Meditations For Your Soul

 

Introduction

“The only free person is one who studies Torah / Bible” the Sages. According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe the reason for this is that a person’s soul naturally desires the Mitzvahs / commandments of the Bible and those who do not know the Mitzvahs are trapped by their instincts, animalistic passions and fantasies in a world which is foreign to their souls, to whom they truly are.

There are many forms of slavery; slavery to one’s instincts is a greater slavery than imprisonment, for a person who cannot break out of his passions (like a drug addict) is bound for hell. Passions like drugs, never get quenched, they only get thirstier; and an insatiable thirst, an unquenchable desire develops and as it is insatiable it is literally like running towards a goal that only gets moved beyond you, as you approach it.

If you will study the Mitzvahs in this book and do them, you will find the only real happiness known to man. I can say without fear of contradiction that the happiest people in the world are those who start keeping the Mitzvahs. I have been all over the world and these are the very happiest people I know. What’s the secret? If you were to go to the greatest naturalist and get from him the elixir for life and it would make you happy, you would assume that his great wisdom and supreme understanding of nature put into this elixir is what is the secret of your newfound happiness. Effectively you wouldn’t need to know the recipe, for you would be thrilled with the result. The same is true of Mitzvahs (although most simply concur with our natural soul-desire to be good, compassionate, giving, people) many and in fact all of them, have spiritual/mystical powers that cause great connections between you and G-d.

Your soul naturally wants to attach itself to G-d and the word Mitzvah actually comes from the words tzavsah vchibur, meaning a connection. A Mitzvah draws down G-d on you, and your soul feels great joy.

To assist in this process I have included Meditations for some of the Mitzvahs, which will help you experience joy while you perform them.

WARNING: When you start doing Mitzvahs your Yetzer Hara will try to stop you. (The Yetzer Hara is an offshoot of your animalistic, instinctual urges, that challenges your connection and devotion to G-d.) This is your Yetzer Hara’s mission from G-d to test you to see if you are sincere. Keep at it, for we have a famous rule when it comes to holiness, “If you try, you are guaranteed to succeed.” Every failure is in fact only leading you closer to G-d. Every mistake is good, for it means you are trying, and when it comes to doing Mitzvahs our Sages guarantee that when you try hard you will succeed!

 

The Mitzvahs

I have not included the important yet somewhat “outdated” Mitzvahs relating to idol worship and incest as our Yetzer Hara (negative desire) to do these things do not exist anymore. (Of course every Mitzvah of the Torah is eternal and holds countless messages and lessons, and one is encouraged to study them in other books for this reason.)

The Constant Mitzvahs

  1. Know that there is a G-d who rules, directs, and controls all of nature, and all humankind.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for always being there for all of nature and for all people.”

  1. Do not think that there is another G-d besides G-d.

Sometimes people wonder, who made G-d? This is like asking, which came first the chicken or the egg? There must be a first cause for everything that we see and that is G-d.

  1. Unify G-d (as it says Hashem Elokeinue Hashem Echad.) We know that the Hebrew word Echad is comprised of the three Hebrew letters: Alef Ches and Daled. Alef represents Alufo Shel Olam – the master of the world. Ches represents the seven heavens and earth, and Daled represents north, south, east and west. Everything – the seven heavens, earth and all of space, is unified with G-d for he is its direct and continual source.

According to Chassidic thought Elokeinue [one name for G-d] represents nature, Hashem [another name] represent G-d’s ability to create anything including nature which is G-d’s creation. (These are distinct abilities, for one is the infinite ability to create anything, while the other is the factual reality which is presented to us.) We should know that these two names are one. We should never think that G-d is not within nature; nature merely is a concealment of G-d, however just like someone is behind the mask he is wearing, G-d is behind the nature he has made.

Furthermore according to science we have an easy parable for this. Everything is made up of atoms, each atom is a miracle in its own right circling its nucleus and containing mind bowing amounts of energy. This miracle must be continually supervised for neither energy nor a precise pattern of the atoms circling their nucleus is possible without G-d, so G-d is very much in control of this world and is its cause of existence, all the time.

For a greater understanding of this please see “The Gateway To Belief and Unity” in “Classic Jewish Mysticism.”

Meditation

“All of nature is one with G-d!”

  1. Love G-d

Although love is an emotion, nevertheless through contemplating the kindnesses that G-d has given you, you will automatically succeed in loving G-d. Think how your body and your soul contain your very life and are miracles which only G-d could create. If you think about these miracles you will come to love the Creator for giving them to you.

Meditation

“I love you!”

  1. Fear, or be in awe of G-d – a sense of great reverence

To create healthy fear, respect, reverence, and a sense of constant awareness of G-d, one needs to understand a bit of G-d’s greatness. When you realize that all the almost limitless energy in this world is absolutely nothing compared to G-d’s infinite ability to create (for even the richest man in the world is poor relative to infinite riches that have no limit at all) you will come to appreciate how great G-d is, and you will not want to be separated from G-d or have G-d think poorly of you.

Meditation

“I fear separation from you!”

  1. “Sanctify (glorify) G-d.”

Although thank G-d this is not really something we need to worry about today, nevertheless for thousands of years and for millions of Jews this was a reality. They happily died Jews, rather than (forcibly) convert to another faith.

Furthermore, when we realize that we are willing to die for G-d, it helps us live as a proud and true person for G-d.

