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Positive Commandments

Positive Commandments


The Positive Commandments

1. The first of the positive commandments is the mitzvah to know that there is a God, as [Exodus 20:2] states: "I am God, your Lord."a

2. To unify Him, as [Deuteronomy 6:4] states: "God is our Lord, God is one."

3. To love Him, as [Deuteronomy 6:5] states: "And you shall love God, your Lord."

4. To fear Him, as [Deuteronomy 6:13] states: "Fear God, your Lord."

5. To pray, as [Exodus 23:25] states: "And you shall serve God, your Lord." This service is prayer.a

6. To cling to Him, as [Deuteronomy 10:2] states: "And you shall cling to Him."

7. To swear in His name, as [Deuteronomy 10:20] states: "And you shall swear in His name."a,b

8. To emulate His good and just ways, as [Deuteronomy 28:9] states: "And you shall walk in His ways."

9. To sanctify His name, as [Leviticus 22:32] states: "And I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel."

10. To recite the Shema twice daily, as [Deuteron­omy 6:2] states: "And you shall speak of them when you lie down and when you arise."

11. To study Torah and to teach it [to others], as [Deuteronomy 6:2] states: "And you shall teach them to your children."

12. To tie tefillin upon our heads, as [Deuteronomy 6:8] states: "And they shall be an emblem between your eyes."

13. To tie tefillin upon our arms, as [Deuteronomy 6:8] states: "And you shall tie them for a sign upon your arms."

14. To make tzitzit, as [Numbers 15:38] states: "And you shall make tzitzit for them."

15. To affix a mezuzah, as [Deuteronomy 6:9] states: "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your home."

16. To collect the people to hear the Torah [being read] in the year following the shemitah year, as [Deuteronomy 31:12] states: "Gather together the people."

17. For each man to write a Torah scroll for himself, as [Deuteronomy 31:19] states: "Write down this song."

18. For the king to write a second Torah scroll for himself in addition to the one which [he is required to write to fulfill the mitzvah incumbent upon] every man. Thus, he will have two Torah scrolls, as [Deuteronomy 17:19] states: "And he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah."

19. To bless [God] after eating, as [Deuteronomy 8:10] states: "[After] you eat and are satisfied, you shall bless God, your Lord."

20. To build [God's] chosen house, [the Temple,] as [Exodus 25:8] states: "And you shall make a sanctuary for Me."b

21. To revere this house, as [Leviticus 19:30] states: "And revere My sanctuary."

22. To keep watch over this house continuously, as [Numbers 18:2,4] states: "And you and- your descendants before the Tent of Testimony.... [And they shall keep the watch....]"

23. For the Levites to serve in the sanctuary, as [Numbers 18:23] states: "And the Levite shall serve...."

24. For a priest to sanctify his hands and feet at the time of service [in the Temple], as [Exodus 30:19] states: "And Aaron and his sons will wash...."

25. To prepare the candles of the Sanctuary, as [Exodus 27:21] states: "Aaron and his sons shall prepare it."

26. For the priests to bless the Jews, as [Numbers 6:23] states: "In this manner, you shall bless the children of Israel."

27. To arrange bread and frankincense before God [in the Temple] on every Sabbath, as [Exodus 25:30] states: "And you shall place the showbread on the table."b

28. To burn a spice offering twice [each] day, as [Exodus 30:7] states: "And Aaron shall burn incense upon it...."

29. To keep a fire burning on the altar for burnt offerings continually, as [Leviticus 6:6] states: "And you shall keep a fire burning continuously on the altar."

30. To remove the ashes from the altar, as [Leviti­cus 6:3] states: "And he shall remove the ashes...."

31. To send impure people out from the camp of the Divine Presence - i.e., the sanctuary - as [Numbers 5:2] states: "And you shall send from the camp all the leprous, any zav, and anyone who has contracted impurity because of a corpse."

32. To show honor to Aaron's descendants and to give them priority regarding all holy matters, as [Leviticus 21:8] states: "And you shall sanctify him."

33. To clothe the priests with the priestly garments for service [in the Temple], as [Exodus 28:2] states: "And you shall make holy garments...."a

34. To carry the ark upon our shoulders when it is to be carried, as [Numbers 7:9] states: "And they shall carry it on their shoulders."

35. To anoint the High Priests and kings with the anointing oil, as [Exodus 30:30-31] states: "[Anoint Aaron....] This shall be sacred anointing oil."

