Ask Your Father and He Will Tell You

Commenting on the verse, “You shall separate three cities for yourselves” (Deuteronomy 19:7), the Talmud explains that road markers showed unintentional killers the way to the nearest city of refuge (Makkot 10b). Nevertheless, these markers were not placed on the roads leading to Jerusalem. Why not?

The reason is that one who has unintentionally killed a person must spend his time asking for road directions from passers-by. The avenger of blood is therefore liable to find him and kill him. The road markers were thus meant to save him time and increase his chances of survival. On the other hand, these road markers did not exist on the roads leading to Jerusalem, the holy city and the abode of the Shechinah and Torah, a place from which people infused themselves with Hashem’s spirit and abundance. The killer therefore had to ask for information from passers-by on the roads leading to the cities of refuge, and he had no reason to worry about being attacked.

When we study Torah, we must not content ourselves with what we know. Instead we must constantly be developing our understanding and learning from everyone who can help us. We must never end our studies, for every stoppage is liable to lead to an irreparable spiritual fall. It is only by the Torah that we can find our way, but only if we continue asking questions in order to truly understand it.


The Significance of the Cities of Refuge
Book of Bamidbar Index
Book of Devarim INDEX


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