Meditation

“I am willing to die for you!”

  1. Do not destroy anything that has G-d’s name on it.

We are forbidden to throw out a paper that has G-d’s name written out (unlike G-d) out of our great respect for G-d. In all Orthodox Synagogues one can find a shaimos box, (a box where tattered prayer books and religious pamphlets are put, which are then taken for burial in a Jewish cemetery.)

Meditation

“I respect you!”

  1. Listen to the Prophet who speaks in G-d’s name.

A Prophet is an individual (more common during Temple times) who through great self control conquered all negative traits, is wise in Torah, completely dedicated to G-d and G-d has chosen him or her to send a message to the Jewish people.

The Prophet was established as Prophet through consistently prophesying accurately (and one false prophesy or contradiction of the Torah would result in a possible death penalty if convicted.)

Meditation

“Listening to you is like listening to G-d!”

  1. Emulate G-d.

G-d lovingly created the world where air is free, water cheap, food a bit more difficult to attain, and clothing a little more difficult. In other words, that which we need most is free, and only as our need lessens, the amount of effort required to get it increases, this is one of the millions of favors G-d has done free-of-charge for us. We need to emulate G-d’s kindness, in being kind, compassionate, concerned and loving towards everyone else, just like G-d does, free-of-charge and with unconditional love.

Meditation

“I will be kind, gentle, giving, compassionate, caring, helpful, and good just like you.”

  1. Cleave to the Rebbe / Tzaddikim.

This is achieved by studying the Torah (teachings) of the Rebbe / Tzaddik and fulfilling his advice. In every generation there is one leader whose interface with G-d is like Moses’s interface and from him we can study and understand what G-d’s desire for our generation is.

Meditation

“Cleaving to you is like cleaving to G-d!”

  1. Love your friends.

Effectively we have been taught in Tanya (mainly chapter 32) that the path to loving everyone is by seeing the soul of everyone. So although in an extreme case you may hate the evil in someone, nonetheless, you are always obligated to love the good, their pristine soul (which may sadly be covered over by grime and dirt and is thus not apparent to the naked eye, like a diamond underground.)

Meditation

“You and I are the same.”

  1. Love converts.

Over thirty times G-d mentions this Mitzvah in the Torah which underscores its great great significance. Human nature is such that we take advantage of the weak (easy prey.) However we should be cognizant that G-d takes up the cause of the oppressed and no one should never take on G-d.

Meditation

“I understand and thus empathize with the difficulty of being a minority.”

  1. Do not hate a friend (hold a grudge.)

This is the flipside of loving everyone. There are two options if someone has given you reason to hate them: 1. forgive them in your heart, which is the higher way, and 2. confront them and tell them why you are upset with them.

 

Meditation

“I forgive everyone!”

  1. Educate a person who is doing something wrong.

It is wrong to watch someone doing something wrong and not help them by not educating them. Obviously this education must be done out of love, not with a sense of superiority or anger.

Meditation

“I will strive to educate every fellow man – in the most gentle caring way possible!”

  1. Do not embarrass anyone (this includes family members.)

As this Mitzvah is a continuation of the previous Mitzvah, thus the sages deduce that moral education must be done in a way that the person realizes that you only want to help them such as saying, “I would like to tell you something for your benefit only.”

Meditation

“I will never embarrass anyone!”

  1. Do not insult or hurt in any way a widow or an orphan.

As mentioned, human nature is to take advantage of the weak, however G-d’s nature is to take up the cause of the oppressed; so one must be super-careful when speaking to people who feel weaker, such as an orphan or a widow (as they lack a protector and thus feel alone and perhaps the same should be applied to a divorcee today) to speak gently, kindly, compassionately, mercifully, and to never ever cause them any harm, pain, or sorrow.

Meditation

“I will be extra careful when dealing with a widow or an orphan in order to be extra kind, gentle, compassionate and loving.”

  1. Do not take revenge.

We all want to settle a score, to rectify an injustice, to balance an inequality, however we would be far wiser to not let ourselves be sullied by getting into the dirt thrown at us – as our sages teach us, one who argues with a dirty person gets dirty. Better to have a clean soul than to get muddied and sullied in emulating an evil person or evil behavior.

Meditation

“I will never take revenge for I prefer a bruised ego than a bruised soul.”

  1. Do not take Netirah

Netirah is helping someone who didn’t help you yet telling them “Unlike you, I will help you.” Again this allows our souls to be pure – free from blemishes and negative behavior.

Meditation

“I will not even be rude to anyone who was rude to me.”

  1. Study Torah – The Bible and its commentaries.

Studying Torah is a constant obligation on men when they have free time. The minimum should be a morning and afternoon study session. Women and girls need to at least study the Mitzvahs that are incumbent upon them to fulfill.

 

Meditation

“I am uniting with G-d through my study of Torah in a completely unified union.” (This meditation should be done hourly during Torah study.)

  1. Respect ones Rabbi.

“One should have greater respect for ones Rabbi than for ones father, for ones father has given them life in this world, while ones Rabbi is giving them life in the world to come,” the Sages. This refers to the Rebbe – the head Rabbi of the generation.

Meditation

“I will respect my Rabbi as I respect G-d.”

