Makkot 7bמכות ז׳ ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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7bז׳ ב

היה עולה בסולם ונפל עליו והרגו הרי זה אינו גולה זה הכלל כל שבדרך ירידתו גולה ושלא בדרך ירידתו אינו גולה:

or if one was climbing a ladder and he fell upon a person and killed him, that unintentional murderer is not exiled. This is the principle: Any murderer who kills unintentionally through his downward motion is exiled, and one who kills not through his downward motion is not exiled.

גמ׳ מנא ה"מ אמר שמואל דאמר קרא (במדבר לה, כג) ויפל עליו וימות עד שיפול דרך נפילה

GEMARA: The Gemara asks with regard to the principle that one is exiled only if he killed unintentionally through a downward motion: From where are these matters derived? It is derived from a verse, as Shmuel says that the verse states with regard to those exiled to a city of refuge: “And he cast it down upon him and dies” (Numbers 35:23), indicating that one is not liable to be exiled unless the item falls in a downward motion.

תנו רבנן (במדבר לה, יא) בשגגה פרט למזיד (דברים יט, ד) בבלי דעת פרט למתכוין

The Sages taught in a baraita derivations from verses written with regard to the unintentional murderer: “Unintentionally” (Numbers 35:11); to exclude from exile the one who kills intentionally. “Unawares” (Deuteronomy 19:4); to exclude from exile the one who kills with intent.

מזיד פשיטא בר קטלא הוא (אלא) אמר רבא אימא פרט לאומר מותר א"ל אביי אי אומר מותר אנוס הוא אמר ליה שאני אומר האומר מותר קרוב למזיד הוא

The Gemara asks: Why is a derivation necessary to exclude one who kills intentionally? It is obvious that he is not exiled; he is subject to the death penalty. Rather, Rava said: Say that the type of intentional killer referred to is meant to exclude the one who says that it is permitted to kill the victim. The verse teaches that this person is neither executed nor is he exiled. Abaye said to Rava: If the reference is to one who says that it is permitted, he is a victim of circumstances beyond his control, as he did not know any better. How could that be characterized as intentional? Rava said to him: That is not a problem, as I say that with regard to one who says that it is permitted, his action borders on the intentional.

(דברים יט, ד) בבלי דעת פרט למתכוין מתכוין פשיטא בר קטלא הוא אמר רבה פרט למתכוין להרוג את הבהמה והרג את האדם לכותי והרג את ישראל לנפל והרג בן קיימא

The baraita states: “Unawares”; to exclude from exile the one who kills with intent. The Gemara asks: With intent? It is obvious that he is not exiled; he is subject to the death penalty. Rabba said: The reference is to exclude the one who acted with the intent to kill an animal and he killed a person inadvertently, or one who acted with the intent to kill a gentile and he killed a Jew, or one who acted with the intent to kill a non-viable newborn and he killed a viable newborn.

ת"ר (במדבר לה, כב) אם בפתע פרט לקרן זוית בלא איבה פרט לשונא הדפו שדחפו בגופו או השליך עליו להביא ירידה שהיא צורך עליה בלא צדיה פרט למתכוין לצד זה והלכה לה לצד אחר

The Sages taught in a baraita based on the verse written with regard to an unintentional murderer: “And if suddenly, without enmity, he thrust him or cast upon him any vessel without lying in wait” (Numbers 35:22). “If suddenly”; this serves to exclude one who unintentionally kills another that he encounters at a corner. “Without enmity”; this serves to exclude one who unintentionally kills his enemy, as even if the act appears unintentional, the presumption is that it was not. “He thrust him”; this indicates that even if he unintentionally shoved him with his body and killed him, he is liable to be exiled. “Or cast upon him”; this serves to include the case of a downward motion that is for the purpose of an upward motion, e.g., if one bent down in order to lift an item from the ground, and in the process of bending down he killed another unintentionally, he is exiled. “Without lying in wait”; this serves to exclude one who had the intent to throw a stone to this side and it went to a different side and killed a person.

(שמות כא, יג) ואשר לא צדה פרט למתכוין לזרוק שתים וזרק ארבע (דברים יט, ה) ואשר יבא את רעהו ביער מה יער רשות לניזק ולמזיק ליכנס לשם אף כל רשות לניזק ולמזיק ליכנס לשם

And it is written with regard to an unintentional murderer: “And who did not lie in wait” (Exodus 21:13); this serves to exclude one who had intent to throw a stone two cubits and he inadvertently threw it four cubits and killed a person. And it is written concerning an unintentional murderer: “And as one who goes with his neighbor into the forest” (Deuteronomy 19:5), from which it is derived: Just as a forest is ownerless property, and there is permission for the victim and for the assailant to enter there, so too, unintentional murder that occurs in any place where there is permission for the victim and for the assailant to enter there, is punishable with exile. The unintentional murder of one who entered the assailant’s property without his permission is not cause for the murderer to be exiled.

