Pisqa’ 183

Pisqa’ 1831


“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.

Rabbi says:

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

  1. H:205-206; JN2: 64-65.
  2. //T. Mak.2:1.
  3. //T. Mak.2:6.
  4. =M. Mak.2:2. 181.5
  5. Cf. Pisqa’ 180.2
  6. //M. Mak.2:2. See also Pisqa’ 181.5.
  7. Cf. Pisqa’ 171.1.