Mitzvahs that express our love for G-d

  1. Read the Shema in the morning and at night.

This is a very important Mitzvah, as the Alteh Rebbe teaches that the saying of Shema (and particularly meditating that you are prepared to die for G-d when you are saying it) is fundamental to all other Mitzvahs. Shema in the morning must be said three hours after sunrise. (Check your local calendars for the correct time.) Shema at night can be said anytime after nightfall. The Shema prayer can be found in all Jewish prayer books.

Meditation

“I love you!”

  1. Pray to G-d daily.

This Mitzvah specifically refers to asking G-d for your needs which reminds a man where everything actually comes from. According to the Rambam, this must be done daily and the Jewish prayer book has the liturgy composed by the sages and used by Jews for close to two thousand five hundred years which articulate man’s needs. This Mitzvah also applies to asking G-d for your needs whenever (and wherever) you feel stuck and need help. (When you trust that G-d will give you what you need, it really works!)

Meditation

“I want to unite with you.”

  1. The Cohanim should bless the Jewish people daily (as the custom is in Israel.)

The Cohanim are the decedents of Aharon, the brother of Moses whom have some extra duties mandated by Jewish law.

  1. To put Teffilin on the head (on weekdays, but not during Shabbat and festivals, as Teffilin is a sign of G-d’s love which is anyway evident during the festivals.)

There are too many details as to what Kosher Teffilin are and how to put them on for this booklet so the reader is advised to study this from other books or from a Rabbinic teacher. This Mitzvah applies only to men and young men over Bar Mitzvah – thirteen years old.

Meditation

“I dedicate my thoughts to be exclusively about goodness and kindness.”

  1. To wrap Teffilin on the Arm

Through your Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi you can get a free pair of Teffilin if you don’t have one already, if you are willing to commit to putting them on daily.

There are too many details as to what Kosher Teffilin are and how to put them on for this booklet so the reader is advised to study this from other books or from a Rabbinic teacher. This Mitzvah applies only to men and young men over Bar Mitzvah – thirteen years old.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for redeeming us from Egypt, and for your constant protection over all.  I dedicate my emotions to be exclusively love to you and compassion towards others.”

  1. Put a Mezuzah on doorposts

Every Jewish owned doorpost must have a Mezuzah which offers protection for all the inhabitants. There are countless miracles, how when a Kosher Mezuzah was affixed to all the doorposts of a home people were cured from terrible illnesses and other problems. So a Mezuzah offers special protection and miraculous cures for those who affix them to their doorposts. Every doorpost besides a bathroom and closet should have a Meuzah affixed on the right hand side. The right hand side is to the right of the doorway as the door opens – however dealing with a front or back door, it is always to the right as you come into the home.

Meditation

“Thank you for protecting my home and its occupants!”

  1. For every Jew to write a Sefer Torah [Torah Scroll] for himself (or at least own many Jewish books.)

Presumably this was one of the motivations behind the Rebbe’s campaign that every Jew should have many Jewish books in their home to read.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for giving us your wisdom.”

  1. For the Jewish King to write a second Sefer Torah for himself

A Jewish Monarch needed to write (or commission) a Sefer Torah which he would carry with him always.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for establishing my Kingdom through justice, mercy, goodness, compassion, truth and honesty – the laws of the Torah.”

  1. Place Tzitzis on garments with four corners.

This Mitzvah applies to men only.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for reminding me to do the Mitzvahs which unite me with you.”

  1. Say Grace / bentching after eating

Although the long bentching is packed with meaningful ideas the fundamental point is that we are grateful to G-d “who sustains the whole world.” This is an important meditation for we are removing ourselves as the masters of the world – as our own providers – and realizing that it is in fact G-d who is providing for us. G-d is responsible for our financial successes that allows us to eat.

Meditation for Grace following eating:

“Thank you G-d for giving me the financial ability to purchase food (for myself and my family.)”

  1. Perform a Bris Milah / Circumcision on males on the eighth day (or afterwards when necessary.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for uniting my son (or “myself” if an adult is performing a Bris for himself) with you, in a permanent bond and union affixed on my body.”(It should be noted, women are considered to be born in this holy union.)

Mitzvahs relating to Time

  1. Celebrate Shabbos
  2. Do not work on Shabbos (which includes using electricity, writing, driving which all have a physical creative aspect to them which is what is meant by work.)
  3. Do not walk outside of ones city 2000 Amos (app. 3,000 feet.)
  4. Honor Shabbos with words referring to the Kiddush we say when Shabbos comes in and the Havdalah we say when Shabbos goes out. Our Sages teach us that we should also honor the Shabbos by wearing nice clothing and eating good food which all contribute to the honor of Shabbos.

Obviously there are too many laws regarding how to celebrate Shabbos for this booklet, please refer to the many other Jewish books that go into greater detail.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for the world which you created and for the peace, tranquility, and serenity within it.”

  1. Do not work on Yom Kippur (this includes everything that we don’t do on Shabbos.)
  2. To cause ourselves discomfort on Yom Kippur (which is done by not wearing leather shoes, not washing, not putting on perfume, and not having marital relations on Yom Kippur and most importantly by not eating.)
  3. Fast on Yom Kippur (from the evening prior to Yom Kippur Day, to nightfall of Yom Kippur.)

Meditation

“Thank you so much for this day in which my sins are erased and I begin anew.”

  1. Celebrate – and don’t work on, Yom Tov; (The Jewish festivals, namely: Passover, Shavous, Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot, this include the first and last days of these festivals in Israel and by Rabbinic institution the first two days and last two days in the Diaspora etc.)

