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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvah 127

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Positive Mitzvah 127: The First Tithe
Numbers 18:24 "But the tithes of the Children of Israel which they offer as a gift"

We are commanded to give a tenth of all the land's produce to the Levites.

The Levites were not given an inheritance of land as were the other tribes.

Instead, this share of our crop is considered their inheritance.

Since there are other types of "tithes," (which means: a tenth of the amount), this one is called: "The First Tithe."


In the yard of the Rebbe's childhood home was a large tree. The Rebbe's mother related that when her son was five years old, he climbed to the top of the tree. She called up to him, "Mendel! Why is it that all the other children who climb this tree fall down, but you made it all the way up?"

Her son replied, "They look down and get nervous and fall, but I look only up and when you look only up, you don't fall down."

Why is it that the great masters move forward and upward with such invincible confidence, that they know no fear of man or thing, that mountains melt before their word?

Certainly, it is their clarity of vision. We who sleep when we are awake, are awake when we sleep, believe but do not believe, know but do not realize--we can never allow ourselves to walk straight into the light, because we are never sure it is not darkness. When we step forward we look behind us, when we go up we are looking below.

But the tzaddik's vision is sharp and clear. His words are solid and firm, his conviction will pierce a mountain. He sees no obstacles in his path -- only the light that draws him.

------------

It is a Jewish Custom on the holy day of Rosh Hashana to walk to a pond or river and recite certain prayers there.

In Brooklyn, finding such a body of water within walking distance can be a bit of a problem. In the early years of the Rebbe's leadership, there would be a whole parade every year to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, attended by all the chassidim, with the Rebbe at the head.

One year, the rain poured incessantly and most assumed the walk cancelled. "Cancelled", however, was never part of the Rebbe's vocabulary. When the Rebbe came out for the walk, news travelled like lighting and people scrambled to join. Upon arrival at the gardens, however, they found the gates locked and nobody there to let them in.

The wall around the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is fairly high. The Rebbe gazed up and said softly to his assistant, "How tall do you think that wall is?" The assistant had no time to answer. The Rebbe was already climbing the wall. As soon as they realized what was going on, chassidim rushed to assist the Rebbe. He looked down and said, "If you will allow me to do this myself, I think I will be far more successful."

That was the day the walls of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens were breached by hundreds of chassidim.

It was also a day the chassidim learned the Rebbe meant what he preached.

Literally.

Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, known as "The Rebbe Maharash", the fourth in the golden chain of rebbes of Lubavitch, had an attitude. Many wise people say if you can't go under, go over. The Rebbe Maharash said, "Just go over." Meaning that instead of first trying to work through a problem by its own rules, and then -- if that doesn't work -- gathering the strength and courage to step brazenly over it... Instead, just start by stepping right over it, as though there were no obstacle to begin with.

After all, that's why obstacles are there -- in order to lift you higher.

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


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