SELECTION OF THE AREI MIKLAT
Question: Why were there three in Ever ha'Yarden (for only two and a half Shevatim), and three in Eretz Yisrael (for nine and a half Shevatim)?
Answer (Abaye): There were many murderers in Gil'ad - "Gil'ad Kiryas Po'alei Aven Akubah mi'Dam";
(R. Elazar): "Akubah mi'Dam" - they sat in ambush to kill people.
Question: The Beraisa said 'they must be evenly spaced...' Why was the (north to south) distance from the extremes (north and south) to the nearest Ir Miklat greater than the distance in the middle? (The former was a quarter of the length of Eretz Yisrael, and the latter was at most half of this.)
Answer (Abaye): There were also many murderers in Shechem (in the middle of Eretz Yisrael) - "Chever Kohanim Derech Yeratzchu Shechemah." (We asked why murderers in the north or south must flee farther (Rashi). Perhaps we answered that the Torah minimized the distance in the middle, for most murders were there. Alternatively, since there were many murderers in Shechem, and an Ir Miklat cannot be mostly murderers (Amud b), the other cities were close, so most murderers from the rest of Eretz Yisrael would go to them. There were not as many in Shechem as in Gil'ad, so answer (b) is still valid (Maharsha).)
(R. Elazar): "Chever Kohanim" - they used to gang up to kill, like Kohanim gang up to collect Terumah from granaries.
Question: There were more than six cities - "va'Aleihem Titnu Arba'im u'Shtayim Ir"!
Answer (Abaye): The six are Kolet whether or not the murderer intended to take refuge there. The other 42 are Kolet only if he intended.
Question: Chevron was not an Ir Miklat! It says "va'Yitnu l'Kalev Es Chevron..."
Answer (Abaye): Kalev received the surrounding villages - "v'Es Sede ha'Ir v'Es Chatzereha Nosnu l'Kalev."
Question: Kadesh was not an Ir Miklat! It says "v'Arei Mivtzar... v'Kedesh..." (Mivtzar is a great city);
(Beraisa): We do not select small towns to be Arei Miklat (for food is scarce), nor great cities (lest the Go'el ha'Dam come there often, and plot to kill the murderer), rather, intermediate cities.
Answer (Rav Yosef): There were two cities called Kedesh.
(Rav Ashi): This is like Salikum, a great city with a middle-size suburb city called by the same name.
(Beraisa): Arei Miklat are not small towns, nor great cities, rather, intermediate cities;
We establish them only in places of water;
If there is no water, we dig channels so water will flow to them from rivers.
We establish them only where there are markets, and many people nearby (lest Go'elei ha'Dam take up arms and overcome the residents);
If the people nearby dwindled, we bring more. If residents of the city dwindled, we bring Kohanim, Leviyim and Yisraelim (so that murderers will not comprise the majority. Ritva - we do not bring other lineages, who lack the proper Midos, lest they give the murderer to the Go'el ha'Dam. Also, we want people proper to serve on a Sanhedrin, in case there will be a need. Si'ach Yitzchak - the Beraisa teaches that even though the cities belong to Leviyim, Yisraelim may settle there.)
R. Nechemyah says, we do not sell weapons or traps in the cities;
Chachamim permit this. (The Go'el ha'Dam is afraid to overtly kill him, for if so, he is Chayav Misah).
All agree that we do not set traps there. Also, we do not twine ropes (this is done over a large area, encompassing many people), lest the Go'el ha'Dam come there often.
(R. Yitzchak): We learn from "... va'Chai" - we must ensure that he will live.
THE VALUE OF TORAH
(Beraisa): "Va'Chai" - if a Talmid is exiled, his Rebbi also goes, so he will have true life.
(R. Zeira): This teaches that a Rebbi should be careful not to teach an improper Talmid (the Rebbi is exiled as punishment for teaching him).
(R. Yochanan): If a Rebbi is exiled, his academy also goes.