36. For the priests to serve in the sanctuary in individual watches; and for them to all serve as one on the festivals, as [Deuteronomy 18:6-8] states: "When the Levite shall come... [he can serve]...with the exception of that which is theirs by ancestral right."a

37. For the priests to become ritually impure and mourn for their relatives in the same manner as other Jews who are commanded to mourn, as [Leviticus 21:3] states: "He shall become impure for her."

38. For a High Priest to marry a virgin, as [Leviti‑cus 21:13] states: "And he shall marry a woman who is a virgin."

39. To offer the tamid offerings each day, as [Numbers 28:3] states: "[This is the fire offering...] two each day continuously."

40. For the High Priest to offer a meal offering each day, as [Leviticus 6:13] states: "This is the sacrifice of Aaron and his descendants."

41. To offer an additional sacrifice every Sabbath, as [Numbers 28:9] states: "On the Sabbath day, two lambs...."

42. To offer an additional sacrifice every Rosh Chodesh, as [Numbers 28:11] states: "On your Rashei Chodashim...."

43. To offer an additional sacrifice on Pesach, as [Leviticus 23:36] states: "For seven days, you will bring a fire offering unto God...."1

44. To bring the meal offering of the omer on the day after the first day of Pesach together with a single lamb, as [Leviticus 23:10] states: "And you shall bring the omer...."

45. To offer an additional sacrifice on Shavuot, as [Numbers 28:26] states: "On the day of the first fruits [Bikkurim]...."

46. To bring two loaves and the sacrifices which accompany the loaves on Shavuot, as [Leviticus 23:17] states: "From your dwellings, bring bread as a wave offering. And you shall offer upon the bread...."

47. To offer an additional sacrifice on Rosh HaShanah, as [Numbers 29:1] states: "And in the seventh month, on the first of the month...."

48. To offer an additional sacrifice on the fast [of Yom Kippur], as [Numbers 29:7] states: "On the tenth of the seventh month...."

49. To carry out the service of the fast [of Yom Kippur], as [Leviticus 16:3] states: "In this man­ner, Aaron will enter the [inner] sanctuary, with a young bull...." All the [particulars of] this service are stated in the parashah of Acharei Mot.

50. To offer an additional sacrifice on the holiday of Sukkot, as [Numbers 29:13] states: "And you shall present a burnt offering as a pleasing fra­grance...."

51. To offer an additional sacrifice on Shemini Atzeret, for it is a festival in its own right, as [Numbers 29:35] states: "And on the eighth day....

52. To celebrate on the festivals, as [Exodus 23:14] states: "And you shall celebrate three festivals for Me."

53. To appear [before God in the Temple] on the festivals, as [Deuteronomy 16:16] states: "On three occasions during the year, all your males shall appear...."

54. To rejoice on the festivals, as [Deuteronomy 16:14] states: "And you shall rejoice on your festivals."

55. To slaughter the Paschal lamb, as [Exodus 12:6] states: "And the entire congregation shall slaughter it...."

56. To eat the meat of the Paschal sacrifice roasted on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, as [Exodus 12:8] states: "And they shall eat the meat...."

57. To offer the second Paschal sacrifice, as [Num­bers 9:11] states: "In the second month, on the fourteenth of the month...."

58. To eat the meat of the second Paschal offering together with matzot and bitter herbs, as [Numbers 9:11] states: "And you shall eat it with matzot and bitter herbs."

59. To sound the trumpets when the sacrifices [are offered] and in times of difficulty, as [Numbers 10:10] states: "And you shall sound the trum­pets...."

60. For all animals to be sacrificed after their eighth day [of life], as [Leviticus 22:27] states: "And on the eighth day and afterwards...."b

61. For all animal offerings to be unblemished, as [Leviticus 22:21] states: "[When it is] unblem­ished, it will be desirable...."

62. To salt all the sacrifices, as [Leviticus 2:13] states: "Offer salt on all your sacrifices."

63. The burnt offering, as [Leviticus 1:3] states:"If his is a burnt offering...."

64. The sin offering, as [Leviticus 6:18] states: "These are the laws of the sin offering...."

65. The guilt offering, as [Leviticus 7:1] states: "These are the laws of the guilt offering...."

66. The peace offering, as [Leviticus 7:11] states: "These are the laws of the peace offering...."

67. The meal offering, as [Leviticus 2:1] states: "When a person presents a meal offering...."

68. For the [High] Court to offer a sacrifice if it renders an erroneous decision, as [Leviticus 4:13] states: "If the entire congregation of Israel shall err...."

