Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה

Daily Mitzvah

Day 148: Negative Commandment 79, 80

Show content in:

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
Ten miracles were performed for our forefathers in the Holy Temple: No woman ever miscarried because of the smell of the holy meat. The holy meat never spoiled. Never was a fly seen in the slaughterhouse. Never did the High Priest have an accidental seminal discharge on Yom Kippur. The rains did not extinguish the wood-fire burning upon the altar. The wind did not prevail over the column of smoke [rising from the altar]. No disqualifying problem was ever discovered in the Omer offering, the Two Loaves or the Showbread. They stood crowded but had ample space in which to prostrate themselves. Never did a snake or scorpion cause injury in Jerusalem. And no man ever said to his fellow "My lodging in Jerusalem is too cramped for me''
  –Ethics of the Fathers, 5:5
This page in other languages