(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Makos, 10


OPINIONS: Rebbi Yochanan states that if a Rosh Yeshiva killed accidentally, then his entire Yeshiva must go to Galus with him to the Ir Miklat. What is the reason for Rebbi Yochanan's ruling?
(a) The SEDEI YITZCHAK points out that the previous Gemara teaches that when a student killed accidentally and is sent to Galus, his Rav must go with him. The Gemara bases this ruling on the verse that says that the accidental killer "will flee to one of these cities *and live*" (Devarim 4:42). The phrase "and live" means that the exiled person must have the basic necessities for life, one of which is the ability to learn Torah, and therefore the Rav must go to the Ir Miklat with his student. Similarly, when a Rosh Yeshiva is sent to Galus, it is essential to his life that his students accompany him so that he will be able to teach Torah, for that is his life. In this vein, Rebbi states (later on this Daf) that "I learned much Torah from my teachers, and more from my colleagues, and from my students I learned most of all." Accordingly, a Rav's life of Torah hinges mostly on his relationship with his students. Once the Gemara established that this reason applies to a student, it ce rtainly also applies with regard to a Rav.

(b) The IYUN YAKOV has an entirely different approach. He learns that the requirement for the students to go to Galus with their teacher is not related at all to the needs of the teacher. Rather, it is based on a different statement of Rebbi Yochanan. In Chagigah (15b), Rebbi Yochanan is quoted as saying that a person should endeavor to learn Torah only from a teacher who is "similar to a Mal'ach of Hashem." A person whom Hashem permits to kill another Jew accidentally is not one who is similar to a Mal'ach (see Insights to Makos 9:2:e:1). The students of that person are held responsible for not thoroughly investigating to make sure that their teacher was fit to teach them. Therefore, the students are punished by having to go to Galus with their teacher.

The Iyun Yakov adds that this logic does not apply to a mere friend of a person who killed accidentally. We do not say that the friend of an accidental killer must go into Galus with his friend for not being careful to ensure that his friend was free of sin. This is because it is only with regard to choosing a spiritual mentor, a Torah teacher, that one who is not careful is held liable.

This answer, though, seems difficult to understand. Why is going to Galus with their teacher the punishment for having chosen an unworthy teacher? If they were not supposed to choose him as their teacher in the first place, then why do we make them continue to learn from him?

Perhaps we can explain the answer of the Iyun Yakov based on the words of the RAMBAM in Hilchos Teshuvah (2:1). The Rambam states that the genuine repentance is achieved when the former transgressor is given the same opportunity to sin but refrains from sinning. If the students would stay in their town while their teacher goes to Galus, they would never have the opportunity to do true Teshuvah, since they would not have the opportunity to learn from their exiled teacher. We make them aware of their misdeed by sentencing them to Galus, and we thereby give them the opportunity to stay away from their unworthy teacher while in the Ir Miklat. This makes them into true Ba'alei Teshuvah. (Y. Montrose)

QUESTION: Rebbi Yochanan states that if a Rosh Yeshiva killed accidentally, then his entire Yeshiva must go to Galus with him to the Ir Miklat. Earlier, the Gemara derived from the ruling that a teacher must go to Galus with his student who killed accidentally that a teacher should not accept to teach an unworthy student, since that student might kill accidentally and be sentenced to Galus. Why does the Gemara not deduce the same thing from Rebbi Yochanan's Halachah -- that a student should not learn Torah from an unworthy teacher? (MAHARSHA, ARUCH LA'NER, and others)


(a) The YALKUT GERSHONI answers with a simple explanation. The statement regarding a student who kills accidentally was said by an early source, a Beraisa. The Beraisa's statement supports the dictum of Rebbi Zeira (an Amora who lived later), who says that one should not teach an unworthy student. The statement regarding a teacher who kills accidentally was said by Rebbi Yochanan. It is Rebbi Yochanan himself who says in Chagigah (15b) that a student must endeavor to learn Torah from a worthy teacher. We cannot support Rebbi Yochanan's statement from a comment that he himself made!

(b) The IMREI TZVI explains that for a Rav to have to move his family to another city in order to be near his exiled student is an extremely difficult ordeal. Such an ordeal warns every teacher to be careful not to accept an unworthy student. In contrast, the nature of students is that they often leave their homes to study Torah with a certain Rav. It is no more of an inconvenience to be in one town away from home than to be in another town away from home. Therefore, there is nothing in this statement which essentially warns a student not to learn from an unworthy Rabbi. (Y. Montrose)


OPINIONS: The Gemara describes one of the ways in which Hashem brings justice to killers. If one person killed accidentally and without witnesses (and thus he cannot be sent to an Ir Miklat), and another person killed intentionally and without witnesses (and thus he cannot be put to death by Beis Din), Hashem causes them to go to the same place, where the person who killed accidentally falls off of a ladder in front of witnesses, and lands on -- and kills -- the person who killed intentionally. Each person thereby receives the proper punishment that he deserves -- the intentional killer gets killed, and the accidental killer is sent to Galus.

Why does the accidental killer need to go to Galus? The purpose of going to Galus is to get protection from the Go'el ha'Dam. If no one saw him kill by accident, then the Go'el ha'Dam does not know who killed his relative, and thus the killer is in no danger such that he should need to seek refuge in the Ir Miklat! (MAHARSHA)

ANSWERS: Our question presumes that the purpose of going to the Ir Miklat is for the sake of getting protection from the Go'el ha'Dam. In order to answer this question, we must take a deeper look into what is involved with going to an Ir Miklat. There seem to be three possibilities.

