Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to content

Today's Daf Yomi

November 15, 2017 | כ״ו במרחשון תשע״ח

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Joanna Rom and Steven Goldberg in loving memory of Steve's mother Shirley "Nana" Goldberg (Sura Tema bat Chaim v'Hanka)

Makkot 10

Where were the cities set up?  They were chosen for geographical reasons.  There are certain criteria for the cities that they not be too small, too large, they have a water supply, a shuk, etc. to allow for proper protection and so that one does not need to leave the city for anything – even one’s rabbi needs to go to the city with him.  Weapons can’t be sold there and other implements that could be used to kill the killer.  The gemara digresses to discussing the importance of learning Torah and learning as part of a community.  Reish Lakish explains a verse in the Torah that God orchestrates things from above that one who kills accidentally and no one knows, and one who kills on purpose without witnesses, will both end up in the same place and the murderer will get killed accidentally by the one who killed accidentally before and each will then get their punishment they are deserving of.  If the relative kills the killer on the way to the city of refuge, does he receive a death penalty?

דכתיב גלעד קרית פעלי און עקבה מדם מאי עקבה מדם אמר רבי אלעזר שהיו עוקבין להרוג נפשות

Therefore, a greater number of cities of refuge per capita were required there, as it is written: “Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity; it is covered [akuba] with blood” (Hosea 6:8). What is the meaning of: Covered [akuba] with blood? Rabbi Elazar says: It means that they would set an ambush [okevin] to kill people.

ומאי שנא מהאי גיסא ומהאי גיסא דמרחקי ומאי שנא מציעאי דמקרבי

The Gemara asks: And what is different about the cities of refuge closest to the border on this southern side of the country and from the border on that northern side of the country, that are distanced one-quarter of the length of Eretz Yisrael from the border, and what is different about the city of refuge in the middle of the country, which is relatively close to any potential murderers? The maximum distance that one would need to travel to reach the middle city is one-half the distance from the northern and southern borders to their respective cities of refuge.

אמר אביי בשכם נמי שכיחי רוצחים דכתיב וכחכי איש גדודים חבר כהנים דרך ירצחו שכמה וגו׳ מאי חבר כהנים אמר רבי אלעזר שהיו מתחברין להרוג נפשות ככהנים הללו שמתחברין לחלוק תרומות בבית הגרנות

Abaye said: Murderers are also common in Shechem, as it is written: “And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so does the band of priests; they murder in the way toward Shechem, yes, they commit enormity” (Hosea 6:9). What is the meaning of “the band of priests”? Rabbi Elazar says: It means that the people would band together to kill people, like those priests who band together to distribute teruma among themselves in the granaries.

ותו ליכא והא כתיב ועליהם תתנו ארבעים ושתים עיר אמר אביי הללו קולטות בין לדעת בין שלא לדעת הללו לדעת קולטות שלא לדעת אינן קולטות

The Gemara asks: And are there no more cities of refuge beyond these six? But isn’t it written: “And the cities that you shall give to the Levites: The six cities of refuge you shall give for the murderer to flee there, and beyond them you shall give forty-two cities” (Numbers 35:6), indicating that the status of all the Levite cities is that of cities of refuge? Abaye said: With regard to these six cities designated specifically for this purpose, unintentional murderers in need of refuge are admitted there whether they entered the cities deliberately, aware that they are cities of refuge, or whether they entered inadvertently. By contrast, with regard to those forty-two Levite cities, unintentional murderers are admitted only if they entered the cities deliberately, but if they entered the cities inadvertently, they are not admitted to the cities.

וחברון עיר מקלט הוא והכתיב ויתנו לכלב את חברון כאשר דבר משה אמר אביי פרוודהא דכתיב ואת שדה העיר ואת חצריה נתנו לכלב בן יפנה

The Gemara asks: And is Hebron a city of refuge? But isn’t it written: “And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had spoken” (Judges 1:20)? This indicates that Hebron belonged to Caleb from the tribe of Judah, and it was not a Levite city. Abaye said: Its suburbs [parvadaha] were given to Caleb; the city itself was a city of priests, as it is written in the context of the distribution of the Levite cities: “And they gave them Kiryat Arba…which is Hebron…and the field of the city and its courtyards they gave to Caleb, son of Jephunneh” (Joshua 21:11–12).

וקדש עיר מקלט הואי והכתיב וערי מבצר הצדים צר וחמת רקת וכנרת וגו׳ וקדש ואדרעי ועין חצור ותניא ערים הללו אין עושין אותן לא טירין קטנים ולא כרכים גדולים אלא עיירות בינוניות אמר רב יוסף תרתי קדש הואי אמר רב אשי כגון סליקום ואקרא דסליקום

The Gemara further asks: And is Kadesh a city of refuge? But isn’t it written: “And the fortified cities were Ziddim Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth…and Kedesh and Edrei and En Hazor” (Joshua 19:35–37), and it is taught in a baraita: With regard to these cities of refuge, one does not establish them in small settlements [tirin] or in large cities; rather, one establishes them in intermediate-sized towns? Apparently, Kadesh was a large, fortified city. Rav Yosef said: There were two cities named Kedesh, and the one listed among the fortified cities in the book of Joshua is not the one that was a city of refuge. Rav Ashi said: The listing of Kadesh among the fortified cities is not difficult, as it is similar to the two adjacent yet separate cities of Selikum and the fortification [ve’akra] of Selikum. Likewise, there was the fortified city of Kadesh, mentioned in Joshua, and the city itself, which was an intermediate city that served as city of refuge.

גופא ערים הללו אין עושין אותן לא טירין קטנים ולא כרכין גדולים אלא עיירות בינוניות ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום מים ואם אין שם מים מביאין להם מים ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום שווקים ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום אוכלוסין נתמעטו אוכלוסיהן מוסיפין עליהן נתמעטו דיוריהן מביאין להם כהנים לוים וישראלים

§ The Gemara discusses the matter itself, and it cites the complete baraita: With regard to these cities of refuge, one does not establish them in small settlements or in large cities; rather, one establishes them in intermediate-sized towns. And one establishes them only in a place where water is available, and if there is no water available there, as there is no spring accessible from the city, one brings them water by digging a canal. And one establishes them only in a place where there are markets, and one establishes them only in a populated place, where there are many people who regularly frequent the town. If the population of the surrounding areas diminishes, one adds to it. If the number of residents in the city of refuge itself diminishes, one brings new residents to the city, among them priests, Levites, and Israelites.

ואין מוכרין בהן לא כלי זיין ולא כלי מצודה דברי רבי נחמיה וחכמים מתירין ושוין שאין פורסין בתוכן מצודות ואין מפשילין לתוכן חבלים כדי שלא תהא רגל גואל הדם מצויה שם

The baraita continues: And one may not sell weapons or hunting tools in the cities of refuge, to prevent the blood redeemer from gaining access to means that he could exploit to kill the unintentional murderer who fled to the city of refuge; this is the statement of Rabbi Neḥemya. And the Rabbis permit selling weapons and hunting tools. And Rabbi Neḥemya and the Rabbis agree that one may not spread nets in the cities of refuge, nor may they braid [mafshilin] ropes in those cities, so that the foot of the blood redeemer will not be found there. If the blood redeemer were to enter the city of refuge to purchase nets or ropes, he is apt to encounter the murderer and kill him.

אמר רבי יצחק מאי קרא ונס אל אחת מן הערים האל וחי עביד ליה מידי דתהוי ליה חיותא

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: What is the verse from which these matters are derived? It is written: “And he shall flee to one of these cities and live” (Deuteronomy 4:42), meaning: Perform some actions for the unintentional murderer so that life in the city of refuge will be conducive to living for him. All these steps are taken to facilitate that objective.

