Wednesday, December 07, 2005

DAILY MITZVAH (Maimonides): Thursday, December 8, 2005


Kislev 7, 5766 * December 8, 2005

D A I L Y M I T Z V A H (M A I M O N I D E S )

Today's Mitzvot (Day 97 of 339):

Negative Mitzvot 179, 180, 188

Negative Mitzvah 179: It is forbidden to eat any creatures or

-Leviticus 11:43 "You shall not make yourselves abominable with
any creeping thing that creeps, neither shall
you make yourselves unclean with them"

This is a general commandment forbidding us to eat any of the
small creatures, whether they be creeping or winged insects,
which the Torah has prohibited us from eating.


Negative Mitzvah 180: It is forbidden to eat any bird or animal
which has died a natural death or has been
killed without Shechita (Ritual Slaughter)

-Deuteronomy 14:21 "You shall not eat of anything that dies
of itself"

The Torah lists those birds and animals which are kosher and are
permissible to eat.

However, being kosher does not only mean that the animal or bird
is one of those listed in the Torah.

A "kosher" animal must be slaughtered and prepared in a specific
way, (see Positive Mitzvah 146).

Take the cow, for example: If the cow is slaughtered according to
the rules set by the Torah, (e.g. "Shechitah" etc.) and its meat
is prepared correctly, then we are allowed to eat it.

However, if the cow (or any other kosher animal) dies a natural
death or is killed improperly, we are no longer permitted to eat
it. The kosher animal who dies in this manner is called "Nevelah"
and it is forbidden to eat such an animal.


Negative Mitzvah 188: It is forbidden to eat the meat of a killer

-Exodus 21:28 "And his flesh shall not be eaten"

One day, Sammy found an old penknife in the alley. He brought it
home and was busy cleaning the blade when his mother noticed what
he was doing.

"Where did you get that from?", she asked in dismay.

"Outside," answered Sammy. "I'll never be able to find the owner
and he probably doesn't even want this old thing!"

"I agree!", nodded his mother. "Who would want an old and rusty
penknife? But I still don't want it in the house. It's dangerous
and you could hurt yourself or someone else with it. It's going
straight into the garbage!"

When something belongs to us we are responsible for it and for how
it is used.

In this Negative Mitzvah the Torah describes a case where an ox
kills a person. Certain rules are then applied to determine if the
ox is to be considered a "killer ox" and must, therefore, be put
to death because it is dangerous and may cause even more damage.

This Negative Mitzvah forbids us to eat from the meat of such an
ox, even if it is slaughtered properly when it is killed.


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