach: They would break the neck. The Gemara asks: And according to Rabbi Ḥiyya, the above ruling of Ulla is difficult. The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as here, in the mishna, the case is discussing when two witnesses came simultaneously, and therefore both of their testimonies are rejected; whereas there, with regard to the statement of Ulla, it is referring to a case when they testified one after the other. Ulla rules that once the testimony of the first witness has been accepted the testimony of the second witness cannot nullify it.


תנן עד אחד אומר ראיתי את ההורג ושנים אומרים לא ראית היו עורפין הא חד וחד לא היו עורפין תיובתא דרבי חייא


We learned in the mishna: If one witness says: I saw the killer, and two say: You did not see, they would break the neck. This cannot be stated just to teach us this halakha, as the fact that two witnesses override one witness is well known. The Gemara assumes that it is stated for the following inference: Therefore, if one testified, and the other one then testified, they would not break the neck. This appears to be a conclusive refutation of Rabbi Ḥiyya, who has the text of: They would break the neck.


וליטעמיך אימא סיפא שנים אומרים ראינו ועד אחד אומר לא ראיתם לא היו עורפין הא חד וחד היו עורפין


The Gemara answers: And according to your reasoning that the mishna states its cases in order to teach an inference, say the latter clause of the mishna: If two witnesses say: We saw, and one witness says: You did not see, they would not break the neck. The Gemara makes an inference from this clause: Therefore, if one came and then the other one came, i.e., they did not come simultaneously, they would break the neck. The two inferences from the different clauses of the mishna consequently contradict one another, and the mishna needs to be explained differently.


אלא מתניתין כולה בפסולי עדות וכדרבי נחמיה דאמר כל מקום שהאמינה תורה עד אחד הלך אחר רוב דעות ועשו שתי נשים באיש אחד כשני אנשים באיש אחד


Rather, the correct understanding is that the entire mishna is not dealing with valid witnesses and stating an obvious halakha in order to enable an inference, but instead it is dealing with people who are disqualified from bearing witness and is also teaching us a novel ruling. And the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Neḥemya, who says: Wherever the Torah relies on one witness, follow the majority of opinions. In other words, if the testimonies of two disqualified witnesses conflict, the court rules in accordance with the testimony provided by more witnesses, whether or not they are qualified to testify. And they established that with regard to the testimony of two women, who are usually disqualified from testifying, when they testify against one man, it should be like that of two men against one man, and the court will rule in accordance with the testimony of the two women.


ואיכא דאמרי כל היכא דאתא עד אחד כשר מעיקרא אפילו מאה נשים כי אחד דמיין והכא במאי עסקינן כגון דאתאי אשה מעיקרא ותרצה לדרבי נחמיה הכי רבי נחמיה אומר כל מקום שהאמינה תורה עד אחד הלך אחר רוב דעות ועשו שתי נשים באשה אחת כשני אנשים באיש אחד אבל שתי נשים באיש אחד כי פלגא ופלגא דמי


And there are those who say a different version of Rabbi Neḥemya’s opinion: Anywhere that one valid witness came at the outset, even one hundred women who later contradict him are considered like one witness, and do not override his testimony. And with what are we dealing here in the mishna? A case where a woman came at the outset, and testified that she saw the killer. Then two other women arrived to contradict her statement. And according to this interpretation you must emend the statement of Rabbi Neḥemya so that it reads like this: Rabbi Neḥemya says: Wherever the Torah relies on one witness, follow the majority of opinions. And they established that two women against one woman are like two men against one man. But two women in opposition to one man who is a valid witness is like half of a pair of witnesses and half of a pair of witnesses, and the mishna did not address that case.


ותרתי פסולי עדות למה לי מהו דתימא כי אזלינן בתר רוב דעות לחומרא אבל לקולא לא קא משמע לן:


The Gemara poses a question on these two interpretations of the mishna: And why do I need two cases in the mishna to teach the halakha that the majority opinion of those disqualified from bearing witness is followed? The Gemara explains: It is necessary, lest you say that when we follow the majority opinion in the case of invalid witnesses, this is when it results in a decision to be stringent and require the performance of the ritual. But when it results in a decision to be lenient and say that the ritual is not required, we do not follow the majority opinion, and the performance of the ritual is required even if there is one witness saying that the killer was not seen. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that there is no difference in this regard, and the majority opinion is followed in any case.


משרבו הרוצחין כו׳: תנו רבנן משרבו הרוצחנין בטלה עגלה ערופה לפי שאינה באה אלא על הספק משרבו הרוצחנין בגלוי בטלה עגלה ערופה:


§ The mishna taught that from the time when murderers proliferated, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified. The Sages taught: From the time when murderers proliferated, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified, because it comes only for a case involving uncertainty with regard to the identity of the murderer. Therefore, when there was an increase of murderers acting openly so that their identities were known, the ritual of the heifer whose neck is broken was nullified.


