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Daily Mitzvah

Day 268: Negative Commandment 251

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Important Message Regarding This Lesson

The Daily Mitzvah schedule runs parallel to the daily study of 3 chapters of Maimonides' 14-volume code. There are instances when the Mitzvah is repeated a few days consecutively while the exploration of the same Mitzvah continues in the in-depth track.

Negative Commandment 251 (Digest)
Hurtful Words

"You shall not wrong one another and you shall fear your G‑d"Leviticus 25:17.

It is forbidden to verbally distress or humiliate another.

Examples:

  • If a person has sinned in his youth and then repented, one may not tell him, "Thank G‑d who has taken you away from that path to this good path!" or similar indirect references to his earlier faults that may cause him pain.
  • [If a person is suffering from illness, one may not say (as Job's friends did), "Has anyone perished who was totally innocent?"
  • If you see people who seek to purchase grain, do not tell them that they can obtain it by a certain person, who in reality has nothing to sell.
  • Do not enter a store and ask, "How much does this item cost?" when you have no intention to make a purchase.]

Our Sages taught that hurtful words are, in fact, a graver sin than defrauding another of money.

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 a person comes to a Rebbe and seeks his counsel and assistance in dealing with a spiritual malady, the Rebbe must first find the same blemish, if only in the most subtle of forms, in his own soul; only then can the Rebbe help him to refine and perfect his self and character. This is the deeper significance of that which our sages have said, "the faults of a generation rest with its heads and leaders."
  –Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch
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