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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvah 181,
Negative Mitzvot 309, 298;
Positive Mitzvah 184

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Positive Mitzvah 181: Atoning for an Unsolved Murder - "Eglah Arufah"
Deuteronomy 21:1 "If one be found slain in the land"

HaShem wants people to live in peace and happiness.

He wants us to strive to prevent tragedy and avoid misfortune.

If a dead body was found in a field and it is impossible to find the murderer, there is a special procedure to follow.

This Positive Mitzvah is called Eglah Arufah - the slaying of a calf.

The elders of the city closest to the site of the dead body, must bring a female calf to a specific stream and slay it. Then, in the presence of the priests, they must declare their innocence. They say that they know nothing about the incident and ask HaShem to atone for the spilled blood.

Negative Mitzvah 309: It is forbidden to work the land near a stream where atonement is made for an unsolved murder
Deuteronomy 21:4 "Which shall neither be plowed nor sown"

There are special laws for dealing with an unsolved murder (See Positive Mitzvah 181).

The elders and judges must make a solemn declaration and carry out a detailed procedure at the bank of a stream.

This teaches us the responsibility the community has to protect life and atone for the unsolved murder.

This Negative Mitzvah concerns the land surrounding the stream where this procedure takes place. We are cautioned not to plant or work that soil.

Negative Mitzvah 298: It is forbidden to neglect a hazard within the home or outside of it
Deuteronomy 22:8 "You shall not bring blood upon your house."

We are responsible for our possessions and we must care for our surroundings.

The Torah cautions us not to neglect an unsafe condition in our home or a hazard in our community that may cause harm.

A rickety staircase, a cracked window pane or a broken street light, are examples of items that must be repaired to ensure safety.

Positive Mitzvah 184: Removing Sources of Danger from our Property
Deuteronomy 22:81 "Then you shall place a guard-rail around your roof'

Shlomie was watching his neighbor put up a fence in his backyard. He was enclosing an old fashioned water pump that had an opened well next to it.

"Hey, Mr. Goldstein, why are you putting up that fence?"

"Do you know how deep this well is?" Mr. Goldstein asked.

"Someone might fall into it and get hurt."

"But its your yard, Mr. Goldstein. Your family knows to be careful!" Shlomie said.

"You may be right, Shlomie. But still, the Torah commands us to prevent dangerous sites on our property. Even if my family is careful, I must think of others, as well."

This Positive Mitzvah obligates us to avoid hazardous situations by putting a fence on our roofs, enclosing open pits and similar dangers on our property.

You complain that peace in the home is, for you, wrought with obstacles. All of us today are souls that have been here before. In general, we return on unfinished business. Certainly, we are all responsible for doing all the good we can, and avoiding everything harmful. But that certain unfinished business, that is where the most obstacles shall be. And those obstacles will be your only clue as to what business you are here to finish.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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