בעא מיניה רבי אבהו מרבי יוחנן היה עולה בסולם ונשמט השליבה מתחתיו ונפלה והרגה מהו כי האי גוונא עליה היא או ירידה היא א"ל כבר נגעת בירידה שהיא צורך עליה

§ The Gemara cites a related discussion. Rabbi Abbahu raised a dilemma before Rabbi Yoḥanan: If one was ascending a ladder and the rung was displaced from beneath him, and the rung fell and killed another, what is the halakha with regard to his being exiled? In a case like this, is it considered killing in an upward motion, as he was climbing the ladder, and therefore he is exempt, or is it considered killing in a downward motion, as when he stepped on the rung he pushed it down, and therefore he is liable? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: In the scenario you described, you already touched upon the case in the baraita cited above, the case of unintentional murder that is performed with a downward motion that is for the purpose of an upward motion. The ruling in the baraita is that one is liable to be exiled in that case.

איתיביה זה הכלל כל שבדרך ירידתו גולה שלא בדרך ירידתו אינו גולה שלא בדרך ירידתו לאיתויי מאי לאו לאיתויי כה"ג וליטעמיך כל שבדרך ירידתו לאיתויי מאי

Rabbi Abbahu raised an objection to the explanation of Rabbi Yoḥanan from the mishna, which states: This is the principle: Any murderer who kills unintentionally through his downward motion is exiled, and one who kills not through his downward motion is not exiled. Rabbi Abbahu clarifies: With regard to the phrase in the mishna: One who kills not through his downward motion, what case that was not already specified does this serve to add? Is it not to add a case like this, and to teach that even though the death was caused by the falling rung, since the assailant was ascending the ladder at the time, he is not exiled? Rabbi Yoḥanan replied: And according to your reasoning that this apparently extraneous phrase serves to include a case that is not addressed explicitly, with regard to the previous phrase in the mishna: Any murderer who kills unintentionally through his downward motion, what case that was not already specified does this serve to add?

אלא לאיתויי קצב הכא נמי לאיתויי קצב דתניא קצב שהיה מקצב תנא חדא לפניו חייב לאחריו פטור ותניא אידך לאחריו חייב לפניו פטור ותניא אידך בין לפניו בין לאחריו חייב ותניא אידך בין לפניו בין לאחריו פטור ולא קשיא

Rather, one may say that it serves to add the case of a butcher. Here too, in the latter clause, the phrase: One who kills not through his downward motion, serves to add the case of a butcher, as it is taught in a baraita: With regard to a butcher who was chopping animal limbs with a cleaver, one Sage taught that if he killed a person in front of him, he is liable to be exiled; if he killed a person behind him, he is exempt. And it is taught in another baraita: If he killed a person behind him, he is liable; if he killed a person in front of him, he is exempt. And it is taught in another baraita: Both if he killed a person in front of him and if he killed a person behind him, he is liable. And it is taught in another baraita: Both if he killed a person in front of him and if he killed a person behind him, he is exempt. And although these baraitot appear contradictory, the apparent contradiction is not difficult.

כאן בירידה שלפניו ועליה שלאחריו כאן בעליה שלפניו וירידה שלאחריו

When a butcher is about to cut the meat of an animal, he raises the cleaver and lowers it behind him in order to create momentum that will generate power. Then he raises the cleaver from behind him and brings it down forcefully onto the meat. In that process, the butcher lowers the cleaver in front of him and behind him and raises the cleaver both in front of him and behind him. Each of the four baraitot addresses a different stage of the process. Here, the baraita that says he is liable if he unintentionally murders a person in front of him and exempt if he unintentionally murders a person behind him, is referring to a case where the butcher swings the cleaver with a downward motion in front of him and an upward motion behind him. There, the baraita that says he is exempt if he unintentionally murders a person in front of him and liable if he unintentionally murders a person behind him, is referring to a case where the butcher swings the cleaver with an upward motion in front of him and a downward motion behind him.

כאן בירידה שלפניו ושל אחריו כאן בעליה שלפניו ושל אחריו.

In addition, here, the baraita where he is liable in both instances, is referring to a case where the butcher swings the cleaver with a downward motion both in front of him and behind him. There, the baraita where he is exempt in both instances, is referring to a case where the butcher swings the cleaver with an upward motion both in front of him and behind him. The two phrases that constitute the principle in the mishna teach that the determining factor is whether the motion is upward or downward, not whether it is in front of him or behind him. This is Rabbi Yoḥanan’s reply to the objection of Rabbi Abbahu.