69. For each individual to offer a sin offering if he unintentionally violates a negative commandment punishable by karet2, as [Leviticus 5:1] states: "When a person sins...."3

70. For an individual to offer a sacrifice if he is in doubt whether or not he transgressed a prohibition for which he would be liable for a sin offering, as [Leviticus 5:17-18] states: "If he does not know, he still bears responsibility...and he shall bring his guilt offering." This is referred to as "the conditional guilt offering."

71. For [the following individuals:] a person who unknowingly used sacred property, a person who sinned by stealing, one [who had relations with] a maidservant designated for another person, or one who denied possession of an entrusted object and took a [false] oath, to bring a guilt offering. This is referred to as "the unconditional guilt offering."4

72. To offer "the adjustable guilt offering" [as atonement for the violation of certain transgres­sions], as [Leviticus 5:1,11] states: "If his means are not sufficient.... If his means do not suffice...."

73. For a person to confess before God for any sin which he has committed. [This applies] when he brings a sacrifice [for atonement] and when he does not bring a sacrifice, as [Numbers 5:6] states: "And they shall confess the sins that they committed."5

74. For a zav to offer a sacrifice when he becomes purified [after his affliction], as [Leviticus 15:13] states: "When a zav will become pure...."

75. For a zavah to offer a sacrifice when she be-comes purified [after her affliction], as [Leviticus 15:28] states: "When she becomes pure from [the condition] of zavah...."

76. For a person afflicted with tzara’at to offer a sacrifice after he becomes purified, as [Leviticus 14:1] states: "On the eighth day, he shall take...."

77. For a woman who gave birth to offer a sacrifice after she becomes purified, as [Leviticus 12:6] states: "And after the conclusion of her pure days...."

78. To tithe one's herds, as [Leviticus 27:32] states: "And all the tithes of your cattle and sheep...."

79. To sanctify the firstborn of a kosher animal and offer it as a sacrifice, as [Deuteronomy 15:19] states: "Every firstling which shall be born...."

80. To redeem firstborn sons, as [Numbers 18:15] states: "However, you must surely redeem first-born humans."

81. To redeem a firstling donkey, as [Exodus 34:20] states: "Redeem a firstling donkey with a sheep."

82. To decapitate a firstling donkey [which is not redeemed], as [Exodus 34:20] states: "If you do not redeem it, you must decapitate it."

83. For a person to bring all the sacrifices for which he is liable, be they obligatory or voluntary offerings, on the first pilgrimage festival that oc­curs, as [Deuteronomy 12:5-6] states: "And you shall come there... and you shall bring there...."

Note: We have marked with the letter “a” those mitzvot concerning which the Ramban (Nachmanides) differs with the Rambam in his Hasagot to Sefer HaMitzvot, and with the letter “b,” those mitzvot concerning which the Ra'avad, in his gloss to the Mishneh Torah, differs with the Rambam.

84. To sacrifice all the offerings in [God's] chosen house, [i.e., the Temple,], as [Deuteronomy 12:14] states: "There, you will perform all that I com­mand you."

85. To tend to all the offerings from the Diaspora and bring them to Eretz [Yisrael], to [God's] chosen house, [i.e., the Temple,] as [Deuteronomy 12:26] states: "Take the sacred offerings which you possess, and your pledges, and come [to the place that God will choose]." Based on the oral tradition, we have learned that this applies to sacred offerings from the Diaspora.

86. To redeem sacred offerings that have becoming blemished, and thus have them to be permitted [for mundane use], as [Deuteronomy 12:15] states: "But whenever you desire, you may slaughter...." Based on the oral tradition, we have learned that this refers only to sacred offerings which have become disqualified and have been redeemed.

87. That an animal substituted for a sacred offering be regarded as sacred, as [Leviticus 27:33] states: "Both [the original animal] and the one substituted for it shall be consecrated."

88. To eat the remains of the meal offerings, as [Leviticus 6:9] states: "Aaron and his sons will eat the remainder of it."

89. To eat the flesh of the sin and guilt offerings,6 as [Exodus 29:33] states: "And they shall eat [the sacrifices] with which atonement was made for them."

90. To burn sacred meat which became impure, as [Leviticus 7:19] states: "And the flesh which touches anything impure... [shall be burnt]."

91. To burn the leftovers [from the sacrifices], as [Leviticus 7:17] states: "The leftovers from the flesh of the sacrifice shall be burnt with fire on the third day."

92. For a Nazirite to grow his hair long, as [Num­bers 6:5] states: "He shall let the hair of his head grow without cutting it."

93. For a Nazarite to shave his hair when bringing his sacrifices at the conclusion of his term as a Nazirite, or during his Nazirite term if he becomes impure, as [Numbers 6:9] states: "Should a person die in his presence,... [he must shave....]"

