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Tuesday, 20 Tishrei 5778 / October 10, 2017
The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.

Daily Mitzvah

Daily Mitzvah

Negative Commandment 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 28, 27, 29, 14, 8, 9, 7

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Negative Commandment 16 (Digest)
Inciting Another Jew to Worship Idols

"And no more such wickedness shall be done amongst you"Deuteronomy 13:12.

It is forbidden to incite another to worship idols.

Negative Commandment 17 (Digest)
Loving an Inciter

"Do not be drawn to him"Deuteronomy 13:9.

The person who is the target of incitement to idol worship is not allowed to harbor any love or sympathy for one who urged him to abandon G‑d. Though we are commanded to love every Jew – even a sinner – an inciter is the exception to this rule.

Negative Commandment 18 (Digest)
Abhorring the Inciter

"Nor (shall you) listen to him"Deuteronomy 13:9.

The person who is the target of incitement to idol worship is not allowed to soften his hatred towards the one who urged him to abandon G‑d.

Negative Commandment 19 (Digest)
Pity for an Inciter

"Nor shall your eye pity him"Deuteronomy 13:9.

When seeing a person in mortal danger, we are commanded to come to the rescue. This rule does not apply towards one who incites to idol worship. The person who is the target of incitement to idol worship is forbidden to come to the rescue of the one who urged him to abandon G‑d.

Negative Commandment 20 (Digest)
Sparing an Inciter

"Nor shall you spare (him)"Deuteronomy 13:9.

In the course of the court proceedings, the person who is the target of incitement to idol worship is not allowed to justify the actions of the one who urged him to abandon G‑d, nor is he allowed to express anything positive about the inciter that could possibly lead to his vindication. (This is an exception to the general rule. Normally, the courts encourage anyone who has anything positive to say about the accused to speak up.)

Negative Commandment 21 (Digest)
Concealing Evidence About the Inciter

"Nor shall you cover up for him"Deuteronomy 13:9.

In the course of the court proceedings, the person who is the target of incitement to idol worship is not allowed to cover up any deleterious evidence he is privy to regarding the one who urged him to abandon G‑d.

Negative Commandment 26 (Digest)
Idolatrous Prophecies

"[The prophet]... that shall speak in the name of other gods"Deuteronomy 18:20.

It is forbidden to prophesy, claiming that G‑d commanded to worship a pagan deity. It is also forbidden to prophesy in the name of a pagan deity, to claim that the deity appeared and instructed to serve it, promising reward for those who comply with its demand and punishment for those who don't.

Negative Commandment 28 (Digest)
Listening to Idolatrous Prophecies

"Do not listen to the words of that prophet"Deuteronomy 13:4.

It is forbidden to listen to a prophet who claims to talk in the name of a pagan deity. We may not debate him or ask him for miraculous signs to corroborate his alleged prophecy. Rather, we warn him to desist, and if he continues in his ways, he is put to death by the courts.

Negative Commandment 27 (Digest)
False Prophecy

"But the prophet who shall purposely speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak"Deuteronomy 18:20.

It is forbidden to utter a false prophecy in G‑d's name—i.e. to state that G‑d has said something that He has not. It is also forbidden for someone to say a (true) prophecy, stating that this is something that G‑d has revealed to him, when in fact G‑d spoke this prophecy to another prophet.

Negative Commandment 29 (Digest)
Fearing a False Prophet

"You shall not fear him"Deuteronomy 18:22.

We are not to fear a false prophet simply because he appears to be a holy individual who feigns to speak in G‑d's name.

Negative Commandment 14 (Digest)
Swearing in the Name of False Gods

"Make no mention of the name of other gods"Exodus 23:13.

It is forbidden to swear in the name of an idol, or to ask another (even an idol-worshipper) to swear in the name of a false deity.

This prohibition also includes not even mentioning the name of an idol. For example, one should not tell his fellow, "Wait for me beside Idol X."

Negative Commandment 8 (Digest)
Ov

"Do not turn to the Ovs"Leviticus 19:31.

We are forbidden from employing the idolatrous practice of Ov.

The Ov practice consisted of burning a certain incense and doing certain acts known to the Ov followers. At that point, it would seem to the person engaging in these acts that he hears a voice emanating from beneath his armpit, which would answer questions that he posed.

Negative Commandment 9 (Digest)
Yid'oni

"Do not turn to Yid'oni"Leviticus 19:31.

We are forbidden from employing the idolatrous practice of Yid'oni.

The Yid'oni practice consisted of inserting into one's mouth a bone from the yidoa fowl. After then burning incense, saying certain formulas and doing certain rites, the person would enter a trance-like state, and he would begin issuing predictions about the future.

Negative Commandment 7 (Digest)
Molech Worship

"Do not give any of your children to deliver to Molech"Leviticus 18:21.

We are prohibited to "give from our children to Molech."

In ancient times, there was a pagan deity known as Molech. The Molech religion demanded that its followers engage in a barbaric ritual: Parents would present some of their children to the Molech priests, and then, with the permission of these priests, the parents would pass their children over a raging bonfire.


Translation of (the unabridged text of) Sefer Hamitzvot by Rabbi Berel Bell, member of the Rabbinical Court of Montreal and director of Teacher Training for the Jewish Learning Institute.

From "Sefer Hamitzvot in English," published by Sichos in English.
Daily Quote
When I was five years old I was orphaned from both my father and mother. Before his passing, my holy father told me two things: 1) Fear nothing but G-d alone. 2) Love every single Jew, without exception, with all your heart and all your soul.
  –Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov
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