Pisqa’ 210

Pisqa’ 2101


“And they shall respond, saying:” (Dt.21:7)—

in the Holy Tongue.2


“Our hands have not spilled this blood” (Dt.21:7)—

now, who could imagine that

elders of the court might be murderers?

Rather, their point is:

Never did he approach us,

that we sent him off [without provisions],3

And never did we see him,

That we left him [to travel unaccompanied]!

The Priests then say:

“Grant absolution to Your people, Israel!” (Dt.21:8).4

When He continues:

“Whom You have redeemed, HASHEM” (Dt.21:8)—

this teaches that the formula of absolution

even absolves the blood-guilt of those [unwitting killers]

who left Egypt [but died before the rite was

taught to Moses].5


“Grant absolution to Your people” (Dt.21:8)—

this refers to the living.

“Whom You have redeemed” (Dt.21:8)—

referring to the dead.

This explains that

even the dead need absolution.

We turn out to learn that

The blood-spiller’s sin even

affects those who left Egypt!

“Whom you have redeemed” (Dt.21:8)—

for this reason did You redeem us,

so that there not be among us anyone

guilty of spilling innocent blood!

Another word:

For this reason did You redeem us,

so that when we sin, You can absolve us!

And the Holy Spirit says:

Whenever you perform this rite,

the blood of the calf will grant you absolution! 6

“And may you expunge the innocent blood

From your midst” (Dt.21:9)—

that is, expunge the evil-doers from Israel!7

  1. H:223;JN2:108.
  2. //Sifre Nu, 39, s.v., bileshon haqodesh; Mech.ISH, bakhodesh, par.2, s.v., koh bileshon haqodesh..
  3. The clauses. “without provisions” and ‘to travel unaccompanied” appear to be scribal interpolations based upon the text of M. Sot.9:6.
  4. //M. Sotah 9:6.
  5. Cf. T. Sotah 9:2.
  6. //M. Sotah 9:6. See F:244, n.4.
  7. A similar formula based upon the root, bo`er (“expunge”) appears widely scattered throughout Sifre. See Pisqa’ot 151.1, 155.1, 187.3, 220, 240, 241