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Negative Mitzvah 251

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This is not an error of duplication. The full-fledged version of this Mitzvah are many and change for those who are learning the one/three chapter a day. The Message for the day from "Bringing Heaven Down to Earth" at the end of this Mitzvah is different than that of yesterday.
Negative Mitzvah 251: It is forbidden to say things that may hurt or trick another person
Leviticus 25:17 "You shall not wrong one another and you shall fear your G-d"

This Negative Mitzvah teaches us that we must be very careful not to say anything that may hurt or trick someone else.

Sometimes we don't even realize that what we have said caused another person discomfort.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Eli was often late for school because he went to bed so late that he could not get up on time in the morning.

    Finally, the principal called him to his office and warned him that his lateness would no longer be tolerated. As a result, Eli decided to stop going to bed late. He made a time schedule and kept to it.

    One day, two weeks after Eli had begun to arrive at school on time, one of his classmates said:

    "You know, Eli, it's good that you don't come late to school anymore! Now, you won't get punished by the principal!"

    Although his classmate may have meant it as a compliment, Eli was embarrassed by his comment. It reminded Eli of his bad habits and made him feel very uncomfortable.

    This Negative Mitzvah cautions us not to make remarks or say things that might hurt others, even if we don't intend such things to be mean.

  2. A friend asked Sherry to lend her a magic marker, but Sherry was busy using her markers and answered, "I'll be finished in no time. You can have it when I'm done."

    Soon afterwards, the bell rang and the her friend never got to use the marker.

    While Sherry and her classmates rushed down the stairs to recess, Sherry tripped and fell. From behind her, she heard her friend's voice: "Well, sometimes people who aren't very generous get what they deserve."

    Her friend might have wanted to encourage Sherry to share, but the Torah does not allow us to say such things and hint to another person that he deserves to be punished.

  3. A group of children were roaming up and down the aisles of a stationery store. Every time they found something they liked, they would ask the man at the counter:

    "How much is this?"

    "How much is that?"

    "What is the price on this?"

    "How much does it cost?"

    After so many questions, the man finally lost his patience. "Hey kids! Are you really going to buy anything?"

    The children looked at each other sheepishly. Nobody had any money. They were just looking and pretending to shop. They may have been having a good time, but the Torah forbids us to pretend and say things that make another person think we mean them, when we don't.

When the Torah teaches us these lessons it says:

"And you shall fear G-d."
We may think - "Well, I meant well when I said it," or "I didn't mean to hurt anyone," so the Torah reminds us that HaShem knows the truth in our hearts and we must be careful about everything we do and say.


The blessings a man receives, according to our sages, are not for himself, but for his wife and on her account. And so, they said, "Honor your wife so you may become wealthy."

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


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