In Makkot 10a, we learn that if a man is exiled to a city of refuge, his teacher must be exiled with him to continue to teach him Torah there:

[The Sages] taught: [If] a student is exiled [to the city of refuge], his teacher is exiled with him, [so that the student can continue studying Torah with him there,] as it is stated: [And he shall flee to one of these cities] and live, [Deut. 4:42] from which it is derived: Perform some [actions] for [the unintentional murderer so] that [life in the city] will be [conducive to] living for him. [Since Torah study is an integral component of his life, arrangements must be made to ensure its continuity.] Rabbi Zeira says: From here one learns that a person should not teach a student who is not fit, [as that may result in the teacher following the student into exile].

Sounds like a bad deal for teachers!

I have a couple of questions:

  • Why does it have to be HIS teacher, as opposed to "A" teacher?
  • Why does the teacher have to be exiled, as opposed to visiting his student periodically?
    Perhaps the authorities can appoint a resident teacher at a city of refuge, to teach ALL the refugees there.

Is all this addressed anywhere?

  • 1
    Wow, I thought this was one of the functions of the Leviim who live there. Also, what about all that teacher's other students? This sounds highly impractical -- one student transgressing can banish his entire academy?? Apr 1, 2019 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


Ritva (quoted by artscroll) answers that this law applies even if there is an academy in place in the city of refuge, for not every student merits to study successfully under every teacher.

In other words the exilee needs his own teacher to make sure he will continue to learn well.

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