תנא תלמיד שגלה מגלין רבו עמו שנאמר וחי עביד ליה מידי דתהוי ליה חיותא אמר רבי זעירא מכאן שלא ישנה אדם לתלמיד שאינו הגון

The Sages taught: In the case of a student who was exiled, his teacher is exiled to the city of refuge with him, so that the student can continue studying Torah with him there, as it is stated: “And he shall flee to one of these cities and live,” from which it is derived: Perform some actions for the unintentional murderer so that life in the city will be conducive to living for him. Since Torah study is an integral component of his life, arrangements must be made to ensure continuity in that facet of his existence. Rabbi Zeira says: From here one learns that a person should not teach a student who is not fit, as that may result in the teacher following the student into exile.

אמר רבי יוחנן הרב שגלה מגלין ישיבתו עמו איני והא אמר רבי יוחנן מנין לדברי תורה שהן קולטין שנאמר את בצר במדבר וגו׳ [וכתיב בתריה] וזאת התורה

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the case of a teacher of Torah who was exiled, his school is exiled with him. The Gemara asks: Is that so that a teacher of Torah is exiled? But doesn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan himself say: From where is it derived that matters of Torah provide refuge, i.e., that the blood redeemer may not harm one who is engaged in Torah? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “Bezer in the wilderness, in the flatlands, for the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites” (Deuteronomy 4:43), in the list of cities of refuge designated by Moses, and it is written thereafter: “And this is the Torah” (Deuteronomy 4:44). Based on that juxtaposition it is derived that the status of Torah is like that of a city of refuge.

לא קשיא הא בעידנא דעסיק בה הא בעידנא דלא עסיק בה

The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as this statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that the status of Torah is like that of a city of refuge, is referring to Torah at the time that one is engaged in its study, and that statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that the teacher of Torah must take his school to the city of refuge, is referring to the teacher of Torah at the time that he is not engaged in its study. His mere presence in a city of refuge provides him with continuous protection.

ואי בעית אימא מאי קולטין ממלאך המות כי הא דרב חסדא הוה יתיב וגריס בבי רב ולא הוה קא יכול שליחא [דמלאכא דמותא] למיקרב לגביה דלא הוה שתיק פומיה מגירסא סליק ויתיב אארזא דבי רב פקע ארזא ושתיק ויכיל ליה

And if you wish, say: What is the meaning of Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement that matters of Torah provide refuge? It means protection, but not for an unintentional murderer from the blood redeemer; rather, it means protection from the Angel of Death. This is as it was in this incident where Rav Ḥisda was sitting and studying in the study hall of Rav and the agent of the Angel of Death was unable to approach him and take his life because his mouth was not silent from his study for even a moment. The agent ascended and sat on the cedar tree of the study hall of Rav. The cedar tree broke and Rav Ḥisda was momentarily silent, startled by the sudden noise, and the agent of the Angel of Death overcame him. Apparently, matters of Torah provide protection from the Angel of Death only when one is actively engaged in their study.

אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי מפני מה זכה ראובן לימנות בהצלה תחלה מפני שהוא פתח בהצלה תחלה שנאמר וישמע ראובן ויצלהו מידם

§ Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: For what reason was Reuben privileged to be enumerated first in the rescue, as the first city of refuge listed is Bezer (see Deuteronomy 4:43), which is located in the tribal portion of Reuben? It is due to the fact that he began the rescue of Joseph first, as it is stated: “And Reuben heard and delivered him from their hands” (Genesis 37:21).

דרש רבי שמלאי מאי דכתיב אז יבדיל משה שלש ערים בעבר הירדן מזרחה [שמש] אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה הזרח שמש לרוצחים איכא דאמרי אמר לו הזרחת שמש לרוצחים

Rabbi Simlai taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Then Moses separated three cities beyond the Jordan, to the east of the sun [mizreḥa shamesh]” (Deuteronomy 4:41)? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Shine the sun [hazraḥ shemesh] for murderers, i.e., provide them with the hope of rescue. Some say that God said to Moses: In designating these cities of refuge you have shined the sun for murderers.

דרש רבי סימאי מאי דכתיב אהב כסף לא ישבע כסף ומי אהב בהמון לא תבואה אהב כסף לא ישבע כסף זה משה רבינו שהיה יודע שאין שלש ערים שבעבר הירדן קולטות עד שלא נבחרו שלש בארץ כנען ואמר מצוה שבאה לידי אקיימנה

On a related note, Rabbi Simai taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase” (Ecclesiastes 5:9)? “He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver”; this is a reference to Moses our teacher, whose love of mitzvot was so great that although he knew that an unintentional murderer would not be admitted to the three cities of refuge that were in the east bank of the Jordan until the three cities of refuge that were in the land of Canaan were selected, and that his designation of cities of refuge would have no practical ramifications in his lifetime, he nevertheless said: When there is a mitzva that has come my way, I will fulfill it.

ומי אהב בהמון לא תבואה למי נאה ללמד בהמון מי שכל תבואה שלו והיינו דאמר רבי אלעזר מאי דכתיב מי ימלל גבורות ה׳ ישמיע כל תהלתו למי נאה (ללמד) [למלל] גבורות ה׳ מי שיכול להשמיע כל תהלתו

The next phrase in that verse: “Nor he who loves abundance with increase,” is also interpreted as referring to Torah: For whom is it fitting to teach an abundance of people? One for whom all its increase belongs to him, i.e., one who knows all the content of the Torah is worthy of teaching it in public. And that is identical to that which Rabbi Elazar says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Who can express the mighty acts of God, or make all His praise heard” (Psalms 106:2)? For whom is it fitting to express the mighty acts of God? It is one who can make all His praise heard. One who knows only part of it is unfit to teach the multitudes.

ורבנן ואיתימא רבה בר מרי אמר מי אהב בהמון לו תבואה כל האוהב למלמד בהמון לו תבואה יהבו ביה רבנן עינייהו ברבא בריה דרבה

And the Rabbis say, and some say Rabba bar Mari says, that the passage “nor he who loves abundance with increase” means whoever loves a Torah scholar who teaches in the presence of an abundance of people, to him shall be increase, i.e., sons who are Torah scholars. The Gemara relates: When they heard that interpretation, the Sages cast their eyes upon Rava, son of Rabba, who loved Torah scholars who disseminate Torah, and he was blessed with sons who were Torah scholars.

(סימן אשי ללמוד רבינא ללמד)

The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the ensuing interpretations of the second part of the verse cited earlier (Ecclesiastes 5:9): Ashi to study, Ravina to teach.

רב אשי אמר כל האוהב ללמוד בהמון לו תבואה והיינו דאמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב חרב אל הבדים ונאלו חרב על צוארי שונאיהם של תלמידי חכמים שיושבין ועוסקין בתורה בד בבד ולא עוד אלא שמטפשין כתיב הכא ונאלו וכתיב התם אשר נואלנו ולא עוד אלא שחוטאין שנאמר ואשר חטאנו ואיבעית אימא מהכא נואלו שרי צען

Rav Ashi says: Anyone who loves to study in abundance, i.e., with many colleagues, to him shall be increase, i.e., he will succeed in his studies. And that is parallel to that which Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the baddim, veno’alu” (Jeremiah 50:36)? It is fitting that a sword be placed on the necks of the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars, who sit and engage in the study of the Torah individually [bad bevad]. Moreover, they grow foolish through individual study, as it is written here: Veno’alu, and it is written there: “For we have been foolish [no’alnu]” (Numbers 12:11). Moreover, they thereby sin, as it is stated immediately thereafter: “And for we have sinned.” And if you wish, say that from here it is derived that no’alu means sinned: “The ministers of Zoan have sinned [no’alu]” (Isaiah 19:13).

