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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvot 179, 180, 188

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Negative Mitvah 179: It is forbidden to eat any creatures or insects
Leviticus 11:43 "You shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creeps, neither shall you make yourselves unclean with them"

This is a general commandment forbidding us to eat any of the small creatures, whether they be creeping or winged insects, which the Torah has prohibited us from eating.


Negative Mitzvah 180: It is forbidden to eat any bird or animal which has died a natural death or has been killed without Shechita (Ritual Slaughter)
Deuteronomy 14:21 "You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself"

The Torah lists those birds and animals which are kosher and are permissible to eat.

However, being kosher does not only mean that the animal or bird is one of those listed in the Torah.

A "kosher" animal must be slaughtered and prepared in a specific way, (see Positive Mitzvah 146).

Take the cow, for example: If the cow is slaughtered according to the rules set by the Torah, (e.g. "Shechitah" etc.) and its meat is prepared correctly, then we are allowed to eat it.

However, if the cow (or any other kosher animal) dies a natural death or is killed improperly, we are no longer permitted to eat it. The kosher animal who dies in this manner is called "Nevelah" and it is forbidden to eat such an animal.


Negative Mitzvah 188: It is forbidden to eat the meat of a killer ox
Exodus 21:28 "And his flesh shall not be eaten"

One day, Sammy found an old penknife in the alley. He brought it home and was busy cleaning the blade when his mother noticed what he was doing.

"Where did you get that from?", she asked in dismay.

"Outside," answered Sammy. "I'll never be able to find the owner and he probably doesn't even want this old thing!"

"I agree!", nodded his mother. "Who would want an old and rusty penknife? But I still don't want it in the house. It's dangerous and you could hurt yourself or someone else with it. It's going straight into the garbage!"

When something belongs to us we are responsible for it and for how it is used.

In this Negative Mitzvah the Torah describes a case where an ox kills a person. Certain rules are then applied to determine if the ox is to be considered a "killer ox" and must, therefore, be put to death because it is dangerous and may cause even more damage.

This Negative Mitzvah forbids us to eat from the meat of such an ox, even if it is slaughtered properly when it is killed.


You cannot blame yourself, never mind persecute yourself for how you feel. But you can rejoice in the battle of controlling and sublimating those feelings. Every small victory within yourself is a major triumph over the darkness of this world. Indeed, this is why this darkness was placed within you, in order that you may transform it into great light.

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


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