If someone comes to Bais Din and says he killed someone Beshogeg and there are no witnesses,

  1. Will Bais Din be Mechayev him to go to the עיר המקלט?
  2. If yes, can he then after a while say that he only did so for monetary reasons (i.e. getting food from the mother of the Kohen Gadol) and leave or will he have to procure witnesses.

1 Answer 1


The Gemara in Makkos 10B about וה' אנה לידו explains that it refers to 2 people who killed without witnesses, one on purpose and one by mistake. Now they are brought together and Hashem makes the one who killed on purpose to be killed and the one who did it by mistake to have witnesses and everyone gets their punishment.

Rashi adds in that now that there is witnesses he will be forced to go to galus.

נופל עליו והורגו - ויש עדים ויגלה על כרחו

The Maharsha understands this Gemara as indicating that even without witnesses, the murderer SHOULD still go to galus, but we cannot force him. He wonders why that should be if the whole purpose is to avoid the Goel Hadam? He answers that if he admitted to it then the Goel Hadam can kill him as well.

וק"ק דמשמע מזה שהרג בשוגג בלא עדים שהוצרך ליגלות ולא ידענו על מה דהא הגלות לערי מקלט אינו רק מפני גואל הדם שיהרגנו ואם אין עדים בדבר היאך יהרגנו הגואל ואפשר לומר אם הוא מודה בדבר או שיתוודע הדבר ע"י קרובים ופסולים שפטור הגואל אם יהרגנו ודו"ק

Based on this, if he chooses to leave, the Goel can kill him. If he wants to recant his admission, Beis Din would have to reevaluate and determine if he will be believed, but the Goel has the right to kill him based on his admission of guilt.

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