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B"H

Today's Rambam, H. Rotzeich 5:4 says

וְעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהָרַג אֶת הָעַכּוּ''ם בִּשְׁגָגָה אֵין עָרֵי מִקְלָט קוֹלְטוֹת אוֹתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לה טו) "לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל":

When one gentile kills another gentile unintentionally, the cities of refuge do not serve as a haven for him, for the above verse states: "For the children of Israel."

What would we think the cities of refuge "save" him from?

There's no example of the cities of refuge saving one from a court punishment, only the goal hadam ("blood redeemer"), as Ibid:9 says:

רוֹצֵחַ בִּשְׁגָגָה שֶׁהֲרָגוֹ גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם חוּץ לִתְחוּם עִיר מִקְלָטוֹ פָּטוּר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט ו) "וְלוֹ אֵין מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת":

When a blood redeemer slays a person who killed unintentionally outside the Sabbath limits of his city of refuge, he is not held liable, as Deuteronomy 19:6 states: "He is not judged as liable to be executed."

But it doesn't mention the court being able to kill him before reaching the city, but not after.

Furthermore, in a case when one is saved by the altar from a non standard court judgement, Ibid:14 says that if it's a real court case with witnesses (in the case of an intentional case by a Jew), then the altar (and obviously, a city of refuge) doesn't save him:

אֲבָל מִי שֶׁפָּחַד מִן הַמֶּלֶךְ שֶׁלֹּא יַהַרְגֶנּוּ בְּדִין הַמַּלְכוּת אוֹ מִבֵּית דִּין שֶׁלֹּא יַהַרְגוּהוּ בְּהוֹרָאַת שָׁעָה וּבָרַח לַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְנִסְמַךְ לוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה זָר הֲרֵי זֶה נִצָּל וְאֵין לוֹקְחִין אוֹתוֹ מֵעִם הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לָמוּת לְעוֹלָם. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן נִתְחַיֵּב מִיתַת בֵּין דִּין בְּעֵדוּת גְּמוּרָה וְהַתְרָאָה כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הֲרוּגֵי בֵּית דִּין תָּמִיד:

When does the above apply? When one is obligated to be exiled. If, however, a person feared that a king will have him executed as is the king's authority, or that the court will execute him as an immediate directive, and fled to the altar and held on to it, he should be saved.

This applies even if he is a commoner. He should not be taken from the altar to die unless he was sentenced to death because of the testimony of witnesses who delivered a warning, as is always required with regard to those executed by the court.

So, when a non-Jew kills by mistake and is executed by the court, there's no reason to think that the city of refuge would save him from the court judgement, so seemingly this implies that we would think it saves him from another non-Jew who is a goal hadam.

But is there any source that says that a non-Jew can be a goal hadam, and therefore be exempt from punishment for killing another non-Jew (who killed his relative)? Seemingly, if this is the case, there should be an explicit source for it.

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    Core of reality, I edited out instances of the term "goy" in this post because this term can be used as a pejorative. It's clear to me that you don't intend it as such here, but given that there's no compelling reason in this context to use this term instead of the more neutral "non-Jew," it's better to avoid potential misunderstanding and offense by using the English term. Please don't revert this change.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 8 at 15:37
  • @IsaacMoses the Creator of heavens and Earth knows way more about what's best for all people than any human, and the Rambam etc. are written with ruach hakodesh, Divine inspiration, and accepted by the entire Jewish people. The Hebrew words it uses is either akum or goy (or kusi in some versions but not standard translation). If the Creator of the universe thought that the words would be offensive to other nations, He wouldn't have allowed these works to be accepted by the entire klal Yisroel. You're Saying that you know better about what terminology is better to use, than the Creator Himself? Jan 8 at 19:07
  • If you would like to change this community's conventions regarding use of the term "goy" or jargon in general, please take it up in this Meta post and/or this one.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 8 at 19:15

1 Answer 1

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Sure. The Rambam writes (Hil. Melachim Umilchamos 10:1):

בֶּן נֹחַ שֶׁשָּׁגַג בְּאַחַת מִמִּצְוֹתָיו פָּטוּר מִכְּלוּם. חוּץ מֵרוֹצֵחַ בִּשְׁגָגָה שֶׁאִם הֲרָגוֹ גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם אֵינוֹ נֶהֱרָג עָלָיו. וְאֵין לוֹ עִיר מִקְלָט. אֲבָל בָּתֵּי דִּינֵיהֶן אֵין מְמִיתִין אוֹתוֹ.

If a ben Noach violates one of his mitzvos inadvertently, he is exempt from any [punishment], with the exception of an inadvertent murderer, where a goel hadam is not executed for killing him, and there is no [asylum in an] ir miklat for him, though their courts don't execute [the original murderer].

So in short, the ben Noach accidental killer is in basically the same position as a Jew who killed in an "accidental manner that is close to deliberate" (Hil. Rotze'ach 6:5): he's going to have to "watch his six" against the goel hadam.

(As far as the question of a mitzvah, note that even when it comes to Jews, the Rambam (Hil. Rotze'ach 1:2, see Mishneh Lamelech there) holds that there's a mitzvah for the goel hadam to act only against a deliberate murderer, not an inadvertent one, though Rashi disagrees.)

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    Does he have a mitzvah to avenge or just exemption from punishment?
    – Double AA
    Jan 8 at 0:39
  • The title of the question asked if they have a mitzvah; the body (last paragraph) asked if they can do so. This answer addresses that point.
    – Meir
    Jan 8 at 1:01
  • Just realized, the Rambam never says that the Goal hadam is a goy, maybe this halacha is only talking about if a goy accidentally kills a yid? Jan 8 at 7:49
  • @Coreofreality Can't be. The halachah you quoted says ועכו"ם שהרג את העכו"ם, and there'd be no halachic way for an עכו"ם to have a Jewish relative to be the goel hadam.
    – Meir
    Jan 8 at 19:24

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