Friday, June 13, 2008

Daf: Sotah 15-19

Slowly, slowly, I'm getting to post some of my Sotah notes. Of course, there's a lot to say on 20-21, so that will take more time... As always, please read this with a gemara in front of you to get the full effect.

The gemara indicates what I believe to be the technically correct view, that the Nazir’s חטאת “sin-offering” is not for sin, but is simply brought in the same manner as a regular “sin-offering” and so shares the name. (Ditto for the חטאת יולדת, all homiletics to the contrary.) Tosafot סבר expands upon this major issue of whether a Nazir is considered a “sinner” for having vowed to refrain from wine or not. See also Tosafot to Nazir 2b ואמאי.

See Rashi אלא היא, who defines monogamous sexuality as a special human trait.

The word ונוטל in the mishnah should lose its initial ו.

See Tosafot לרבות – this is very important, I think, as he views Rashi’s selection of a Sifri edition over a Talmudic edition as שיבוש הגירסא, corruption of the manuscript.

At the end of Rashi והלכה בכל דבר we find the interesting proposal of a הלכה למשה מסיני for which there is a pasuk – but the pasuk is considered only an אסמכתא support for it.

In that same Rashi, Rashi’s explanation of “uprooting” vs “adding” appears difficult to justify in the context of the כיסוי הדם and גט cases.

See Tosafot תנא ושייר on the significance of apparently exclusive numbers (“3 things are…”, or “These are the three areas…”) when we are presented with a list of cases).

Toward the end of the page, the term דרבנן is used interestingly, apparently to refer to an idea which is biblical, but is not explicit in the biblical text. We find a similar use in the imperative of rebuking a person who violates a biblical law – we include only biblical laws which are explicit in the biblical text.

Our gemara here (regarding the דם of a certain bird) offers an example of experimentation by the sages to determine physical reality.

See the last Rashi on the page, on the source for גלגול שבועה.

See Rashi’s very interesting explanation of the word מערערין towards the bottom of the page.

See Rashi on דדריה, on the proper respect to show to one’s elder. This matches Tosafot’s comment on Bava Batra 113a that Ben Azzai would never have called Rabbi Akiva "הקרח הזה” “this bald one.”

See Tosafot ורבי יהודה explaining why we don’t use the “scarf method” for her.

Toward the bottom of the page we use the term בריותא and it is sometimes rendered as “health” (vs. רתיתא which refers to weakness), but that is problematic and unlikely, both in terms of spelling and in terms of the leading word מחמת. It seems to me that the word here actually is from ברי, meaning “strong” as in ברי ושמא.

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