94. For a person to fulfill any [promise] which he utters, be it a sacrifice, [a gift to] charity, or the like, as [Deuteronomy 23:24] states: "What you have spoken, take heed to fulfill...."a

95. To carry out the laws regarding the nullifica­tion of vows, as mentioned in the Torah.

96. For everyone who comes in contact with the corpse of an animal to become impure, as [Leviticus 11:39] states: "Should an animal die...."

97. For the [dead bodies of] the eight species of crawling animals [mentioned in the Torah] to impart ritual impurity, as [Leviticus 11:19] states: "These shall be impure for you...."

98. For [certain] foods to impart impurity, as [Leviticus 11:34] states: "From all the food which you will eat...."

99. For [a woman in the] niddah state to be impure and to impart impurity to others.

100. For [a woman] who gives birth to be impure [like a woman] in the niddah state.

101. For a person afflicted with tzara’at to be impure and to impart impurity.

102. For a garment afflicted with tzara’at to be impure and to impart impurity.

103. For a house afflicted with tzara’at to impart impurity.

104. For a zav to impart impurity.

105. For semen to impart impurity.

106. For a zavah to impart impurity.

107. For a corpse to impart impurity.

108. For the sprinkling water [used for the purifi­cation process involving the red heifer] to impart impurity to a person who is ritually pure, and to impart ritual purity to a person who is ritually impure solely because of contact with a human corpse.b All the laws dealing with these different types of impurity and the majority of the judgments regarding all types of ritual purity and impurity are explained explicitly in the Written Law.7

109. For the process of purification from all types of ritual impurity to involve immersion in the waters of a mikveh, as [Leviticus 15:16] states: "And he shall wash all his flesh in water." Based on the oral tradition, we have learned that this washing [involves immersion in a body of] water in which one's entire body can immerse at one time.

110. For the process of purification from tzara’at, be it a person afflicted with tzara’at or a house afflicted with tzara’at, [to involve] a staff of cedar, a hyssop, the crimson wool, two birds, and spring water, as [Leviticus 14:2] states: "This shall be the purification process for the person afflicted with tzara’at...."

111. For a person afflicted with tzara’at to shave all of his hair, as [Leviticus 14:9] states: "And it shall be on the seventh day, he shall shave all his hair."

112. For a person afflicted with tzara’at to make known his condition to all others, according to the instructions mentioned in [Leviticus 13:45]: "His garments shall be torn, his hair shall grow uncut, he shall cover his face to the lip, and he shall cry out: `Impure! Impure!"' Similarly, all others who are ritually impure must make known their condition.

113. To prepare the red heifer so that its ashes will be ready, as [Numbers 19:9] states: "And it will be a keepsake for the congregation of Israel."

114. For a person who makes an endowment valuation to give the specific amount of money stated in the [Torah] portion, as [Leviticus 27:2] states: "When a person expresses a vow...."

115. For a person who makes an endowment valuation concerning a non-kosher animal to give [the required amount of] money, as [Leviticus 27:11] states: "And he shall cause the animal to stand...."

116. For a person who makes an endowment valuation concerning his home to give the value determined by the priest, as [Leviticus 27:14] states: "And the priest shall determine its value."

117. For a person who consecrates his field to give the fixed amount determined by the [Torah], as [Leviticus 27:16] states: "And the value you attach to it shall be according to the amount of seed."

118. For a person who unintentionally makes use of a sacred object to make restitution for what he misused [when] sinning against God, and for him to add one fifth of its value, as [Leviticus 5:17] states: "For that which he sinned, [using something] sacred, he shall pay...."

119. For the produce of the fourth year to be sacred, as [Leviticus 19:24] states: "Its produce shall be sacred, [an object of] praise to God...."

120. To leave pe'ah.

121. To leave leket.

122. To leave a forgotten sheaf.

123. To leave the incompletely formed grape clus­ters.

124. To leave the individual fallen grapes. With regard to all these [five mitzvot], [Leviticus 19:10] states: "Leave them for the poor and the stranger." This [verse states] the positive commandment for all these.8

125. To bring the first fruits to God's chosen house, [the Temple,], as [Exodus 23:19] states: "The first fruits of your land...."

126. To separate the greater terumah [and give it] to the priest, as [Deuteronomy 18:4] states: "Give him the first of your grain."

127. To separate a tithe of grain [and give it] to the Levites, as [Leviticus 27:30] states: "All the land's tithes...."

128. To separate the second tithe so that it can be eaten by its owners in Jerusalem, as [Deuteronomy 14:22] states: "You shall surely tithe...." According to the oral tradition, we learn that this refers to the second tithe.