Question: R. Yochanan taught that Torah is Kolet - "Es Betzer ba'Midbar... v'Zos ha'Torah."
Answer #1: It is Kolet only when he is learning.
Answer #2: It is Kolet (protects) from the angel of death, but not from the Go'el ha'Dam.
Rav Chisda was learning. The angel of death could not approach him, for he did not cease speaking Torah. He sat on a tree. The angel of death split the tree. Rav Chisda stopped learning for a moment, and died.
(R. Tanchum bar Chanilai): The first Ir Miklat mentioned was in Reuven's portion. He merited this because he was the first to speak to save Yosef - "va'Yishma Reuven va'Yatzilehu mi'Yadam."
(R. Simlai): "Shalosh Arim... Mizrachah Shamesh" - Hash-m told Moshe to (separate the cities, and thereby) make the sun shine for murderers. Alternatively, He told him 'by separating the cities, you made the sun shine for murderers.'
(R. Simai): "Ohev Kesef Lo Yisba Kesef" is Moshe, who knew that the cities he separated would not Kolet until the ones in Eretz Yisrael were separated. In any case he seized the opportunity to do the Mitzvah;
"U'Mi Ohev be'Hamon Lo Sevu'ah" - who is qualified to teach Torah to many? One who has all the grain (he knows Tanach, Mishnah, Halachos and Agados).
(R. Elazar): "Mi Yemalel Gevuros Hash-m Yashmi'a Kol Tehilaso" - who is qualified to recount Hash-m's mighty acts? One who can make known all His praise (knows all His Torah).
(Rav Ashi): "U'Mi Ohev be'Hamon..." - whoever loves learning with many, he will have grain (Torah).
(R. Yosi b'Rebbi Chanina): "Cherev El ha'Badim..." - Chachamim who learn Bad b'Vad (individually) deserve the sword;
Further, they become foolish. It says "v'No'alu", like "Asher No'alnu";
Further, they sin. We learn from "va'Asher Chatanu", or from "No'alu Sarei Tzo'an."
(Ravina): "U'Mi Ohev..." - whoever loves teaching many, he will have Torah.
(Rebbi): I learned much from my Rebbeyim, even more from my colleagues, and the most from my Talmidim.
(R. Yehoshua ben Levi): "Samachti b'Omrim Li Beis Hash-m Nelech" - David said to Hash-m 'I heard people saying 'When will David die, and Shlomo will build the Beis ha'Mikdash and we will go there for the festivals!', and I rejoiced'!
Hash-m: "Tov Yom ba'Chatzerecha me'Alef" - I prefer one day that you engage in Torah to 1000 Korbanos that Shlomo will bring.
THE TRIP TO THE IR MIKLAT
(Mishnah): We prepare roads between the cities...
(Beraisa - R. Eliezer ben Yakov): We write 'Miklat' on every crossroads, so a murderer will know which way to go.
(Rav Kahana): He learns from "Tachin Lecha ha'Derech" - prepare the way.
Rav Chama bar Chanina would began expounding the Parshah of murderers with the following "Tov v'Yashar Hash-m Al Ken Yoreh Chata'im ba'Darech" - He shows sinners the path, and all the more so Tzadikim!
Reish Lakish would begin "veha'Elokim Inah l'Yado", "Ka'asher Yomar Meshal ha'Kadmoni me'Rsha'im Yetzei Resha" - the verse discusses two men who killed without witnesses. One was Shogeg, and the other was Mezid;
Hash-m arranges that they come to the same inn. The Shogeg murderer walks down a ladder and falls on the Mezid and kills him, as he deserved;
(Witnesses saw this time, so) the Shogeg murderer is exiled, as he deserves.
(Rabah bar bar Huna): Hash-m leads a person in the way he wants to go. We learn this from Torah, Nevi'im and Kesuvim:
Torah: At first, Hash-m told Bil'am "Lo Selech Imahem." After he persisted, Hash-m told him "Kum Lech Itam";
Nevi'im: "Ani Hash-m... Madrichecha b'Derech Telech."
