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Rambam for Friday, 19 Tishrei, 5777 - October 21, 2016

Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvah 46;
Positive Mitzvah 190;
Negative Mitzvot 56, 57;
Positive Mitzvot 192, 193

18 Tishrei, 5777 - October 20, 201620 Tishrei, 5777 - October 22, 2016

Negative Mitzvah 46: You may never settle permanently in Egypt again
Deuteronomy 17:16 "You shall never again return that way"

We are forbidden to return to Egypt in order to settle there.

After freeing us from slavery in Egypt, HaShem prohibited us from ever permanently living there again. However, it is permissible to return to Egypt for business or trade.

Positive Mitzvah 190: Offering Peace Before Waging War
Deuteronomy 20:11 "They shall be your subjects and shall serve you

Peace is the greatest blessing HaShem can grant us.

Even when the Jewish people feel it necessary to wage war against a nation, the first thing they are commanded to do is offer a peaceful settlement.

If their enemies are willing to accept their rule and follow the seven Mitzvot the Torah commands righteous gentiles, no war is necessary.

Introduction to Mitzvot 48-56:

Relating to Non-Believers and Idol-Worshipers.

The Torah teaches us that we should always try to help a person who is not doing the right thing. We might invite them over to our house, try to be friends with them and convince them that we care about them and want to help.

However, sometimes, when we see that nothing we say or do will have any effect, it is probably best that we avoid such a person altogether.

In a similar way, HaShem commanded the Jewish people to keep its distance from certain nations so that we will not be influenced by or assimilate into these nations.

Negative Mitzvah 56: We are forbidden to offer peace to Ammon or Moab
Deuteronomy 23:7 "You must never seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days, forever"

The nations of Ammon and Moab are to be totally rejected.

As we mentioned above (Negative Mitzvah 53), the Torah explains that their very nature is cruel.

When the Jewish people were on their way out of Egypt, they did not offer any hospitality or answer requests for even a bit of bread and water. Additionally, they hired Balaam to curse the Jewish people.

This Negative Mitzvah concerns war with Ammon or Moab.

In general, we are commanded to offer the opportunity of peaceful surrender to enemy cities in times of war. However, this offer of peace may not be made to Ammon and Moab.

Negative Mitzvah 57: We are forbidden to be wasteful or destroy things for no apparent reason
Deuteronomy 20:19 "You shall not destroy its trees"

Debby was not very hungry and she didn't want to eat her lunch at school. She picked up her tray and walked over to the garbage can.

"Hey, Debby," Miriam, an older student called out, "don't you know that you're not allowed to throw out good food?"

"But I don't want it," complained Debby.

"Even so," explained Miriam, "we're not supposed to waste things."

Later, Miriam took Debby aside and spoke to her softly.

"You know," she said, "there is a Mitzvah in the Torah that cautions us against waste.

It describes a time of war, when a city is under siege.

The Torah warns us not to destroy the fruit-producing trees, even when under the stress of war and siege! We must be careful not to cause unnecessary waste."

"But," protested Debby "that Mitzvah tells us not to cut down trees. I just didn't want to eat my lunch!"

"This Mitzvah includes all other kinds of waste, as well," explained Miriam. "It teaches us that we are not allowed to waste or destroy anything for no reason."

Debby listened carefully.

Suddenly, she caught sight of a first-grade girl sitting on the ground nearby. She was making holes in her tights, watching the tear "run" through the material.

"What a waste!" Debby cried. "I better go and teach her a Mitzvah!"

This Negative Mitzvah prohibits us from needless waste or destruction.

It helps to remind us that HaShem created everything and we should be careful with all our possessions.

Positive Mitzvah 192: Designing the Army Camp
Deuteronomy 23:13 "You shall have a place outside the camp"

HaShem wants us to be holy and special at all times.

Even during war, when the soldier is in the field and living conditions are difficult, the Jewish army camp should be designed to be a dwelling place for HaShem.

We are commanded to provide latrines and sanitary conditions for the soldier's use and to keep the camp strictly clean.

Positive Mitzvah 193: Personal Equipment for Soldiers
Deuteronomy 23:14 "And you shall have a spade among your weapons"

A Jewish soldier must be equipped properly even when he goes to war where sanitary conditions are minimal.

He is commanded to carry a spade along with the rest of his weapons, enabling him to provide for outdoor sanitary facilities for his personal use. This will help him to keep the laws of cleanliness even in the field.

Speaking about his relationship with his rebbe:

This is the feeling of a chassid: Just as the Zohar says that we, the Torah and our G-d are all one, so too, the chassid, his rebbe and his G-d are all one. I haven't seen this written anywhere, so you can argue all you want. But this is how I feel and I know it is true.


Autumn 1991: After 3307 years, all that's needed has been done. The table is set, the feast of Moshiach is being served with the Ancient Wine, the Leviathan and the Wild Ox -- and we are sitting at it. All that's left is to open our eyes and see.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman - tzvif@aol.com

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