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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
There are three places regarding which the nations cannot accuse Israel and say, "You have stolen them": the cave of Machpeilah, as it is written: "And Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver" (Genesis 23:16); the Temple Mount, as it is written, "So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold" (I Chronicles 21:25); and Joseph's tomb -- "And [Jacob] bought the parcel of land for a hundred pieces of silver" (Genesis 33:19)
  –Midrash Rabbah, Bereishit 33:19
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