THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
MAKOS 11-15 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the Dafyomi publications for
these Dafim for the benefit of Klal Yisrael.
1) THE COST OF LIVING IN AN "IR MIKLAT"
OPINIONS: Rebbi Yehudah states in the Mishnah that "they would pay the
Levi'im" when living in the Ir Miklat, since the cities of refuge belong to
the Levi'im. Rebbi Meir says that "they would not pay." Who are "they" being
discussed, and for what would they pay?
(a) RASHI explains that the normal residents of the city would pay money to
the Levi'im, since the accidental killers who lived there would pay rent to
the residents for their living quarters.
(b) TOSFOS disagrees and says that the killers would pay the regular taxes
and property taxes to the Levi'im.
The AMTACHAS BINYAMIN poses possible proofs for each side. On one hand, the
wording of the Mishnah seems to support the explanation of Rashi. The
Mishnah throughout this Perek always refers to laws dealing with the killer
in the singular (such as "a killer who was exiled to an Ir Miklat...").
Since the Mishnah here is expressed in the plural, it is more likely
referring to another subject other than the killers, namely the *cities*. On
the other hand, the wording that they would give payment "to the Levi'im"
(i.e. the owners of the cities) instead of to "the owners of the houses"
apparently supports Tosfos' understanding.
The ARUCH LA'NER explains that the argument between Rashi and Tosfos
essentially is an argument whether or not accidental killers must pay rent.
Paying rent is a more direct responsibility than having to pay taxes. In the
Mishnah, Rebbi Yehudah states only that killers must pay rent. According to
Rashi, this implies that they do not have to pay property taxes. According
to Tosfos, even Rebbi Meir might agree that killers must pay rent, since the
Mishnah discusses only whether or not they have to pay taxes.
The CHIDUSHEI REFA'EL learns Rashi's intention differently. He understands
that according to Rebbi Yehudah, the cities around the Ir Miklat would
invest in rental properties for killers who would be exiled there. Rebbi
Yehudah states that these investors would pay the Levi'im for maintaining
these properties, which is a roundabout way of saying that the killers paid
rent. Obviously, the money from the rentals would go to these investors.
The SI'ACH YITZCHAK asks an interesting question on the explanation of
Tosfos. The Gemara in Yoma (12a) says that the houses of Yerushalayim are
not able to become Tamei with Tum'as Tzara'as, because they do are not
really owned by anyone (according to the opinion that Yerushalayim was not
divided among the Shevatim). This was demonstrated by the fact that houses
were not rented out in Yerushalayim. If the people of Arei Miklat do not
have to pay rent, then their houses also should not become Tamei with Tum'as
The Si'ach Yitzchak answers that this is not really a question. Even though
the houses could not be rented out to killers, they could be rented out to
others who came to live there, and thus certainly they could become Tamei.
2) THE EFFECTS OF REPENTANCE
QUESTION: Rebbi Akiva states that every prohibition that is punishable by
Kares also carries with it the possibility for the punishment of lashes.
This does not apply to prohibitions which are punishable with a death
penalty, since those transgressors already receive death as a physical
punishment. Rebbi Akiva explains that this is just and fair, since it is
possible that the person who is Chayav Kares might *only* receive Malkus and
not an additional punishment of Kares, because he might do Teshuvah and
repent before he dies, in which case Hashem will not give him Kares.
RASHI (DH Rebbi Akiva) explains that Rebbi Akiva is saying that his
statement does not contradict the verse which teaches that one cannot be
punished with two punishments for one act. Rebbi Akiva's opinion is
consistent with that rule, because a person can exempt himself from the
punishment of Kares by doing Teshuvah, and thus he receives only Malkus.
However, there is another difficulty with the statement of Rebbi Akiva. We
know that Hashem accepts a person's genuine Teshuvah and absolves him from
punishment. Why, then, does Beis Din not do the same? Why does Beis Din
still punish a penitent with Misah or with Malkus, if Hashem does not punish
such a person? Just as Hashem forgives the person's obligation of Kares,
Beis Din should absolve the Ba'al Teshuvah from Misah or Malkus!
