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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvot 150, 151, 152;
Negative Mitzvot 172, 174


  Day 94Day 96  

Positive Mitzvah 150: Checking for Signs in Birds
Deuteronomy 14:11 "You may eat all clean (kosher) birds"

The Torah lists all the non-kosher birds that are not to be eaten.

Research of that list has shown some common characteristics between the birds that are forbidden as food. Almost all the prohibited birds are hunters. We are commanded to check that list and eat only those which are kosher (see Negative Mitzvah 174).


Positive Mitzvah 151: Checking for Signs in Grasshoppers
Leviticus 11:21 "Yet these you may eat of every flying creeping thing"

The Torah describes the flying insects that use four legs for walking, as non-kosher. Only those with the special signs - knees extending above their feet, using these longer legs to hop on, are allowed to be eaten.

We are commanded to check for these signs before eating these grasshoppers. Today, we are unable to determine which grasshoppers are kosher and which are not.


Positive Mitzvah 152: Checking for Signs in Fish
Leviticus 11:9 "These you shall eat of all that is in the water"

We are commanded to check for the kosher signs in fish. These signs are:

  1. fins; and

  2. scales (see Negative Mitzvah 173).


Introduction to Mitzvot 172-188:

Kosher & Non-Kosher - Different Types of Animals and Meats

Eli had a rash that wouldn't go away.

It itched and irritated him constantly and made him very uncomfortable. His doctor had prescribed some different creams for him to put on the rash, but none of them helped.

Finally, the doctor suggested that Eli's mother take him to an Allergy specialist to do some tests. After a complete examination and blood tests, the specialist discovered that Eli was allergic to some foods that he ate.

"You mean I can't eat those foods any more?" Eli asked the doctor. "No," the doctor answered gently. "They're not good for your system."

"But all my friends eat them and they don't get these rashes!" Eli objected.

"Every person's body functions differently - and some people are more sensitive than others to certain things" the doctor explained. "These foods are just not right for your body, Eli."

We take our bodies for granted.

When we wake up every morning we expect our hands and feet to move, our eyes to see and everything to work just fine. Even while we are sleeping, we are sure that our hearts won't stop beating.

But what is it that makes all our limbs work? Muscles? Oxygen? Blood cells? Even a person who is not alive has a heart, a brain, hands, feet, muscles, and cells - and there is plenty of air around for him to breathe! So why can't he breathe?

Each part of our body has a function and works in a special way.

We have to provide the proper "fuel" and the body works - food, liquids, air and more. What makes the air activate the lungs? What makes our stomach digest the food?

The answer is, the "Life force"!

This is the power that makes the body work the way it should.

A person's body may be strong and healthy and function fine to the tiniest detail - but if the Life Force is taken away - he is not alive...

HaShem gives us this Life Force. It is called our "Neshamah" our soul.

It keeps our bodies alive and enables us to understand things even if we can't see, hear or touch them. It helps us to come closer to HaShem and His Torah and Mitzvot.

Our Neshamah needs "fuel" to keep it going! A different kind of fuel - something we cannot see or touch. This fuel is spiritual. When we keep Torah and Mitzvot we are nurturing our Neshamah.

HaShem gives us our Neshamah, and teaches us what is good for it.

The Torah tells us that some types of food are just not right for us. Our Neshamah is, in a sense, "allergic" to these foods. The Neshamah of non-Jews are not affected by eating these foods.

This is the way HaShem created the world!

The following Mitzvot concern certain types of meat and foods which we are forbidden to eat. We must remember that even Kosher animals must still be slaughtered, prepared cooked and eaten in a specific way required by Torah.


Negative Mitzvah 172: It is forbidden to eat non-kosher animals
Deuteronomy 14:7 "These you shall not eat of those that only chew the cud, or of those that only have the cloven hoof"

The Torah gives us two signs to look for in animals (see Positive Mitzvah 149) in order to determine if the animal is kosher.

They must chew their cud and have split hooves. Any animal which does not have both these signs (even if it does have one of them) is not considered to be kosher.


Negative Mitzvah 174: It is forbidden to eat non-kosher birds
Leviticus 11:13. "And these are they which you shall detest among the birds, they shall not be eaten"

The Torah lists the types of birds that are not kosher and, therefore, may not be eaten. We are forbidden to eat any of those birds that are mentioned. (For a complete list of those birds that are not kosher see Leviticus 11:13-20.)


The angels are jealous of he who struggles in darkness. They have light, but he touches the Essence.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman - tzvif@aol.com


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