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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
When you see the donkey of your enemy collapsing under its load, and are inclined to desist from helping him, you shall surely help along with him.
  –Exodus 23:5
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