משרבו הנואפין כו׳: תנו רבנן ונקה האיש מעון בזמן שהאיש מנוקה מעון המים בודקין את אשתו אין האיש מנוקה מעון אין המים בודקין את אשתו ואומר לא אפקוד על בנותיכם כי תזנינה כו׳


The mishna also taught that from the time when adulterers proliferated, the performance of the ritual of the bitter water of a sota was nullified. The Sages taught: It states: “And the man shall be cleared of transgression, and that woman shall bear her transgression” (Numbers 5:31), which indicates that when the man is clear of transgression the waters evaluate if his wife was unfaithful, but if the man is not clear of transgression the waters do not evaluate if his wife was unfaithful. And it states: “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for they consort with lewd women, and they sacrifice with prostitutes; and the people that is without understanding is distraught” (Hosea 4:14).


מאי ואומר וכי תימא עון דידיה אין דבניה ודבנתיה לא תא שמע לא אפקוד על בנותיכם כי תזנינה ועל כלותיכם כי תנאפנה


The Gemara clarifies: What is the purpose of the addition of: And it states? What is lacking in the exposition from the verse of the Torah? The Gemara explains: And if you would say that based on the verse: “And the man shall be cleared of transgression,” the halakha would be that with regard to his transgression, yes, it will cause the waters to be ineffective, but the transgression of his sons and daughters does not impact the effectiveness, come and hear the verse: “I will not punish your daughters,” i.e., I will not punish your wives, due to your daughters, “when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.”


וכי תימא עון אשת איש אין עון דפנויה לא תא שמע כי הם עם הזנות יפרדו ועם הקדשות יזבחו וגו׳


And if you would say: With regard to the transgression of adultery with a married woman, yes, it will cause the waters to be ineffective, but the transgression of one who engaged in sexual intercourse with an unmarried woman does not impact the effectiveness, come and hear the continuation of the verse: “For they consort with lewd women, and they sacrifice with prostitutes.”


מאי ועם לא יבין ילבט אמר רבי אלעזר אמר להם נביא לישראל אם אתם מקפידין על עצמכם מים בודקין נשותיכם ואם לאו אין המים בודקין נשותיכם


The Gemara turns its attention to the end of the verse. What is the meaning of: “And the people that is without understanding is distraught”? Rabbi Elazar says: The prophet said to the Jewish people: If you are particular about yourselves, the water evaluates your wives; but if not, the water does not evaluate your wives. This would make people distraught, as they would not know how to overcome their suspicion if they are concerned that their wives have been unfaithful.


משרבו בעלי הנאה נתעותו הדינין ונתקלקלו המעשים ואין נוח בעולם משרבו רואי פנים בדין בטל לא תגורו ופסק לא תכירו ופרקו עול שמים ונתנו עליהם עול בשר ודם


§ The Gemara cites statements similar to those of the mishna. From the time when those who accept benefit from others proliferated, the laws became twisted and deeds became corrupted, and there was no comfort in the world. From the time when those who look at the faces of the litigants in judgment, in order to rule based on the appearance of the litigants, proliferated, the fulfillment of the verse: “You shall not fear the face of any man” (Deuteronomy 1:17), ceased, and the fulfillment of the verse: “You shall not respect faces in judgment” (Deuteronomy 1:17), halted, and they removed the yoke of Heaven from themselves, and placed upon themselves the yoke of flesh and blood.


משרבו לוחשי לחישות בדין רבה חרון אף בישראל ונסתלקה השכינה משום שנאמר בקרב אלהים ישפט משרבו אחרי בצעם לבם הלך רבו האומרים לרע טוב ולטוב רע משרבו האומרים לרע טוב ולטוב רע רבו הוי הוי בעולם


From the time when those who whisper whisperings in judgment, advising judges surreptitiously, proliferated, fierce anger proliferated in Israel, and the Divine Presence departed, because it is stated: “God stands in the congregation of God; in the midst of the judges He judges” (Psalms 82:1). The Divine Presence that dwells among judges leaves if they judge improperly. From the time when those who are referred to in the verse: “Their heart goes after their covetousness” (Ezekiel 33:31), proliferated, “Those who say to evil good, and to good evil” (Isaiah 5:20) proliferated, i.e., those who treat wicked people as though they were righteous proliferated as a result. From the time when the fulfillment of the verse: “Those who say to evil good, and to good evil,” proliferated, the cry of: Woe, woe, proliferated in the world. There was an increase in troubles that cause people to cry out.


