Friday, June 13, 2008

Forced to Drink

The Mishna (Daf Yomi: Sotah 20a) had stated: If she had any merit, it would suspend her punishment. Certain merits suspend it for one year; others can suspend it for two years; and others suspend it for three years.

Ben Yehoyadah explains: There are certain mitzvos that can only be fulfilled during the day. If the woman performed such a mitzvah, the merit can delay her punishment for one year, i.e. twelve months, which corresponds to the twelve hours of the day. There are some mitzvos, such as the reading of the Megillah, which apply by day and by night. Performance of such a mitzvah can postpone her punishment for two years, twenty-four months, corresponding to the twenty-four hours of the day and night. There are mitzvos that are applicable for a day, night and a day, such as the mitzvah of fasting on Yom Kippur. The Gemora tells us that one who eats on the ninth day is regarded as if he fasted on the ninth and the tenth (of Tishrei). According to many poskim, the mitzvah of eating on Erev Yom Kippur can only be fulfilled during the day; not the night before. The mitzvah of Shabbos is also a mitzvah which comprises thirty-six hours, since there is a mitzvah to prepare for Shabbos on Friday. If the woman performed these mitzvos, the merits can hold back her punishment for thirty-six months, three years.