For the week ending 12 June 2010 / 29 Sivan 5770

Makkot 9 - 16

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The ger toshav in regard to accidental murder
  • What is the status of one who mistakenly thought his action was not prohibited
  • If the blind man or the hater must go into exile
  • Where were the cities of refuge, what must they contain and what must they keep out
  • Some advice re learning and teaching Torah
  • Heavenly justice and humanly inspired Heavenly guidance
  • The fleeing murderer and the blood avenger
  • The death of the kohen gadol granting freedom from exile
  • The impact of a tzaddik’s curse
  • Does disqualification of a kohen have a retroactive effect
  • Is the blood avenger merely permitted to kill the exiled murderer or commanded to do so
  • Refuge under a borderline tree and exile from one neighborhood to another
  • Honoring the exiled person and restoring him to his position afterwards
  • Which forbidden sexual relations are punished with lashes
  • The impure person who enters Sanctuary or eats sacrificial flesh
  • When a positive command precedes or follows a prohibition

Undeserved Honor

  • Makkot 12b

The moral demand for a person to refuse honor he does not deserve is pointed out in the final mishneh of the second perek of this mesechta.

One who committed an accidental murder and flees to one of the cities of refuge may not be known to the residents of that city. If they wish to honor him in any way he has the duty of informing them that he committed an act of murder.

This is based on the word “devar” that appears in the Torah's discussion of the exile of the accidental murderer (Devarim 19:4). Although in its context the term means "the matter", our Sages saw in its similarity to the word for speech (daber) a hint to the above-mentioned declaration the exiled one must make when he is being honored.

This mishneh is actually a partial quote of a mishneh in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Mesechta Shevi’it 10:3). There is teaches the need for one who is repaid a loan that has been canceled by the Shemitah year to declare to the payer that he considers the loan canceled. The case of the exiled person being honored is mentioned there as a parallel.

In the Yerushalmi we find an interesting extension of this principle by Rabbi Yossi who says that if one has mastered one tractate of the Talmud and comes to a place where they honor him as one who has mastered two, he must declare that he does not deserve that greater honor.

What the Sages Say

"I have learned much Torah from my teachers, more from my colleagues and even more from my students."

  • Rebbie (Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi) - Makkot 10a

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