משרבו מושכי הרוק רבו היהירים ונתמעטו התלמידים והתורה חוזרת על לומדיה משרבו היהירים התחילו בנות ישראל להנשא ליהירים שאין דורינו רואה אלא לפנים


From the time when those who show their arrogance by drawing out spittle proliferated, the number of haughty people in general proliferated, and the number of students decreased, as they would say haughtily that there was nothing left for them to learn, and the Torah needs to go around to seek those who study it, as people do not learn of their own initiative. Furthermore, from the time when haughty people proliferated, the daughters of Israel began marrying haughty men, as our generation looks only at the face, i.e., the external aspects of a person, and ignores the inner aspects of a person.


איני והאמר מר האי מאן דמיהר אפילו אאינשי ביתיה לא מיקבל שנאמר גבר יהיר ולא ינוה לא ינוה אפילו בנוה שלו מעיקרא קפצה עליה לסוף מיתזיל עלייהו


The Gemara raises a difficulty: Is that so? Do women wish to marry arrogant men? But didn’t the Master say: One who is haughty is not even accepted by the members of his household, as it is stated: “The haughty man abides not” (Habakkuk 2:5)? “Abides [yinaveh] not” means that even in his abode [naveh], he is not accepted. The Gemara explains: Initially, she jumps at the chance to marry him, because he appears to be a great person to her, but in the end, once she gets to know him, he is demeaned in her eyes.


משרבו מטילי מלאי על בעלי בתים רבה השוחד והטיית משפט ופסקה טובה משרבו מקבלני טובתך ומחזקני טובותיך רבו איש הישר בעיניו יעשה שפלים הוגבהו והגבוהים הושפלו ומלכותא אזלא ונולא משרבו צרי עין וטורפי טרף רבו מאמצי הלב וקופצי ידים מלהלוות ועברו על מה שכתוב בתורה השמר לך פן וגו׳


The baraita continues: From the time when there was an increase in those who placed upon homeowners the obligation to designate the profits from merchandise for the upkeep of judges, bribery and corruption of judgment proliferated and good ceased. From the time when those judges and leaders who say: I accept your favor, and: I hold your favor, proliferated, the fulfillment of the verse: “Every man did that which was right in his eyes” (Judges 17:6), proliferated. Lowly ones were raised and lofty ones were lowered, and the monarchy is increasingly on the decline. From the time when misers and those greedy for profit proliferated, those hardened of heart and who closed their hands from lending proliferated, and they transgressed that which is written in the Torah: “You shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your needy brother…Guard yourself in case there is a base thought in your heart…and you do not give him” (Deuteronomy 15:7, 9).


משרבו נטויות גרון ומשקרות עינים רבו מים המרים אלא שפסקו משרבו מקבלי מתנות נתמעטו הימים ונתקצרו השנים דכתיב ושונא מתנת יחיה משרבו זחוחי הלב רבו מחלוקת בישראל משרבו תלמידי שמאי והילל שלא שימשו כל צורכן רבו מחלוקת בישראל ונעשית תורה כשתי תורות משרבו מקבלי צדקה מן הנכרי היו ישראל למעלה והם למטה ישראל לפנים והם לאחור:


From the time when women with “stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes” (Isaiah 3:16) proliferated, the bitter waters of a sota proliferated, as more people were suspected of committing adultery; but they eventually ceased when licentiousness became too widespread. From the time when those who accept gifts proliferated, the days decreased and the years shortened, as it is written: “And he who hates gifts lives” (Proverbs 15:27). From the time when those with boastful [zeḥuḥei] hearts proliferated, dispute proliferated in Israel. From the time when the students of Shammai and Hillel who did not serve their Rabbis sufficiently proliferated, dispute proliferated in Israel, and the Torah became like two Torahs. From the time when those who accept charity from gentiles proliferated, the Jewish people were above and they below; the Jewish people ahead and they behind. This last statement is a euphemism; it was the Jewish people that were below and behind, but the Gemara did not want to say so explicitly.


משמת יוסי בן יועזר כו׳: מאי אשכולות אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל איש שהכל בו: יוחנן כהן גדול העביר הודיית המעשר כו׳: מאי טעמא אמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא לפי שאין נותנין אותו כתיקונו דרחמנא אמר דיהבי ללוים


§ The mishna taught that from the time when Yosei ben Yo’ezer died the clusters ceased. The Gemara poses a question: What is the meaning of clusters [eshkolot]? Rav Yehuda says that Shmuel says: It means a man who contains all [ish shehakol bo] elements of Torah and mitzvot. The mishna further taught that Yoḥanan the High Priest took away the declaration of the tithe. The Gemara poses a question: What is the reason he did this? Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: Because they did not give the tithe in the proper manner as stated by the Torah. In what way is that? As the Merciful One states in the Torah that they should give the first tithe to the Levites,


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