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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
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Positive Mitzvah 201

  Day 289Day 291  

Positive Mitzvah 201: Permitting Employees at Work to Eat from our Crops
Deuteronomy 23:2 "When you come (to work) in your neighbor's vineyard, you may eat the grapes...you may Pluck the ears"

Mr. Lane is a farmer.

He has many workers reaping his harvest for him.

He pays them their wages regularly and on the first day that they begin work he tells them:

"Let's be fair to each other. When you are working in the vineyards, you may eat as many grapes as you like. But don't put any in a container to take home. When you work in the fields, you may nibble on some of the grain. But don't cut down any grain for yourselves to take with you."
With these instructions, Mr. Lane is fulfilling this Positive Mitzvah. It commands us to permit our workers to eat of the produce they are harvesting (see Negative Mitzvot 267-268).


People think the Torah is all about laws and customs and quaint stories, with a mystical side as well. The experience of our people at Mount Sinai was a mystical one. The biblical account says they saw the thunder. They saw that which is normally heard, and they heard that which is normally seen. The spiritual became their reality, and the earthly became an ethereal inference, an intellectual fancy. The soul of the Torah -- its mystical experience -- came first. Torah without its inner meaning is a body without a soul.

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


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