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Daily Mitzvah

Positive Commandment 225; Negative Commandment 296, 292

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Positive Commandment 225 (Digest)
Exiling an Inadvertent Murderer to a City of Refuge

"And he shall live there until the death of the high priest"Numbers 35:25.

The courts are commanded to exile a person guilty of manslaughter to a city of refuge. The killer must remain there [until the death of the serving high priest]: "There he must dwell, there he shall die, there he shall be buried."

Negative Commandment 296 (Digest)
Accepting a Ransom from an Inadvertent Murderer

"You shall take no ransom from one who must flee to his city of refuge"Numbers 35:32.

It is forbidden to take a monetary payment from a person guilty of manslaughter to exempt him from exile in a city of refuge.

Negative Commandment 292 (Digest)
Executing a Criminal before he Stands Trial

"The murderer shall not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment"—Numbers 35:12.

It is forbidden to execute a criminal guilty of committing a capital crime before he receives due process before a rabbinical court. (This prohibition applies after the crime was committed. With regards to a criminal in the process of executing a crime, see Negative Commandment 293.)

Even if the members of the High Court witness the execution of a capital offense, they must serve as witnesses (before another panel of judges) who will adjudicate the case.


Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
The spiritual and the physical are antithetical in their very essence: what is a positive quality in the physical is a deficiency in the spiritual...
  –Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
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