All the laws that apply to Shabbos apply to Yom Tov besides cooking from a preexisting flame and carrying from a home into the street and vice versa both of which are permitted on Yom Tov.

 

Meditation

“Thank You G-d for this joyous festival.”

  1. Do not eat Chametz (any product which contains flour that rose) from the mid-fourteenth day of Nissan throughout Passover. (For the exact timing you need to check in your local Jewish calendar.)

Meditation

“I am riding myself of all of my negative traits particularly arrogance which is the source of all negative behaviors.”

  1. Get rid of Chametz on the fourteenth day of Nissan.

This is done by a thorough cleaning of Chametz prior to the fourteenth day. On the fourteenth day we burn any leftover Chametz and we nullify what we have not found (we decline ownership of all the Chametz we own in a verbal declaration.)

Meditation

“I am riding myself of all of my negative traits particularly arrogance which is the source of all negative behaviors.”

  1. Do not eat Chametz throughout Pesach.

Meditation

“I am ridding myself of all of my negative traits particularly arrogance which is the source of all negative behaviors.”

 

  1. Do not eat any mixture which contains even the tiniest amount of Chametz in it throughout Pesach.

Meditation

“I am ridding myself of all of my negative traits particularly arrogance which is the source of all negative behaviors.”

  1. You should not have any seen Chametz in your possession throughout the seven days of Pesach, (eight in the Diaspora.)
  2. You should not own any Chametz throughout the seven days of Pesach (eight in the Diaspora.)
  3. Eat Matzah during the Seder.

Meditation

“Please help me to always be humble.”

  1. Retell the Pesach story (written in the Haggadah) at the Seder.

Meditation

“I will always remember that you are stronger than all the tyranny in the world so I have nothing to fear.”

  1. Count forty-nine days from the second night of Pesach until the festival of Shavuos.

This commemorates the Jewish people’s counting the forty-nine days from leaving Egypt until they received the Torah at Mount Sinai. There is a very good book by Simon Jacobson called “Forty Nine Steps To Personal Refinement” which expresses the forty-nine major emotions that we have and devises a way that people can refine them.

Meditation

“I will improve my disposition.”

  1. Listen to the sound of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah

We need to hear one hundred specific blasts from the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah.

Meditation

“The sound of the Shofar is like the trumpets coronating a King, and today we coronate you to be our King, leader, guide, father.”

  1. Eat and “reside” in the Sukkah during Sukkos

Meditation

“I am enveloped in a sea of you glorious presence.”

  1. Shake the Lulav and Esrog in the Beis Hamikdosh (and now, also elsewhere) every day of the festival (except on Shabbos by Rabbinic ordination.)

Meditation

“I am uniting with all Jews, all of whom are represented in these four species.”

 Laws relating to unity through Marriage

  1. Marry a woman through a Kesuvah (marriage contract) and marriage ceremony (“as prescribed by the law of Moses and Israel.”)

There are too many details in the exact marriage procedure to enumerate here. The summery is that one must marry through an Orthodox Rabbi.

 

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for the privilege to unite exclusively with this woman.”

  1. Do not have intercourse unless one is married according to Jewish Law.

In today’s age when people live together before marriage, people actually have far less experiences of marital intimacy and less pleasurable ones for the mystique of intimacy in the healthy framework of a loving and committed marriage is not there.

Meditation

“I will not have intercourse unless I am married!”

  1. The husband’s basic duties to his wife according to the Bible are to provide food, clothing and to have intercourse with his wife as often as is pleasing to both of them.

Meditation

“I will make my wife happy!”

  1. A man and wife may only have marital relations when she is not a niddah. (Generally speaking this would be from the onset of menstruation and for approximately two weeks thereafter. After the wife goes to the Mikvah (a pool-like ritual bath) they may reunite. After a woman gives birth to a child there is a mandatory Niddah time of fourteen days (which also allows the woman to get back to herself) and after she counts seven “clean” days she may go to the Mikvah. The seven clean days may be included in the fourteen days. There are too many details to describe all the beautiful customs of this practical Mitzvah but there are countless good Jewish books that you may study more, e.g. “The Secret Of Jewish Femininity.”)

Meditation

“We will only have marital intimacy in the method advised by the Bible!”

  1. Have children from one’s wife

Specifically this refers to having one son and one daughter. It should also be mentioned that birth control may only be used with specific Rabbinical permission and people who only have two children lose out on the greatest blessing in life, namely, children.

Having children fulfils our obligation to create the future generation.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for the privilege to assist you in bringing a G-dly soul to earth.”

  1. If unfortunately there is irreconcilable animosity, the husband may divorce his wife through a bill of divorce as prescribed in Jewish law. (Practically one must seek an Orthodox Rabbi’s help in the procedure.)

Divorce is frowned upon. In this day and age when over fifty percent of marriages end in divorce it is because the sanctity and holiness of marriage is not fully appreciated. G-d designs whom marries whom, and thus every effort should be made for reconciliation in order to procure a harmonious relationship. [Obviously if the wife has irreconcilable animosity she too can sue for divorce. It should be noted that according to Jewish law, civil marriage as well as civil divorce have no sanctity whatsoever.]

  1. If someone divorced his wife and she subsequently remarried she may not remarry him afterwards.

In general it is a big Mitzvah for a divorced couple to remarry.