(a) The MAHARSHA writes, as we assumed, that the underlying reason of being sent to an Ir Miklat is to protect the accidental killer from his victim's relative, the Go'el ha'Dam, who has the right to avenge his relative's death as long as the killer is not in an Ir Miklat. Even when the case of the accidental killer cannot be judged in court because there were no proper witnesses, nevertheless if the Go'el ha'Dam determines to his satisfaction that the person actually killed (for example, through the admission of the killer himself, or through witnesses whom the court does not accept), and he kills the accidental killer based on this information, Beis Din cannot punish him, since Beis Din cannot prove that he was wrong and that the accused killer did not kill. Therefore, the accidental killer who killed without witnesses might feel confident that no one will try to kill him, while the the Go'el ha'Dam might actually try to kill him. In order to protect him, Hashem arranges that he kills again b'Shogeg in front of witnesses, thereby being forced to go to an Ir Miklat. This seems to be the intention of the Maharsha.

(b) However, there seems to be an additional purpose for going to an Ir Miklat. Going to an Ir Miklat is meant to be a Kaparah, an atonement, for the killer, as we find earlier in Makos (2b) and in Shevu'os (8a). Consequently, there should be a purpose in going to Galus even when no one is pursuing the accidental killer in order to kill him.

This is also evident from the Mishnah later (11b), which derives from verses that the accidental killer "shall live in the Ir Miklat, and he shall die in the Ir Miklat, and he shall be buried in the Ir Miklat." This means that it is a Mitzvah for him to stay in the Ir Miklat aside from the purpose of escaping the Go'el ha'Dam. In addition, the Gemara there quotes a Beraisa that teaches that if a person was sentenced to go to Galus and then died, his bones are taken to be buried in the Ir Miklat. Obviously, his bones do not go there in order to seek refuge from the Go'el ha'Dam. It is clear from these and other sources that the main reason for Galus is atonement, and not only protection.

The SEFER HA'CHINUCH also writes that the purpose of fleeing to an Ir Miklat is both to protect the killer from the Go'el ha'Dam and to attain Kaparah.

The Aruch la'Ner therefore explains that an accidental killer must go to Galus even if there are no witnesses. This is because he requires atonement even when there are no witnesses. The Go'el ha'Dam, though, is not permitted to kill him, as stated above. Since the accidental killer was negligent about attaining atonement by going to Galus on his own accord, Hashem causes him to kill accidentally in front of witnesses so that he will be *forced* to go to Galus and achieve atonement.

(c) However, the words of the RITVA (2a and 2b) imply that there is another reason for Galus. Galus is a *punishment* that is given to an accidental killer. The killer must live in fear of the Go'el ha'Dam as a punishment for his accidental killing. For this reason, the Ritva (2a) writes that if the killer admits to having killed b'Shogeg, he will *not* be sentenced to Galus, since the Go'el ha'Dam will not be allowed to kill him based on his own admission (this is because such admission is similar to admitting that one deserves to be killed, in which case he is not believed). This implies that there is no purpose in going to the Ir Miklat when the killer does not need to seek protection from the Go'el ha'Dam (i.e. when the Go'el ha'Dam is not appointed by Beis Din and given permission to kill the killer). We find support for this view in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 45b) which says that when there is no Go'el ha'Dam, Beis Din appoints a Go'el ha'Dam. This shows that going to Galus when there is no Go'el ha'Dam pursuing him is pointless.

Additional proof is cited from the Gemara in Kesuvos (33b) which cites the verse that teaches that when a person mortally wounds someone, we lock up the perpetrator until the fate of the victim is determined. If he dies, then the perpetrator is punished appropriately. The Gemara suggests that the verse might be referring to a person who hits someone accidentally, and the victim's life is in mortal danger; we incarcerate the perpetrator until the fate of his victim is determined (if he dies, then the perpetrator is sentenced to Galus). It is clear from that Gemara that Galus is a punishment that is administered by Beis Din, similar to the punishment of Misah for a person who killed b'Mezid.

According to this understanding of the purpose of Galus, our Gemara is easily understood. Hashem wants to punish the person who killed accidentally, without witnesses, by having him kill again accidentally in front of witnesses.

How, though, are we to reconcile these statements of the Gemara with the statements mentioned earlier (in (b) above), which imply a different purpose to the law of going to Galus? The answer is that there are two different purposes for Galus. One purpose is to attain Kaparah. For the purpose of attaining Kaparah, a killer should flee to the Ir Miklat even if no one is pursuing him. The second purpose is the element of punishment. For the purpose of giving him a punishment, the Torah advises Beis Din to appoint a Go'el ha'Dam to pursue the killer.

When the Ritva writes that a person who admits to killing accidentally does not receive Galus since there is no Go'el ha'Dam, he does not mean that the killer does not have a Mitzvah to run to the Ir Miklat. Rather, he should go to the Ir Miklat because of the need to attain Kaparah. The Ritva means that Beis Din does not *sentence* him to Galus, because Beis Din never enforces a punishment which is solely for Kaparah, as the Ritva quotes in the name of the RAMBAN (2b).

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,