Sotah (Talmud)

"Sotah" redirects here. For the test of a woman suspected of adultery, see Ordeal of the bitter water.

Tractate Sotah (Hebrew: שוטה[1] / סוטה) deals with the ordeal of the bitter water—the woman suspected of adultery—as well as other rituals involving speech. In most editions this tractate is the sixth in the order of Nashim, and it is divided into nine chapters. The tractate exists in the Mishna, Tosefta, and both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud.


The mishnayos are devoted in the main to an exact definition of the rules of procedure in the case of a wife who was either actually or supposedly unfaithful. The mishnayos discuss other rituals in which speech is a key component, such as egla arufa, breaking the heifer's neck; Hakheil, the King's septa-annual public Torah reading; and the Blessings and Curses of Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal.


The Tosefta of Sotah is divided into fifteen chapters and contains a large number of aggadic and exegetic interpretations, as well as various historical statements and narratives.


Both Gemaras, Bavli and Yerushalmi, contain many tales and legends, aggadic interpretations, sayings, and proverbs, in addition to their elucidations of Mishnaic passages.


  1. Spelled "שוטה" in Maimonides' manuscript ( This spelling recurs in Rabbi Yosef Qafeh's editions of Maimonides' works.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "SOTAH". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. 

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