ON THAT DAY R. JOSHUA B. HYRCANUS EXPOUNDED, JOB ONLY SERVED etc. But let him see how the word 'lo'2 is spelt; if it is written with lamed and aleph then it means 'not', and if with lamed and waw then it means for Him'!3 But is the meaning 'not' wherever the spelling is lamed and aleph? Can it apply to: In all their affliction there was affliction to Him?4 [The word 'lo', 'to Him'] is spelt lamed and aleph, but does it here also signify 'not'! And should you say that here too [it means 'not'], behold it continues with: And the angel of His presence saved them!5 But sometimes it has one meaning and at other times the other meaning.
It has been taught: R. Meir Says: It is declared of Job one that feared God,6 and it is declared of Abraham thou fearest God;7 just as 'fearing God' with Abraham indicates from love, so 'fearing God' with Job indicates from love. Whence, however, have we it in connection with Abraham himself [that he was motived by love]? As it is written: The seed of Abraham who loved Me.8 What difference is there between one who acts from love and one who acts from fear? — The difference is that indicated in this teaching: R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: Greater is he who acts from love than he who acts from fear, because with the latter [the merit] remains effective for a thousand generations but with the former it remains effective for two thousand generations. Here it is written: Unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments9 and elsewhere it is written: And keep His commandments to a thousand generations.10 But in this latter passage it is likewise written: 'With them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations! — In the first verse cited [the word 'thousand'] is attached [to them that love Me,] whereas in the second verse [cited the word 'thousand'] is attached [to keep His commandments].11
Two disciples were once sitting in the presence of Raba. One said to him, In my dream they read to me, O how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee.12 The other said to him, In my dream they read to me, But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice, let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them; let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee.13 He replied to them, Both of you are completely righteous Rabbis, but one is actuated by love and the other by fear.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN WARNED HIS WIFE AND SHE SECLUDED HERSELF [WITH ANOTHER MAN], EVEN IF HE HEARD [THAT SHE HAD DONE SO] FROM A FLYING BIRD,14 HE DIVORCES HER AND GIVES HER THE MARRIAGE-SETTLEMENT.15 SUCH IS THE STATEMENT OF R. ELIEZER. R. JOSHUA SAYS: [HE DOES NOT DO THIS] UNTIL WOMEN WHO SPIN BY MOONLIGHT DISCUSS HER.16
IF ONE WITNESS SAID, I SAW THAT SHE COMMITTED MISCONDUCT, SHE DOES NOT DRINK THE WATER.17 NOT ONLY THAT, BUT EVEN A SLAVE, MALE OR FEMALE,18 IS BELIEVED ALSO TO DISQUALIFY HER FOR THE MARRIAGE-SETTLEMENT. HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, HER MOTHER-IN-LAW'S DAUGHTER, HER ASSOCIATE-WIFE,19 HER SISTER-IN-LAW20 AND HER STEPDAUGHTER21 ARE BELIEVED, NOT TO DISQUALIFY HER FOR THE MARRIAGE-SETTLEMENT BUT THAT SHE SHOULD NOT DRINK.
IT22 IS A PROPER CONCLUSION THAT IF THE FIRST EVIDENCE [THAT THE WOMAN HAD SECLUDED HERSELF WITH THE MAN], WHICH DOES NOT PROHIBIT HER [TO HER HUSBAND] FOR ALL TIME,23 IS NOT ESTABLISHED BY FEWER THAN TWO WITNESSES, IS IT NOT RIGHT THAT THE FINAL EVIDENCE [THAT SHE HAD MISCONDUCTED HERSELF] WHICH PROHIBITS HER TO HIM FOR ALL TIME, SHOULD NOT BE ESTABLISHED BY FEWER THAN TWO WITNESSES! THEREFORE THERE IS A TEXT TO STATE, AND THERE BE NO WITNESS AGAINST HER,24 I.E., WHATEVER [EVIDENCE] THERE MAY BE AGAINST HER [IS BELIEVED, EVEN IF IT BE ONLY ONE WITNESS]. AND WITH RESPECT TO THE FIRST EVIDENCE [ABOUT HER SECLUSION WITH THE MAN, THAT ONE WITNESS SUFFICES MAY BE ARGUED BY] A FORTIORI REASONING AS FOLLOWS IF
Sotah 31bTHE FINAL EVIDENCE [REGARDING MISCONDUCT], WHICH PROHIBITS HER TO HER HUSBAND FOR ALL TIME, IS ESTABLISHED BY ONE WITNESS, IS IT NOT PROPER THAT THE FIRST EVIDENCE, WHICH DOES NOT PROHIBIT HER TO HIM FOR ALL TIME, SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED BY ONE WITNESS! THEREFORE THERE IS A TEXT TO STATE, BECAUSE HE HATH FOUND SOME UNSEEMLY MATTER IN HER,1 AND ELSEWHERE IT STATES, AT THE MOUTH OF TWO WITNESSES, OR AT THE MOUTH OF THREE WITNESSES, SHALL A MATTER BE ESTABLISHED;2 AS THE 'MATTER' MENTIONED IN THIS LATTER CASE MUST BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO WITNESSES, SO ALSO HERE [IN THE CASE OF THE SUSPECTED WOMAN] THE 'MATTER' MUST BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO WITNESSES.
