I understand that it is forbidden for a Jew to take revenge. Rambam Deyot 7.7

A person who takes revenge against a colleague transgresses a Torah prohibition, as Leviticus 19:18 states: "Do not take revenge."

And that it is a Mitzvah for a Jew to avenge the killing of his relative (whom he will inherit) Rambam Rotzeah 1.2

It is a mitzvah for the blood redeemer to kill the murderer, as Numbers 35:19 states: "The blood redeemer shall put the murderer to death." Whoever is fit to inherit the victim's estate becomes the redeemer of his blood.

Is it correct to see the second law as an exception to the first?
(What is the best way to look on it?).
Are there other exceptions?
Sources please.

Is it that when someone does something active against you you can avenge (but not letting you borrow something is an inaction, (not active)?

PS Saifer haChinuch revenge

  • Goel HaDam seems to be a Reshut judaism.stackexchange.com/a/81027/759
    – Double AA
    Jun 27, 2017 at 13:40
  • @DoubleAA all goel hadam or only when killed accidenley
    – hazoriz
    Jun 27, 2017 at 13:42
  • @DoubleAA even if reshut my question still stands
    – hazoriz
    Jun 27, 2017 at 13:43
  • @hazoriz Is goel hadam even applicable if it's not beshogeg? If it's bemeizid and he's not punished in court anyone can kill him (see, e.g. Sheva ben Bichri - once one is chayiv misah he's a dead man).
    – DonielF
    Jun 29, 2017 at 14:12
  • @DonielF please reread the second quote above, and expain your self a little bit more
    – hazoriz
    Jun 29, 2017 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


Ramban in parshas Kedoshim builds off a Toras Kohanim to address this point:

וענין הנקימה והנטירה כבר פירשוהו רבותינו (תו"כ קדושים ד י יא) שהוא בדבר שאין בו חיוב ממון השאילני מגלך השאילני קרדומך כי בדבר שנתחייב לו חברו ממון כגון בנזיקין וכיוצא בהן אינו מחוייב להניח לו אבל יתבענו בב"ד וישולם ממנו מפסוק כאשר עשה כן יעשה לו (להלן כד יט) והוא מעצמו חייב לשלם כאשר ישלם מה שלוה או מה שגזל וכל שכן בענין נפש שיהיה נוקם ונוטר לו עד שיגאל דמי אחיו מידו על פי בית דין המורים במשפטי התורה.

Revenge is when one tries to extract payment or payback in a situation where none is due to him. This is in contrast to a situation where a debt is owed and one can take the defendant to court to facilitate receiving what he is owed. Ramban ends this with a fortiori argument that certainly taking revenge against the killer to redeem his brother's blood, according to the laws of the Torah, are not included in the standard issur of not taking revenge.

  • +1 Thank you very much, a interesting question comes out of this what happens if you do not have witnesses and can not get your damages back in court? (There will be no prohibition of revenge?)
    – hazoriz
    Jun 28, 2017 at 16:31
  • That is interesting. It may depend on whether we rule adam don dina linafshei, one can take judgment into his own hands, or not.
    – user6591
    Jun 28, 2017 at 16:40
  • Yes. Its not pashut. All the way though the achronim. Kim li might help.
    – user6591
    Jun 28, 2017 at 17:01
  • אבל מדברי ספר החינוך במצוה רמ"א משמע דמה"ת נאמרו הלאוין דלא תקום ולא תטור אפילו אם ציערו צער הגוף (from yeshiva.org.il/wiki/… ) but he himself seems to bring another exception sefaria.org/Sefer_HaChinukh.338.5 (which seems not to be something for which i can go to court)
    – hazoriz
    Jun 28, 2017 at 17:41

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