We are not allowed to take revenge, as the Rambam codifies

This would be, for example if one person did something [against another]; and the other person doesn't stop pursuing him until he pays him back in the same way, or causes him the same pain which he caused. G‑d has prohibited this, in His statement,1 "Do not take revenge."

Yet with goel hadam, the relatives are allowed to seek vengeance and kill the negligent killer (outside the ir miklat). That seems to be incompatible with the commandment of not taking revenge. How can that be?

(I'm asking about the spirit of the commandment, and why there is seemingly that particular exception.)

  • The Gemara asks: But isn’t it written explicitly in the Torah: “You shall not take vengeance nor bear any grudge against the children of your people” (Leviticus 19:18)? The Gemara responds: That prohibition is written with regard to monetary matters and not personal insults (Yoma 22b)
    – Shmuel
    Aug 10, 2022 at 21:06
  • Someone being killed is a personal insult?
    – Aaron
    Aug 10, 2022 at 21:19
  • I don't have a Frankel Rambam with me, but if you or someone else here has access to one, it probably couldn't hurt to check out the mafte'ach on hilchos de'os perek 7 halachos 7-8. Aug 11, 2022 at 0:27
  • I mean we’re commanded “don’t kill”, but you can kill in war, in self defense, the Sanhedrin kills people…there’s exceptions to everything Aug 11, 2022 at 1:48
  • 1
    @CuriousYid Obviously there are exceptions for everything, but I was asking about the spirit of the "don't take revenge" commandment, and why an exception in this particular case is made.
    – cdog1350
    Aug 11, 2022 at 3:28


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