Kenneth Cohen

Sanctity of Marriage

The case of the Sotah, the woman suspected of being unfaithful to her husband, is the only case in the Torah, that is decided by way of a miracle. If the woman is guilty, when she is brought to the Beit Hamikdash and drinks the special concoction prepared for her, she will die.

The Rabbis explain that when the husband is plagued with a “spirit of jealousy,” this is considered a positive way of thinking. He wants to be certain that his marriage remains pure, with no possibility of unfaithfulness. If the wife proves to be innocent, surprisingly, the marriage becomes solidified, and they are blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Although these laws are mainly not applicable today, since we have no Temple, there is one aspect of these rules that do apply today.

If a husband finds out by way of witnesses that she was alone with another man, long enough to commit the sin, he might give her a formal warning in front of two witnesses. He clarifies that she is absolutely forbidden to be alone with this man ever again. If she disobeys, he cannot remain married to her, for there is no longer the Sotah water, to get to the truth.

The subject of Sotah is difficult to understand, but it does point out the sanctity of marriage. Hashem allows His holy name to be erased for the sake of Shalom Bayit. Honesty and loyalty, are two key ingredients in maintaining a sanctified marriage.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at