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SOTAH 46 (6 Tamuz) - In loving memory of David Mizrahi (David ben Adele), whose warmth and kindness made him loved by all. Your memory is with us always. By his brother in law, Michael M. Missry.


The Kohanim declare: “Hashem forgive Your people Yisrael, whom You redeemed, and innocent blood should not remain amidst Your people Yisrael” (Devarim 21:8).
The Divine Spirit informs them: When you shall do this procedure, the blood shall be forgiven.
The Parah Adumah is not disqualified by years, as it may be of any age, and yet a blemish disqualifies it.
An Eglah Arufah is disqualified by years, as it is valid only until two years of age, but a blemish does not disqualify it.
Rav Yehudah cites Rav: If he placed a bundle of sacks on a Parah Adumah, it is immediately disqualified from being used.
An Eglah Arufah is not disqualified by labor until it pulls and moves the burden.
Many offerings may be brought only in their first or second year; but not if they are blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wart, or scabbed, or scurvy (Vayikra 22:22).
One may sacrifice sacred animals that have been used for labor, not only permitted labor, but even if they were used for prohibited labor, e.g., on Shabbos; and even if one performed labor with them when they were already sacred.
Not only a yoke (Bamidbar 19:2), but any other types of labor also disqualify the Parah Adumah.
Parah Adumah upon which a yoke is placed is disqualified, whether the yoke was on the animal at the time of performing labor or whether it was on the animal not at the time of performing labor.
Types of labor, other than a bearing a yoke, disqualify the animal only at the time of actually performing labor.
How far must the animal pull the yoke for it to be disqualified? Like the measure of the size of a full yoke according to its width, which is a handbreadth.
In the case of commercial transactions, a buyer may retract his purchase if the yoke he was given is less than a handbreadth wide.
The Torah says to bring an Eglah Arufah because Hashem is saying: Let something that did not produce fruit, i.e., a heifer that has not given birth, come and have its neck be broken at a Nachal Eisan, which is a place that does not produce fruit, and atone for the murder of one who was not given an opportunity to produce fruit.
The fruit that he was not given an opportunity to produce is not having more children, because for an elderly person or a eunuch we do perform Eglah Arufah. Rather, the killer deprived the victim of the opportunity to perform additional Mitzvos.
They break the neck of the Eglah from behind with a cleaver, like the Arufah stated with regard to the bird brought as a Chatas (see Vayikra 5:8).
It is prohibited for the ground (where the Eglah Arufah was performed) to be sown or to be worked (1).
Other types of labor performed on the land itself are also prohibited. But it is permitted to comb flax there or to cut stones there, since they are not done on the land itself.
The Zekeinim of the city would then wash their hands over the place where the heifer’s neck was broken.
The Ziknei ha'Beis Din say: Our hands did not spill this blood, nor did our eyes see” (Devarim 21:7). Not that the Zekeinim are suspected of spilling blood, but they are declaring that they did not let the victim take leave without food and accompaniment. In other words, they took care of all his needs and are not responsible for his death even indirectly.
Rabbi Meir says: One who does not want to accompany another is nevertheless required to do so, as the reward for accompaniment is without measure.
When the Jewish people laid siege to the city of Bethel a man came out of the city and showed the Jewish people the entrance to the city (Shoftim 1:25), and they spared him even though they killed the entire city.
The man built the city Luz (Shoftim 1:26), where blue wool is dyed, which Sancheriv did not disarrange, Nevuchadnetzar did not destroy, and the angel of death has no permission to pass through.
Luz's elders, when they have decided that they have reached the end of life, go outside the city wall and die.
The man did not openly guide those watching the city, but the manner of his guidance is debatable (2).
One who walks along the way without having someone to accompany him should occupy himself with words of Torah.
Due to four steps that Par'oh accompanied Avraham, he enslaved Avraham’s descendants for four hundred years.
Anyone who accompanies his friend four cubits in a city will come to no harm by accompanying him.
A teacher accompanies a student until the outskirts of the city; a friend accompanies a friend until the Shabbos boundary of that city, which is two thousand Amos; and for a student who accompanies his teacher, even further (3).
Any land concerning which Adam decreed that it would be a settled area, was settled; but a land concerning which Adam did not decree that it should be settled, was not settled.
Whoever does not accompany another or will not allow himself to be accompanied is like a spiller of blood and is held responsible for any deaths that occur as a result of his inaction.
Had the inhabitants of Yericho accompanied Elisha, he would not have incited the bears to attack the Ne'arim who mocked him (Melachim II 2:23).
Elisha sweetened the city’s water which ruined their Parnasah since they previously earned their living by providing the city of Yericho with water.
Elisha turned behind him and saw them (4), and he cursed them in the name of Hashem” (Melachim II 2:24).


1. Rebbi Yoshiya says it must be a place which has not previously been worked or sown. Rebbi Yonason says it is only prohibited to sow or work the land from that point onward. For the future, both agree that it is prohibited to sow or work the land; when they disagree is with regard to the past.
2. Chizkiyah says: He twisted his mouth for them, i.e., he showed them the path to the city by moving his lips. Rebbi Yochanan says: He showed them with his finger alone.
3. Up to a Parsah for an ordinary teacher and three Parsah for his most significant teacher.
4. What did he see? Rav says: he literally saw, i.e., he stared and bored his eyes into them. Shmuel says: he saw that all their mothers became pregnant with them on Yom Kippur. Rav Yitzchak Nafcha says: he saw they had locks of hair grown like the gentiles. Rebbi Yochanan says: he saw they did not contain even a small Mitzvah, neither in them nor in their descendants.


Maharsha wants to know why do Chazal emphasize the point that the Eglah which has not produced Peiros should atone for the death of this victim who did not produce Peiros? He answers by citing the Ramban who brings the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim that explains the practical purpose of the whole ceremony of Eglah Arufah, with all the grandeur and assembly of illustrious sages, is to initiate an effort to eventually find the murderer and bring him to justice. Therefore, by announcing the tragedy in such a moving way, it will arouse people's sensitivity and bestir their hearts so as to investigate and find out where the killer might be found.


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