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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvah 54;
Negative Mitzvot 156, 229;
Positive Mitzvot 16, 79

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Positive Mitzvah 54: Rejoicing on the Festivals
Deuteronomy 16:14 "And you shall rejoice on your festival"

The Torah teaches us "Serve HaShem with joy."

This applies to all Mitzvot.

However, during Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, happiness itself is a Mitzvah.

Festive meals, fancy clothing, song and dance, are all part of this rejoicing.

This celebration is to be highlighted with the presentation of a sacrifice - Shalmei Simchah - the peace offering of joy.

Negative Mitzvah 156: It is forbidden to travel empty-handed to Jerusalem for the festive pilgrimage
Exodus 23:15 "And none shall appear before me empty"

When a person is celebrating a special event, such as a birthday, or moving into a new house, or a Bar-Mitzvah, he invites friends and relatives to join him and share his joy.

One of the first things we do when receiving an invitation to a party, is to buy a present for the host. Even if the host is very rich, we still want to give him a present.

We do not buy presents because it is required, but rather to show the host that we care, appreciate and understand the nature of the special occasion.

The Torah commanded us to travel up to Jerusalem, to the Beit HaMikdash, on three special festivals - Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

These holidays provide us with a special opportunity to come closer to HaShem by journeying to Jerusalem and offering sacrifices. In this way, we strengthen our bond with HaShem.

This Negative Mitzvah instructs us not to neglect bringing sacrifices when we journey to Jerusalem on these three festivals.

Negative Mitzvah 229: It is forbidden to neglect the needs of the Levite
Deuteronomy 12:19 Be careful not to forsake the Levite"

The Levites are dedicated to the service of HaShem in the Beit Hamikdash. They were not given a separate portion of land in Eretz Yisrael as were the other tribes.

We are commanded to support them and provide for their needs. There are specific portions of our produce that we must give the Levites.

We are cautioned not to neglect their needs, and postpone these gifts which they require for their sustenance.

Positive Mitzvah 16: "HakHail" - Assembling the entire Jewish People
Deuteronomy 31:12 "Gather the people together, men and women, and children"

When Mashiach comes your will hear the radio announcing:

"This is the M.T.N. (Mashiach Times News) Radio, announcing the biggest greatest, most phenomenal Jewish reunion to be held on the second day of Sukkot!

The last convention, seven years ago, was an outstanding occasion. All men, women and children are invited to this festive gathering."

At the end of the Shemita year (see Positive Mitzvah 140), we are commanded to gather at the Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem.

Portions of the Torah are read aloud by the king at this assembly, uniting the Jewish people and inspiring all in the service of Hashem.

Introduction to Mitzvot 79 - 82:

The Uniqueness of the First-born

In Egypt, the tenth and final plague, which led to the exodus of the Jewish people, was the slaughter of all Egyptian first-born men and animals. HaShem guarded the homes of the Jews and their first born remained unharmed. The Torah tells us that HaShem then claimed for Himself the first-born of the Jews and their beasts, and declared them holy. Certain Mitzvot apply only to the first-born.

Positive Mitzvah 79: Sanctifying First-born Animals (that are kosher)
Exodus 13:2 "Sanctify to Me all the first-born...among the beasts"

We are commanded to present our first-born kosher animals to the priest and offer them as sacrifices to HaShem.

When you and the path you have chosen get along just great, it's hard to know whether your motives are sincere.

But when you come across a path to do good, and you see this path goes against every sinew of your flesh and every cell in your brain, when you want only to flee and hide from it -- do this. Then you shall know your motives are sincere.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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