SOTAH 23-25 - A week of study material has been dedicated by Mrs. Rita Grunberger of Queens, N.Y., in loving memory of her husband, Reb Yitzchok Yakov (Irving) ben Eliyahu Grunberger. Irving Grunberger helped many people quietly in an unassuming manner and is dearly missed by all who knew him. His Yahrzeit is 10 Sivan.

[24a - 37 lines; 24b - 18 lines]

1)[line 1]ונתינהNESINAH (NESINIM)

(a)In the times of Yehoshua, the Giv'onim (members of the Chivi nation, one of the seven nations whom the Jewish People were commanded to destroy upon entering Eretz Yisrael) came and presented themselves before Yehoshua as if they came from a far-off land. Since they claimed not to be residents of Eretz Yisrael, they requested to be converted and to make peace with the Jewish People. After Yehoshua agreed to accept them, it was discovered that they were one of the seven prohibited nations. Having already accepted them, Yehoshua did not want to break his oath and covenant with them (even though they tricked him and the oath was uttered in error) so as not to cause a Chilul HaSh-m. Yehoshua accepted them and appointed them to be woodchoppers and water drawers to supply the needs for the sacrificial service on the Mizbe'ach (Yehoshua 9:3-27). In the times of Moshe Rabeinu, Giv'onim also came to be converted as they did in the times of Yehoshua, and Moshe also made them woodchoppers and water drawers (Yevamos 79a, based on Devarim 29:10). These people became known as "Nesinim," (from the root "Nasan," to give) since they were "given over" by Moshe and Yehoshua ("va'Yitenem..." - "And he appointed them..." (Yehoshua 9:27)) to perform the tasks of chopping wood and drawing water.

(b)The Nesinim are not permitted to marry someone who was born Jewish, just like Mamzerim. RASHI and TOSFOS (Kesuvos 29a and elsewhere) argue as to whether they are prohibited mid'Oraisa or mid'Rabanan. We find that the Gemara (Yevamos 79a) states that Moshe Rabeinu "decreed" regarding the Nesinim of his generation, and Yehoshua extended the "decree" to last as long as the Mishkan or Beis ha'Mikdash would stand. David ha'Melech later extended the "decree" to include all time, even if the Beis ha'Mikdash would be destroyed (because of the trait of cruelty that the Nesinim exhibited, which showed that they were not worthy of uniting with the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yakov). According to Rashi, these decrees were prohibitions against marriage, and as such the prohibition against marrying Nesinim is an Isur mid'Rabanan. According to Tosfos, these decrees were appointments of servitude. The prohibition against marrying them, though, is mid'Oraisa, since the Torah commands against marrying the seven prohibited nations even if they convert to Judaism (Yevamos 76a).

2)[line 5]אמר בעלהAMAR BA'ALAH- in these next two cases, the Sotah does not drink because of the actions of her husband. As such, she receives the value of her Kesuvah.

3)[line 8]או שותות או לא נוטלות כתובתןO SHOSOS O NOTLOS KESUVASAN- that is, since they do not drink, they will not receive the value of their Kesuvos

4)[line 9]מעוברת חבירו ומניקת חבירוME'UBERES CHAVEIRO U'MENEKES CHAVEIRO- a woman who was pregnant or nursing when her first husband divorced her or died. Her second husband married her (against the Halachah) before the baby was weaned.

5)[line 11]להפרישה ולהחזירה לאחר זמןL'HAFRISHAH UL'HACHZIRAH L'ACHAR ZEMAN- to divorce her and remarry her after the time [that it takes of the baby to be weaned]

6)[line 12]איילוניתAILONIS- a woman who is incapable of conception. This word is derived from the word "Ayil," a ram, which is a male sheep and does not have a womb (Kesuvos 11a)

7)[line 17]סריס אדם/סריס חמהSERIS ADAM / SERIS CHAMAH

(a)A Seris is a man who cannot have children. The Torah (Devarim 23:2) calls a Seris either a Petzu'a Daka or a Kerus Shafchah, depending upon the parts of his body that are flawed.