רבינא אמר כל האוהב ללמד בהמון לו תבואה והיינו דאמר רבי הרבה תורה למדתי מרבותי ומחבירי יותר מהם ומתלמידי יותר מכולן

Ravina says that there is a different interpretation of the verse cited earlier (Ecclesiastes 5:9): Anyone who loves to teach in abundance, before the multitudes, to him shall be increase, as his Torah knowledge is enhanced through those lectures. And that is the parallel to that which Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Much Torah have I studied from my teachers, and I have learned more from my colleagues than from them, and I have learned more from my students than from all of them.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מאי דכתיב עמדות היו רגלינו בשעריך ירושלם מי גרם לרגלינו שיעמדו במלחמה שערי ירושלם שהיו עוסקים בתורה

Apropos the virtue of Torah study, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Our feet were standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:2)? What caused our feet to withstand the enemies in war? It is the gates of Jerusalem, where they were engaged in Torah study. He interprets the term “in your gates” to mean: Because of your gates, the place of justice and Torah.

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מאי דכתיב שיר המעלות לדוד שמחתי באמרים לי בית ה׳ נלך אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שמעתי בני אדם שהיו אומרים מתי ימות זקן זה ויבא שלמה בנו ויבנה בית הבחירה ונעלה לרגל ושמחתי אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא כי טוב יום בחצריך מאלף טוב לי יום אחד שאתה עוסק בתורה לפני מאלף עולות שעתיד שלמה בנך להקריב לפני על גבי המזבח

And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A song of the ascents to David: I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of God” (Psalms 122:1)? David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I heard people who were saying in reference to me: When will this old man die, and Solomon his son will come and succeed him and build the Temple and we will ascend there for the pilgrimage Festival? It was common knowledge that the Temple would be constructed by David’s successor. David continued: And despite my pain that I am not privileged to build the Temple, I rejoiced. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: “For better is one day in your courtyard than one thousand” (Psalms 84:11), meaning, I prefer one day during which you engage in the study of Torah before Me than the one thousand burnt-offerings that your son Solomon is destined to sacrifice before Me upon the altar (see I Kings 3:4).

ומכוונות להם דרכים וכו׳ תניא רבי אליעזר בן יעקב אומר

§ The mishna teaches: And roads were aligned for them from this city to that city. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says:

מקלט היה כתוב על פרשת דרכים כדי שיכיר הרוצח ויפנה לשם אמר רב כהנא מאי קרא תכין לך הדרך עשה [לך] הכנה לדרך

Refuge was written on signs at every crossroads marking the path to a city of refuge, so that the unintentional murderer would identify the route to the city of refuge and turn to go there. Rav Kahana said: What is the verse from which this is derived? “Prepare for you the road” (Deuteronomy 19:3), meaning: Perform for you preparation of the road.

רב חמא בר חנינא פתח לה פתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא טוב וישר ה׳ על כן יורה חטאים בדרך אם לחטאים יורה קל וחומר לצדיקים

§ Apropos that halakha, the Gemara cites that Rav Ḥama bar Ḥanina introduced this portion with regard to the halakhot of exile with an introduction from here: “Good and upright is God; therefore He directs sinners along the way” (Psalms 25:8). He said: If He directs sinners by commanding the placing of signs directing them to the city of refuge, it may be inferred a fortiori that He will assist and direct the righteous along the path of righteousness.

רבי שמעון בן לקיש פתח לה פתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא ואשר לא צדה והאלהים אנה לידו וגו׳ כאשר יאמר משל הקדמני מרשעים יצא רשע וגו׳

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish introduced this portion with an introduction from here: It is stated with regard to an unintentional murderer: “And one who did not lie in wait, but God caused it to come to his hand, and I will appoint you a place where he may flee” (Exodus 21:13). Now this is puzzling. Why would God cause one to sin in this manner? The verse states: “As the ancient parable says: From the wicked comes forth wickedness” (I Samuel 24:13). Evil incidents befall those who have already sinned.

במה הכתוב מדבר בשני בני אדם שהרגו את הנפש אחד הרג בשוגג ואחד הרג במזיד לזה אין עדים ולזה אין עדים הקדוש ברוך הוא מזמינן לפונדק אחד זה שהרג במזיד יושב תחת הסולם וזה שהרג בשוגג יורד בסולם ונפל עליו והרגו זה שהרג במזיד נהרג וזה שהרג בשוגג גולה

Reish Lakish explains: In this light, the verse “But God caused it to come to his hand” may be understood. With regard to what scenario is the verse speaking? It is with regard to two people who killed a person, where one killed unintentionally while the other killed intentionally. For this person there are no witnesses to his action, and for that person there are no witnesses to his action; therefore, neither received the appropriate punishment of exile and execution, respectively. The Holy One, Blessed be He, summons them to one inn. This person who killed intentionally sits beneath a ladder, and that person who killed unintentionally descends the ladder, and he falls upon him and kills him. There were witnesses to that incident and therefore, that person who killed intentionally is killed, and that person who killed unintentionally is exiled, each receiving what he deserved.

אמר רבה בר רב הונא אמר רב הונא ואמרי לה אמר רב הונא אמר רבי אלעזר מן התורה ומן הנביאים ומן הכתובים בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך בה מוליכין אותו

Apropos the path upon which God leads people, the Gemara cites a statement that Rabba bar Rav Huna says that Rav Huna says, and some say it was a statement that Rav Huna says that Rabbi Elazar says: From the Torah, from the Prophets, and from the Writings one learns that along the path a person wishes to proceed, one leads and assists him.

מן התורה דכתיב לא תלך עמהם וכתיב קום לך אתם מן הנביאים דכתיב אני ה׳ אלהיך מלמדך להועיל מדריכך בדרך (זו) תלך מן הכתובים דכתיב אם ללצים הוא יליץ ולענוים יתן חן

One learns this from the Torah, as it is written that initially God said to Balaam with regard to the contingent dispatched by Balak: “You shall not go with them” (Numbers 22:12). After Balaam implored Him and indicated his desire to go with them, it is written: “Arise, go with them” (Numbers 22:20). One learns this from the Prophets, as it is written: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you for your profit, Who leads you on the path that you go” (Isaiah 48:17), indicating that along the path that one seeks to go, God will direct him. One learns this from the Writings, as it is written: “If one seeks the cynics, He will cause him to join the cynics, but to the humble He will give grace” (Proverbs 3:34), indicating that if one chooses cynicism God will direct him there and if he opts for humility God will grant him grace.

אמר רב הונא רוצח שגלה לעיר מקלט ומצאו גואל הדם והרגו פטור קסבר ולו אין משפט מות בגואל הדם הוא דכתיב

§ The Gemara resumes its discussion of the halakhot of exile. Rav Huna says: In the case of an unintentional murderer who was exiled to a city of refuge, and the blood redeemer found him on the way and killed him, he is exempt. The Gemara notes: Rav Huna holds that the verse: “Lest the blood redeemer pursue the murderer…and strike him fatally…and for him there is no sentence of death, as he did not hate him from before” (Deuteronomy 19:6), is written with regard to the blood redeemer, teaching that the blood redeemer is not liable to be executed for killing the murderer.

מיתיבי ולו אין משפט מות ברוצח הכתוב מדבר אתה אומר ברוצח או אינו אלא בגואל הדם כשהוא אומר והוא לא שנא לו מתמול שלשום הוי אומר ברוצח הכתוב מדבר

The Gemara raises an objection to the opinion of Rav Huna from a baraita: “And for him there is no sentence of death”; the verse is speaking with regard to the unintentional murderer, teaching that the unintentional murderer is not liable to be executed. That is why the Jewish people were commanded to establish cities of refuge to protect him. The baraita proceeds to prove that the verse is written with regard to the murderer. Do you say that it is speaking with regard to the unintentional murderer, or is it speaking only with regard to the blood redeemer? When it states in an earlier verse: “And he did not hate him from before” (Deuteronomy 19:4), it is clear that the reference is to the unintentional murderer, and therefore, you must say that in the phrase: “And for him there is no sentence of death,” the verse is speaking with regard to the unintentional murderer.

