The Rambam on accidental murder

Amazingly, this was the next part of the Rav’s shiur, given on Rosh Chodesh Kislev (Nov 13th, 2023).

The first part of the shiur was talking about transferring 1.5 billion to Hamas, and Hamas firing on the patients in the hospitals, and then blaming it on the IDF, if they try to take down Al Shifaa hospital.

You can read that HERE.

That shiur then continues like this:


So, this is what the Rambam says.

Now, we are reading verse 13 in Halacha 16, this is in the halachot of gerushin (divorces).

Verse 13, and also verse 2[1], it’s brought down twice [in the halachot of gerushin]. And also, in [the Rambam explaining the halachot pertaining to] arachin[2] (assets / property), and also in rotzeach[3] (murder).

Let’s now read the halachot of rotzeach (murder).


If a person murders [someone else], he doesn’t need to go to an ir miklat (city of refuge).

If he killed someone else be shogeg (by mistake)…

[But] if he murdered someone be mazid (i.e. With the deliberate intent to kill them), so there also needs to be witnesses and warning – but it doesn’t happen like this.

If you tell him [i.e. The would-be murderer] don’t fire on ploni! Don’t kill him! – so already, he won’t do it.

People do it when no-one is watching. He can’t do it when people are watching.

Tell him don’t do that transgression! – so he already won’t do that transgression.

So here, in verse 2, the Rambam brings that a person can write a get (Jewish bill of divorce) after they slaughter him.

So what, if they slaughter him? Nothing will happen, nothing.

Don’t get confused. Be ‘Breslov’ and then you’ll have yishuv ha’daat (settled, clear thinking).


The Rebbe says[4] my people are going to have yishuv ha’daat (calm, settled minds).

Everyone will be running around and confused, what are we meant to do, Moshiach is coming! What, are we meant to bring him some flowers? Or to bring him some chocolates? What are we meant to bring him? A BBQ’d chicken? Or maybe we should bring him an ice lolly?

Each person will search for what to bring Moshiach, some present.

But my people will have yishuv ha’daat, they won’t become confused.

Because whoever does an hour a day of hitbodedut, he won’t become confused by everyone else.


The same thing [here, returning to the discussion of the person who has been seriously injured].

You recieved some blows, they cut two simanim (lit: indications – but see footnote)[5], they cut all your head off – so what is going to happen? Nothing is going to happen.

‘Gossess[6] refers to when slowly, slowly, a person’s brain starts to decay.

A person 90 years old, he is already in danger that his brain will start to decay. Up until 90 years old, the brain can still function, people get to 100 years old.


Now, R’ Baruch Mordechai reached 100.

Rav Shteinman got to 102. Rav Shach reached 106. If they actually knew when he was born. Because there was no birthdate. Once upon a time, they didn’t used to register the date of birth.

Then, there was a world war.


So, if he was 106 years old, Rav Shach, so now, a women wanted to come and marry him, at the age of 106 years old, in order that she would be called ‘the wife of Rav Shach’.

There would be stipends, she’d be shown honor, so then she could give drashot (Torah classes).

So, she was 40 years old, and she wanted to marry Rav Shach.

So, for as long as he was still alive, she could still marry him, even at the age of 106.


[The same idea applies here.]

Even if a person receives many murderous blows, and he can’t continue to live, but he lives for another five minutes [halachically, he can still perform kiddushin and gerushin].



[1] Rambam Halachot Gerushin Verse 2, law 13.

[2] Rambam Halachot Arachin v’Haramin, Verse 5, law 13.

[3] Rambam Halachot Rotzeach v’Shmirat HaNefesh Verse 5, law 2.

[4] Sichot HaRan, 228::

I heard in [Rebbe Nachman’s] name: “Of course there are kosher people to be found, even if they don’t have hitbodedut. But I call them ‘pleetim’ (unfortunates) – petrified and confused.

And suddenly, when Moshiach comes and calls them, they will be all mixed-up and confused.

But we [i.e. Those who follow Rebbe Nachman’s advice to do hitbodedut for an hour every day] will be compared to people [who wake up] after they slept, when their minds are properly relaxed and settled.

This is how our da’at (minds / spiritual awareness) will be, relaxed and settled, without any panic and confusion.

[5] This is part of a wider discussion the Rav has been having over the last few weeks, where ‘simanim’ are taken to refer to crucial parts of the body.

[6] An halachic description of a person’s physical state shortly before they expire.


If some of this sounds a little strange, remember it’s the rabbinic decisions down here that actually govern ‘reality’.

Years ago, I remember some rabbi (it was actually Akiva Tatz….) giving a shiur about a whole rabbinic decision about someone who was lost overboard during a ship’s voyage.

The ‘prevailing wisdom’ was that this person couldn’t have survived the circumstances.

But one tanna argued that it was possible that a person could be lost overboard in those circumstances, and still be alive.

Once his decision was accepted by the others – this is what made the reality, down here.

And created the ‘space’ to actually save that shipwrecked person’s life.


Yeah, I know, totally not ‘rational and logical’.

Welcome to authentic Judaism.

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