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Daily Mitzvah

Day 148: Negative Commandment 79, 80

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Negative Commandment 79 (Digest)
Building the Altar with Stones Touched by Iron

"You shall not build it of hewn stones, for your sword [you have lifted upon it...]"Exodus 20:22.

It is forbidden to construct the Temple Altar of stones that have been touched by iron. If, indeed, the altar was constructed of such stones, it is invalid for sacrificial use.

Negative Commandment 80 (Digest)
Ascending the Altar via Steps

"You shall not go up by steps to My altar"Exodus 20:23.

We are forbidden from ascend­ing the Temple Altar with stairs, in order to avoid taking broad steps when going up. Rather, one should walk up the altar on a ramp, going "heel to toe" (i.e., using small, humble steps).

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
Whoever has faith in individual Divine Providence knows that "Man's steps are established by G-d" (Psalms 37:23)--that this particular soul must purify and improve something specific in a particular place. For centuries, or even since the world's creation, that which needs purification or improvement waits for this soul to come and purify or improve it. The soul too, has been waiting - ever since it came into being - for its time to descend, so that it can discharge the tasks of purification and improvement assigned to it...
  –Hayom Yom, Elul 3
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