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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvah 280;
Positive Mitzvah 177;
Negative Mitzvot 276, 274

  Day 318Day 320  

Negative Mitzvah 280: It is forbidden to pervert justice for a convert or orphan
Deuteronomy 24:17 "You shall not pervert the judgment of the stranger or the or the orphan"

A judge may not consider the sensitive nature of an orphan or "Ger" (convert to Judaism) while siting in judgment.

He must base his verdict on fact.

This Negative Mitzvah cautions the judge not to give a lenient judgment because he has consideration for the sensitive nature of the person he is judging.

Positive Mitzvah 177: Judging Honestly
Leviticus 19:15 "With righteousness, judge your neighbor"

In Heddy's school, a student who is sent to the principal's office for bad behavior, does not panic. She knows that the principal is fair.

He treats the students properly and never gives them too severe a punishment.

A Jew who is ordered to be brought before a Beit-Din was assured of fair judgment.

It was not dependent on the nature of the judge nor his mood!

The Torah commanded us to judge in a fair manner.

This is not merely a helpful suggestion or gentle prodding - it is a commandment!

The judge knows he is guided by a higher authority than his own.

Negative Mitzvah 276: It is forbidden to fear the threats of a man being accused in judgment
Deuteronomy 1:17 "You shall not be afraid because of any man"

This Negative Mitzvah encourages the judge to act honestly and bravely in judgment.

The Torah commands him not to fear while judging.

He should not be afraid that the accused person will do him harm or take revenge. The Torah tells us not to be frightened, but to bring about proper judgment.

Negative Mitzvah 274: It is forbidden to accept bribery in judgment
Exodus 23:8 "And you shall take no bribe"

Occasionally, we hear about people receiving large sums of money as bribes. Whenever a person does a nice thing for a judge so that he will and say good things about him, the Torah considers it bribery.

The Talmud relates that once a judge's tenant brought him the rent a few days early and the judge refused to hear the case because he considered that a bribe.

The Torah gives a judge this special commandment because he is charged with declaring justice.

A judge is forbidden to accept any form of bribery, even if the bribe is offered from an innocent man and the judgment is truthful and correct.

If your belief system is based upon what makes sense to you, what you find most gratifying and what best accommodates your own self concept -- then you will undoubtedly fear intellectual inquiry. At best, your approach will be subjective and bribed.

However, when your faith is based not upon your subjective self, but because this is the reality of your inner soul, a truth to which it is intrinsically bound -- then you are not afraid to inquire. There is no apprehension of being proven wrong, only certitude that you shall understand more. Therefore, only true faith can be truly objective.


A Tzaddik never leaves this world -- he transcends it, but he is still within it. He is still there to assist those who are bond to him with blessing and advice, just as before, and even more so. Even those who did not know him in his corporeal lifetime can still create with him an essential bond. The only difference is in us: Now we must work harder to connect.


Throughout the Rebbe's leadership, he persistently answered people's requests for blessings, "I will bring this to the attention of my father-in-law at his grave site."

Whenever the Rebbe used the words, "The Rebbe", he meant his late father-in-law, the previous rebbe. In the Rebbe's world, his rebbe never died.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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