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Friday, August 2

The Weekly Shtikle - Matos / Mas'ei

This week was the first yahrtzeit of my cousin, Mrs. Michelle Jakobovits. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Rochel Mirel bas Shmuel HaLevi.


Towards the end of the parsha, we are taught of the mitzvah of exiling one who killed by mistake, shogeig. If he leaves his designated city of exile, the close relative of the victim is allowed to kill him. There is a discussion in the mishnah (Makkos 11b) as to whether or not the killing of the killer is a mitzvah or not. R' Chaim Kanievsky makes an interesting observation on the exact wording of this parsha. Almost everywhere else that the Torah commands us to kill someone, the verb of the root misah is used, usually in the form "v'heimis." This is because it is considered killing but not murdering. Here, however, the verb veratzach is used, the same root as the commandment, "lo sirtzach," do not murder. He explains that even according to the opinion that it is a mitzvah to kill the killer, it is not an obligation but only a mitzvah if he does it. It is his choice. Therefore, it is referred to by the Torah, whether it is a mitzvah or not, as murdering.


It is interesting to note, that the part of the parsha dealing with the willful murderer (meizid) states that the relative of the victim shall kill the murderer and there the word "yamis" is used. According to the explanation of R' Chaim, it would suggest that in this instance, it is in fact an obligation for the relative to kill the murderer. 

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: The Cold has Passed

Dikdukian: Watch out for those Mapiks!

Dikdukian: The Interrogative

Al Pi Cheshbon: Splitting up the Animals

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