הוא דאמר כי האי תנא דתניא ולו אין משפט מות בגואל הדם הכתוב מדבר אתה אומר בגואל הדם הכתוב מדבר או אינו אלא ברוצח כשהוא אומר כי לא שונא הוא לו מתמול שלשום הרי רוצח אמור הא מה אני מקיים ולו אין משפט מות בגואל הדם הכתוב מדבר

The Gemara answers: Rav Huna states his opinion in accordance with the opinion of that following tanna, as it is taught in another baraita: “And for him there is no sentence of death”; the verse is speaking with regard to the blood redeemer. The baraita clarifies: Do you say that it is speaking with regard to the blood redeemer, or is it speaking only with regard to the unintentional murderer? When it states: “As he did not hate him from before,” the unintentional murderer is already stated, as that phrase certainly is referring to him. How do I realize the meaning of the verse: “And for him there is no sentence of death”? It is with regard to the blood redeemer that the verse is speaking.

תנן מוסרין לו שני תלמידי חכמים שמא יהרגנו בדרך וידברו אליו מאי לאו דמתרו ביה דאי קטיל בר קטלא הוא

The Gemara cites proof concerning Rav Huna’s ruling from the mishna. We learned in the mishna: And they would provide the unintentional murderer fleeing to a city of refuge with two Torah scholars, due to the concern that perhaps the blood redeemer will seek to kill him in transit, and in that case they will talk to the blood redeemer. The Gemara asks: What, is it not that the Torah scholars forewarn him that if he kills the unintentional murderer he would be liable to be executed? That contradicts Rav Huna’s opinion that a blood redeemer who kills the unintentional murderer is exempt.

לא כדתניא וידברו אליו דברים הראויים לו אומרים לו אל תנהג בו מנהג שופכי דמים בשגגה בא מעשה לידו רבי מאיר אומר הוא מדבר על ידי עצמו שנאמר וזה דבר הרצח אמרו לו הרבה שליחות עושה

The Gemara rejects this proof: No, the statement of the Torah scholars to the blood redeemer can be explained as it is taught in a baraita: And they will speak to him about matters appropriate to him. They say to the blood redeemer: Do not accord him treatment appropriate for murderers, as it was unintentionally that he came to be involved in the incident. Rabbi Meir says: The unintentional murderer too speaks [medabber] on his own behalf to dissuade the blood redeemer, as it is stated: “And this is the matter [devar] of the murderer, who shall flee there and live” (Deuteronomy 19:4), indicating that the murderer himself apologizes and speaks to the blood redeemer. The Sages said to Rabbi Meir: Many matters are performed more effectively through agency.

אמר מר בשגגה בא מעשה לידו פשיטא דאי במזיד בר גלות הוא אין

The Gemara analyzes the baraita. The Master says in the baraita: It was unintentionally that he came to be involved in the incident. The Gemara asks: Isn’t this obvious? As, if it were intentionally that he killed a person, is he liable to be exiled? The Gemara answers: Yes, even intentional murderers flee to a city of refuge on occasion.

והא תניא רבי יוסי ברבי יהודה אומר בתחלה אחד שוגג ואחד מזיד מקדימין לערי מקלט ובית דין שולחין ומביאין אותם משם

The Gemara continues: And so it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: Initially, either one who killed another unintentionally or one who killed another intentionally would hurry and flee to the cities of refuge, and the court in his city would send for him and would bring him from there to stand trial.

מי שנתחייב מיתה הרגוהו שנאמר ושלחו זקני עירו ולקחו אתו משם ונתנו אתו ביד גאל הדם ומת מי שלא נתחייב פטרוהו שנאמר והצילו העדה את הרצח מיד גאל הדם מי שנתחייב גלות מחזירין אותו למקומו שנאמר והשיבו אתו העדה אל עיר מקלטו אשר נס שמה

The baraita continues: With regard to one who was found liable to receive the death penalty for intentional murder, after the trial the court would execute him, as it is stated: “And the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hands of the blood redeemer and he shall die” (Deuteronomy 19:12). And with regard to one who was not found liable to receive the death penalty, e.g., if they deemed that it was due to circumstances beyond his control, they freed him, as it is stated: “And the congregation shall rescue the murderer from the hands of the blood redeemer” (Numbers 35:25). With regard to one who was found liable to be exiled, the court would restore him to his place in the city of refuge, as it is stated: “And the congregation shall judge between the murderer and the blood redeemer…and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, that he fled there” (Numbers 35:24–25).

רבי אומר מעצמן הן גולין כסבורין הן אחד שוגג ואחד מזיד קולטות והן אינן יודעין שבשוגג קולטות במזיד אינן קולטות

The baraita continues: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The Torah does not command intentional murderers to flee to a city of refuge; rather, the Torah is cognizant of the fact that in practice, intentional murderers would exile themselves on their own, as they thought that they would be admitted to these cities, which would provide refuge for both unintentional and intentional murderers, and they do not know that only those who murder unintentionally are admitted to these cities, but those who murder intentionally are not admitted.

אמר רבי אלעזר עיר שרובה רוצחים אינה קולטת שנאמר ודבר באזני זקני העיר ההיא את דבריו ולא שהושוו דבריהן לדבריו

§ Rabbi Elazar says: An unintentional murderer is not admitted to a city of refuge whose majority consists of unintentional murderers, as it is stated with regard to an unintentional murderer who fled to a city of refuge: “And he shall speak his matters in the ears of the elders of that city” (Joshua 20:4), indicating that there is some novel element in the matters that he seeks to convey to the elders of the town, but not when their matters are equal to his matters, as those elders made the same statements when they arrived at the city of refuge as unintentional murderers.

ואמר רבי אלעזר עיר שאין בה זקנים אינה קולטת דבעינן זקני העיר וליכא איתמר עיר שאין בה זקנים רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אומר קולטת וחד אומר אינה קולטת למאן דאמר אינה קולטת בעינן זקני העיר וליכא למאן דאמר קולטת מצוה בעלמא

And Rabbi Elazar says: An unintentional murderer is not admitted to a city in which there are no elders, as we require the fulfillment of the verse: “And he shall speak in the ears of the elders of the city” (Joshua 20:4), and there are none. It was stated: A city in which there are no elders is the subject of a dispute between Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi. One says: An unintentional murderer is admitted there, and one says: An unintentional murderer is not admitted there. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that an unintentional murderer is not admitted to a city in which there are no elders, his reasoning is due to the fact that we require the presence of the elders of the city and there are none. According to the one who says that an unintentional murderer is admitted there, his reasoning is that he holds that speaking to the elders is merely a mitzva ab initio, but it does not affect the city’s status as a city of refuge.

ועיר שאין בה זקנים רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אמר נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה וחד אמר אין נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה למאן דאמר אין נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה בעינן זקני עירו וליכא למאן דאמר נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה מצוה בעלמא

And a city in which there are no elders is the subject of another dispute between Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi. One says: One can become a wayward and rebellious son in it. And one says: One cannot become a wayward and rebellious son in it. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that one cannot become wayward and rebellious son in it, it is due to the fact that we require the presence of the elders of the city, as it is written: “And his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city and the gate of his place” (Deuteronomy 21:19), and there are none. According to the one who says that one can become a wayward and rebellious son in it, the presence of the elders is merely a mitzva ab initio.

ועיר שאין בה זקנים רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אמר מביאה עגלה ערופה וחד אמר אינה מביאה עגלה ערופה למאן דאמר אינה מביאה עגלה ערופה בעינן זקני העיר ההיא וליכא למאן דאמר מביאה עגלה ערופה מצוה בעלמא

And a city in which there are no elders is the subject of another dispute between Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi. One says: If a corpse was discovered proximate to that city, the inhabitants of the city bring a heifer whose neck is broken. And one says: The inhabitants of the city do not bring a heifer whose neck is broken. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that the inhabitants of the city do not bring a heifer whose neck is broken, it is due to the fact that we require the presence of the elders of the city, as it is written: “And the elders of that city shall bring the calf down to a rough valley” (Deuteronomy 21:4), and there are no elders. According to the one who says that the inhabitants of the city bring a heifer whose neck is broken, the presence of the elders is merely a mitzva ab initio.