(b)If a person became a Seris through unnatural means, whether at the hands of another person or as a result of an injury, he is called a "Seris Adam." A Seris Adam is prohibited by the Torah to marry a Jewish woman (ibid.). However he may marry a convert or a freed maidservant (Yevamos 76a). If a person is born a Seris, he is called a Seris Chamah, and is permitted to marry into the Jewish people (Yevamos 75b). This is the case to which our Mishnah refers. A Seris Adam usually cannot be healed, while a Seris Chamah can be healed (Mishnah Yevamos 79b). If a person became a Seris through disease, the RAMBAM (Hil. Isurei Bi'ah 16:9) rules that he is considered a Seris Chamah and permitted to marry into the Jewish people, but the ROSH (Yevamos 8:2, based on the words of RASHI Yevamos 75b DH b'Yedei Shamayim) considers him a Seris Adam and prohibits him to marry into the Jewish people.

(c)A Seris does not develop normal pubic hair, the normal sign of Halachic puberty ("Gadlus"). He is considered to have reached Halachic puberty upon reaching the age of twenty, if he displays the various symptoms by which a Seris may be recognized (which are listed in Yevamos 80b). The Amora'im argue as to whether just one or all of the symptoms are necessary to pronounce a man a Seris. At that point, some Amora'im say that he is deemed to have reached puberty retroactively from the age of 13 (see Yevamos 80a). If he does not display the symptoms of a Seris, he is not pronounced a Seris, and not considered to have reached Halachic puberty until he reaches the age of 35 and one day. (See Yevamos Chart #24.)

8)[line 27]דתניא תחת אישך פרט לארוסהD'TANYA TACHAS ISHECH PRAT L'ARUSAH- this Beraisa discusses whether an Arusah or a Shomeres Yavam drinks the Mei Sotah and expounds the words of the verse, "Tachas Ishech"

9)[line 33]דקידושי דידיהD'KIDUSHEI DIDEI- since the Arus who was Mekanei her was the one who betrothed her

10)[line 34]וסוקלין על ידוV'SOKLIN AL YADO (NA'ARAH HA'ME'URASAH)

(a)If someone has relations with a married woman after not heeding the warning of two witnesses, he is put to death by Chenek (choking), as it states in the Torah (Devarim 22:22). If the woman had relations willingly, she too is put to death by Chenek.

(b)However, in one instance the Torah prescribes a different punishment (Devarim 22:23-24). If the woman was a Na'arah Besulah Me'urasah (a virgin during the first six months after reaching her physical maturity (Na'arus), who has been betrothed through Eirusin (Kidushin) but has not entered the stage of Nisu'in - i.e. she has not moved into her husband's house yet), the man who had relations with her is put to death by Sekilah (stoning). If the woman had relations with him willingly, she too is put to death by Sekilah.

11)[last line]ואשת שעמוםV'ESHES SHI'AMUM- and the wife of a man smitten with dementia


12)[line 13]דהאמר רב קנה לכלDEHA'AMAR RAV, KANAH LA'KOL (YIBUM)

(a)If a married man dies childless, his widow must undergo Yibum (the marriage of a dead man's brother with his wife), as it states in Devarim 25:5-10. Chazal learn from the verses that there is a preference for the oldest brother to perform Yibum.

(b)If the brother chooses not to marry her, he must perform Chalitzah (a procedure in Beis Din that absolves her of the Mitzvah of Yibum - ibid.). He appears before a Beis Din of three and states, "I do not want to marry her," after which his sister-in-law approaches him before the elders, takes off his right sandal, and spits in front of him. She then declares, "This is what shall be done to the man who will not build up a family for his brother," and she is then free to marry whomever she wants.

(c)The connection of the brother to the dead man's wife, which obligates one of the two, is called Zikah. It is comparable to the state of Eirusin (betrothal) before a marriage. The Tana of the Mishnah from Yevamos rules that the Zikah "connects" the Yevamah with all of the brothers, not only the oldest. While the Yevamah is waiting for Yibum or Chalitzah, she is called a Shomeres Yavam.

13)[line 14]לדברים האמורים בפרשהL'DEVARIM HA'AMURIM BA'PARSHAH- for the Halachos that are mentioned in the verses of the Torah with regard to Yibum, namely, that if Yibum is performed the Yavam does not perform Chalitzah and that the brother who performs Yibum inherits the dead brother's estate

14)[last line]למעוטהLI'ME'UTAH- that is, to exclude Shomeres Yavam