129. For the Levites to separate a tenth from the tenth which they took from the Israelites and give it to the priests, as [Numbers 18:27] states: "Speak to the Levites:...."

130. To separate the tithe for the poor instead of the second tithe in the third and sixth years of the seven-year [agricultural cycle], as [Deuteronomy 14:28] states: "At the end of three years, remove a tithe of all your crops...."

131. To give thanks, [reciting] the declaration concerning the tithes, as [Deuteronomy 26:13] states: "And you shall declare before God, your Lord, `I have removed the sacred [foods]...."'

132. To read the statement [acknowledging thanks] for the first fruits, as [Deuteronomy 26:5] states: "And you shall respond and say before God, your Lord:...."

133. To separate challah [and give it] to the priest, as [Numbers 15:20] states: "The first of your dough, the challah, you shall separate as an offering...."

134. To let the land lie fallow [in the seventh year], as [Exodus 23:11] states: "In the seventh year, you shall let it lie fallow and withdraw from it."

135. To refrain from agricultural work [in the seventh year], as [Exodus 34:21] states: "From plowing and harvesting, you shall rest."

136. To sanctify the Jubilee year by refraining [from agricultural work], as is done in the shemitah, as [Leviticus 25:10] states: "And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year...."

137. To sound the shofar in the Jubilee year, as [Leviticus 25:9] states: "And you shall sound the shofar blasts."

138. To free all land in the Jubilee year, as [Leviticus 25:24] states: "For all your ancestral lands, there will be redemption for the land."

139. To allow houses in a walled city to be redeemed within a year, as [Leviticus 25:29] states: "If a person shall sell a residential house in a walled city...."

140. To count the years of the Jubilee year and the shemitah years within it, as [Leviticus 25:8] states: "And you shall count seven shemitah years."

141. To remit all financial [obligations] in the seventh year, as [Deuteronomy 15:2] states: "Ev­ery creditor must remit...."

142. To seek to collect [a debt] from a gentile [in the seventh year], as [Deuteronomy 15:3] states: "Seek to collect [a debt] from a gentile. However, what your brother owes you must remit...."

143. To give a priest the shankbone, the jaw, and the maw from an animal [which is slaughtered], as [Deuteronomy 18:3] states: "And you shall give the priest the shankbone...."

144. To give the first portion of the fleece to a priest, as [Deuteronomy 18:4] states: "Give him the first portion of the shearing of your sheep."

145. To render judgment with regard to property which is dedicated, whether dedicated to God or dedicated to the priests, as [Leviticus 27:28] states: "However, any dedication that will be made...."

146. To slaughter an animal, beast, or fowl and afterwards to eat their meat, as [Deuteronomy 12:21] states: "And you shall slaughter your cattle and your sheep."b

147. To cover the blood of beasts and fowl [which are slaughtered], as [Leviticus 17:13] states: "And you shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust."

148. To send away the mother bird from the nest [when taking the young], as [Deuteronomy 22:7] states: "You shall surely send away the mother."

149. To check the signs [with which] animals [are identified], as kosher, as [Leviticus 11:2] states: "These are the animals which you may eat...."

150. To check the signs of fowl in order to differentiate between one which is kosher and one which is not kosher, as [Deuteronomy 14:11] states: "All birds which...."

151. To check the signs of grasshoppers in order to know which is kosher and which is not kosher, as [Leviticus 11:21] states: "Those which possess walking legs...."

152. To check the signs [with which] fish [are identified as kosher], as [Leviticus 11:9] states: "These are the animals which you may eat from all that is found in water...."

153. To sanctify the months and to calculate the years and months. [This mitzvah is incumbent on] the court alone, as [Exodus 12:2] states: "This month will be for you the first of the months."

154. To rest on the Sabbath, as [Exodus 23:12] states: "Rest on the seventh day...."

155. To sanctify the Sabbath, as [Exodus 20:8] states: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

156. To destroy chametz [before Pesach], as [Exodus 12:15] states: "On the day before [the holiday], obliterate chametz from your homes."

157. To relate the narrative of the exodus of Egypt on the first night of the Feast of Matzot, as [Exodus 13:8] states: "And you shall tell your son on that day,...."

158. To eat matzah on this night, as [Exodus 12:18] states: "In the evening, you shall eat matzot."

159. To rest on the first day of Pesach, as [Exodus 12:16] states: "And on the first day, it shall be a sacred holiday."

160. To rest on the seventh day [of the festival], as [Exodus 12:16] states: "On the seventh day, there will be a sacred holiday."