אמר רבי חמא בר חנינא מפני מה נאמרה פרשת רוצחים

§ Rabbi Ḥama bar Ḥanina says: For what reason was the portion discussing murderers stated

  • This month's learning is sponsored by Joanna Rom and Steven Goldberg in loving memory of Steve's mother Shirley "Nana" Goldberg (Sura Tema bat Chaim v'Hanka)

Want to explore more about the Daf?

See insights from our partners, contributors and community of women learners

Sorry, there aren't any posts in this category yet. We're adding more soon!

Makkot 10

The William Davidson Talmud | Powered by Sefaria

Makkot 10

דכתיב גלעד קרית פעלי און עקבה מדם מאי עקבה מדם אמר רבי אלעזר שהיו עוקבין להרוג נפשות

Therefore, a greater number of cities of refuge per capita were required there, as it is written: “Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity; it is covered [akuba] with blood” (Hosea 6:8). What is the meaning of: Covered [akuba] with blood? Rabbi Elazar says: It means that they would set an ambush [okevin] to kill people.

ומאי שנא מהאי גיסא ומהאי גיסא דמרחקי ומאי שנא מציעאי דמקרבי

The Gemara asks: And what is different about the cities of refuge closest to the border on this southern side of the country and from the border on that northern side of the country, that are distanced one-quarter of the length of Eretz Yisrael from the border, and what is different about the city of refuge in the middle of the country, which is relatively close to any potential murderers? The maximum distance that one would need to travel to reach the middle city is one-half the distance from the northern and southern borders to their respective cities of refuge.

אמר אביי בשכם נמי שכיחי רוצחים דכתיב וכחכי איש גדודים חבר כהנים דרך ירצחו שכמה וגו׳ מאי חבר כהנים אמר רבי אלעזר שהיו מתחברין להרוג נפשות ככהנים הללו שמתחברין לחלוק תרומות בבית הגרנות

Abaye said: Murderers are also common in Shechem, as it is written: “And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so does the band of priests; they murder in the way toward Shechem, yes, they commit enormity” (Hosea 6:9). What is the meaning of “the band of priests”? Rabbi Elazar says: It means that the people would band together to kill people, like those priests who band together to distribute teruma among themselves in the granaries.

ותו ליכא והא כתיב ועליהם תתנו ארבעים ושתים עיר אמר אביי הללו קולטות בין לדעת בין שלא לדעת הללו לדעת קולטות שלא לדעת אינן קולטות

The Gemara asks: And are there no more cities of refuge beyond these six? But isn’t it written: “And the cities that you shall give to the Levites: The six cities of refuge you shall give for the murderer to flee there, and beyond them you shall give forty-two cities” (Numbers 35:6), indicating that the status of all the Levite cities is that of cities of refuge? Abaye said: With regard to these six cities designated specifically for this purpose, unintentional murderers in need of refuge are admitted there whether they entered the cities deliberately, aware that they are cities of refuge, or whether they entered inadvertently. By contrast, with regard to those forty-two Levite cities, unintentional murderers are admitted only if they entered the cities deliberately, but if they entered the cities inadvertently, they are not admitted to the cities.

וחברון עיר מקלט הוא והכתיב ויתנו לכלב את חברון כאשר דבר משה אמר אביי פרוודהא דכתיב ואת שדה העיר ואת חצריה נתנו לכלב בן יפנה

The Gemara asks: And is Hebron a city of refuge? But isn’t it written: “And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had spoken” (Judges 1:20)? This indicates that Hebron belonged to Caleb from the tribe of Judah, and it was not a Levite city. Abaye said: Its suburbs [parvadaha] were given to Caleb; the city itself was a city of priests, as it is written in the context of the distribution of the Levite cities: “And they gave them Kiryat Arba…which is Hebron…and the field of the city and its courtyards they gave to Caleb, son of Jephunneh” (Joshua 21:11–12).

וקדש עיר מקלט הואי והכתיב וערי מבצר הצדים צר וחמת רקת וכנרת וגו׳ וקדש ואדרעי ועין חצור ותניא ערים הללו אין עושין אותן לא טירין קטנים ולא כרכים גדולים אלא עיירות בינוניות אמר רב יוסף תרתי קדש הואי אמר רב אשי כגון סליקום ואקרא דסליקום

The Gemara further asks: And is Kadesh a city of refuge? But isn’t it written: “And the fortified cities were Ziddim Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth…and Kedesh and Edrei and En Hazor” (Joshua 19:35–37), and it is taught in a baraita: With regard to these cities of refuge, one does not establish them in small settlements [tirin] or in large cities; rather, one establishes them in intermediate-sized towns? Apparently, Kadesh was a large, fortified city. Rav Yosef said: There were two cities named Kedesh, and the one listed among the fortified cities in the book of Joshua is not the one that was a city of refuge. Rav Ashi said: The listing of Kadesh among the fortified cities is not difficult, as it is similar to the two adjacent yet separate cities of Selikum and the fortification [ve’akra] of Selikum. Likewise, there was the fortified city of Kadesh, mentioned in Joshua, and the city itself, which was an intermediate city that served as city of refuge.

גופא ערים הללו אין עושין אותן לא טירין קטנים ולא כרכין גדולים אלא עיירות בינוניות ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום מים ואם אין שם מים מביאין להם מים ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום שווקים ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום אוכלוסין נתמעטו אוכלוסיהן מוסיפין עליהן נתמעטו דיוריהן מביאין להם כהנים לוים וישראלים

§ The Gemara discusses the matter itself, and it cites the complete baraita: With regard to these cities of refuge, one does not establish them in small settlements or in large cities; rather, one establishes them in intermediate-sized towns. And one establishes them only in a place where water is available, and if there is no water available there, as there is no spring accessible from the city, one brings them water by digging a canal. And one establishes them only in a place where there are markets, and one establishes them only in a populated place, where there are many people who regularly frequent the town. If the population of the surrounding areas diminishes, one adds to it. If the number of residents in the city of refuge itself diminishes, one brings new residents to the city, among them priests, Levites, and Israelites.

ואין מוכרין בהן לא כלי זיין ולא כלי מצודה דברי רבי נחמיה וחכמים מתירין ושוין שאין פורסין בתוכן מצודות ואין מפשילין לתוכן חבלים כדי שלא תהא רגל גואל הדם מצויה שם

The baraita continues: And one may not sell weapons or hunting tools in the cities of refuge, to prevent the blood redeemer from gaining access to means that he could exploit to kill the unintentional murderer who fled to the city of refuge; this is the statement of Rabbi Neḥemya. And the Rabbis permit selling weapons and hunting tools. And Rabbi Neḥemya and the Rabbis agree that one may not spread nets in the cities of refuge, nor may they braid [mafshilin] ropes in those cities, so that the foot of the blood redeemer will not be found there. If the blood redeemer were to enter the city of refuge to purchase nets or ropes, he is apt to encounter the murderer and kill him.

אמר רבי יצחק מאי קרא ונס אל אחת מן הערים האל וחי עביד ליה מידי דתהוי ליה חיותא

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: What is the verse from which these matters are derived? It is written: “And he shall flee to one of these cities and live” (Deuteronomy 4:42), meaning: Perform some actions for the unintentional murderer so that life in the city of refuge will be conducive to living for him. All these steps are taken to facilitate that objective.

תנא תלמיד שגלה מגלין רבו עמו שנאמר וחי עביד ליה מידי דתהוי ליה חיותא אמר רבי זעירא מכאן שלא ישנה אדם לתלמיד שאינו הגון

The Sages taught: In the case of a student who was exiled, his teacher is exiled to the city of refuge with him, so that the student can continue studying Torah with him there, as it is stated: “And he shall flee to one of these cities and live,” from which it is derived: Perform some actions for the unintentional murderer so that life in the city will be conducive to living for him. Since Torah study is an integral component of his life, arrangements must be made to ensure continuity in that facet of his existence. Rabbi Zeira says: From here one learns that a person should not teach a student who is not fit, as that may result in the teacher following the student into exile.

