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|Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule
Negative Mitzvah 317;
Positive Mitzvah 178
Negative Mitzvah 317: It is forbidden to curse another Jew
Leviticus 19:14 "You shall not curse (even) the deaf"
We are forbidden to curse any Jew.
Though this Negative Mitzvah mentions the deaf, it applies to all people.
We may think that expressing anger or frustration against a deaf person and uttering a curse is not so bad because the deaf person will not be able to hear us anyway!
However, the Torah cautions us never to curse anyone, neither a deaf person, nor even people who can hear.
Positive Mitzvah 178: Giving Evidence
Leviticus 5:1 "And he is witness, whether he has seen or known of it"
Shimi was going to spend the weekend with his grand-parents who lived out of town. He was happy that his father and mother agreed let him take the train alone.
His parents drove him to the station and left him to wait on line in front of the ticket counter. Shimi waited patiently. The lady before him was carrying many packages and had difficulty managing them.
Shimi offered to hold her bags so that it would be easier for her to pay for her ticket.
After she purchased her ticket, Shimi's turn came. He felt very independent ordering his ticket and paying for it himself. When he received it, he put it in his wallet and boarded the train.
Shortly after the train pulled out of the station, the conductor came to punch tickets. When the passengers saw him approach, they took out their tickets, but one woman couldn't find hers.
The conductor demanded that she purchase another one, but she protested; "I bought a ticket. It's just that I can't find it. Why should I have to pay for another one?"
The conductor would not listen: "I've got nothing against you ," he explained. "But, there have been too many people sneaking on trains recently. I've been instructed not to accept anybody's word. You'll have to purchase a new ticket."
Shimi looked up. This was the same woman who had been standing before him in line. He jumped up from his seat and approached the conductor.
"Please, sir," he called out. "Listen. This woman really did buy a ticket. I saw her. I was standing behind her at the counter.
Do you see all the packages she has? She had trouble carrying them and I'm sure that the ticket just slipped out of her hand."
One of the other passengers piped up: "Mr. Conductor, I'm a lawyer. If I was given this case, I'd convince the judge to accept that testimony." Everybody laughed. Even the conductor smiled and proceeded on to next passenger.
Someone else might have thought: "Why should I speak up, I'll just mind my own business." However, the Torah states that this is his business!
If a Jew happens to witness an incident and it is brought before the judges, he is obligated to testify. He is not allowed to withhold the evidence he witnessed - he is commanded to tell it to the judges.
Many people, without realizing, end up with two gods:
One god is an impersonal one, an all-encompassing, transcendent force. But then, at times of trouble, they cry out to another, personal god, with whom they have an intimate relationship. Our faith is all about knowing that these two are one. The same G-d who is beyond all things, He is the same one who hears your cries and counts your tears. The same G-d who is the force behind all existence and transcends even that, He is the same G-d who cares about what is cooking in your kitchen and how you treat your fellow man.
G-d cannot be defined, even as transcendent. He is beyond all things and within them at once.
Over 1800 years ago, the author of the Zohar predicted a revolution of science that would take place about the date 1840. There he describes the fountains of wisdom bursting forth from the ground and flooding the earth -- all in preparation for an era when the world shall be filled with wisdom and knowledge of the Oneness of its Creator.
From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman - firstname.lastname@example.org