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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Devarim - Deuteronomy - Chapter 19

Devarim - Deuteronomy - Chapter 19

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 19

1. When the Lord, your God, cuts off the nations, whose land the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you inherit them, and dwell in their cities and in their houses,   א. כִּי יַכְרִית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ אֶת אַרְצָם וִירִשְׁתָּם וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בְעָרֵיהֶם וּבְבָתֵּיהֶם:
2. you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you to possess.   ב. שָׁלוֹשׁ עָרִים תַּבְדִּיל לָךְ בְּתוֹךְ אַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לְרִשְׁתָּהּ:
3. Prepare the road for yourself and divide into three parts the boundary of your land, which the Lord, your God, is giving you as an inheritance, and it will be for every killer to flee there.   ג. תָּכִין לְךָ הַדֶּרֶךְ וְשִׁלַּשְׁתָּ אֶת גְּבוּל אַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יַנְחִילְךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהָיָה לָנוּס שָׁמָּה כָּל רֹצֵחַ:
Prepare for yourself the way: “Refuge! Refuge!” was inscribed at each crossroads [directing the way to the nearest refuge city]. — [Mak . 10b]   תכין לך הדרך: מקלט מקלט היה כתוב על פרשת דרכים:
and divide into three parts the boundary of your land: so that [the distance] from the beginning of the border to the first refuge city should be the same as the distance from this first city to the second, and so from the second to the third and from the third to the opposite border of Israel. — [Mak. 9b]   ושלשת את גבול ארצך: שיהא מתחלת הגבול עד העיר הראשונה של עיר מקלט, כשיעור מהלך שיש ממנה עד השניה. וכן משניה, לשלישית. וכן מן השלישית, עד הגבול השני של ארץ ישראל:
4. And this is the case of the killer who will flee there, so that he may live: Whoever strikes his fellow [to death] unintentionally, whom he did not hate in times past.   ד. וְזֶה דְּבַר הָרֹצֵחַ אֲשֶׁר יָנוּס שָׁמָּה וָחָי אֲשֶׁר יַכֶּה אֶת רֵעֵהוּ בִּבְלִי דַעַת וְהוּא לֹא שׂנֵא לוֹ מִתְּמֹל שִׁלְשֹׁם:
5. As when a man goes with his fellow into the forest to chop wood, and his hand swings the ax to cut down the tree, and the iron flies off the handle, and it reaches his fellow, and he dies he shall flee to one of these cities, and live.   ה. וַאֲשֶׁר יָבֹא אֶת רֵעֵהוּ בַיַּעַר לַחְטֹב עֵצִים וְנִדְּחָה יָדוֹ בַגַּרְזֶן לִכְרֹת הָעֵץ וְנָשַׁל הַבַּרְזֶל מִן הָעֵץ וּמָצָא אֶת רֵעֵהוּ וָמֵת הוּא יָנוּס אֶל אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וָחָי:
And his hand swings [the ax]: when he was about to let the ax fall on the tree. The Targum renders this as וְתִתְמְרֵיג יְדֵּיּהּ meaning, וְנִשְׁמְטָה יָדוֹ his hand swayed while letting the stroke of the ax fall upon the tree. [Similarly,] the words הַבָּקָר כִּי שָׁמְטוּ (II Sam. 6:6), are rendered in Targum Jonathan as: אֲרֵי מַרְגוּהִי תּוֹרַיָּא“for the oxen swayed.”   ונדחה ידו: כשבא להפיל הגרזן על העץ, ותרגומו ותתמריג ידיה, לשון ונשמטה ידו להפיל מכת הגרזן על העץ. כי שמטו הבקר (שמואל ב' ו ו) תרגם יונתן ארי מרגוהי תוריא:
and the iron flies off the handle: Heb. וְנָשַׁל הַבַּרְזֶל מִן-הָעֵץ. Some of our Rabbis say that this means that the iron head [of the ax] slipped off its handle, while others say, the ax chipped a splinter of wood off the tree which was being chopped, and it ricocheted, killing [the victim]. — [Mak. 7b]   ונשל הברזל מן העץ: יש מרבותינו אומרים נשמט הברזל מקתו, ויש מהם אומרים שישל הברזל חתיכה מן העץ המתבקע, והיא נתזה והרגה:
6. Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the killer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and he strikes him to death, whereas he was not deserving of death, for he had not hated him in times past.   ו. פֶּן יִרְדֹּף גֹּאֵל הַדָּם אַחֲרֵי הָרֹצֵחַ כִּי יֵחַם לְבָבוֹ וְהִשִּׂיגוֹ כִּי יִרְבֶּה הַדֶּרֶךְ וְהִכָּהוּ נָפֶשׁ וְלוֹ אֵין מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת כִּי לֹא שׂנֵא הוּא לוֹ מִתְּמוֹל שִׁלְשׁוֹם:
Lest the avenger of the blood pursue [the killer]: This is why I am telling you prepare a way for yourself, and [to prepare] many refuge cities.   פן ירדוף גואל הדם: לכך אני אומר להכין לך דרך, וערי מקלט רבים:
7. Therefore, I command you, saying, "You shall separate for yourself three cities."   ז. עַל כֵּן אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ לֵאמֹר שָׁלשׁ עָרִים תַּבְדִּיל לָךְ:
8. And when the Lord, your God, expands your boundary, as He swore to your forefathers, and He gives you all the land of which He spoke to give to your forefathers;   ח. וְאִם יַרְחִיב יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת גְּבֻלְךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ וְנָתַן לְךָ אֶת כָּל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָתֵת לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ:
And when [the Lord your God] expands [your boundary]: As He swore to give you the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites.   ואם ירחיב: כאשר נשבע לתת לך ארץ קיני וקנזי וקדמוני:
9. if you will keep all this commandment to perform it, which I command you this day, to love the Lord, your God, and to walk in His ways all the days, you shall add three more cities for yourself, in addition to these three,   ט. כִּי תִשְׁמֹר אֶת כָּל הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת לַעֲשׂתָהּ אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם לְאַהֲבָה אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְלָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו כָּל הַיָּמִים וְיָסַפְתָּ לְךָ עוֹד שָׁלשׁ עָרִים עַל הַשָּׁלשׁ הָאֵלֶּה:
you shall add three more [cities] for yourself: Thus, [altogether you will have] nine: The three on the other side of the Jordan, the three in the land of Canaan, and three more in the future [when God will expand your boundary]. — [Sifrei]   ויספת לך עוד שלש: הרי תשע. שלש שבעבר הירדן ושלש שבארץ כנען ושלש לעתיד לבא:
10. so that innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord, your God, gives you for an inheritance which would deem you guilty of [having shed this] blood.   י. וְלֹא יִשָּׁפֵךְ דַּם נָקִי בְּקֶרֶב אַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה וְהָיָה עָלֶיךָ דָּמִים:
11. But if a man hates his fellow, lies in wait for him, rises up against him, and strikes him mortally, and he flees to one of these cities,   יא. וְכִי יִהְיֶה אִישׁ שׂנֵא לְרֵעֵהוּ וְאָרַב לוֹ וְקָם עָלָיו וְהִכָּהוּ נֶפֶשׁ וָמֵת וְנָס אֶל אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאֵל:
But if a man hates his fellow [and lies in wait for him…]: Through this man’s hatred of his fellow, he comes to “lie in wait for him.” From here our Rabbis derived the maxim: If a man transgresses a minor commandment, he will ultimately transgress a major commandment. [Here,] since he transgressed the command: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart” (Lev. 19:17), he ultimately came to shed blood. This is why it says here, “But if a man hates his fellow,” for it should have written only: “But if a man rises up and lies in wait for his fellow and strikes him mortally.” - [Sifrei]   וכי יהיה איש שונא לרעהו: על ידי שנאתו הוא בא לידי וארב לו. מכאן אמרו עבר אדם על מצוה קלה סופו לעבור על מצוה חמורה. לפי שעבר על לא תשנא, סופו לבא לידי שפיכות דמים. לכך נאמר כי יהיה איש שונא לרעהו וגו', שהיה לו לכתוב וכי יקום איש וארב לרעהו והכהו נפש:
12. the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of the blood, that he may die.   יב. וְשָׁלְחוּ זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ וְלָקְחוּ אֹתוֹ מִשָּׁם וְנָתְנוּ אֹתוֹ בְּיַד גֹּאֵל הַדָּם וָמֵת:
13. And you shall not pity him, but you shall abolish [the shedding of] the blood of the innocent from Israel, and it will be good for you.   יג. לֹא תָחוֹס עֵינְךָ עָלָיו וּבִעַרְתָּ דַם הַנָּקִי מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְטוֹב לָךְ:
And you shall not pity him: I.e., you should not say,“The first [person] has already been killed; why should we kill this one too and cause two Israelites to be killed?” - [Sifrei]   לא תחוס עינך: שלא תאמר הראשון כבר נהרג, למה אנו הורגים את זה ונמצאו שני ישראלים הרוגים:
14. You shall not pull back your neighbor's landmark, which the earlier ones have set as borders in your inheritance, which you will inherit in the land that the Lord, your God gives you, to possess.   יד. לֹא תַסִּיג גְּבוּל רֵעֲךָ אֲשֶׁר גָּבְלוּ רִאשֹׁנִים בְּנַחֲלָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּנְחַל בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ לְרִשְׁתָּהּ:
You shall not pull back [your neighbor’s] landmark: Heb. לֹא תַסּיג, an expression similar to, “they shall turn back (נָסֹגוּ אָחוֹר)” (Isa. 42:17). [Here therefore, it means] that he moves the boundary-mark of the land backwards into his neighbor’s field, thereby enlarging his own [property]. But has it not already been stated, “You shall not rob” (Lev. 19:13) ? Why then, is it stated here: “You shall not pull back [the landmark]?” [The answer is that this verse] teaches that the person who removes his neighbor’s boundary mark transgresses two negative commandments, “You shall not rob (לֹא תִגְזֹל)” and “You shall not pull back [the landmark]” (לֹא תַסִּיג). Now I might think that [this applies] outside Eretz Israel as well. Therefore it says, “in your inheritance, which you will inherit [in the land],” [indicating that] in [only] Eretz Israel one transgresses two negative commandments, whereas outside Eretz Israel, one transgresses only the commandment of “you shall not rob.” - [Sifrei]   לא תסיג גבול: לשון נסוגו אחור (ישעיה מב יז), שמחזיר סימן חלוקת הקרקע לאחור לתוך שדה חבירו למען הרחיב את שלו. והלא כבר נאמר (ויקרא יט, יג) לא תגזול, מה תלמוד לומר לא תסיג, למד על העוקר תחום חבירו שעובר בשני לאוין. יכול אף בחוצה לארץ, תלמוד לומר בנחלתך אשר תנחל וגו', בארץ ישראל עובר בשני לאוין, בחוצה לארץ אינו עובר אלא משום לא תגזול:
15. One witness shall not rise up against any person for any iniquity or for any sin, regarding any sin that he will sin. By the mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be confirmed.   טו. לֹא יָקוּם עֵד אֶחָד בְּאִישׁ לְכָל עָו‍ֹן וּלְכָל חַטָּאת בְּכָל חֵטְא אֲשֶׁר יֶחֱטָא עַל פִּי | שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אוֹ עַל פִּי שְׁלשָׁה עֵדִים יָקוּם דָּבָר:
One witness [shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity]: This verse establishes a general principle [i.e., from here it is derived] that wherever the term“witness” (עֵד) appears in the Torah, it means two [witnesses], unless the Torah specifies [that] one witness is meant. — [San. 30a]   עד אחד: זה בנה אב כל עד שבתורה שנים, אלא אם כן פרט לך בו אחד:
for any iniquity, or for any sin: where his testimony would lead to the accused being punished, either with corporal punishment or with or monetary punishment. However, one [witness] may rise up to [compel his fellow to take] an oath, as follows: If one says to his fellow, “Give me the maneh [100 zuzim] that I lent you,” and his fellow replies, “I have nothing of yours,” and one witness testifies for him [the plaintiff] that he [the defendant] owes him [the money], [the defendant] is required to swear [that he did not borrow any money]. — [Shev. 40a]   לכל עון ולכל חטאת: להיות חבירו נענש על עדותו, לא עונש גוף ולא עונש ממון, אבל קם הוא לשבועה. אמר לחבירו תן לי מנה שהלויתיך אמר לו אין לך בידי כלום ועד אחד מעיד שיש לו, חייב להשבע לו:
By the mouth of two witnesses [… the matter will be established]: [The expression,“by the mouth” means here that only the direct, verbal testimony suffices,] but they should not write their testimony in a letter and send it to the court, or have an interpreter stand between the witnesses and the judges. - [Sifrei]   על פי שני עדים: ולא שיכתבו עדותם באגרת וישלחו לבית דין, ולא שיעמוד תורגמן בין העדים ובין הדיינים:
16. If a false witness rises up against a man, to bear perverted testimony against him,   טז. כִּי יָקוּם עֵד חָמָס בְּאִישׁ לַעֲנוֹת בּוֹ סָרָה:
to bear perverted testimony against him: Heb. סָרָה [That is, he testifies about] a thing which is not so, that this witness is removed (הוּסַר) from the whole testimony [meaning that he could not possibly have been a witness,] such as if [a second set of witnesses] said [to the first set of witnesses], “But weren’t you with us on that day in such and such a place [and not with the defendant, as you claim to have been]?” - [Mak. 5a]   לענות בו סרה: דבר שאינו, שהוסר העד הזה מכל העדות הזאת, כגון, שאמרו להם והלא עמנו הייתם אותו היום במקום פלוני:
17. Then the two men between whom the controversy exists shall stand before the Lord, before the kohanim and the judges who will be in those days.   יז. וְעָמְדוּ שְׁנֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם הָרִיב לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה לִפְנֵי הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַשֹּׁפְטִים אֲשֶׁר יִהְיוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם:
Then the two men… shall stand: The text is referring to the witnesses, and it teaches us that there is no testimony by women. It also teaches us that witnesses must submit their testimony while standing. — [Shev. 30a]   ועמדו שני האנשים: בעדים הכתוב מדבר, ולמד שאין עדות בנשים, ולמד שצריכין להעיד עדותן מעומד:
between whom the controversy exists: These are the litigants.   אשר להם הריב: אלו בעלי הדין:
before the Lord: It should seem to them as though they are standing before the Omnipresent, as it says:“in the midst of the judges He will judge” (Ps. 82: 1). - [San. 6b]   לפני ה': יהי דומה להם כאילו עומדין לפני המקום, שנאמר בקרב אלהים ישפוט (תהלים פב, א):
who will be in those days: [Now could one stand in front of those who are not in his day? Rather, it means that] Jephthah [one of the less important judges] in his generation, is [to be considered] as Samuel [the greatest judge] in his generation; you must treat him with respect.   אשר יהיו בימים ההם: יפתח בדורו כשמואל בדורו, צריך אתה לנהוג בו כבוד:
18. And the judges shall inquire thoroughly, and behold, the witness is a false witness; he has testified falsely against his brother;   יח. וְדָרְשׁוּ הַשֹּׁפְטִים הֵיטֵב וְהִנֵּה עֵד שֶׁקֶר הָעֵד שֶׁקֶר עָנָה בְאָחִיו:
And the judges shall inquire thoroughly: By means of the testimony of [the new set of witnesses] who rebut them, that they investigate and examine those who come to prove that they [the first pair] are עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין,“plotting witnesses,” by diligent inquiry and examination.   ודרשו השופטים היטב: על פי המזימין אותם, שבודקים וחוקרים את הבאים להזימם בדרישה ובחקירה:
and behold, the witness is a false witness: Wherever עֵד, witness , is written, Scripture is speaking of two [witnesses]. — [San. 30a]   והנה עד שקר: כל מקום שנאמר עד, בשנים הכתוב מדבר:
19. then you shall do to him as he plotted to do to his brother, and you shall [thus] abolish evil from among you.   יט. וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַם לַעֲשׂוֹת לְאָחִיו וּבִעַרְתָּ הָרָע מִקִּרְבֶּךָ:
as he plotted: But not as he did. From here [our Rabbis] said that if the first set of witnesses [before being proven false,] already killed the defendant [by their testimony], they are not to be put to death. — [Mak. 5b]   כאשר זמם: ולא כאשר עשה. מכאן אמרו, הרגו אין נהרגין:
to do to his brother: Why does Scripture state, “to his brother?” To teach, that in the case of witnesses who conspired against a married daughter of a kohen [by accusing her of adultery], that they are not executed with burning [the form of execution to which she would have been subjected], but rather, by strangulation, the form of execution of the adulterer. For it says [regarding such a woman] “she shall be burnt with fire” (Lev. 21:9) -“she,” but not her paramour [who is dispatched by strangulation]; therefore it says here, “to his brother”-“as he plotted to do to his brother,” but not as he plotted to do to his sister. With other crimes, however, Scripture regards women equally with men, and conspiring witnesses against a woman are executed in the same way as those who conspired against a man. For instance, if they testified that a women killed a person, or that she desecrated the Sabbath [and they are revealed to be false witnesses before she is executed], then they are executed in the form that they intended for her, for Scripture does not exclude his sister [by stating “brother”] except in a case where one may carry out the punishment of the conspiring witnesses by the form of execution of the adulterer [as opposed to the adulteress]. — [Sifrei and San. 90a]   לעשות לאחיו: מה תלמוד לומר לאחיו, למד על זוממי בת כהן נשואה שאינן בשריפה, אלא כמיתת הבועל שהוא בחנק, שנאמר היא באש תשרף (ויקרא כא, ט) היא ולא בועלה. לכך נאמר כאן לאחיו, כאשר זמם לעשות לאחיו, ולא כאשר זמם לעשות לאחותו. אבל בכל שאר מיתות השוה הכתוב אשה לאיש, וזוממי אשה נהרגין כזוממי איש. כגון שהעידוה שהרגה את הנפש, שחללה את השבת, נהרגין במיתתה. שלא מיעט כאן אחותו אלא במקום שיש לקיים בהן הזמה במיתת הבועל:
20. And those who remain shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer continue to commit any such evil thing among you.   כ. וְהַנִּשְׁאָרִים יִשְׁמְעוּ וְיִרָאוּ וְלֹא יֹסִפוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת עוֹד כַּדָּבָר הָרָע הַזֶּה בְּקִרְבֶּךָ:
shall listen and fear: From here, [we derive the law] that a public announcement is required: “So-and-so and so-and-so are to be executed because they were proven by the court to be plotting witnesses.” - [San. 89a] [Note that Rashi on Mak. 5a and San. 89a writes that the proclamation is made after the perpetrators have been executed.]   ישמעו ויראו: מכאן שצריכין הכרזה, איש פלוני ופלוני נהרגין על שהוזמו בבית דין:
21. You shall not have pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.   כא. וְלֹא תָחוֹס עֵינֶךָ נֶפֶשׁ בְּנֶפֶשׁ עַיִן בְּעַיִן שֵׁן בְּשֵׁן יָד בְּיָד רֶגֶל בְּרָגֶל:
Eye for eye: i.e., financial compensation; and similarly, “tooth for tooth, etc.” - [Sifrei, B.K. 87a]   עין בעין: ממון, וכן שן בשן וגו':
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