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Shoftim

  
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 21:3
 21:4
21:4 The elders of the city shall bring the calf to a swiftly flowing stream, [the land around which] must never be worked or sown. There at the stream, they shall decapitate the calf.
Vehoridu zikney ha'ir hahi et-ha'eglah el-nachal Eytan asher lo-ye'aved bo velo yizarea ve'arfu-sham et-ha'eglah banachal.



Commentary:

swiftly flowing
  (Yad, Rotze'ach 9:2; Ralbag; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah) Ethan in Hebrew; cf. Exodus 14:27, Psalms 74:15 (Chizzkuni). Or, 'harsh' (Sotah 45b; Rashi; cf. Numbers 21:24), 'fertile' (Radak, Sherashim; cf. Amos 5:24), or, 'rough' (Septuagint).

stream
  (Yad, Rotze'ach; Radak, Sherashim; cf. Midrash Aggadah). Nachal in Hebrew. Or, 'valley' (Rashi; Septuagint), 'field' (Targum Yonathan), or, 'wadi' (Ibn Janach). See above note.

the land around which
  (Chizzkuni; cf. Minchath Chinukh 531).

must never be
  (Sefer HaMitzvoth, Negative 309; Makkoth 22a). There is a question as to whether the forbidden distance around the place where the calf was killed must be four cubits or fifty cubits (Yerushalmi, Sotah 9:5).

decapitate
  Araph in Hebrew (see Yerushalmi, Sotah 9:5). See note on Exodus 13:13. However, there is a Midrashic opinion, that the calf is merely struck on the back of the neck so that it will run away and find the house of the murderer (Midrash Aggadah; Bachya).





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