  1. The Torah is very clear that someone who does entice a woman into having intercourse with him before marriage is obligated to marry her.

Unfortunately this law has great relevance now when so many people do sleep together before marriage. It is the moral duty of the bachelor to marry his girlfriend as there is no question that the girlfriend desires marriage, children etc. which is her hope and the reason she chose her boyfriend.

Meditation

“I will be a mentsh / decent human being.”

Mitzvahs relating to Kashrus / Keeping Kosher

  • Kashrus is a very broad subject which we cannot treat adequately in this short primer.

Meditation when shopping or eating Kosher

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to elevate the sparks of holiness contained in this food to unite with you and thus elevate my soul as well.”

  • There is a mitzvah to not take chicks from the nest when the mother bird is watching as this will undoubtedly cause her anguish.

If one does want to, or needs to take the chicks, s/he should send away the mother bird so it does not see and witness this pain. This teaches us a profound lessen in G-d’s desire for us to be compassionate, caring and sensitive people.

Meditation when sending away the mother bird before taking its young from the nest.

“Thank you G-d for imbuing me your lessons of mercy, compassion, goodness and humaneness.”

Mitzvahs relating to promises

  1. Do not swear using G-d’s name falsely.

For example, one should never say, “I swear to G-d that I will not speak to you again” for then one must keep ones promise. (See further by annulment of vows. In general one should never “swear to G-d!” for whatever has G-d’s name on it must be true and permanent. Religious Jews have a custom of always saying “Bli Neder,” “I will do something Bli Neder” meaning without a vow, to not G-d forbid infringe on their word which is the hallmark of an honorable person.)

  1. Do not swear using G-d’s name in vain

This can apply to someone who wishes to make a point like saying “I swear to G-d that this stone is a rock.” As this is obvious, then G-d’s name was used in vain.

  1. Do not deny if someone has given you something to watch or hold for them

As this person may not have proof, a person’s Yetzer Hara [evil inclination] may entice them to deny its existence and keep it for themselves.

  1. Do not swear falsely, denying that you have received an object to watch or hold for someone.
  2. Swear in G-d’s name honestly

By keeping G-d’s name sacred, not only do we respect G-d but we create a system whereby we know that someone is telling the truth when they swear in G-d’s name.

  1. Keep promises and pledges

Meditation

“By keeping my promises I am a truthful person!”

  1. Do not go back on your word (this includes if you verbally make a commitment to do a good thing; despite the fact that you have not committed to someone in particular.)
  2. If a person has a commitment to charity or a pledge that they undertook that they cannot keep, they need to have the promise annulled, which can be facilitated by an Orthodox Rabbi or a Talmudic scholar.

Meditation when annulling a vow

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to keep the sanctity, sacredness, and honor of my words, by officially annulling my promise and not ignoring it.”

Mitzvahs relating to planting

  1. Don’t graft seeds

In other words, do not create any new product due to grafting, like the seeds of two fruits to create a third kind, or breeding a donkey and a horse to create a mule. In G-d’s intention for creation, everything should not only live but be capable of bearing offspring as well. Those species which are grafted cannot have offspring.

  1. Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together.

As the donkey is slower than the ox, thus it is constantly being pushed along which causes it anguish (imagine someone who is faster than you and who is attached to you and is walking quicker than you can.) Again, we see the compassion, gentleness, humaneness, and mercy which G-d desires for his holy people.

  1. Do not wear clothing, where wool and linen have been sown together.

This mitzvah is a chok / the reason is known to G-d alone.

In the agricultural society of ancient Israel the primary way of charity was through the giving of crops to the less fortunate thus we find many Mitzvahs enabling the poor to receive sustenance. Although many of these Mitzvahs do not apply to us today I have included some with mediations, for the morals and the ethics they teach are eternally valuable.

  1. Leave the corner of your field for the poor

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help your people!”

  1. Leave fallen stalks when sheathing for the poor (this refers to one or two stalks but not three.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help your people!”

  1.  To leave “lonely” grapes on the vine for the poor (grapes which are not in clusters.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help your people!”

  1.  To leave the clusters of grapes that have fallen on the ground during harvesting for the poor (this refers to one or two clusters but not three.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help your people!”

  1. When sheathing or harvesting and one has cut a bundle in the field but left it there inadvertently, but when getting home one remembers about it, one should leave it for the poor.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help your people!”

  1. To leave a tenth of the produce for the poor and the Levites. In this day and age one should give a tenth of income (after taxes when possible) to a charitable institution. Ones tithe may also be used for their children’s Torah education which is also a Mitzvah and is more expensive than secular education. People who give ten percent to charity report that it only increases their annual income. Indeed our Sages have prophesized, “Give a tenth to earn wealth.”

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for sanctifying, elevating, and spiritualizing the money I earn into a vehicle for goodness and kindness.”

  1. Give charity and assistance to the poor according to ones capabilities.

Meditation when giving charity

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help others!”

  1. Do not close your heart to the poor.

Life is a wheel, he who is on top one year may be on the bottom the next and vice-versa. The clever man realizes that money that he gives to charity is stored in a heavenly vault and one day when he or his children or grandchildren may be in need the vault will be opened for them. You get what you give.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for teaching me how to be humane!”

  1. This applies only to Israel: During the seventh year (in a pre-established count) all fields must remain fallow (which is very good for the replenishment of nutrients in the soil) and no work is permitted on these fields. The owners may take only what they need to eat and all the poor are permitted to take the produce for their needs as well. The same applies to the Jubilee [the fiftieth year].

