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Rotseah uShmirat Nefesh

Rotseah uShmirat Nefesh

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HILCHOT ROTZEACH USH'MIRAT NEFESH

The Laws of Murderers and the Protection of Life
They contain seventeen mitzvot: seven positive mitzvot and ten negative mitzvot. They are:
a) Not to murder;
b) Not to accept ransom from a murderer to save him from execution;
c) To exile a person who killed inadvertently;
d) Not to accept ransom from a person who killed inadvertently to save him from exile;
e) Not to kill a murderer directly after the murder, before he stands trial;
f) To save a person who is being pursued, by killing the pursuer;
g) Not to have mercy on the pursuer;
h) Not to stand idly by when a colleague's life is in danger;
i) To set aside cities of refuge, and to prepare the roads leading to them;
j) To break the neck of a calf in a wadi [when required];
k) Never to till or seed the land [where the calf was decapitated];
l) Not to create a dangerous situation;
m) To build a guardrail;
n) Not to cause a well-meaning person to blunder;
o) To help [a person whose animal collapses on a road] to unload it;
p) [Together with the owner] to reload [the animal];
q) Not to abandon him helpless, with his burden.

These mitzvot are explained in the chapters [that follow].
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