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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvot 256, 301, 304, 305

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Negative Mitzvah 256: It is forbidden to mistreat widows or orphans
Exodus 22:21 "You shall not afflict any widow or orphan"

A widow and an orphan have suffered great losses.

The Torah warns us that we must be especially sensitive and caring with them.

We should try to be very considerate and gentle and think about their feelings so as not to mistreat them.

Negative Mitzvah 301: It is forbidden to gossip
Leviticus 19:16 "You shall not go around as a tale-bearer among your people"

Years ago, before large business and shopping centers were built, people would buy many of their household supplies from peddlers.

These peddlers bought wares in one town and sold them in another.

When they arrived in a town, they would place their loaded carts in the village center and call out to the people, announcing their bargains.

The Hebrew word for peddler is "Rochail".

The Torah also uses this same word for gossip.

Just as a peddler buys from one and sells to another, a person who gossips, listens to one person talking and then goes around telling others what he heard.

"Did you hear what she said?"

"Just wait until I tell you what I heard him say!"

"You're not going to believe what they said!"

Gossiping often causes people to get angry and upset with each other because of what someone told them.

Gossiping can hurt people's feelings and break up friendships.

In this Negative Mitzvah, the Torah cautions us not to gossip.

Negative Mitzvah 304: It is forbidden to take revenge
Leviticus 19:18 "You shall not take revenge"

We often hear someone taunting another person:

"You deserve it. I'm giving you some of your own treatment!"

This is called taking revenge. The Torah describes the following case as an example of revenge.

One day, Mr. Jacobs asked Mr. Sharf to lend him a gardening tool. But Mr. Sharf refused.

The next day, Mr. Sharf needed a digging shovel and he asked Mr. Jacobs if he could borrow his.

Mr. Jacobs retorted: "I'm not going to lend it to you, just like you didn't lend me what I needed yesterday!"

The Torah forbids us to take revenge.

We should try to understand another person and believe that he has a good reason for his actions or that he is unable to help us if he refuses.

Even if we are sure he was inconsiderate, we should forgive and forget.

By being nice to another person, even if he was not nice to us, we can win his friendship and bring peace and happiness to the world.

Negative Mitzvah 305: It is forbidden to bear a grudge
Leviticus 19:18 "You shall not bear any grudge"

Bearing a grudge means to remember a person's wrong deed and remind him of it even if we act nicely to him.

The Torah describes the following case as an example of bearing a grudge.

Mr. Samson asked Mr. Baruch to lend him something, but Mr. Baruch refused.

The next day, Mr. Baruch needed to borrow something from Mr. Samson.

"With pleasure!," Mr. Samson replied. "I'm not going to be mean like you were to me and refuse to lend you what you need."

HaShem wants us to ignore the fact that sometimes people do not act as kindly and thoughtfully as they should.

We are not allowed to bear a grudge against another person.

G-d is not just big -- He is infinite. If He were only big, then those things that are small would be further from Him and those things that are big would be closer. But to the Infinite, big and small are irrelevant terms. He is everywhere and He is found wherever He wishes to be found.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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