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SOTAH 38 (28 Sivan) - Dedicated in memory of Hagaon Rav Yisroel Zev (ben Rav Avrohom Tzvi) Gustman, zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Netzach Yisrael-Ramailes (Vilna-Brooklyn-Yerushalayim), author of "Kuntresei Shi'urim" and renowned Dayan in pre-war and post-war Vilna, on his 17th Yahrzeit. Dedicated by Harav Avraham Feldman of Yerushalayim, Dr. Yehoshua Daniel of Efrat, and Rabbis Eliezer and Zalman Stern of New York, who merited to study under the Rosh Yeshiva zt"l in Yerushalayim.


The explicit name of Hashem was mentioned during Birchas Kohanim in the Mikdash, but not in the Medinah.
In the Medinah the Kohanim lifted their hands at the height of their shoulders and in the Mikdash they lifted their hands above their heads. (1)
The Kohen Gadol did not lift his hand above the Tzitz; Rebbi Yehudah says even the Kohen Gadol lifted his hands above the Tzitz.
The Birchas Kohanim must be recited in Lashon ha'Kodesh while standing and lifting the hands.
The Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash may be done only while the Kohen is standing.
The Kohanim bless all of Bnei Yisrael including Gerim, women and freed servants.
Birchas Kohanim must be recited face to face and with a loud voice.
If there are at least two Kohanim they are called prior to the Nesi'us Kapayim.
Rebbi Chisda says that only a Kohen may call the Kohanim prior to the Nesi'us Kapayim, but not a Yisrael. (2)
Hashem Yisbarach desires the Nesi'us Kapayim.
A Kohen who blesses Klal Yisrael will be blessed, but otherwise he will not be blessed.
A Kohen who does not go up for the Nesi'us Kapayim transgresses three Mitzvos Aseh.
If a Kohen never goes up for the Nesi'us Kapayim we suspect that he is a Chalal.
If a Kohen did not move his feet to start going to the Nesi'us Kapayim by the end of Birchas Avodah he may no longer go up.
If a Kohen is a Sheli'ach Tzibur he may not go up for the Nesi'us Kapayim unless he is certain that he will be capable of completing the Shemoneh Esreh.
A Kos Shel Berachah is only given to a person with a good eye.
Even birds recognize people who are stingy. (3)
Rebbi Yehoshua Ben Levi says that it is an Isur Lav to benefit from a stingy person. (4)
An Eglah Arufah is brought as a result of stinginess.
The elders of the Beis Din say over the Eglah Arufah that we did not dismiss him without Mezonos or without Leviyah (escort).
If the entire Minyan consists of Kohanim, if there are exactly ten Kohanim they all recite the Birchas Kohanim. (5)
If there are more than a Minyan of Kohanim, ten Kohanim should stay back and answer Amen to the Birchas Kohanim.
The people behind the Kohanim are not included in the Birchas Kohanim, if it is possible for them to come to the front.
Tall people, a Teivah and a partition do not separate the Kohanim from the people.


1. Since in the Beis ha'Mikdash they mentioned the explicit name of Hashem Yisbarach they lifted their hands to the Shechinah.
2. The Halachah does not follow Rebbi Chisda.
3. They will refuse to eat the food that is placed in a trap by stingy people.
4. Rebbi Nachman Bar Yitzchak says that there are two Isurei Lav.
5. The blessing of the Kohanim is for the people in the fields that were unable to come to the Beis ha'Keneses.


The Gemara says that just as a Kohen who does the Avodah must stand so too a Kohen must stand during Nesi'us Kapayim. The Tosfos Shantz says that even though Nesi'us Kapayim is compared to the Avodah, a Kohen Ba'al Teshuvah who was a Meshumad may perform the Nesi'us Kapayim even though he is Pasul for Avodah. A Kohen Meshumad is only Pasul for Avodah in the Beis ha'Mikdash not in the Mishkan consequently he is also Kosher for Nesi'us Kapayim. However the Rambam says that a Kohen who worshipped Avodah Zarah, or was a Mumar for Avodah Zarah may not perform the Nesi'us Kapayim even though he did Teshuvah.


If there is only one Kohen he starts the blessing on his own and the Shali'ach Tzibur recites the blessing to him word for word. If there are two Kohanim or more they shall not start reciting the Berachah until the Shali'ach Tzibur calls them by saying Kohanim. (Rambam Hilchos Birchas Kohanim 14:8)

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