Talmud Tips

For the week ending 14 November 2015 / 2 Kislev 5776

Sotah 23 - 29

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

“Just as a Sotah (suspected adulteress) is forbidden to remain with her husband, so too is she forbidden to the man she is suspected of committing adultery with.”

This halacha is taught in our mishna and is based on special derivations from verses as explained in this mishna and in the gemara (28a). It is codified in Shulchan Aruch Even Ha’ezer 178:17, where it is clarified that even if she marries the suspected adulterer after receiving a get from her husband, and even if she has children with the second husband, she is forbidden to remain with him.

  • Sotah 27b

“And (when) the husband is free of guilt, the water checks his wife; if the husband is not free of guilt, the water does not check his wife.”

This teaching is found in a beraita and is learned from the verse that the beraita cites: “And (when) the husband is clear from transgression, and that woman will receive her punishment”. Rashi explains that the word “when” is not written explicitly in the verse to teach that the husband should not worry and think that he is responsible for the fatal consequences his wife suffers; rather it is a Divine punishment. Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch writes that the husband must be free of guilt, since it would not be correct to expect G-d to publicly inform of his wife’s immorality if he is also guilty of the same immorality.

  • Sotah 28a

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