161. To count 49 days from the harvesting of the omer, as [Leviticus 23:15] states: "And you shall count from the day following the day of rest...."

162. To rest on the fiftieth day [after Pesach], as [Leviticus 23:21] states: "And you shall proclaim a sacred holiday on that selfsame day."

163. To rest on the first day of the seventh month, as [Leviticus 23:24] states: "On the first day of [this] month, you shall have a day of rest."

164. To fast on the tenth [of this month, Yom Kippur,] as [Leviticus 15:29] states: "On the tenth of the month, you shall afflict your souls."

165. To rest on [this] fast day, as [Leviticus 16:31] states: "It shall be a Sabbath of Sabbaths...."

166. To rest on the first day of the festival of Sukkot, as [Leviticus 23:35] states: "On the first day, there shall be a sacred holiday."

167. To rest on the eighth day of the festival of Sukkot, as [Leviticus 23:36] states: "On the eighth day, there shall be a sacred holiday."

168. To dwell in a sukkah for seven days, as [Leviticus 23:42] states: "And you shall dwell in sukkot for seven days."

169. To take the lulav [and the other three species on Sukkot], as [Leviticus 23:40] states: "And you shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of a beautiful tree, a palm branch,...."

170. To hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh HaShanah, as [Numbers 29:1] states: "It will be a day of [shofar] blasts for you."

171. To give a half-shekel each year, as [Exodus 30:13] states: "This shall be given by all those included in the census...."

172. To listen to any prophet who will arise in any era, provided he does not add or detract [from the Torah's commandments], as [Deuteronomy 18:15] states: "You shall listen to him."

173. To appoint a king, as [Deuteronomy 17:15] states: "You shall surely set a king upon yourselves."

174. To obey the High Court regarding all [the or­dinances] they establish for Israel, as [Deuteron­omy 17:11] states: "Carry out the judgment which they render for you."

175. To follow the majority if there is a difference of opinion in the Sanhedrin concerning a law, as [Exodus 23:2] states: "Follow after the majority."

176. To appoint judges and court officers in each and every Jewish community, as [Deuteron­omy 16:18] states: "Appoint judges and court officers...."

177. To treat litigants equally when they appear [in court] to be judged, as [Leviticus 19:15] states: "Judge your fellow man with righteousness."

178. For anyone who has evidence to testify in court, as [Leviticus 5:1] states: "If he was a witness, saw, or knew...."

179. To cross-examine the witnesses thoroughly, as [Deuteronomy 13:15] states: "You must inves­tigate and probe, making careful enquiry."

180. To [punish] false witnesses [by] giving them the same penalty that they wish to have imposed [on the defendant], as [Deuteronomy 19:19] states: "And you shall do to him what he plotted to do to his brother."

181. To decapitate the calf [brought as atonement for an unsolved murder] as required, as [Deuteron­omy 21:4] states: "You shall decapitate the calf there in the river."

182. To prepare six refuge cities, as [Deuteronomy 19:3] states: "Prepare the way and divide into three [the boundary]...."

183. To give the Levites cities in which to dwell - they also serve as refuge centers - as [Numbers 35:2] states: "And you shall give cities to the Levites...."

184. To construct a guard rail, as [Deuteronomy 22:8] states: "And you shall construct a guard rail for your roof."

185. To destroy false gods and all their objects of worship, as [Deuteronomy 12:2] states: "You shall surely destroy...."

186. To slay the inhabitants of an apostate city and burn the city, as [Deuteronomy 13:17] states: "And you shall burn the city and all its spoil with fire."

187. To destroy the seven nations [that dwelled in] Eretz Yisrael, as [Deuteronomy 20:17] states: "You shall utterly destroy them."

188. To exterminate the seed of Amalek, as [Deuteronomy 25:19] states: "Blot out the memory of Amalek."

189. To constantly remember what Amalek did to us, as [Deuteronomy 25:17] states: "Remember what Amalek did to you."

190. To wage a voluntary war according to the laws prescribed by the Torah, as [Deuteronomy 20:10] states: "When you approach the city...."

191. To anoint a priest [who will address the people before] battle, as [Deuteronomy 20:2] states: "And it shall come to pass, when you approach the battle, the priest will come forward and speak to the people...."

192. To prepare a place [outside] the [army] camp [for use as a latrine], as [Deuteronomy 23:13] states: "Prepare a place for yourselves outside the camp."

193. To prepare a shovel [to cover one's excre­ment], as [Deuteronomy 23:14] states: "You shall have a shovel in addition to your weapons."