IF ONE WITNESS SAYS THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF AND ANOTHER WITNESS SAYS THAT SHE DID NOT,3 OR IF A WOMAN SAYS [OF HER] THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF AND ANOTHER WOMAN SAYS THAT SHE DID NOT, SHE DRINKS THE WATER. IF ONE WITNESS SAYS THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF AND TWO SAY THAT SHE DID NOT, SHE DRINKS THE WATER. IF TWO SAY THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF AND ONE SAYS THAT SHE DID NOT, SHE DOES NOT DRINK IT.
GEMARA. [Why does the teacher in the Mishnah use] the Scriptural text: 'Because he hath found some unseemly matter in her'? He should have used [the teaching]: 'Against her' — i.e., 'against her' [in the matter of misconduct] but not in the matter of warning, 'against her' [in the matter of misconduct] but not in the matter of seclusion!4 — He does also intend to say this: Therefore there is a text to state 'against her' — i.e., 'against her' [in the matter of misconduct] but not in the matter of warning, 'against her' [in the matter of misconduct] but not in the matter of seclusion. Whence, however, have we it that one witness is not believed in an ordinary charge of infidelity where there was neither warning nor seclusion? Here [in connection with infidelity] the word 'matter' occurs and it also occurs [in the law of evidence]; as with the latter [a charge is established] by two witnesses so [is the former established] by two witnesses.
IF ONE WITNESS SAYS THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF. The reason [why one witness is not accepted] is because there is another who contradicts him; but where nobody contradicts him one witness is believed — Whence have we this rule? Because our Rabbis have taught: 'And there be no witness against her' — the text refers to two witnesses. You say that it refers to two witnesses; but perhaps it is not so and even one [suffices]! There is a teaching to declare, One witness shall not rise up against a man etc.5 From the fact that it is stated: '[A] witness shall not rise up against a man,' do I not know that one is intended? Why is there a teaching to declare one witness'? This establishes the rule that wherever it is stated witness, it signifies two unless the text specifies 'one', and [in the case under discussion] the All-Merciful declares that when there are not two witnesses against her but only one, 'and she has not been violated,' she is forbidden [to her husband].6
But since, according to the Torah one witness is believed, how is it possible for another to contradict him? Surely 'Ulla has said: Wherever the Torah accepts the testimony of one witness, he is regarded as two, and the evidence of one is of no account when opposed by two!7 — But, said 'Ulla, read the Mishnah as, 'She does not drink';8 and R. Isaac similarly declared that she does not drink, but R. Hiyya said that she does drink. The view of 'Ulla creates a difficulty against the statement of R. Hiyya!9 — There is no difficulty; one statement refers to evidence given simultaneously10 and the other when one witness follows the other.11
We learnt: IF ONE WITNESS SAYS THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF AND TWO SAY THAT SHE DID NOT, SHE DRINKS THE WATER. Consequently if there was one [against her] and one [for her], she would not drink; this is a refutation of R. Hiyya! — R. Hiyya can reply: And according to your view [that she does not drink] consider the next clause: IF TWO SAY THAT SHE MISCONDUCTED HERSELF AND ONE SAYS THAT SHE DID NOT, SHE DOES NOT DRINK IT. Consequently if there was one [against her] and one [for her], she would drink! But the whole [of this section of Mishnah] refers to disqualified witnesses,12 and it is R. Nehemiah's teaching; for it has been taught: R. Nehemiah says: 'Wherever the Torah accepts the testimony of one witness, [the decision] follows the majority of persons [who testify]', so that two women against one man is identical with two men against one man. But there are some who declare that wherever a com petent witness came [and testified] first, even a hundred women are regarded as equal to one witness;13
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