Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 35, v. 25: "V'yoshav boh ad mose haKohein haGodol asher YIMSHACH oso" - The gemara Makos 11b says that the fugitive accidental murderer who escapes to a city of refuge must remain there until the death of the Kohein Godol who had that position at the time of the verdict of the accidental murderer. If so, should the verse not have said "asher NIMSHACH b'yomov?" "Asher YIMSHACH" seems to connote that the accidental murderer anointed and elevated the Kohein to his position. The Meshech Chochmoh points out that we see from this wording an insight into the workings of Hashem that is contrary to the thinking of the common man. One thinks that the Kohein Godol was appointed because he in particular was worthy of the position. However, the reason can be a totally different one. Hashem decrees the length of each person's life. As well, He also calculates how long the accidental murderer should have to remain in a city of refuge. It is quite possible that Hashem has decreed that a specific person become Kohein Godol because the number of years left to his life match with the number of years Hashem wants the accidental murderer to remain in the city of refuge. Thus his remaining in the city of refuge until the death of the Kohein Godol, "v'yoshav boh ad mose haKohein haGodol, is the cause for this Kohein having been anointed as Kohein Godol in the first place, hence "asher yimshach oso," the accidental murderer is the cause for this person being appointed.

Perhaps it is most befitting for this concept to be pointed out by the case of the accidental murderer, since the gemara Makos 10b says that the accidental killing also takes place, not as a self-contained incident, but rather, as an outgrowth of other incidents, and is not just an independent cause for going into exile. The gemara says that such an incident takes place specifically with these people, because the one who was accidentally killed had intentionally killed someone else when no witnesses were present. The accidental murderer had previously killed another person unintentionally, and not in front of witnesses. Neither of these two people will get off scot-free, but rather, they come to one location. The intentional murderer is killed by the unintentional murderer in front of witnesses, and everyone gets his just deserts.


See also Sedrah Selections, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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