Makkot 10aמכות י׳ א
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דכתיב (הושע ו, ח) גלעד קרית פועלי און עקובה מדם מאי עקובה מדם א"ר אלעזר שהיו עוקבין להרוג נפשות

Therefore, a greater number of cities of refuge per capita were required there, as it is written: “Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity; it is covered [akuba] with blood” (Hosea 6:8). What is the meaning of: Covered [akuba] with blood? Rabbi Elazar says: It means that they would set an ambush [okevin] to kill people.

ומאי שנא מהאי גיסא ומהאי גיסא דמרחקי ומאי שנא מציעאי דמקרבי

The Gemara asks: And what is different about the cities of refuge closest to the border on this southern side of the country and from the border on that northern side of the country, that are distanced one-quarter of the length of Eretz Yisrael from the border, and what is different about the city of refuge in the middle of the country, which is relatively close to any potential murderers? The maximum distance that one would need to travel to reach the middle city is one-half the distance from the northern and southern borders to their respective cities of refuge.

אמר אביי בשכם נמי שכיחי רוצחים דכתיב (הושע ו, ט) וכחכי איש גדודים חבר כהנים דרך ירצחו שכמה וגו' מאי חבר כהנים א"ר אלעזר שהיו מתחברין להרוג נפשות ככהנים הללו שמתחברין לחלוק תרומות בבית הגרנות

Abaye said: Murderers are also common in Shechem, as it is written: “And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so does the band of priests; they murder in the way toward Shechem, yes, they commit enormity” (Hosea 6:9). What is the meaning of “the band of priests”? Rabbi Elazar says: It means that the people would band together to kill people, like those priests who band together to distribute teruma among themselves in the granaries.

ותו ליכא והא כתיב (במדבר לה, ו) ועליהם תתנו ארבעים ושתים עיר אמר אביי הללו קולטות בין לדעת בין שלא לדעת הללו לדעת קולטות שלא לדעת אינן קולטות

The Gemara asks: And are there no more cities of refuge beyond these six? But isn’t it written: “And the cities that you shall give to the Levites: The six cities of refuge you shall give for the murderer to flee there, and beyond them you shall give forty-two cities” (Numbers 35:6), indicating that the status of all the Levite cities is that of cities of refuge? Abaye said: With regard to these six cities designated specifically for this purpose, unintentional murderers in need of refuge are admitted there whether they entered the cities deliberately, aware that they are cities of refuge, or whether they entered inadvertently. By contrast, with regard to those forty-two Levite cities, unintentional murderers are admitted only if they entered the cities deliberately, but if they entered the cities inadvertently, they are not admitted to the cities.

וחברון עיר מקלט הוא והכתיב (שופטים א, כ) ויתנו לכלב את חברון כאשר דבר משה אמר אביי פרוודהא דכתיב (יהושע כא, יב) ואת שדה העיר ואת חצריה נתנו לכלב בן יפנה

The Gemara asks: And is Hebron a city of refuge? But isn’t it written: “And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had spoken” (Judges 1:20)? This indicates that Hebron belonged to Caleb from the tribe of Judah, and it was not a Levite city. Abaye said: Its suburbs [parvadaha] were given to Caleb; the city itself was a city of priests, as it is written in the context of the distribution of the Levite cities: “And they gave them Kiryat Arba…which is Hebron…and the field of the city and its courtyards they gave to Caleb, son of Jephunneh” (Joshua 21:11–12).

וקדש עיר מקלט הואי והכתיב (יהושע יט, לה) וערי מבצר הצדים צר וחמת רקת וכנרת [וגו'] וקדש ואדרעי ועין חצור ותניא ערים הללו אין עושין אותן לא טירין קטנים ולא כרכים גדולים אלא עיירות בינוניות אמר רב יוסף תרתי קדש הואי אמר רב אשי כגון סליקום ואקרא דסליקום

The Gemara further asks: And is Kadesh a city of refuge? But isn’t it written: “And the fortified cities were Ziddim Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath, and Chinnereth…and Kedesh and Edrei and En Hazor” (Joshua 19:35–37), and it is taught in a baraita: With regard to these cities of refuge, one does not establish them in small settlements [tirin] or in large cities; rather, one establishes them in intermediate-sized towns? Apparently, Kadesh was a large, fortified city. Rav Yosef said: There were two cities named Kedesh, and the one listed among the fortified cities in the book of Joshua is not the one that was a city of refuge. Rav Ashi said: The listing of Kadesh among the fortified cities is not difficult, as it is similar to the two adjacent yet separate cities of Selikum and the fortification [ve’akra] of Selikum. Likewise, there was the fortified city of Kadesh, mentioned in Joshua, and the city itself, which was an intermediate city that served as city of refuge.

