The Sotah Ritual Revisited

Rabbi Avi Strausberg

Modern Responses (Part 2)

For many a modern reader, the sotah ritual of the Torah, in which a woman suspected of adultery is forced to undergo a humiliating ritual to reveal her guilt (or innocence), demands explanation. In this two-part session, we'll first attempt to understand the ritual and its treatment through the Torah, Mishnah and Talmud, as we witness the Sages grapple with this ritual and struggle to understand if and how it should be practiced. Between the Mishnah and Talmud, we'll uncover a diversity of Rabbinic responses in which different voices attempt to enforce, mitigate, and banish this ritual. In the second session, we'll turn to the modern midrash of Ruth Calderon and the artwork of Ofri Canaani in which these modern women bring their own perspectives and voices to a ritual in which originally the accused woman was forced to submit in her silence.