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Daily Mitzvah

Positive Commandment 208; Negative Commandment 271, 272

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Positive Commandment 208 (Digest)
Honest Measurements

"Honest balance, honest weights, an honest dry measure and an honest liquid measure, you shall have"Leviticus 19:36.

We are commanded to have precise and "righteous" measuring implements—scales, weights, and measures.

The Midrash says: "Conditional on this I took you out of Egypt—on condition that you accept the mitzvah of [honest] measures. For one who acknowledges the mitzvah of measures, also acknowledges the Exodus from Egypt; and one who rejects the mitzah of measures, also denies the Exodus from Egypt."

Negative Commandment 271 (Digest)
Falsifying Measurements

"You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; in measure, in weight or in land measure"Leviticus 19:35.

It is forbidden to be dishonest in the course of surveying land, or measuring or weighing substances. When surveying land, it must be done according to the principles of engineering—not randomly, by "guess-timate," as is so often done.

Negative Commandment 272 (Digest)
Maintaining an Unbalanced Measure

"You shall not have in your bag diverse weights, large and small"—Deuteronomy 25:13.

It is forbidden to even harbor in one's possession an unbalanced weight or measuring implement—even if there's no intention to use them. As the Talmud says, "even if it is being used as a commode!"


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
Imagine two fierce legions who were always at war with one another, but when the king needed their services for his own battle, he made peace between them, so that both should carry out the orders of the king. Likewise, fire and water are hostile to each other, but when the time came to do war with Egypt.. "there was hail, and fire flaring up within the hail" (Exodus 9:24)
  –Midrash Rabbah
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