In the Mishna Berurah on the end of Siman 306 (page 200 of Vol. 3 in the classic editions) he writes:

כתב כנה"ג דללכת חוץ לתחום בשבת לנקום נקמת אביו מרוצחים מותר ותמה עליו המג"א וש"א דהא לא עדיף משאר צורך מצוה דאסור לילך חוץ לתחום עבורה:‏

In the Sefer Knesset Hagedola - כְּנֶסֶת הגְּדוֹלָה - it is written one is permitted to leave the (2000 Amot) Shabbat boundary in order to avenge one's father revenge from murderers.
The Magen Avraham and Sha'agat Arye wonder about this since it's no different from any other Mitzvah that one can't leave the Shabbat boundary to fulfill.

What exactly is this לנקום נקמת אביו מרוצחים - avenging one's father revenge from murderers - that we are discussing?

If it's talking about a Biblical Honour Killing (as in גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם) then why only a father? All close relatives should have the same status. (Rambam says וְכָל הָרָאוּי לִירֻשָּׁה הוּא גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם - anybody who qualifies for the inheritance is a גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם).

What revenge is the Knesset Hagedola referring to?


R. Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe, Orach Chayyim V, 18 shares your puzzlement, but suggests that indeed, this is referring to the rule of the goel hadam, following the opinion that is a mitzvah for the goel hadam to avenge his relative.

ומה שכתב ללכת חוץ לתחום לנקום נקמת אביו, פלא. וכי היכן מצינו שיש בכלל מצווה לנקום, אף שהוא לכבוד אביו. ואולי כוונתו בדין גואל הדם על שהרג את אביו, למאן דאמר (סנהדרין מ"ה ע"ב) מצווה בגואל הדם, וצע"ג.‏

[He does not address your question of why this should be limited specifically to a son avenging his father.]

  • Great find! I added in the Igros Moshe, as a service to the public. :-) – Danny Schoemann Aug 27 '18 at 9:53
  • So I can do revenge killing on shabbos? – Clint Eastwood Aug 27 '18 at 11:49
  • @ClintEastwood as they say on another site, username checks out... – Josh Friedlander Aug 27 '18 at 14:13
  • @ClintEastwood Just make sure you only fire five shots. You need that sixth one to avenge your father's murder. Although, CYLOR before you kill him, because of the issur of killing and using a gun on Shabbos... – ezra Aug 27 '18 at 23:22
  • It is important that you don't remember how many shots were fired. Because if a trigger pull would certainly result in a shot, it would be a pesik reisha. – Clint Eastwood Aug 28 '18 at 2:18

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