Wednesday, January 04, 2006

DAILY MITZVAH (Maimonides): Thursday, January 5, 2006


Tevet 5, 5766 * January 5, 2006

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 125 of 339):

Positive Mitzvot 130, 195; Negative Mitzvah 232

Introduction to Mitzvot 125 - 135:

Agricultural Laws Applying in Eretz Yisrael

HaShem gave us many opportunities to show appreciation for the
way He cares for us and enables us to live comfortably in His world.

When a person lives in Eretz Yisrael, G-d's hand is even more
apparent. Eretz Yisrael is our holy land, chosen by HaShem.

A farmer, delighted in the produce of his land, or any person
enjoying the fruit of the earth, must remember that it is HaShem
who provides us with all our needs.

The Torah commands us to set aside certain portions of our produce
to show our thanks for HaShem's generosity and goodness.

The Torah commands us to give these portions to our representatives,
the priests and Levites, who serve G-d in the Beit HaMikdash.

The priests and Levites dedicate their lives to carrying out the
service of HaShem, representing all the Jewish people.

They do not make their living as the rest of the people, working
the land or dealing in business and trade. Therefore, it is
appropriate that the people contribute to them in appreciation
of their holy service.


Positive Mitzvah 130: Tithes for the Poor

-Deuteronomy 14:28 "At the end of three years, you shall bring forth
all the tithes of your produce"

(This Mitzvah only apply in Eretz Yisrael.)

All farming in Eretz Yisrael revolves around a seven year Shemitah
cycle (See Positive Mitzvah 134).

The second tithe (Mitzvah 128) is given in the first, second, fourth,
and fifth years of the cycle.

In the third and sixth years, a different tithe is given.

We are commanded to set aside this tithe for poor and needy people.


Positive Mitzvah 195: Giving Tzedakah

-Deuteronomy 15:8 "But you shall open your hand wide"

Did you know that there is no exact English translation for the word

Usually the term charity is used.

But charity implies that we are being kind, doing someone a favor.

The Hebrew word Tzedakah comes from the root Tzedek- "justice"
and "righteous."

We are commanded to give generously.

We are not merely being kind - rather we are fulfilling a just act.

All that we own is a result of the generosity of HaShem! Therefore, it
is only right and proper to support others less fortunate than we are.

Even a poor person is obligated to give Tzedakah. He, too, must give
to other poor people, even if only a small amount.


Negative Mitzvah 232: It is forbidden to ignore a needy person

-Deuteronomy 15:7 "Do not harden your heart nor shut your hand
from your poor brother"

HaShem wants us to share what we have and give Tzedakah

The Torah cautions us not to ignore a needy person.

We should try our best to help such a person and give him any
thing he needs.

Tzedakah does not only mean giving money.

It may mean making friends with a new or lonely boy or girl in
school or in our neighborhood.

We can give "Tzedakah" by inviting a friend over for Shabbat to
see and enjoy a proper Shabbat table which he may not have at


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