Moses then warned the Jewish people not to listen to false prophets, and reviewed the laws of Cities of Refuge. When someone commits an accidental murder, this stroke of Divine providence indicates that the accidental murderer needs to be exiled to one of these cities in order to cure himself of some inner defect that would otherwise go unrectified. The victim’s close relatives are allowed to kill the accidental murderer unless he has fled to one of these specially designated as asylum cities.
Temporary and Ultimate Refuge
שָׁלוֹשׁ עָרִים תַּבְדִּיל לָךְ וגו': (דברים יט:ב)
[Moses told the Jewish people,] “You must designate three cities for yourself.” Deuteronomy 19:2

Allegorically, the relative who seeks to avenge the victim’s blood is our own evil inclination. It attempts to trick us into sinning, thereby causing us to suffer some form of spiritual “death,” i.e., a loss of vitality in our spiritual life. The Messianic Redemption will be our ultimate refuge from this pursuer, for the evil inclination will be nullified in the Messianic future. Similarly, the future resumption of the Temple service will afford all who need it the opportunity to complete their atonement.

In the meantime, the study of the Torah is our refuge from our evil inclination, for the holiness of the Torah has the power to neutralize the effect of evil on us.1