Sotah – The Wife Suspected Of Adultery

The Torah has a great way for dealing with such women and such troubled marriages. They have this nifty ritual to be done in front of God and the High Priest where the woman drinks muddy water. If she’s guilty of adultery, her stomach and thighs swell (and I presume she dies). If she’s innocent, she’s unharmed and she goes on to have great kids.

If this ritual was ever carried out, it has not been done in at least 2600 years.

I think that’s a shame. Tens of thousands of innocent wives have been murdered by husbands suspecting them of adultery. Look at the play Othello. If he the ritual of sotah, he wouldn’t have strangled his beautiful wife Desdemona.

It always bothers me when a beautiful woman dies young.

So how has Jewish law and tradition substituted for the ritual of sotah?

I think the Biblical ritual rocks because it takes revenge out of the hands of jealous husbands and gives the matter up to God.

It’s our loss that we don’t have this today. I bet there are thousands of wives who’d love to restore trust and love to their marriage and would be willing to undergo such a ritual.

If by drinking muddy water I could restore love and trust to my marriage, I’d drink it. You could even uncover my hair before the High Priest.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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