גופא ערים הללו אין עושין אותן לא טירין קטנים ולא כרכין גדולים אלא עיירות בינוניות ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום מים ואם אין שם מים מביאין להם מים ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום שווקים ואין מושיבין אותן אלא במקום אוכלוסין נתמעטו אוכלוסיהן מוסיפין עליהן נתמעטו דיוריהן מביאין להם כהנים לוים וישראלים

§ The Gemara discusses the matter itself, and it cites the complete baraita: With regard to these cities of refuge, one does not establish them in small settlements or in large cities; rather, one establishes them in intermediate-sized towns. And one establishes them only in a place where water is available, and if there is no water available there, as there is no spring accessible from the city, one brings them water by digging a canal. And one establishes them only in a place where there are markets, and one establishes them only in a populated place, where there are many people who regularly frequent the town. If the population of the surrounding areas diminishes, one adds to it. If the number of residents in the city of refuge itself diminishes, one brings new residents to the city, among them priests, Levites, and Israelites.

ואין מוכרין בהן לא כלי זיין ולא כלי מצודה דברי רבי נחמיה וחכמים מתירין ושוין שאין פורסין בתוכן מצודות ואין מפשילין לתוכן חבלים כדי שלא תהא רגל גואל הדם מצויה שם

The baraita continues: And one may not sell weapons or hunting tools in the cities of refuge, to prevent the blood redeemer from gaining access to means that he could exploit to kill the unintentional murderer who fled to the city of refuge; this is the statement of Rabbi Neḥemya. And the Rabbis permit selling weapons and hunting tools. And Rabbi Neḥemya and the Rabbis agree that one may not spread nets in the cities of refuge, nor may they braid [mafshilin] ropes in those cities, so that the foot of the blood redeemer will not be found there. If the blood redeemer were to enter the city of refuge to purchase nets or ropes, he is apt to encounter the murderer and kill him.

א"ר יצחק מאי קרא (דברים ד, מב) ונס אל אחת מן הערים האל וחי עביד ליה מידי דתהוי ליה חיותא

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: What is the verse from which these matters are derived? It is written: “And he shall flee to one of these cities and live” (Deuteronomy 4:42), meaning: Perform some actions for the unintentional murderer so that life in the city of refuge will be conducive to living for him. All these steps are taken to facilitate that objective.

תנא תלמיד שגלה מגלין רבו עמו שנאמר וחי עביד ליה מידי דתהוי ליה חיותא אמר ר' זעירא מכאן שלא ישנה אדם לתלמיד שאינו הגון

The Sages taught: In the case of a student who was exiled, his teacher is exiled to the city of refuge with him, so that the student can continue studying Torah with him there, as it is stated: “And he shall flee to one of these cities and live,” from which it is derived: Perform some actions for the unintentional murderer so that life in the city will be conducive to living for him. Since Torah study is an integral component of his life, arrangements must be made to ensure continuity in that facet of his existence. Rabbi Zeira says: From here one learns that a person should not teach a student who is not fit, as that may result in the teacher following the student into exile.

א"ר יוחנן הרב שגלה מגלין ישיבתו עמו איני והא א"ר יוחנן מנין לדברי תורה שהן קולטין שנאמר (דברים ד, מג) את בצר במדבר וגו' [וכתיב בתריה] (דברים ד, מד) וזאת התורה

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: In the case of a teacher of Torah who was exiled, his school is exiled with him. The Gemara asks: Is that so that a teacher of Torah is exiled? But doesn’t Rabbi Yoḥanan himself say: From where is it derived that matters of Torah provide refuge, i.e., that the blood redeemer may not harm one who is engaged in Torah? It is derived from a verse, as it is stated: “Bezer in the wilderness, in the flatlands, for the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, for the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, for the Manassites” (Deuteronomy 4:43), in the list of cities of refuge designated by Moses, and it is written thereafter: “And this is the Torah” (Deuteronomy 4:44). Based on that juxtaposition it is derived that the status of Torah is like that of a city of refuge.

לא קשיא הא בעידנא דעסיק בה הא בעידנא דלא עסיק בה

The Gemara answers: This is not difficult, as this statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that the status of Torah is like that of a city of refuge, is referring to Torah at the time that one is engaged in its study, and that statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan, that the teacher of Torah must take his school to the city of refuge, is referring to the teacher of Torah at the time that he is not engaged in its study. His mere presence in a city of refuge provides him with continuous protection.

