Someone who murdered by accident has to go to the Ir Miklat. I heard that H'shem's intention on commanding so is to put the murderer in contact with the Leviim and to enable him to be positively influenced by them. Is that correct?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/103402/27180
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:20
  • sefaria.org/Sefer_HaChinukh.408.2?with=all&lang=bi
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:22
  • @Chatzkel: did not see your comment when I posted an answer.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:23
  • @shmuel it would seem that the reason mentioned by the OP is not the one mentioned by the chinuch. He mentioned that the murderer will be influenced by the Leviim. Whereas the Chinuch says it’s because they will be accepting of him and treat him well
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:27
  • 1
    @Shmuel that may be true but it doesn’t use that as a reason for the mitzvah
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 20:34

2 Answers 2


You're correct. The Sefer HaChinukh (408:2) writes:

And because of the greatness of their stature and the fitness of their deeds and the 'grace of their worth,' their land was chosen over the lands of the other tribes to shelter any one that kills by mistake - maybe their land that is sanctified with their holiness would atone for him.

Further, he writes:

And there is another reason in the thing: Since they are people of known [character] in virtues of disposition and respected wisdoms known to all, they would not loath the killer being saved with them and they would not touch him; and even if he would kill one of their friends or redeemers (relatives) - since he killed him 'suddenly and without enmity.' And about this select tribe is it stated (Deuteronomy 33:9), "Who says about his father and his mother, 'I have not seen him'" - meaning to say, that they will never do anything besides [that which is from] the proper path and in line with the truth; and even [in spite of] the love of father and mother and brothers and sons, which is obligated and compelled by nature, and all the more so [regarding] the love of other people. And I have further written another argument about the matter in the Order of Behar Sinai (Sefer HaChinukh 342).


In Guide for the Perplexed 3:40 Rambam explains the purpose as follows:

A person who killed another person unknowingly must go into exile (Exod. xii. 13: Num. xxxv. 11-28); because the anger of "the avenger of the blood" (Num. xxxv. 19) cools down while the cause of the mischief is out of sight. The chance of returning from the exile depends on the death of [the high-priest], the most honoured of men, and the friend of all Israel. By his death the relative of the slain person becomes reconciled (ibid. ver. 25); for it is a natural phenomenon that we find consolation in our misfortune when the same misfortune or a greater one has befallen another person. Amongst us no death causes more grief than that of the high-priest.

Friedlander translation

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