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Daily Mitzvah

Negative Commandment 241, 242

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Negative Commandment 241 (Digest)
Taking Collateral from a Widow

"Nor shall you take a widow's garment as security"Deuteronomy 24:17.

It is forbidden for a creditor to take collateral for a debt from a widow—whether she is wealthy or poor.

Negative Commandment 242 (Digest)
Taking Food Preparation Utensils as Collateral

"One shall not take the upper or lower millstone for a pledge, for he is taking a life as a pledge"Deuteronomy 24:6.

It is forbidden for a creditor to take food preparation utensils – e.g., grinders, kneading bowls, pots, and knives – as collateral for a debt.


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
Freedom of choice has been granted to every man: if he desires to turn toward a good path and be righteous, the ability to do so is in his hands; and if he desires to turn toward an evil path and be wicked, the ability to do so is in his hands...
This is a fundamental principle and a pillar of the Torah and its commandments. For if G-d were to decree that a person be righteous or wicked; of if there were to exist something in the very essence of a person's nature which would compel him toward a specific path, a specific conviction, a specific character trait or a specific deed... how could G-d command us through the prophets 'do this' and 'do not do that'...? What place would the entire Torah have? And by what measure of justice would G-d punish the wicked and reward the righteous?
  –Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance 5:1-3
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