194. To return a stolen object, as [Leviticus 5:23] states: "And he shall return the object which he stole."

195. To give charity, as [Deuteronomy 15:8] states: "You shall surely open your hand [to your poor brother]."

196. To give a severance gift to a Hebrew servant, as [Deuteronomy 15:14] states: "You shall surely give him gifts...." Similarly, [this gift is given] to a Hebrew maidservant.

197. To lend to the poor, as [Exodus 22:24] states: "If you will lend money to my people...." In this instance, the word "if" does not refer to a matter left to one's volition, but to a commandment, as [Deuteronomy 15:8] states: "You shall surely lend him."

198. To lend to a gentile at interest, as [Deuteron­omy 23:21] states: "Take interest from a gentile." Based on the oral tradition, we have learned that this is a positive commandment.b

199. To return security to its owner, as [Deuteron­omy 24:13] states: "You shall surely return the security to him."

200. To pay a worker his wage on time, as [Deuteronomy 24:15] states: "Pay him his wage on the day it is due."

201. For a hired worker to be allowed to eat [from produce] while he is working with it, as [Deuteronomy 23:25-26] states: "When you enter your neighbor's vineyard... When you enter your neighbor's standing grain...."

202. To assist a colleague in unloading a burden which he or his beast [is carrying], as [Exodus 23:5] states: "You shall surely help him."b

203. To [help a colleague] load a burden unto a beast, as [Deuteronomy 22:4] states: " You shall lift it up with him."

204. To return a lost object, as [Deuteronomy 22:1] states: "You shall surely return them to your brother."

205. To rebuke a person who sins, as [Leviticus 19:17] states: "You shall surely rebuke your fellow men."

206. To love every member of our people, as [Leviticus 19:18] states: "And you shall love your neighbor as yourself."

207. To love a convert, as [Deuteronomy 10:19] states: "And you shall love a convert."

208. To balance scales with correct weights, as [Leviticus 19:36] states: "You shall have correct scales, with correct weights."

209. To honor the Sages, as [Leviticus 19:32] states: "Rise before an elder."

210. To honor one's father and mother, as [Exodus 20:12] states: "Honor your father and mother."

211. To fear one's father and mother, as [Leviticus 19:3] states: "A person must fear his mother and his father."

212. To be fruitful and multiply, as [Genesis 9:7] states: "Be fruitful and multiply."

213. To have sexual relations [only within] marriage, as [Deuteronomy 24:1] states: "If a man takes a woman [as a wife]...."

214. For a groom to rejoice together with his wife for a year, as [Deuteronomy 24:5] states: "He shall be free for his home for one year."

215. To circumcise a son, as [Leviticus 12:3] states: "On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised."9

216. To marry the widow of one's brother who died childless, as [Deuteronomy 25:5] states: "Her yavam shall come unto her."

217. To remove the yavam's shoe [if he does not marry his brother's widow], as [Deuteronomy 25:9] states: "And she shall remove his shoe from his foot."

218. For a rapist to marry the woman he raped, as [Deuteronomy 22:29] states: "She shall become his wife."

219. For a person who made defamatory remarks about his wife to remain married to her for his entire life, as [Deuteronomy 22:19] states: "She shall become his wife. He may not send her away for his entire life."

220. To carry out the judgment concerning a seducer, fining him fifty shekels and carrying out the other laws regarding this matter, as [Exodus 22:15] states: "If a person will seduce...."

221. To carry out the procedure [the Torah] prescribes for a yefat to'ar, as [Deuteronomy 21:11] states: "And if you see a beautiful woman among the captives...."

222. To divorce with a get, as [Deuteronomy 24:1] states: "And he shall write a bill of divorce for her and place it in her hand."

223. To carry out the [procedure] prescribed for a sotah, as [Numbers 8:30] states: "And the priests will carry out all these laws for her."

224. To whip the wicked, as [Deuteronomy 25:2] states: "The judge will cast him down and beat him."

225. To exile a person who accidentally kills a person, as [Numbers 35:25] states: "And he shall dwell there until the High Priest dies...."

226. For a court to execute by decapitation, as [Exodus 21:20] states: "Revenge shall surely be taken."

227. For a court to execute by strangulation, as [Leviticus 20:10] states: "The adulterer and the adulteress shall die."

228. For a court to execute by burning [the condemned] with fire, as [Leviticus 20:14] states: "They shall burn him and them with fire."

229. For a court to execute by stoning [the con­demned] with stones, as [Deuteronomy 22:24] states: "And you shall stone them."

