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26. Adultery - Sotah

If a woman is deliberately unfaithful to her husband she becomes forbidden to him and he must divorce her, as it says "Her first husband... cannot take her again to be his wife after she has been defiled"1,a; and she is also forbidden to marry the man with whom she was unfaithful. If a man tells his wife before witnesses that she must not be alone with someone and she disobeys, she also becomes forbidden to both of them. When the Temple exists she can (if they wish) return to her husband by performing the ceremony of drinking the "bitter waters", as it says "If a man's wife strays... he shall bring his wife to the priest and bring her sacrifice with her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour; he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense on it... and [the priest] shall make the woman drink the bitter water...".2,b It is a man's duty to be particular about the habits of the members of his household and to warn them against sin, as it says "And you shall know that your tent is at peace and you shall examine your habitation and not sin".3,c

Sources:

1. Deut. 24:4 a. Geirushin 11:14; Ishus 24:17
2. Num. 5:12-31 b. 1:1-2; 2:1,12; Ishus 24:24
3. Job 5:24 c. 4:19



 

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