When a woman who is not the daughter of a kohen marries a man who is a kohen, she becomes part of his household and is allowed to eat teruma, which is permitted only to kohanim. Should their marriage come to an end – i.e. if they divorce or if she becomes widowed and has no children from him – she reverts to her original status and can no longer eat teruma.
The Mishna on our daf teaches that there are five situations related to the case of sota in which the woman suspected of adultery will lose her right to partake of teruma:
- If she says “I am forbidden to you,” indicating that she committed adultery;
- If witnesses come forward and testify that she committed adultery;
- If she refuses to drink the “bitter waters” of the sota;
- If her husband refuses to allow her to drink the “bitter waters”;
- If she and her husband had sexual relations after she had been warned to avoid a certain man and she was found secluded with him.
The Talmud Yerushalmi points out that the first case brought by the Mishna seems to be in agreement with the preliminary approach of the Mishna in Massekhet Nedarim (90b) which teaches that if a woman made a statement that indicated that she could no longer live with her husband, the bet din would obligate him to divorce her and pay her ketuba. Later on, however, the Sages became concerned that a woman who no longer desired to be married to her husband would make one of these claims, so the ruling was changed, and she was no longer trusted with such a claim.
According to the Yerushalmi’s conclusion, the ruling in our Mishna is true even according to the final ruling of the Mishna in Tractate Nedarim, and we must distinguish between a situation where a woman steps forward and says, “Teme’ah ani lekhah” – where the wife of a kohen tells him that she had relations with another man – and the situation in our Mishna where suspicion of infidelity is already a public matter.