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Daily Mitzvah

Day 135: Positive Commandment 127, 128; Negative Commandment 152

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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.

Positive Commandment 127 (Digest)
The First Tithe

"But the tithes of the Children of Israel which they offer to G‑d as a gift..."Numbers 18:24.

We are commanded to separate a tenth of our crops and give it to a Levite.

This biblical precept only applies in the Land of Israel.

Positive Commandment 128 (Digest)
The Second Tithe

"You shall surely tithe all the produce of your seed that the field produces every year"Deuteronomy 14:22.

We are commanded to separate a "Second Tithe" [from our harvest, in addition to the First Tithe given to the Levites].

Some of the rules that pertain to this tithe:

  • The produce is brought to Jerusalem where it is consumed by its owners.
  • If it is difficult to transport the produce to Jerusalem, due to its distance, the produce can be "redeemed" with money. This money is then brought to Jerusalem and used to purchase food [which is, in turn, consumed in Jerusalem].
  • If the owner himself redeems the tithe, he must add an extra 25% to the produce's monetary value.
  • This mitzvah only applies during the Temple era.
  • This biblical precept only applies in the Land of Israel.

Negative Commandment 152 (Digest)
Expending Second Tithe Funds on Non-Food Items

"Nor have I given of it for the dead"Deuteronomy 26:14.

It is forbidden to purchase with Second Tithe funds any item other than food or drink.

The Midrash explains the verse "I have not given of it for the dead" as referring to using the funds to purchase a casket and shrouds. Though such a purchase is a mitzvah, it cannot be done with Second Tithe funds.

It appears to me that purchasing anything other than food items with these monies is like giving the monies to a dead person—who has no gain from such a gift...

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
It's not the mouse who's the thief, but the mousehole
  –Talmud, Gittin 45a
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