Kesuvim: "Im la'Letzim Hu Yalitz vela'Anavim Yiten Chen."
(Rav Huna): If the Go'el ha'Dam killed the murderer on his way to Galus, he is exempt;
He understands that "v'Lo Ein Mishpat Maves" discusses the Go'el ha'Dam.
Question (Beraisa): "V'Lo Ein Mishpat Maves" refers to the murderer;
Suggestion: Perhaps it refers to the Go'el ha'Dam!
Rejection: The verse continues "Ki Lo Sonei Lo Mitmol Shilshom", i.e. the murderer.
Answer: Rav Huna holds like the following Tana.
(Beraisa): "V'Lo Ein Mishpat Maves" refers to the Go'el ha'Dam;
Suggestion: Perhaps it refers to the murderer!
Rejection: "Ki Lo Sonei Lo..." already teaches that we do not kill the murderer. "V'Lo Ein Mishpat Maves" teaches about the Go'el ha'Dam.
(Mishnah): We send two Chachamim with a murderer on his way to the Ir Miklat. They speak to the Go'el ha'Dam, lest he kill him on the way;
Suggestion: The Chachamim warn the Go'el ha'Dam, if he kills the murderer, he will be killed.
Rejection: No, they merely try to dissuade him from killing him.
(Beraisa): They say appropriate words. 'Do not treat him like a murderer. It happened b'Shogeg.'
R. Meir says "Zeh Devar ha'Rotze'ach" - the murderer speaks for himself.
Chachamim: Words are accepted better through many Sheluchim (than through the person himself).
Question (Beraisa): 'Do not treat him like a murderer. It happened b'Shogeg.'
This is obvious. If he was Mezid he is not exiled!
Answer: Indeed, even b'Mezid (at first) he is exiled!
(Beraisa - R. Yosi b'Rebbi Yehudah): At first, he goes to an Ir Miklat, whether he was Shogeg or Mezid. Beis Din send for him, and pass sentence:
If the verdict is that he is Chayav Misah, they kill him - "v'Shalchu Ziknei Iro... v'Nasnu Oso b'Yad Go'el ha'Dam va'Mes";
If he is exempt, they discharge him - "v'Hitzilu ha'Edah... mi'Yad Go'el ha'Dam";
If he is Chayav Galus, they return him to his Ir Miklat - "v'Heshivo Oso ha'Edah El Ir Miklato..."
Rebbi says, the murderers run to Arei Miklat on their own. The Mezid murderers do not realize that Kelitah is only for Shogeg.
(R. Elazar): If a city is mostly murderers, it is not Kolet. "V'Diber b'Oznei Ziknei ha'Ir ha'Hi Es Devarav" - his words (I murdered) cannot be the same as (the majority of) their words.
A CITY WITHOUT ZEKENIM
(R. Elazar): If a city lacks Zekenim, it is not Kolet, for we cannot fulfill "v'Diber b'Oznei Ziknei ha'Ir."
R. Ami and R. Asi argued about R. Elazar's law; one of them learned like him;
The other says that it is Kolet. "V'Diber..." is only l'Chatchilah.
(R. Ami or R. Asi): If a city lacks Zekenim, a boy (of the city) cannot become a Ben Sorer u'Moreh. We need "Ziknei Iro" (to judge him);
(The other of R. Ami and R. Asi): He can become a Ben Sorer u'Moreh. "Ziknei Iro" is only l'Chatchilah.
(R. Ami or R. Asi): If a city lacks Zekenim, it does not bring Eglah Arufah (behead a calf if a murdered corpse is found and it is the closest city), for we need "Ziknei ha'Ir ha'Hi";
(The other of R. Ami and R. Asi): It brings Eglah Arufah. "Ziknei ha'Ir ha'Hi" is only l'Chatchilah.