(a) The NODA B'YEHUDAH (OC I:35) explains Rebbi Akiva's view based on an
understanding of punishment at the hands of Beis Din. Hashem commanded Beis
Din to punish evildoers in order for other people to see the severity of
sin. The punishment serves as a strong deterrent for anyone who might be
aspiring to rebel against the Torah or transgress the Mitzvos. The Torah
obviously wants the death sentence carried out for this reason), because
otherwise it would not state so often that these transgressors are killed.
Accepting the repentance of a Ba'al Teshuvah and absolving him from
punishment would result, practically, in no sinner ever being killed. There
would no longer be a deterrent, and people would be lax in their observance
of the Mitzvos. Therefore, the Torah could not permit such repentance to
absolve the person from punishment at the hands of Beis Din. (For more about
the deterrent element of punishment, see Insights to Sanhedrin 89a).
(b) The ARUCH HA'SHULCHAN HA'ASID (Sanhedrin 58:2), MA'AYAN HA'CHOCHMAH, and
others write that, in truth, Beis Din *should* absolve a Ba'al Teshuvah from
punishment. However, it is not always possible to know who has repented
sincerely and who has not. Only Hashem truly knows the inner thoughts and
motivations of a person, and thus only Hashem can absolve a person of a
punishment because of the person's Teshuvah, and not Beis Din.
(c) The HA'ME'IR LA'OLAM takes a different approach to the concept of
Teshuvah absolving a person from punishment at the hands of Hashem. He says
that Teshuvah does not take away the person's death sentence. Rather it
causes a large amount of Divine mercy to accumulate which prevents the
person from being punished by Heaven. The person's guilt still remains; it
is the overriding factor of Hashem's mercy that prevents the person from
receiving the punishment he deserves. In contrast, when a person must be
punished by Beis Din, there is no mercy that is aroused to protect him from
Beis Din's punishment.
(d) An approach opposite to that of the Ha'Me'ir la'Olam is suggested by the
ARUCH LA'NER and CHEMDAS YISRAEL. The Mishnah earlier (11b) discusses a case
in which the Kohen Gadol dies before an accidental killer is sentenced to
Galus by Beis Din. In such a case, when does the killer leave the Ir Miklat?
The Mishnah states that he leaves when the next Kohen Gadol dies. The Gemara
asks that we learned earlier that the Kohen Gadol's death is an atonement
for the accidental killers, since the Kohen Gadol should have prayed more
that such calamities not occur to his people. The second Kohen Gadol,
however, was not the Kohen Gadol when this killing happened, and thus he
carried no responsibility for the people at the time of the killing! What,
then, was he supposed to have done to prevent the killing, such that his
death should now be an atonement for the killer? The Gemara answers that he
should have prayed when he became Kohen Gadol that this person should be
found innocent. This means that the Kohen Gadol should have asked for
Heavenly mercy in order that the killer's sin be forgiven. Once the sin
would have been forgiven by Hashem -- thereby causing the perpetrator not to
have to go to Galus according to the judgement of Hashem, Hashem would then
sway the hearts of the judges to declare him innocent as well (since he no
longer needs atonement). The court's judgement would not be in error, but
rather it would be what the person genuinely deserves according to the
Divine plan. This implies that someone who did complete Teshuvah for a sin
he committed would not be found guilty by Beis Din.
According to this explanation, when any person is put to death by Beis Din,
it is a sign that that person was not a genuine Ba'al Teshuvah, for had he
been a genuine Ba'al Teshuvah, Hashem would have caused his punishment to be
diverted. (Indeed, it is rare that a person is so righteous as to be
absolved from punishment in such a manner. In order for a person to receive
a punishment of death at the hands of Beis Din, he must be warned before he
does the act, and he must accept the warning by saying that he wants to do
the act and that he knows that he will be punished by death for doing it.)