לימא כתנאי היה עולה בסולם ונשמטה שליבה מתחתיו תני חדא חייב ותניא אידך פטור מאי לאו בהא קא מיפלגי דמר סבר ירידה היא ומר סבר עליה היא

The Gemara suggests: Let us say that Rabbi Abbahu’s dilemma with regard to unintentional murder committed by one climbing a ladder is the subject of a dispute between tanna’im: If one was ascending a ladder and its rung was displaced from beneath him, it is taught in one baraita that he is liable, and it is taught in another baraita that he is exempt. What, is it not that the tanna’im disagree with regard to this, as one Sage holds: It is unintentional murder in a downward motion, and therefore he is liable, and one Sage holds: It is unintentional murder in an upward motion, and therefore he is exempt?

לא דכ"ע עליה היא ולא קשיא כאן לניזקין כאן לגלות

The Gemara rejects that parallel: No, that is not the point of contention, as everyone agrees that it is an upward motion, and there is no dispute between the Sages in the baraitot. Nevertheless, the apparent contradiction between them is not difficult, as here, in the baraita that rules him liable, the reference is to payment of damages, as with regard to one’s liability to pay damages, there is no difference between upward and downward motions, or between intentional and unwitting damage; and there, in the baraita that rules him exempt, the reference is to exile, from which one who murders unintentionally in an upward motion is exempt by Torah edict.

איבעית אימא הא והא לגלות ולא קשיא הא דאתליע הא דלא אתליע

If you wish, say instead that in both this baraita and that baraita the reference is to exile, and it is not difficult, as this baraita, where the ruling is that he is liable, is referring to a case where the rung of the ladder was worm infested and he should have been cautious before stepping on it, and that baraita, where the ruling is that he is exempt, is referring to a case where the rung was not worm infested, as in that case it is murder due to circumstances beyond his control, as he could not have anticipated that the rung would be displaced.

ואיבעית אימא הא והא דלא אתליע ולא קשיא הא דמיהדק והא דלא מיהדק:

And if you wish, say that in both this baraita and that baraita the reference is to a rung that was not worm infested, and it is not difficult, as this baraita, where the ruling is that he is exempt, is referring to a case where the rung was tightly inserted into the ladder, and therefore he could not have foreseen that it would be displaced, and that baraita, where the ruling is that he is liable, is referring to a case where the rung was not tightly inserted and he should have anticipated its displacement.

מתני׳ נשמט הברזל מקתו והרג רבי אומר אינו גולה וחכמים אומרים גולה מן העץ המתבקע רבי אומר גולה וחכמים אומרים אינו גולה:

MISHNA: If the blade of an ax or hatchet was displaced from its handle, and it flew through the air and killed a person, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: He is not exiled, and the Rabbis say: He is exiled. If part of a tree that is being split flew through the air and killed a person, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The murderer is exiled, and the Rabbis say: He is not exiled.

גמ׳ תניא אמר להם רבי לחכמים וכי נאמר (דברים יט, ה) ונשל הברזל מעצו והלא לא נאמר אלא מן העץ ועוד נאמר עץ למטה ונאמר עץ למעלה מה עץ האמור למעלה מן העץ המתבקע אף עץ האמור למטה מן העץ המתבקע

GEMARA: It is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to the Rabbis: Is it stated in the verse: And the blade displaces from its wood handle? But isn’t it stated: “And the blade displaces from the wood” (Deuteronomy 19:5), indicating that it is a wood chip from the tree that causes the death of the person? And furthermore: Etz is stated below: “And the blade displaces from the etz,” and etz is stated above, earlier in the same verse: “And his hand wields the ax to cut down the etz.” Just as the term etz stated above is referring to wood from the tree that is being split, so too, the term etz stated below is referring to wood from the tree that is being split, not to the wood of the ax handle.

אמר רב חייא בר אשי אמר רב ושניהם מקרא אחד דרשו ונשל הברזל מן העץ רבי סבר יש אם למסורת ונישל כתיב ורבנן סברי יש אם למקרא ונשל קרינן

Rav Ḥiyya bar Ashi says that Rav says: And both of them, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi and the Rabbis, interpreted one verse to arrive at their rulings. The verse states: “And the blade displaces [venashal] from the wood.” Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi holds: The tradition of the manner in which the verses in the Torah are written is authoritative, and one derives halakhot based on the manner in which the words are written, not on the manner in which they are vocalized. And it is written venishel, a transitive verb, indicating that the blade displaced wood chips from the tree. And the Rabbis maintain: The vocalization of the Torah is authoritative, and we read the term as venashal, an intransitive verb indicating that the blade is displaced from its wooden handle and kills a person.

ורבי יש אם למסורת סבירא ליה

The Gemara asks: And does Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi hold that the tradition of the manner in which the verses in the Torah are written is authoritative?