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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvah 236,
Negative Mitzvot 289, 296

  Day 257Day 259  

Positive Mitzvah 236: Personal Injury
Exodus 21:18 "And one man hits another..."

After a very close baseball match, two of Yossi's classmates were heatedly arguing about the last innings that decided the game. Soon, the locker room was filled with shouts and accusations.

As he was changing his shoes, Yossi caught sight of fists lifted to strike. He jumped up and pushed himself between the fighting boys.

"Hey! What do you think you're doing?" one of the boys shouted.

"Come on!" Yossi pleaded. "Calm down, it's only a game."

Yossi's brave act of Ahavat Yisrael convinced the boys to stop fighting. When they had cooled off, Yossi sat down between them on the locker room bench.

"You know," he said, "in our Chumash class, we were just learning about what might happen if someone injures another person.

Take this case.

Imagine, Shimi, if you would have punched Yankie and broken his glasses. First, it would hurt. Second, they would cost money to get fixed. Third, Yankie would miss school-work because he would not be able to see the board. Fourth, a doctor's bill might be involved.

Besides, it would be embarrassing to have to explain a black eye and broken glasses!"

Well, fortunately for the boys and thanks to Yossi, this didn't happen.

If one person does cause personal injury to another he is liable to pay different kinds of damages. This Positive Mitzvah includes the laws of fines and responsibilities a person must pay if he injures another.

Negative Mitzvah 289: It is forbidden to commit murder
Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder"

We are forbidden to kill another human being.

Negative Mitzvah 296: It is forbidden to accept a ransom from a murderer who killed unintentionally
Numbers 35:32 "And you shall take no ransom from one who must flee to the city of refuge"

A person who commits a murder unintentionally is instructed to flee to a special "refuge city".

He is obligated to live there and may not leave until the High Priest dies (see Positive Mitzvah 182).

Many people would be willing to pay large sums of money rather than be forced to remain in exile in a refuge city for so many years. We are forbidden to accept this money as a ransom.

From your father you may learn the things you must do. From your mother you learn who you are. That is why Jewish identity follows a matriarchal lineage.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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