230. To hang [the corpses] of those liable for hanging, as [Deuteronomy 21:22] states: "And you shall hang them on a gallows."

231. To bury [the body of] an executed person on the day of his execution, as [Deuteronomy 21:22] states: "For you shall surely bury him on that day."

232. To carry out the laws concerning a Hebrew servant, as [Exodus 21:2] states: "When you pur­chase a Hebrew servant...."

233. To marry a Hebrew maidservant, as [Exodus 21:8] states: "Who has designated her for himself... and she will be redeemed."

234. To redeem a Hebrew maidservant, as [Exo­dus, ibid.] states: "And she will be redeemed."

235. To have a Canaanite servant serve forever, as [Leviticus 25:46] states: "You shall have them serve you forever."a

236. For a person who injures [a colleague] to pay him damages, as [Exodus 21:18] states: "If men will quarrel and one man will strike [his colleague]...."

237. To judge regarding the damages caused by an ox, as [Exodus 21:33] states: "If an ox belonging to one person gores an ox belonging to a colleague...."

238. To judge regarding the damages caused by a pit, as [Exodus 21:33] states: If a person will open a pit...."

239. To judge a thief, obligating him for payment or execution, as [Exodus 21:37] states: "Should a theft be perpetrated," as [Exodus 22:1] states: "If when breaking in," and, as [Exodus 21:16] states: "If one kidnaps a person and sells him,…. "10

240. To judge regarding the damages caused by grazing, as [Exodus 22:4] states: "If a person will graze [his animals] in a field or vineyard...."

241. To judge regarding the damages caused by fire, as [Exodus 22:5] states: "If fire will break out and catch in thorns...."

242. To render judgment [in questions] regarding an unpaid watchman, as [Exodus 22:6] states: "If a person will give a colleague money or utensils [to watch]...."

243. To render judgment [in questions] regarding a paid watchman, as [Exodus 22:9] states: "Should a person give a donkey or an ox...."

244. To render judgment [in questions] regarding a borrower, as [Exodus 22:13] states: "If a person will borrow from a colleague...."

245. To render judgment [in questions] regarding business transactions, as [Leviticus 22:14] states: "If you sell merchandise to your colleague...."

246. To render judgment [in questions] regarding claims made by one person against another, as [Exodus 22:8] states: "For every matter of trespass, concerning an ox, concerning a donkey, or con­cerning a sheep...."

247. To save a person who is being pursued even if it is necessary to kill the pursuer, as [Deuteronomy 25:12] states: "And you shall cut off her hand...."

248. To render judgment [in questions] regarding inheritances as [Numbers 27:8] states: "If a person dies without having a son...."


There is a slight difficulty with the Rambam's statements: The verse cited refers to the sacrifices offered on Sukkot, and not those offered on Pesach. Perhaps the intended prooftext is Leviticus 23:8: "And you shall offer a burnt offering for God for seven days."


Karet refers to premature death at the hand of God, the death of one's children, and a severe spiritual punishment for the soul. (See Hilchot Teshuvah 8:1.)


. Though this prooftext is quoted in the printed editions of the Mishneh Torah, it appears to be an error, for the passage it introduces deals with the adjustable guilt offering (Positive Mitzvah 72). The verse which introduces the laws of the sin offerings is Leviticus 4:27: "If one person sins...."


. Perhaps the Rambam does not cite a specific prooftext for this mitzvah because there is a different passage in the Torah which deals with each of the guilt offerings which he mentions.


. Note that in Hilchot Teshuvah, the Rambam defines this mitzvah as return to God and repentance, a more encompassing service, of which confession is only one facet.(See Hilchot Teshuvah 2:2.)


. In Sefer HaMitzvot, the Rambam includes eating other sacrifices and sacred foods in the scope of this mitzvah.


. It is somewhat curious that although the Rambam makes this statement, he does not cite prooftexts for these mitzvot.


. In Sefer HaMitzvot, the Rambam notes that the command to leave a forgotten sheaf in the field is derived, not from this verse, but from Deuteronomy 24:19, which states: "When you reap your harvest... and forget a sheaf in the field..., it shall be for the stranger..."


The Rambam cites this verse, rather than a verse from Genesis, Chapter 17, which describes the circumcision of Abraham, because he prefers to cite a prooftext that was given after the giving of the Torah. Nevertheless, we also learn some particulars regarding this mitzvah from the passage from Genesis. (See also the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Chulin 7:6.)


. The Rambam cites these different verses because each involves a different punishment. (See also Negative Mitzvot 243 and 244.)

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