Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sacred Waters - Daf 24

The Rambam rules that if the sotah says, “I defiled myself,” the bitter waters are poured out because there is no sanctity in them.

Rav Shach in Avi Ezri asks: How can the Rambam say that there is no sanctity in the water, when he also rules that if the waters remain overnight, they will be disqualified? Evidently, the waters are sacred, for otherwise, it would not be invalidated on account of standing overnight in the ministering vessel!

He answers: When the sotah says that she has been defiled, there is no necessity for the waters any longer, it is therefore regarded as a kodoshim animal that died, which loses its sanctity.

The Mikdash Mordechai questions this from the fact that one is still obligated to treat the dead animal with sanctity! How can the Rambam rule that the waters should just be spilled out? It should be poured into the special drain designated for sacred liquids!

He answers that a sacrificial offering that died retains its sanctity because halachically the korban is still required to be offered, but this particular animal is not suitable to be brought any longer. However, when the woman says, “I have defiled myself,” the waters accomplished its mission; although not in the most direct manner. The sotah admitted because she was frightened from the affects of the water. Since the waters brought about its intended result, it has fulfilled its assignment, and therefore, it does not retain any sanctity.