Meditation

“I trust that you will provide my family’s needs!”

Mitzvahs relating to the Beis Hamikdosh – The Holy Temple Of Jerusalem

  1. Build the Beis Hamikdosh (under Moshiach’s / The Messiahs initiation and direction)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for restoring the Beis Hamikdosh to your people and for allowing me the historic privilege of participating in its eternal building.”

  1. Do not use stones cut by metal in the building of the Beis Hamikdosh

The Beis Hamikdosh, the symbol of life, joy, happiness, giving, health and prosperity was an anathema to stones cut by metal, which is sometimes unfortunately used in shortening life and harming the innocent.

  1. Do not create steps to the altar in the Beis Hamikdosh (rather a ramp was used.)

This was to not imitate the idolatrous altars used in the temples of old.

  1. Have awe and reverence for the Beis Hamikdosh

Meditation

“Here G-d has chosen to manifest his infinity in finite space.”

  1. Have honorary guards placed around the Beis Hamikdosh (like Buckingham Palace.)
  2. Do not desecrate the guarding of the Beis Hamikdosh (i.e. leave it unguarded)
  3. A person should not enter the Beis Hamikdosh while intoxicated
  4. Do not enter the Beis Hamikdosh with hair grown long (over thirty days from the last haircut, this law applies to men.)
  5. Do not enter the Beis Hamikdosh with torn clothing
  6. There were certain parts of the Beis Hamikdosh where only Cohanim (descendents of Aaron the first Cohen) could enter. Even they were not allowed indiscriminate entering privileges.
  7. A Cohen was not allowed to leave the Beis Hamikdosh in middle of his service (even if he were to offer someone else to take over his service.)
  8. A Cohen needed to wash his hands and feet prior to serving his service in the Beis Hamikdosh.
  9. Every adult Jew needed to “appear” (come) to the Beis Hamikdosh with a Sacrifice / Korbon Olah for the first day of the Festival’s of Pesach, Shavous, and Sukkos.
  10. Every adult Jew needed to also bring a Sacrifice called Korbon Shlamim for the festival which caused a celebration.
  11. Every adult Jew also needed to bring a Sacrifice called Shalmei Simchah in order to rejoice through a lavish (meat) meal on Yom Tov.
  12. On Passover there was an additional sacrifice of a lamb which a group of people would offer together in the Beis Hamikdosh and eat at the Seder.

One year Agrripas, King of Israel asked that a counting should be done of the Passover sacrifices and there were 1.2 million sacrifices and every sacrifice was brought by a group of between ten to a hundred members.

  1. To give from ones festival food to the poor and the Levites. (The Levites did not posses land in Israel.) One who did not do this was not considered to have done any of the above mentioned Mitzvahs.
  2. On the year after Shemittah [see before] on the festival of Sukkos, every Jew: adults and children, men and women, old and young, would gather and a large platform was erected in the Beis Hamikdosh and the King at the time would read selected portions of the book of Devarim in order to unify everyone with their heritage and with each other.
  3. When one does something that would incur the penalty of Kares by accident, for example if someone forgot it was Shabbos and they lit a fire, then they would bring a Sacrifice called Korban Chatas Kovuah (today we can substitute, with saying the Biblical narrative of the Korbon Chatas as part of our atonement.)
  4. A person who does not remember if he did the previous mentioned sin [of breaking Shabbos] or not, brings an Ashom Toloi Sacrifice (until he remembers that he did it and then the previous Sacrifice should be brought.) (As mentioned today we can substitute with saying the Biblical narrative of the Sacrifice as part of our atonement.)
  5. A person who does five specific sins, one of them being denying a possession that was entrusted for safekeeping by him and then returns it; after he returns the stolen object he brings an Asham Vadai Sacrifice. (As mentioned today we can substitute with saying the Biblical narrative of the sacrifice as part of our atonement.)

Mitzvahs relating to damages

  1. If you damage someone else’s property purposefully or accidentally you need to repay the full amount of the damage

Meditation

“Thank you for teaching me how to be an ethical and moral person!”

  1. Do not steal (taking anything that belongs to someone else.)

Meditation

“Thank you for teaching me how to be an ethical and moral person!”

  1. Be sure to have correct weighing machines (for example people who weigh diamonds with the slightest mistake could cause damages of thousands of dollars. As weighing was the primary method of selling objects like food in the olden days there are a few important laws relating to this.)
  2. Do not conceal the correct measurement (weight)
  3. Do not possess a faulty weighing machine
  4. Do not kidnap
  5. Do not steal (this refers to armed robbery as opposed to the previous stealing [law 2] which is done secretly.)
  6. Do not rip people off. Pretend something is far more valuable than it really is.
  7. Do not be jealous of an exclusive item that someone else has and consider how to take it from him (even by pressuring him to accept money for it.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for what you have given me!”

  1. Do not desire that which belongs to someone else (this does not refer to something that can be purchased rather something which is unique like his house, position, painting etc.)

The way to achieve this is to know that everything that man has was given to them by G-d. It is impossible for one person to own a unique possession that another person has.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for what you have given me!”

  1. Return what you stole

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to reclaim my morality!”

  1. Do not ignore a lost object (try to find its owner if it is identifiable.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to be a moral person!”