אמר רבי יוחנן הרב שגלה מגלין ישיבתו עמו איני והא אמר רבי יוחנן מנין לדברי תורה שהן קולטין שנאמר את בצר במדבר וגו׳ [וכתיב בתריה] וזאת התורה

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the case of a teacher of Torah who was exiled, his school is exiled with him. The Gemara asks: Is that so that a teacher of Torah is exiled? But doesn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan himself say: From where is it derived that matters of Torah provide refuge, i.e., that the blood redeemer may not harm one who is engaged in Torah? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “Bezer in the wilderness, in the flatlands, for the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites” (Deuteronomy 4:43), in the list of cities of refuge designated by Moses, and it is written thereafter: “And this is the Torah” (Deuteronomy 4:44). Based on that juxtaposition it is derived that the status of Torah is like that of a city of refuge.

לא קשיא הא בעידנא דעסיק בה הא בעידנא דלא עסיק בה

The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as this statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that the status of Torah is like that of a city of refuge, is referring to Torah at the time that one is engaged in its study, and that statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that the teacher of Torah must take his school to the city of refuge, is referring to the teacher of Torah at the time that he is not engaged in its study. His mere presence in a city of refuge provides him with continuous protection.

ואי בעית אימא מאי קולטין ממלאך המות כי הא דרב חסדא הוה יתיב וגריס בבי רב ולא הוה קא יכול שליחא [דמלאכא דמותא] למיקרב לגביה דלא הוה שתיק פומיה מגירסא סליק ויתיב אארזא דבי רב פקע ארזא ושתיק ויכיל ליה

And if you wish, say: What is the meaning of Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement that matters of Torah provide refuge? It means protection, but not for an unintentional murderer from the blood redeemer; rather, it means protection from the Angel of Death. This is as it was in this incident where Rav Ḥisda was sitting and studying in the study hall of Rav and the agent of the Angel of Death was unable to approach him and take his life because his mouth was not silent from his study for even a moment. The agent ascended and sat on the cedar tree of the study hall of Rav. The cedar tree broke and Rav Ḥisda was momentarily silent, startled by the sudden noise, and the agent of the Angel of Death overcame him. Apparently, matters of Torah provide protection from the Angel of Death only when one is actively engaged in their study.

אמר רבי תנחום בר חנילאי מפני מה זכה ראובן לימנות בהצלה תחלה מפני שהוא פתח בהצלה תחלה שנאמר וישמע ראובן ויצלהו מידם

§ Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: For what reason was Reuben privileged to be enumerated first in the rescue, as the first city of refuge listed is Bezer (see Deuteronomy 4:43), which is located in the tribal portion of Reuben? It is due to the fact that he began the rescue of Joseph first, as it is stated: “And Reuben heard and delivered him from their hands” (Genesis 37:21).

דרש רבי שמלאי מאי דכתיב אז יבדיל משה שלש ערים בעבר הירדן מזרחה [שמש] אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא למשה הזרח שמש לרוצחים איכא דאמרי אמר לו הזרחת שמש לרוצחים

Rabbi Simlai taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Then Moses separated three cities beyond the Jordan, to the east of the sun [mizreḥa shamesh]” (Deuteronomy 4:41)? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Shine the sun [hazraḥ shemesh] for murderers, i.e., provide them with the hope of rescue. Some say that God said to Moses: In designating these cities of refuge you have shined the sun for murderers.

דרש רבי סימאי מאי דכתיב אהב כסף לא ישבע כסף ומי אהב בהמון לא תבואה אהב כסף לא ישבע כסף זה משה רבינו שהיה יודע שאין שלש ערים שבעבר הירדן קולטות עד שלא נבחרו שלש בארץ כנען ואמר מצוה שבאה לידי אקיימנה

On a related note, Rabbi Simai taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase” (Ecclesiastes 5:9)? “He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver”; this is a reference to Moses our teacher, whose love of mitzvot was so great that although he knew that an unintentional murderer would not be admitted to the three cities of refuge that were in the east bank of the Jordan until the three cities of refuge that were in the land of Canaan were selected, and that his designation of cities of refuge would have no practical ramifications in his lifetime, he nevertheless said: When there is a mitzva that has come my way, I will fulfill it.

ומי אהב בהמון לא תבואה למי נאה ללמד בהמון מי שכל תבואה שלו והיינו דאמר רבי אלעזר מאי דכתיב מי ימלל גבורות ה׳ ישמיע כל תהלתו למי נאה (ללמד) [למלל] גבורות ה׳ מי שיכול להשמיע כל תהלתו

The next phrase in that verse: “Nor he who loves abundance with increase,” is also interpreted as referring to Torah: For whom is it fitting to teach an abundance of people? One for whom all its increase belongs to him, i.e., one who knows all the content of the Torah is worthy of teaching it in public. And that is identical to that which Rabbi Elazar says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Who can express the mighty acts of God, or make all His praise heard” (Psalms 106:2)? For whom is it fitting to express the mighty acts of God? It is one who can make all His praise heard. One who knows only part of it is unfit to teach the multitudes.

ורבנן ואיתימא רבה בר מרי אמר מי אהב בהמון לו תבואה כל האוהב למלמד בהמון לו תבואה יהבו ביה רבנן עינייהו ברבא בריה דרבה

And the Rabbis say, and some say Rabba bar Mari says, that the passage “nor he who loves abundance with increase” means whoever loves a Torah scholar who teaches in the presence of an abundance of people, to him shall be increase, i.e., sons who are Torah scholars. The Gemara relates: When they heard that interpretation, the Sages cast their eyes upon Rava, son of Rabba, who loved Torah scholars who disseminate Torah, and he was blessed with sons who were Torah scholars.

(סימן אשי ללמוד רבינא ללמד)

The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the ensuing interpretations of the second part of the verse cited earlier (Ecclesiastes 5:9): Ashi to study, Ravina to teach.

רב אשי אמר כל האוהב ללמוד בהמון לו תבואה והיינו דאמר רבי יוסי ברבי חנינא מאי דכתיב חרב אל הבדים ונאלו חרב על צוארי שונאיהם של תלמידי חכמים שיושבין ועוסקין בתורה בד בבד ולא עוד אלא שמטפשין כתיב הכא ונאלו וכתיב התם אשר נואלנו ולא עוד אלא שחוטאין שנאמר ואשר חטאנו ואיבעית אימא מהכא נואלו שרי צען

Rav Ashi says: Anyone who loves to study in abundance, i.e., with many colleagues, to him shall be increase, i.e., he will succeed in his studies. And that is parallel to that which Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the baddim, veno’alu” (Jeremiah 50:36)? It is fitting that a sword be placed on the necks of the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars, who sit and engage in the study of the Torah individually [bad bevad]. Moreover, they grow foolish through individual study, as it is written here: Veno’alu, and it is written there: “For we have been foolish [no’alnu]” (Numbers 12:11). Moreover, they thereby sin, as it is stated immediately thereafter: “And for we have sinned.” And if you wish, say that from here it is derived that no’alu means sinned: “The ministers of Zoan have sinned [no’alu]” (Isaiah 19:13).

רבינא אמר כל האוהב ללמד בהמון לו תבואה והיינו דאמר רבי הרבה תורה למדתי מרבותי ומחבירי יותר מהם ומתלמידי יותר מכולן

Ravina says that there is a different interpretation of the verse cited earlier (Ecclesiastes 5:9): Anyone who loves to teach in abundance, before the multitudes, to him shall be increase, as his Torah knowledge is enhanced through those lectures. And that is the parallel to that which Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Much Torah have I studied from my teachers, and I have learned more from my colleagues than from them, and I have learned more from my students than from all of them.

אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מאי דכתיב עמדות היו רגלינו בשעריך ירושלם מי גרם לרגלינו שיעמדו במלחמה שערי ירושלם שהיו עוסקים בתורה

Apropos the virtue of Torah study, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Our feet were standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:2)? What caused our feet to withstand the enemies in war? It is the gates of Jerusalem, where they were engaged in Torah study. He interprets the term “in your gates” to mean: Because of your gates, the place of justice and Torah.

