Throughout this week, I have participated in the Las Cruces Peace Camp program.
called an IR MIKLAT, a
city of refuge, in which a priest would reside in order to provide sanctuary
for a person who unintentionally killed another. His - or her - life would automatically be sought after by
the victim’s relative, known as the GOEL HADAM - the blood avenger. In the ancient world, the goal was to
keep a balance between the families, and justice could only be set right when
someone died on each side - except in this case where there was no hatred and
no intention to take a life. The person who had accidentally committed the
killing had to stay in that city.
That town was a place of safety, a MIKLAT, a shelter, keeping the hatred
of the victim's relative from touching him or her. The death of the High Priest of the city would provide
the restoration of the balance, perhaps because of the communal respect for the
priest himself that would supersede any other considerations in the
community. Blood vengeance would
fall by the wayside at such a time of city-wide mourning.