  1. Return a lost object

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to make someone else happy!”

  1. Pay damages for hurting someone physically

There are five levels of damages that need to be paid: 1. For medical expenses. 2. For lost work time. 3. For pain (deduced by a Rabbinical court based on how much the person would pay to not have that pain.) 4. For shame (depending on the status of the individual and the embarrassing manner of the harm). 5. For permanent disability (so if G-d-forbid a surgeon lost his hand the total value of all the work which he is likely to do with that hand must be compensated.)

  1. Do not murder
  2. If you are witnessing a crime scene where the robber is about to shoot the victim it is a Mitzvah to shoot (if possible) the robber first.
  3. Do not show any mercy for the murderer (as mercy to a murder will cause the murder of the merciful (i.e. the victim.)
  4. Do not watch another person drowning, getting attacked by a wild animal, or bad people, or know of a plot to harm a person and not inform them – when you can save the person.
  5. Do not possess a dangerous object (such as a viscous dog or a rickety ladder)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for preventing me from feeling guilty over a wrongful injury or death!”

  1. Create fences that protect people (such as a fence on a second floor patio, rooftop, around a pool etc.)

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for preventing anyone to be injured (or worse) because of my property!”

  1. Do not give bad advice to people

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for not allowing me to feel guilt for harming someone through bad advice!”

  1. Assist a traveler if they are in need of help, like their car broke down and they cannot fix it and you can help them
  2. Assist someone with their packages like an old man who cannot put his groceries in the car

Mitzvahs relating to ones possessions and honor

  1. In general all legal matters can and preferably should be decided by a Rabbinical court as the Torah deals in great detail and with great fairness relating to all legal issues and disputes. That being said, Shmuel (one of the leaders of the Jewish people while they lived in Babylonia) declared that the legal code of the land (relating to financial matters) is the law applicable to the Jewish citizens of the country as well. (Obviously the religious law of the land is not.)
  2. Do not cheat someone in business

The Talmud relates that the very first question that a person is asked when they come to heaven is, “Where you honest in business?”

  1. One may not insult someone

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for preventing me from one of the worst sins (evils) possible!”

  1. Do not cheat a convert

As mentioned a convert does not have a support system thus human nature is to prey on the weak which is why the Torah teaches us to be moral and righteous.

  1. Do not insult a convert

The reason for this emphasis, despite the fact that a covert is just as much Jewish as every Jew is mentioned in the commentary to the previous Mitzvah.

Mitzvahs relating to rentals, protecting objects, and working

  1. The commandment is for the Jewish courts to rule on disputes arising from someone who lent an object or someone who rented or someone who hired someone to watch an object or someone who offered to do so for free and the object got stolen or lost.
  2. One must pay a worker after they finish the job
  3. Do not delay paying the worker (for this is his livelihood and it is considered as if you have stolen his livelihood if you do not pay him immediately on completion of the job.)
  4. A field worker may eat from the connected fruit of the tree or the vine (not from what has been picked already for the owner.)
  5. A field worker must wait until after everything has been picked and only then eat from what is left on the tree.
  6. A field worker may not collect food in a bag for himself (he may only eat on location).
  7. One may not muzzle ones animal (as it causes unnecessary pain to not allow the animal to eat when it is hungry, of course this does not refer to a wild animal which one may never keep as mentioned in the law relating to not possessing a dangerous object.)
  8. The law relating to someone who kindly offers to watch someone else’s possessions for free. (For example my friend is going on vacation and he gives me his computer to guard, I am only responsible to pay him if there was a theft and I was negligible somehow. Like leaving the door to my home wide open or leaving it unattended in a public place.
  9. The Law relating to a person who borrows an object. (For example if I borrow a tape recorder from my friend I must always pay him back if it was stolen – even in an armed robbery for I was the one receiving all the benefit from borrowing the tape recorder and although it was out of my control nonetheless my friend need not lose out because of the favor he did for me. If however the tape recorder simply packed up while I was using it (and I didn’t do anything wrong) then I need not pay him back because the entire intention of borrowing the tape recorder was to use it.)
  10. There is a specific Mitzvah to lend money to people in need. This is even greater than giving money to a person, for a person who is borrowing has not had the indignity of having to beg for money and people like to maintain their dignity so by helping them maintain their dignity G-d will help you maintain yours.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help someone maintain their dignity.”

  1. If you know the person does not have the money to pay you back you may not pain him by pressing him or even asking him for the money. Furthermore you may not even appear before him (i.e. if you will meet walking along the street, you should cross the street before you meet him) in order to prevent him being ashamed as he does not have the money to pay.

This is truly a very noble act, for which G-d will certainly bless someone in return.

Meditation

“Thank you G-d for allowing me to help someone maintain their dignity.”

