We know that a Goel haDam (blood avenger) has a special allowance to kill the rotzeach who accidentally killed his family member. The accidental rotzeach can avoid this fate by fleeing to an ir miklat, one of the designated cities of refuge.

But what if the Goel haDam is a shrewd/sneaky guy who is somehow able to gain access into this ir miklat and kills the rotzeach.

1) Do we say that he's a murderer, and thus subject to the death penalty, since the special allowance to kill expired once the rotzeach entered or is in the ir miklat?


2) Do we say the allowance to kill only expires when the Kohen Gadol dies and the ir miklat is more of a "home base" (like when playing tag) and it would be the ir miklat at fault for not preventing this/having better security?

Basically, I'd like to better understanding of the parameters for this unbelievable exception of allowance to kill that the Torah grants a person.

  • 1
    I don't think I've ever heard a halachic discussion talk about the game of tag :)
    – DonielF
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 21:22
  • I think the Goel Hadam is allowed to go into the ir miklat. He just can't kill the murderer there. Obviously if he's really mad you should take precautions, but that's just common sense and not based on any specific halacha of ir miklat. For that matter the same is true even after the Kohen Gadol dies.
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 14:04
  • @Heshy very interesting thanks! do you know if there's a mekor for that?
    – alicht
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 15:33
  • 1
    @alicht I don't. But the protection extends to the techum of the city, and if there were 24 hour guard posts that itself would extend the techum, so it's pretty much impossible to keep the goel hadam out. Also, what would you do if the goel hadam accidentally kills somebody else?
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


The Rambam (Hilchot Rotzeach uShmirat Nefesh 5:11) writes

If the [unintentional] killer is slain within the Sabbath limits of the city of refuge, the one who slayed him should be executed.

see also end of 5:12

Thus, if a person kills unintentionally and takes refuge at the altar, and the blood redeemer kills him there, he should be executed as if he killed him in a city of refuge.


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