At our Daf HaYomi Shiur we had a question based on a discussion of what is involved with the actual "Erasure" procedure of the parchment. This question came up during discussion of daf 19. In the Sotah parsha at the end of pasuk 23 (perek 5) it seems to say "...and he (the Kohen) shall erase it "into" the Mei HaMarim. Focusing on the key words from the passuk "U'Mocho el" - erase into, our questions are as follows:
1) Does the Kohen dip the parchment into the water to effect the erasure and let the letters dissolve in the water, seeing as all of it has to dissolve, or does he scrape the letters into the water to effect the erasure and let the letters dissolve in the water, and
2) Is the dissolving of the letters considered the erasing, or only the removal of the letters from the parchment, and the dissolving is something distinct from the erasure?
Azriel Lowenthal, Beitar Illit, Israel
1. The Kohen must effect the erasure, and the writing must be completely erased. If the writing is not erased by putting the parchment in the water, then the Kohen must rub the parchment to totally erase the writing.
2. The erasing is the disappearance of the writing from the parchment.