  1. “Do not oppress you brother” means do not demand money from someone you lent money too but cannot repay it.
  2. Do not forcibly take an object as collateral from someone who owes you money. In other words if someone can pay you back but refuses to do so and you received a judgment against them, only a court appointed official could take the collateral but the lender could not barge into the borrowers home and just take something despite the fact the court might need to.
  3. To return the collateral when the owner needs it. For example to return a plow to a farmer daily for him to use it, for this is how he makes his living.
  4. Do not delay in returning the collateral to the poor person when he needs it, like returning the pillow on time nightly so he can sleep with it.
  5. Do not take collateral from a widow.
  6. Do not take collateral from items that are used in making food like an oven.
  7. Do not take interest. Even if a person wants to pay us interest we are forbidden to take any interest from them.
  8. A person may not borrow with interest repayments (so as not to allow a Jew to transgress the Mitzvah to not lend with interest. However from a non-Jewish financial institution one may borrow / pay interest for they are not obligated not to charge you interest. In general it is good advice to lower your interest payments.)
  9. Do not assist in an interest bearing loan as a witness, lawyer, etc. between Jewish people as it is forbidden, as mentioned previously.
  10. One may borrow with interest from a non-Jewish financial institution and lend with interest to a non-Jewish financial institution.
  11. The Torah specifies the exact order of the most proper way to bequeath ones assets. After providing for ones wife the first and best would be to divide equally ones children with the firstborn male son (if there is one) taking a double portion (as he bore the brunt of the parents expectation and also is usually like a father figure to the younger siblings. So if there were ten children the assets should be divided into eleven shares and the firstborn son should receive two shares and everyone else one share.) If there are no children it should go to the father of the deceased, if the father of the deceased has already died it should go to the brothers or sisters of the deceased. If there are no brothers and sisters we continually search for a grandfather and his children (namely ones uncles or aunts) and if they are not alive then ones cousins and so we always go up a generation and find even a second or third cousin. It is clear that the Torah view is that ones children should receive one financial success as it keeps G-d’s blessing in the family.

Mitzvahs relating to justice

  1. The Torah specifically makes provision for the Supreme Jewish Court called the Sanhedrin – a body of 71 judges of great Torah wisdom – to institute customs obligatory upon all Jewish people such as the festivals of Chanukah and Purim. We must listen to the edicts of the Sanhedrin as we listen to the Mitzvahs of the Torah. For enshrined in the Torah from G-d is the mandate (within limits) to enact binding good suggestions for all of Israel. (And only a court greater in numbers and wisdom can erase a previous decision. Obviously after the destruction of the Holy Temple in 69 and the subsequent forced disbandment of this Sanhedrin, no new laws holidays or fast days were instituted and thus Jews living scattered across the globe all have one consistent religion.)
  2. We may not disagree with their edicts and good suggestions for Israel.
  3. The Sanhedrin may not add another Mitzvah to say there are now 614 Mitzvahs instead of 613. So everything they say carries the distinction that it was a ruling of the Sanhedrin, not a new Mitzvah “found” in the Torah.
  4. The Sanhedrin may not deduct a Mitzvah to say there are now 612 Mitzvahs and not 613.
  5. One may never curse, belittle, or disparage ones parents.

We must be extra careful for often we feel our parents should have done more… but if we actually think about what they have done for us we realize how fortunate we are to have parents who care for us, shopped for us, fed us, protected us, etc.

  1. One may never hit a parent
  2. Honor you parents. If ones parents need financial assistance then assist them to the best of your ability and serve them hand and foot. The story is told of a great Sage who saw in a vision that his portion in heaven would be with Nanes the butcher. He thought to himself, “how can it be that after dedicating my life to Torah I will only have a portion the same as Nanes the butcher.” He decided to discover who Nanes the butcher was. He searched for him all over Israel until he found him. “Tell me my son is there any special Mitzvah you do.” “Well perhaps; I have elderly parents that are immobile. Every day I wash them, I feed them, I clothe them, and I take care of all their needs.” “How fortunate am I” said the great sage “that my portion of Heaven will be with you.”
  3. Love and respect your parents; specifically, one does not sit in the designated chair which ones parent sits in, one does not call their parents by their first name, and one should never contradict their parents even if their parent is wrong.
  4. A son should never take money from his parents without their permission.
  5. Mourn the passing of relatives; (Although the length of mourning differs, for example one year for parents, and a month for everyone else. There are seven days following burial whereby everyone visits the mourner to offer them comfort.) The following are the people one must sit Shiva for (the seven day mourning period) a Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, and Wife.
  6. A person should be buried preferably on the same day that they died, whenever possible.
  7. A Cohen may not enter a cemetery unless for the funeral of one of the relatives mentioned.

Moshiach

The following is a loose translation from Miamonidies first two laws about Moshiach:

  • Moshiach will return the glorious Davidic dynasty to Israel.
  • Moshiach will rebuild the magnificent Beis Hamidkdosh (Holy Temple on Mount Zion.)
  • Moshiach will return the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth to Israel.
  • Moshiach will reestablish Judaic teachings and values as a way of life in Israel.
  • The service in the Beis Hamikdosh will resume and all related services will resume (for example all Jewish people will go to the Beis Hamikdosh thrice yearly for Pesach Sukkos and Shavous.)

We sometimes forget how much our ancestors believed in and longed for Moshiach. Religious Jewish people pray three times a day. After the Shema, their central prayer is the Shemonah Esrei of which at least seven of the nineteen things we pray for are requests from G-d to bring the era of Moshiach speedily!

Not wanting Moshiach is to accept a world filled with pain and suffering, a world lacking in harmony and meaning. CNN asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe OB”M what his message for the world is. He replied, “Moshiach is on his way, we need to increase in our acts of goodness and kindness.”

 

It should be noted G-d’s commandants are not an all or nothing game – rather the goal is to always increase – to begin.

 

This is the Mitzvah – the greatest Mitzvah that exists called Teshuvah – the ability to start.

 

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