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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvah 89,
Positive Mitzvot 39, 29;
Negative Mitzvah 81;
Positive Mitzvah 30

  Day 164Day 166  

Negative Mitzvah 89: It is forbidden to offer sacrifices in any other place but in the designated areas of the Beit HaMikdash.
Deuteronomy 12:13 "Take heed to thyself and you should not offer your burnt-offerings in every place that you may see"

Many of the Mitzvot must be kept no matter where we are. Shabbat must be observed all the time, and in all places. We must honor and respect our parents, even if we are far away from them.

However, the Mitzvah of bringing sacrifices requires that they be offered only in one place, chosen specifically by G-d, the Beit HaMikdash.

We are forbidden to offer any sacrifice besides upon the altar in the Beit HaMikdash.

Positive Mitzvah 39: The Daily Offering
Numbers 28:3 "Two [lambs] each day for a continuous burnt offering"

We are commanded to sacrifice two sheep every day; one in the morning and one in the evening.

They are offered for the entire Jewish people. This is the daily expression of the Jewish people's commitment to HaShem.

Positive Mitzvah 29: The perpetual fire on the Altar
Leviticus 6:6 "There shall always be fire burning on the altar"

Many miracles happened in the Beit HaMikdash.

Among them was a heavenly fire that came down on the altar and burned the sacrifices.

This showed HaShem's acceptance of the service. Even though a divine fire appeared, the priests are commanded to light a man-made fire.

HaShem does not want us to rely on miracles.

Rather, we must do our part and perform the natural actions.

We will "light the flame" and HaShem will "keep it burning." (See also Negative Mitzvah 81).

Negative Mitzvah 81: It is forbidden to extinguish the fire upon the altar
Leviticus 6:6 "Fire shall be kept burning continuously upon the altar; it shall not go out"

It was very late one night, when Shimi and his father passed by the neighborhood synagogue.

Inside, Shimi saw a faint, reddish light glowing.

"Daddy, why is there a light on inside?" Shimi asked. "Nobody is in the synagogue, and even if someone were there, that would not be enough light to see by."

"That's a special light," his father answered. "It's not there to give light, Shimi.

"You see, in the Beit HaMikdash, the priests were commanded to light a fire on the altar every morning and evening. Even though G-d sent down heavenly fire to consume the sacrifices, he wanted us to light a fire every day.

"That special light in the Synagogue is called a 'Ner Tamid', which means 'an everlasting light.' It reminds us that a synagogue is like a tiny Beit HaMikdash and that our prayers, which replace sacrifices, are always welcome, because like sacrifices they bring us closer to HaShem."

This Negative Mitzvah prohibits us from extinguishing the fire on the Altar, (see Positive Mitzvah 29.)

Positive Mitzvah 30: Removing the ashes from the Altar
Leviticus 6:3 "And he shall remove the ashes"

We all like to have a house that is neat and clean.

The priests are obligated to make sure that the Beit HaMikdash is kept tidy.

Many sacrifices were offered every day and mounds of ashes would collect.

This Positive Mitzvah commands the priests to remove these ashes from the altar.

Confidence is best found among the truly humble.

Moses was the most humble of all men. Yet he had the confidence to stand before the mightiest dictator on earth and assert his demands. He had the confidence to stand before G-d and listen without losing his composure. He had the confidence even to argue with G-d, when necessary. Yet he considered himself to be nothing. The confidence of Moses was not confidence in his own self. He had no self. He was but an agent of Above. Above there is infinite power. Self-confidence is limited, at best. But if you trust in the One who has sent you to be here and do what you need to do -- that confidence knows no bounds.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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