Wednesday, January 18, 2006

DAILY MITZVAH (Maimonides): Thursday, January 19, 2006


Tevet 19, 5766 * January 19, 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 139 of 339):

Positive Mitzvot 131 and 125

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

(These Mitzvot only apply in Eretz Yisrael.)


Positive Mitzvah 131: Declaration for Tithes

-Deuteronomy 26:13 "And you shall say before the L-rd your G-d,
I have removed the holy things...and also have
given to the Levite..."

David's mother assigned him specific chores and responsibilities
around the house.

To be sure that David did not neglect his chores, his mother decided
that every Friday, David would have to report to his father when he
had completed his jobs.

The system proved effective!

David could not imagine himself standing before his father mumbling
some lame excuse why he had not completed his tasks.

A Jew is obligated to give various kinds of tithes from his produce.

He may be very busy, live far from Jerusalem, or possibly forget.

The Torah commands him to stand before HaShem in the Beit HaMikdash
and declare that he has fulfilled his obligations and given all the
tithes required of him.

This declaration is done on Passover of the fourth and seventh year
of the Shemitah cycle.


Positive Mitzvah 125: Presenting the First Fruit

-Exodus 23:19 "You shall bring the first of the fruits of
your land that ripen "

A farmer observes with pride and satisfaction the first-fruits
that ripen on his trees.

As he sees the first juicy grapes growing, he is very anxious to
taste them, but he knows that he must set them aside and bring them
to the Beit HaMikdash. There, he presents them to the priest.

This Positive Mitzvah applies only to those seven kinds of foods that
Eretz Yisrael was specifically blessed with.

They are: Wheat; Barley; Grapes; Figs; Pomegranates; Olives; Dates.


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