“And his hand wields the ax to cut down the tree” (Dt.19:5).
On this basis you can teach:
if he intended to fell the tree,
but it fell on a person, killing him—
indeed, this one is expelled from his city
[to the city of refuge].2
“And the iron ax-head slipped from the wood” (Dt.19:5)—
that is, [from the wooden handle] wielded by the chopper.
from the wood being chopped.3
“And found his kinsman” (Dt.19:5)—
this refers to [a victim] already in [harm’s] way.
On this basis
R. Eliezer b. Jacob would say:
[Where a person threw a stone in the public domain] ,
if at the time the stone left his hand,
someone stuck his head out of a window,
and he took the blow—
this stone-thrower is exempt
[from the charge of murder].4
“He shall take refuge in one of these cities and live” (Dt.19:5)—
so that he needn’t be expelled from city to city.5
“Lest the blood-avenger pursue the unwitting killer” (Dt.19:6)—
the blood-avenger is responsible for pursuit.
“For his heart boiled in rage, yet he hadn’t hated him” (Dt.19:7)—
So, if he’d hated him,
he wouldn’t be expelled from his city?6
“Either yesterday or the day before” (Dt.19:7)—
R. Judah says:
Yesterday counts for two days;
The day before makes it three
“Therefore, I command you, saying” (Dt.19:7)—
this clause cautions the court
to be vigilant [in applying the rule].7