ואי בעית אימא מאי קולטין ממלאך המות כי הא דרב חסדא הוה יתיב וגריס בבי רב ולא הוה קא יכול שליחא [דמלאכא דמותא] למיקרב לגביה דלא הוה שתיק פומיה מגירסא סליק ויתיב אארזא דבי רב פקע ארזא ושתיק ויכיל ליה

And if you wish, say: What is the meaning of Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement that matters of Torah provide refuge? It means protection, but not for an unintentional murderer from the blood redeemer; rather, it means protection from the Angel of Death. This is as it was in this incident where Rav Ḥisda was sitting and studying in the study hall of Rav and the agent of the Angel of Death was unable to approach him and take his life because his mouth was not silent from his study for even a moment. The agent ascended and sat on the cedar tree of the study hall of Rav. The cedar tree broke and Rav Ḥisda was momentarily silent, startled by the sudden noise, and the agent of the Angel of Death overcame him. Apparently, matters of Torah provide protection from the Angel of Death only when one is actively engaged in their study.

א"ר תנחום בר חנילאי מפני מה זכה ראובן לימנות בהצלה תחלה מפני שהוא פתח בהצלה תחלה שנאמר (בראשית לז, כא) וישמע ראובן ויצילהו מידם

§ Rabbi Tanḥum bar Ḥanilai says: For what reason was Reuben privileged to be enumerated first in the rescue, as the first city of refuge listed is Bezer (see Deuteronomy 4:43), which is located in the tribal portion of Reuben? It is due to the fact that he began the rescue of Joseph first, as it is stated: “And Reuben heard and delivered him from their hands” (Genesis 37:21).

דרש רבי שמלאי מאי דכתיב (דברים ד, מא) אז יבדיל משה שלש ערים בעבר הירדן מזרחה [שמש] אמר לו הקב"ה למשה הזרח שמש לרוצחים איכא דאמרי א"ל הזרחת שמש לרוצחים

Rabbi Simlai taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Then Moses separated three cities beyond the Jordan, to the east of the sun [mizreḥa shamesh]” (Deuteronomy 4:41)? The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Moses: Shine the sun [hazraḥ shemesh] for murderers, i.e., provide them with the hope of rescue. Some say that God said to Moses: In designating these cities of refuge you have shined the sun for murderers.

דרש רבי סימאי מאי דכתיב (קהלת ה, ט) אוהב כסף לא ישבע כסף ומי אוהב בהמון לא תבואה אוהב כסף לא ישבע כסף זה משה רבינו שהיה יודע שאין שלש ערים שבעבר הירדן קולטות עד שלא נבחרו שלש בארץ כנען ואמר מצוה שבאה לידי אקיימנה

On a related note, Rabbi Simai taught: What is the meaning of that which is written: “He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance with increase” (Ecclesiastes 5:9)? “He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver”; this is a reference to Moses our teacher, whose love of mitzvot was so great that although he knew that an unintentional murderer would not be admitted to the three cities of refuge that were in the east bank of the Jordan until the three cities of refuge that were in the land of Canaan were selected, and that his designation of cities of refuge would have no practical ramifications in his lifetime, he nevertheless said: When there is a mitzva that has come my way, I will fulfill it.

ומי אוהב בהמון לא תבואה למי נאה ללמד בהמון מי שכל תבואה שלו והיינו דא"ר אלעזר מאי דכתיב (תהלים קו, ב) מי ימלל גבורות ה' ישמיע כל תהלתו למי נאה (ללמד) [למלל] גבורות ה' מי שיכול להשמיע כל תהלתו

The next phrase in that verse: “Nor he who loves abundance with increase,” is also interpreted as referring to Torah: For whom is it fitting to teach an abundance of people? One for whom all its increase belongs to him, i.e., one who knows all the content of the Torah is worthy of teaching it in public. And that is identical to that which Rabbi Elazar says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Who can express the mighty acts of God, or make all His praise heard” (Psalms 106:2)? For whom is it fitting to express the mighty acts of God? It is one who can make all His praise heard. One who knows only part of it is unfit to teach the multitudes.

ורבנן ואיתימא רבה בר מרי אמר מי אוהב בהמון לו תבואה כל האוהב (למלמד) בהמון לו תבואה יהבו ביה רבנן עינייהו ברבא בריה דרבה

And the Rabbis say, and some say Rabba bar Mari says, that the passage “nor he who loves abundance with increase” means whoever loves a Torah scholar who teaches in the presence of an abundance of people, to him shall be increase, i.e., sons who are Torah scholars. The Gemara relates: When they heard that interpretation, the Sages cast their eyes upon Rava, son of Rabba, who loved Torah scholars who disseminate Torah, and he was blessed with sons who were Torah scholars.