ואמר רבי יהושע בן לוי מאי דכתיב שיר המעלות לדוד שמחתי באמרים לי בית ה׳ נלך אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבונו של עולם שמעתי בני אדם שהיו אומרים מתי ימות זקן זה ויבא שלמה בנו ויבנה בית הבחירה ונעלה לרגל ושמחתי אמר לו הקדוש ברוך הוא כי טוב יום בחצריך מאלף טוב לי יום אחד שאתה עוסק בתורה לפני מאלף עולות שעתיד שלמה בנך להקריב לפני על גבי המזבח

And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A song of the ascents to David: I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of God” (Psalms 122:1)? David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I heard people who were saying in reference to me: When will this old man die, and Solomon his son will come and succeed him and build the Temple and we will ascend there for the pilgrimage Festival? It was common knowledge that the Temple would be constructed by David’s successor. David continued: And despite my pain that I am not privileged to build the Temple, I rejoiced. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: “For better is one day in your courtyard than one thousand” (Psalms 84:11), meaning, I prefer one day during which you engage in the study of Torah before Me than the one thousand burnt-offerings that your son Solomon is destined to sacrifice before Me upon the altar (see I Kings 3:4).

ומכוונות להם דרכים וכו׳ תניא רבי אליעזר בן יעקב אומר

§ The mishna teaches: And roads were aligned for them from this city to that city. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says:

מקלט היה כתוב על פרשת דרכים כדי שיכיר הרוצח ויפנה לשם אמר רב כהנא מאי קרא תכין לך הדרך עשה [לך] הכנה לדרך

Refuge was written on signs at every crossroads marking the path to a city of refuge, so that the unintentional murderer would identify the route to the city of refuge and turn to go there. Rav Kahana said: What is the verse from which this is derived? “Prepare for you the road” (Deuteronomy 19:3), meaning: Perform for you preparation of the road.

רב חמא בר חנינא פתח לה פתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא טוב וישר ה׳ על כן יורה חטאים בדרך אם לחטאים יורה קל וחומר לצדיקים

§ Apropos that halakha, the Gemara cites that Rav Ḥama bar Ḥanina introduced this portion with regard to the halakhot of exile with an introduction from here: “Good and upright is God; therefore He directs sinners along the way” (Psalms 25:8). He said: If He directs sinners by commanding the placing of signs directing them to the city of refuge, it may be inferred a fortiori that He will assist and direct the righteous along the path of righteousness.

רבי שמעון בן לקיש פתח לה פתחא להאי פרשתא מהכא ואשר לא צדה והאלהים אנה לידו וגו׳ כאשר יאמר משל הקדמני מרשעים יצא רשע וגו׳

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish introduced this portion with an introduction from here: It is stated with regard to an unintentional murderer: “And one who did not lie in wait, but God caused it to come to his hand, and I will appoint you a place where he may flee” (Exodus 21:13). Now this is puzzling. Why would God cause one to sin in this manner? The verse states: “As the ancient parable says: From the wicked comes forth wickedness” (I Samuel 24:13). Evil incidents befall those who have already sinned.

במה הכתוב מדבר בשני בני אדם שהרגו את הנפש אחד הרג בשוגג ואחד הרג במזיד לזה אין עדים ולזה אין עדים הקדוש ברוך הוא מזמינן לפונדק אחד זה שהרג במזיד יושב תחת הסולם וזה שהרג בשוגג יורד בסולם ונפל עליו והרגו זה שהרג במזיד נהרג וזה שהרג בשוגג גולה

Reish Lakish explains: In this light, the verse “But God caused it to come to his hand” may be understood. With regard to what scenario is the verse speaking? It is with regard to two people who killed a person, where one killed unintentionally while the other killed intentionally. For this person there are no witnesses to his action, and for that person there are no witnesses to his action; therefore, neither received the appropriate punishment of exile and execution, respectively. The Holy One, Blessed be He, summons them to one inn. This person who killed intentionally sits beneath a ladder, and that person who killed unintentionally descends the ladder, and he falls upon him and kills him. There were witnesses to that incident and therefore, that person who killed intentionally is killed, and that person who killed unintentionally is exiled, each receiving what he deserved.

אמר רבה בר רב הונא אמר רב הונא ואמרי לה אמר רב הונא אמר רבי אלעזר מן התורה ומן הנביאים ומן הכתובים בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך בה מוליכין אותו

Apropos the path upon which God leads people, the Gemara cites a statement that Rabba bar Rav Huna says that Rav Huna says, and some say it was a statement that Rav Huna says that Rabbi Elazar says: From the Torah, from the Prophets, and from the Writings one learns that along the path a person wishes to proceed, one leads and assists him.

מן התורה דכתיב לא תלך עמהם וכתיב קום לך אתם מן הנביאים דכתיב אני ה׳ אלהיך מלמדך להועיל מדריכך בדרך (זו) תלך מן הכתובים דכתיב אם ללצים הוא יליץ ולענוים יתן חן

One learns this from the Torah, as it is written that initially God said to Balaam with regard to the contingent dispatched by Balak: “You shall not go with them” (Numbers 22:12). After Balaam implored Him and indicated his desire to go with them, it is written: “Arise, go with them” (Numbers 22:20). One learns this from the Prophets, as it is written: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you for your profit, Who leads you on the path that you go” (Isaiah 48:17), indicating that along the path that one seeks to go, God will direct him. One learns this from the Writings, as it is written: “If one seeks the cynics, He will cause him to join the cynics, but to the humble He will give grace” (Proverbs 3:34), indicating that if one chooses cynicism God will direct him there and if he opts for humility God will grant him grace.

אמר רב הונא רוצח שגלה לעיר מקלט ומצאו גואל הדם והרגו פטור קסבר ולו אין משפט מות בגואל הדם הוא דכתיב

§ The Gemara resumes its discussion of the halakhot of exile. Rav Huna says: In the case of an unintentional murderer who was exiled to a city of refuge, and the blood redeemer found him on the way and killed him, he is exempt. The Gemara notes: Rav Huna holds that the verse: “Lest the blood redeemer pursue the murderer…and strike him fatally…and for him there is no sentence of death, as he did not hate him from before” (Deuteronomy 19:6), is written with regard to the blood redeemer, teaching that the blood redeemer is not liable to be executed for killing the murderer.

מיתיבי ולו אין משפט מות ברוצח הכתוב מדבר אתה אומר ברוצח או אינו אלא בגואל הדם כשהוא אומר והוא לא שנא לו מתמול שלשום הוי אומר ברוצח הכתוב מדבר

The Gemara raises an objection to the opinion of Rav Huna from a baraita: “And for him there is no sentence of death”; the verse is speaking with regard to the unintentional murderer, teaching that the unintentional murderer is not liable to be executed. That is why the Jewish people were commanded to establish cities of refuge to protect him. The baraita proceeds to prove that the verse is written with regard to the murderer. Do you say that it is speaking with regard to the unintentional murderer, or is it speaking only with regard to the blood redeemer? When it states in an earlier verse: “And he did not hate him from before” (Deuteronomy 19:4), it is clear that the reference is to the unintentional murderer, and therefore, you must say that in the phrase: “And for him there is no sentence of death,” the verse is speaking with regard to the unintentional murderer.

הוא דאמר כי האי תנא דתניא ולו אין משפט מות בגואל הדם הכתוב מדבר אתה אומר בגואל הדם הכתוב מדבר או אינו אלא ברוצח כשהוא אומר כי לא שונא הוא לו מתמול שלשום הרי רוצח אמור הא מה אני מקיים ולו אין משפט מות בגואל הדם הכתוב מדבר

The Gemara answers: Rav Huna states his opinion in accordance with the opinion of that following tanna, as it is taught in another baraita: “And for him there is no sentence of death”; the verse is speaking with regard to the blood redeemer. The baraita clarifies: Do you say that it is speaking with regard to the blood redeemer, or is it speaking only with regard to the unintentional murderer? When it states: “As he did not hate him from before,” the unintentional murderer is already stated, as that phrase certainly is referring to him. How do I realize the meaning of the verse: “And for him there is no sentence of death”? It is with regard to the blood redeemer that the verse is speaking.

תנן מוסרין לו שני תלמידי חכמים שמא יהרגנו בדרך וידברו אליו מאי לאו דמתרו ביה דאי קטיל בר קטלא הוא

The Gemara cites proof concerning Rav Huna’s ruling from the mishna. We learned in the mishna: And they would provide the unintentional murderer fleeing to a city of refuge with two Torah scholars, due to the concern that perhaps the blood redeemer will seek to kill him in transit, and in that case they will talk to the blood redeemer. The Gemara asks: What, is it not that the Torah scholars forewarn him that if he kills the unintentional murderer he would be liable to be executed? That contradicts Rav Huna’s opinion that a blood redeemer who kills the unintentional murderer is exempt.

לא כדתניא וידברו אליו דברים הראויים לו אומרים לו אל תנהג בו מנהג שופכי דמים בשגגה בא מעשה לידו רבי מאיר אומר הוא מדבר על ידי עצמו שנאמר וזה דבר הרצח אמרו לו הרבה שליחות עושה

The Gemara rejects this proof: No, the statement of the Torah scholars to the blood redeemer can be explained as it is taught in a baraita: And they will speak to him about matters appropriate to him. They say to the blood redeemer: Do not accord him treatment appropriate for murderers, as it was unintentionally that he came to be involved in the incident. Rabbi Meir says: The unintentional murderer too speaks [medabber] on his own behalf to dissuade the blood redeemer, as it is stated: “And this is the matter [devar] of the murderer, who shall flee there and live” (Deuteronomy 19:4), indicating that the murderer himself apologizes and speaks to the blood redeemer. The Sages said to Rabbi Meir: Many matters are performed more effectively through agency.

אמר מר בשגגה בא מעשה לידו פשיטא דאי במזיד בר גלות הוא אין

The Gemara analyzes the baraita. The Master says in the baraita: It was unintentionally that he came to be involved in the incident. The Gemara asks: Isn’t this obvious? As, if it were intentionally that he killed a person, is he liable to be exiled? The Gemara answers: Yes, even intentional murderers flee to a city of refuge on occasion.

והא תניא רבי יוסי ברבי יהודה אומר בתחלה אחד שוגג ואחד מזיד מקדימין לערי מקלט ובית דין שולחין ומביאין אותם משם

The Gemara continues: And so it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: Initially, either one who killed another unintentionally or one who killed another intentionally would hurry and flee to the cities of refuge, and the court in his city would send for him and would bring him from there to stand trial.

מי שנתחייב מיתה הרגוהו שנאמר ושלחו זקני עירו ולקחו אתו משם ונתנו אתו ביד גאל הדם ומת מי שלא נתחייב פטרוהו שנאמר והצילו העדה את הרצח מיד גאל הדם מי שנתחייב גלות מחזירין אותו למקומו שנאמר והשיבו אתו העדה אל עיר מקלטו אשר נס שמה

The baraita continues: With regard to one who was found liable to receive the death penalty for intentional murder, after the trial the court would execute him, as it is stated: “And the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hands of the blood redeemer and he shall die” (Deuteronomy 19:12). And with regard to one who was not found liable to receive the death penalty, e.g., if they deemed that it was due to circumstances beyond his control, they freed him, as it is stated: “And the congregation shall rescue the murderer from the hands of the blood redeemer” (Numbers 35:25). With regard to one who was found liable to be exiled, the court would restore him to his place in the city of refuge, as it is stated: “And the congregation shall judge between the murderer and the blood redeemer…and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, that he fled there” (Numbers 35:24–25).

רבי אומר מעצמן הן גולין כסבורין הן אחד שוגג ואחד מזיד קולטות והן אינן יודעין שבשוגג קולטות במזיד אינן קולטות

The baraita continues: Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The Torah does not command intentional murderers to flee to a city of refuge; rather, the Torah is cognizant of the fact that in practice, intentional murderers would exile themselves on their own, as they thought that they would be admitted to these cities, which would provide refuge for both unintentional and intentional murderers, and they do not know that only those who murder unintentionally are admitted to these cities, but those who murder intentionally are not admitted.

אמר רבי אלעזר עיר שרובה רוצחים אינה קולטת שנאמר ודבר באזני זקני העיר ההיא את דבריו ולא שהושוו דבריהן לדבריו

§ Rabbi Elazar says: An unintentional murderer is not admitted to a city of refuge whose majority consists of unintentional murderers, as it is stated with regard to an unintentional murderer who fled to a city of refuge: “And he shall speak his matters in the ears of the elders of that city” (Joshua 20:4), indicating that there is some novel element in the matters that he seeks to convey to the elders of the town, but not when their matters are equal to his matters, as those elders made the same statements when they arrived at the city of refuge as unintentional murderers.

ואמר רבי אלעזר עיר שאין בה זקנים אינה קולטת דבעינן זקני העיר וליכא איתמר עיר שאין בה זקנים רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אומר קולטת וחד אומר אינה קולטת למאן דאמר אינה קולטת בעינן זקני העיר וליכא למאן דאמר קולטת מצוה בעלמא

And Rabbi Elazar says: An unintentional murderer is not admitted to a city in which there are no elders, as we require the fulfillment of the verse: “And he shall speak in the ears of the elders of the city” (Joshua 20:4), and there are none. It was stated: A city in which there are no elders is the subject of a dispute between Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi. One says: An unintentional murderer is admitted there, and one says: An unintentional murderer is not admitted there. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that an unintentional murderer is not admitted to a city in which there are no elders, his reasoning is due to the fact that we require the presence of the elders of the city and there are none. According to the one who says that an unintentional murderer is admitted there, his reasoning is that he holds that speaking to the elders is merely a mitzva ab initio, but it does not affect the city’s status as a city of refuge.

ועיר שאין בה זקנים רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אמר נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה וחד אמר אין נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה למאן דאמר אין נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה בעינן זקני עירו וליכא למאן דאמר נעשה בה בן סורר ומורה מצוה בעלמא

And a city in which there are no elders is the subject of another dispute between Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi. One says: One can become a wayward and rebellious son in it. And one says: One cannot become a wayward and rebellious son in it. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that one cannot become wayward and rebellious son in it, it is due to the fact that we require the presence of the elders of the city, as it is written: “And his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city and the gate of his place” (Deuteronomy 21:19), and there are none. According to the one who says that one can become a wayward and rebellious son in it, the presence of the elders is merely a mitzva ab initio.

ועיר שאין בה זקנים רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אמר מביאה עגלה ערופה וחד אמר אינה מביאה עגלה ערופה למאן דאמר אינה מביאה עגלה ערופה בעינן זקני העיר ההיא וליכא למאן דאמר מביאה עגלה ערופה מצוה בעלמא

And a city in which there are no elders is the subject of another dispute between Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi. One says: If a corpse was discovered proximate to that city, the inhabitants of the city bring a heifer whose neck is broken. And one says: The inhabitants of the city do not bring a heifer whose neck is broken. The Gemara explains: According to the one who says that the inhabitants of the city do not bring a heifer whose neck is broken, it is due to the fact that we require the presence of the elders of the city, as it is written: “And the elders of that city shall bring the calf down to a rough valley” (Deuteronomy 21:4), and there are no elders. According to the one who says that the inhabitants of the city bring a heifer whose neck is broken, the presence of the elders is merely a mitzva ab initio.

אמר רבי חמא בר חנינא מפני מה נאמרה פרשת רוצחים

§ Rabbi Ḥama bar Ḥanina says: For what reason was the portion discussing murderers stated

Scroll To Top