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Daily Mitzvah

Day 320: Negative Commandment 315, 281, 316

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Negative Commandment 315 (Digest)
Cursing Judges

"You shall not curse the judge"Exodus 22:27.

It is forbidden to curse a judge.

Negative Commandment 281 (Digest)
Listening to a Single Litigant

"You shall not raise a false report"Exodus 23:1.

A judge may not listen to the arguments of one of the parties in a case if the other party is not present. This because, for the most part, arguments presented by a party when not in the presence of the opposing party are false. This mitzvah ensures that the judge doesn't approach the case with any untrue prejudice.

This prohibition also includes:

  • The defendant may not present his case to the judge when not in the presence of his opponent [i.e., the prohibition applies to both the judge and the litigant].
  • Speaking lashon hara (evil gossip).
  • Listening to and believing lashon hara.
  • Giving false testimony.

Negative Commandment 316 (Digest)
Cursing a Leader

"Nor shall you curse the ruler of your people"Exodus 22:27.

It is forbidden to curse the nasi. The term nasi applies to the individual in the highest position of power—whether that authority is governmental (i.e., the king), or in the realm of Torah (i.e., the sage who presides over the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court).

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
Poverty follows the poor
  –Talmud, Erachin 23a
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