(סימן אשי ללמוד רבינא ללמד)

The Gemara provides a mnemonic for the ensuing interpretations of the second part of the verse cited earlier (Ecclesiastes 5:9): Ashi to study, Ravina to teach.

רב אשי אמר כל האוהב ללמוד בהמון לו תבואה והיינו דא"ר יוסי בר' חנינא מאי דכתיב (ירמיהו נ, לו) חרב אל הבדים ונואלו חרב על צוארי שונאיהם של ת"ח שיושבין ועוסקין בתורה בד בבד ולא עוד אלא שמטפשין כתיב הכא ונואלו וכתיב התם (במדבר יב, יא) אשר נואלנו ולא עוד אלא שחוטאין שנאמר ואשר חטאנו ואיבעית אימא מהכא (ישעיהו יט, יג) נואלו שרי צוען

Rav Ashi says: Anyone who loves to study in abundance, i.e., with many colleagues, to him shall be increase, i.e., he will succeed in his studies. And that is parallel to that which Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Ḥanina, says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A sword is upon the baddim, veno’alu (Jeremiah 50:36)? It is fitting that a sword be placed on the necks of the enemies of Torah scholars, a euphemism for Torah scholars, who sit and engage in the study of the Torah individually [bad bevad]. Moreover, they grow foolish through individual study, as it is written here: Veno’alu, and it is written there: “For we have been foolish [no’alnu]” (Numbers 12:11). Moreover, they thereby sin, as it is stated immediately thereafter: “And for we have sinned.” And if you wish, say that from here it is derived that no’alu means sinned: “The ministers of Zoan have sinned [no’alu]” (Isaiah 19:13).

רבינא אמר כל האוהב ללמד בהמון לו תבואה והיינו דאמר רבי הרבה תורה למדתי מרבותי ומחבירי יותר מהם ומתלמידי יותר מכולן

Ravina says that there is a different interpretation of the verse cited earlier (Ecclesiastes 5:9): Anyone who loves to teach in abundance, before the multitudes, to him shall be increase, as his Torah knowledge is enhanced through those lectures. And that is the parallel to that which Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: Much Torah have I studied from my teachers, and I have learned more from my colleagues than from them, and I have learned more from my students than from all of them.

א"ר יהושע בן לוי מאי דכתיב (תהלים קכב, ב) עומדות היו רגלינו בשעריך ירושלם מי גרם לרגלינו שיעמדו במלחמה שערי ירושלם שהיו עוסקים בתורה

Apropos the virtue of Torah study, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “Our feet were standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:2)? What caused our feet to withstand the enemies in war? It is the gates of Jerusalem, where they were engaged in Torah study. He interprets the term “in your gates” to mean: Because of your gates, the place of justice and Torah.

וא"ר יהושע בן לוי מאי דכתיב (תהלים קכב, א) שיר המעלות לדוד שמחתי באומרים לי בית ה' נלך אמר דוד לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא רבש"ע שמעתי בני אדם שהיו אומרים מתי ימות זקן זה ויבא שלמה בנו ויבנה בית הבחירה ונעלה לרגל ושמחתי אמר לו הקב"ה (תהלים פד, יא) כי טוב יום בחצריך מאלף טוב לי יום אחד שאתה עוסק בתורה לפני מאלף עולות שעתיד שלמה בנך להקריב לפני על גבי המזבח:

And Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “A song of the ascents to David: I rejoiced when they said to me, let us go to the house of God” (Psalms 122:1)? David said before the Holy One, Blessed be He: Master of the Universe, I heard people who were saying in reference to me: When will this old man die, and Solomon his son will come and succeed him and build the Temple and we will ascend there for the pilgrimage Festival? It was common knowledge that the Temple would be constructed by David’s successor. David continued: And despite my pain that I am not privileged to build the Temple, I rejoiced. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to him: “For better is one day in your courtyard than one thousand” (Psalms 84:11), meaning, I prefer one day during which you engage in the study of Torah before Me than the one thousand burnt-offerings that your son Solomon is destined to sacrifice before Me upon the altar (see I Kings 3:4).

ומכוונות להם דרכים וכו': תניא ר' אליעזר בן יעקב אומר

§ The mishna teaches: And roads were aligned for them from this city to that city. It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov says: