י״ח באדר ה׳תשע״ה (March 9, 2015)

Ketubot 35a-b: Paying Damages, Part I

Our Gemara quotes a baraita that was taught in the study hall of Hizkiyya:

In the case of an animal that was damaged, the one who caused the damage is always held responsible to make restitution. That is to say, we do not distinguish between:

  • Shogeg and mayzid – whether it was done accidentally or on purpose
  • Mitkaven and ein mitkaven – whether or not it was done with intent
  • Derekh yeridah and derekh – whether the person was heading down or climbing up.

In all of these cases, the damage must be paid for.

Tosafot point out that these three specific cases refer to three separate topics in the laws of nezikim. The discussion of shogeg and mayzid refers to the question of whether the person was aware of what he was doing. From a legal perspective this means: had he been warned about the consequences of his actions before he carried them out? Mitkaven and ein mitkaven focus on whether there was full intent to carry out this action on this person, or perhaps, he meant to kill or injure one person and did it to another. The question of derekh yeridah or derekh aliyah is an issue specifically for galut – exile. According to the Torah, a person who kills accidentally will be free from capital punishment for murder, but will be obligated to move to one of the arey miklat where he will be protected from the go’el ha-dam – a relative of the dead man who can avenge the blood of his kin. The Torah teaches that the rule of exile applies only to cases where the accidental death took place derekh yeridah – e.g. when dropping something on the victim or falling on him. If it happened derekh aliyah, however, he need not go to galut to the ir miklat.

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