Pisqa’ 182

Pisqa’ 1821


“When he goes into the forest with his kinsman” (Dt.19:5)

[and an accidental death results,]—

just as a forest affords both

the injured and the injurer

equally free access,

[where each party is responsible

for his own safety,]

so, too, any place

which affords to the injured and the injurer

equally free access

[imposes upon each party responsibility

for his own safety].

This precludes application of the rule

[of the unwitting killer]

to [an accidental death in] a householder’s courtyard,

for it does not afford to the injured and the injurer

equally free access.2


“To chop wood” (Dt.19:5).

Abba Saul says:

Just as wood-chopping, is an optional act

[that may result in an accidental death],

so, too, any optional act

[resulting in an accidental death

releases the injuring party from the charge of murder].

This excludes from our rule

the father who [inadvertently]

beats his son to death

[since disciplining the son is not optional],

the master who [inadvertently]

whips his disciple to death

[while disciplining him],

or an agent of the court

[who accidentally kills a prisoner

while administering lashes].3

  1. H:205; JN2:63-65.
  2. =M. Mak.2:2. The injured party must receive permission from the householder to be in the latter’s courtyard.
  3. =M. Mak.2:2; //T. Mak.2:5, cf. Mechilta Ishmael, neziqin, 4. In each case, the death was caused by a well-intentioned, but misapplied, desire to fulfill the commandment to administer corporal punishment.