Pesachim 8A (link) says:

R. Elazar taught that harm will not befall a Shali'ach (someone on the way to do a) Mitzvah!

That is a short excerpt from a discussion about being protected when doing a mitzvah in the context of searching for chametz before Pesach where there might be a danger. It seems to say that if someone is going to do a mitzvah, unless there is something especially dangerous, one is protected from harm.

Of what degree of protection does it speak? Protection from death? Major injury that wouldn't heal (loss of limb)? Major injury that doesn't have a major long term effect (hip fracture that is set but has residual minor long-term effects)? Temporary injury (broken toe that gets set and fully healed)? Even temporary minor injury (paper cut)?

  • The exception to this rule is if the emissary in the course of his/her travels ventures into a dangerous area, or engages in an inherently risky activity. chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/592448/jewish/…
    – ray
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 18:29
  • @ray Right but I'm talking about the degree of protection, not how dangerous something needs to be. If somebody is biking on campus on his way to Mincha, rushing (though still not a particularly dangerous thing, especially for a young guy who is an experienced biker) so they don't have to wait for him, would he be protected from all harm on the way, only severe harm, only from death, what's the cutoff?
    – A L
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


From the ברייתא cited further in the Gemara, it would appear that any and all damages, even of the slightest and likeliest nature and occurring anywhere on one's property are included in this discussion (at least according to the opinion voiced there, although there is no contradictory sentiment earlier in the discussion that I've detected) [text of Rashi follows that of the Gemara]:

תניא: איסי בן יהודה אומר: כלפי שאמרה תורה "ולא יחמד איש את ארצך", מלמד שתהא פרתך רועה באפר ואין חיה מזיקתה, תרנגולתך מנקרת באשפה ואין חולדה מזיקתה; והלא דברים קל וחומר, ומה אלו שדרכן לזוק אינן ניזוקין, בני אדם שאין דרכן לזוק על אחת כמה וכמה; אין לי אלא בהליכה, בחזרה מנין, תלמוד לומר: "ופנית בבקר והלכת לאהליך", מלמד שתלך ותמצא אהלך בשלום.

כלפי שאמרה תורה: מתוך שאמרה תורה כך, אנו למדים שהבטיחו הכתוב שלא יוזק ממונו, וכל שכן גופו ד*אין דרכלזוק, דאדם אית ליה מזלא ואינו מהיר להיות ניזק בגופו.

To quote the outline on the page you provided in your question:

(Beraisa - Isi ben Yehudah): "V'Lo Yachmod Ish Es Artzecha" teaches that one [who goes to Yerushalayim for the festival] may leave his cow grazing in the dirt and his chicken pecking in the wasteheap, and Chayos and weasels will not attack them;

It is normal for animals to be damaged, yet the Torah promises that they will not be [due to the Mitzvah]. All the more so people, who are not normally damaged [because they have Mazel, i.e. supernatural protection], will not be harmed!

Question: This teaches that they will not be harmed on the way. What is the source regarding the way back?

Answer: "U'Fanisa va'Boker v'Halachta l'Ohalecha" - you will return and find your tent b'Shalom (intact).

  • Is there any indication if its mention of even the chickens being protected from weasels is an added level of protection specifically allotted to those who go up to Jerusalem, or if the specific mention is simply because that is what would be relevant from one who leaves his farm unattended?
    – A L
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 23:16
  • Actually, this brings to mind an anecdotal, though I think relevant, event. I know someone who was mugged (but uninjured) on the way back from Shul. That would seem parallel to the protection of one's chickens. We're talking about a relatively safe part of LA where lots of Jews walk to Shul on a regular basis (so mugging there wasn't a common concern). How might our understanding of the gemara relate to this incident?
    – A L
    Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 23:59
  • The Gemara specifically cites this ברייתא as a direct comparison to 'ordinary' שלוחי מצוה (to wit: איתמר: אמר רבי אלעזר: שלוחי מצוה אינן ניזוקין לא בהליכתן ולא בחזירתן; כמאן, כי האי תנא, דתניא...), so yes, it seems that the cases mentioned are simply relevant concerns for an עולה לרגל.
    – Bar Uryan
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 2:13
  • 1
    So if I understand you correctly, then my question of 'what is the degree of protection' hasn't been directly addressed. (Perhaps the specific scenario I brought up is a little off topic, not sure if it would be worthy of a question itself, but as a whole I'd like a more definitive answer of the level of protection of a typical person on a way to do a mitzvah in a place where a danger is not particularly common.)
    – A L
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 2:17
  • 1
    The person clarified to me as follows: "The five categories of reimbursement for bodily injury include nezek as one of them, which seems to only include permanent damage (it is the amount that a person loses in market value if they were sold as a slave after they heal versus before they are injured). On that basis, it would seem that the term in Pesachim likely only refers to permanent injury." So might some kinds of harm, like pain or a flat tire, not be covered in the protection?
    – A L
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 4:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .