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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Negative Mitzvot 169, 170;
Positive Mitzvah 183;
Negative Mitzvah 228;
Positive Mitzvah 20

  Day 146Day 148  

Negative Mitzvah 169: The Priests and Levites are not given a portion in the Land of Israel
Deuteronomy 18:1 "The Priests the Levites all the tribe of Levi shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel"

HaShem chose the tribe of Levi and their descendants to serve in the Beit HaMikdash.

The tribe of Levi includes both the priests and the Levites.

This is their special privilege and they are considered different from the rest of the Jewish people in several ways.

When the Jewish people entered Eretz Yisrael and divided the land among the tribes as HaShem had instructed them, each tribe was assigned a portion of the Land of Israel.

The tribe of Levi, however, was not given a portion. HaShem told them "I will be your inheritance!"

He appointed them to serve in the Beit HaMikdash and granted them the benefits of the rest of the people's gift offerings.

We are commanded to present them with different gifts of food to provide for their needs so they can concentrate on their service in the Beit HaMikdash without financial worry.

This Negative Mitzvah instructs the tribe of Levi not to demand a share in the Land of Israel.

Negative Mitzvah 170: The Priests and Levites may not benefit from spoils taken during the conquest of the Land of Israel
Deuteronomy 18:1 "The Priests the Levites all the tribe of Levi shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel"

When the Jewish people entered the Land of Israel and inherited it, HaShem allowed them to benefit from the spoils of war.

There are Mitzvot which explain when, where and which spoils are permitted to the people.

This Negative Mitzvah tells us that the tribe of Levi is not permitted to benefit from these spoils.

Positive Mitzvah 183: Providing Cities for the Levites
Numbers 35:2 "They shall give cities to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession to dwell in"

The Levites represent us in the Beit HaMikdash, performing the service of HaShem. That is their "inheritance" and special privilege.

It is our duty to provide them with cities in which to live, taken from the land given to each tribe. In this way, the Levites can live among us and teach us how to serve G-d in the best possible way.

Negative Mitzvah 228: It is forbidden to sell the fields outside the Levite cities
Leviticus 25:34 "But the field of the pasture land of their cities may not be sold"

The Levites, who serve in the Beit Hamikdash, are granted their own cities in which to live. This is their portion of Eretz Yisrael. In addition to the city, they are given land near their cities for their animals.

The Torah designated these areas for the Levites and they may not be sold or used for any other purpose.

Positive Mitzvah 20: Building the Sanctuary
Exodus 25:8 "And they shall make Me a sanctuary"

Lori had been begging her mother to sleep over at Shani's house for a long time.

Finally, her mother agreed and she packed her overnight bag excitedly.

The next day when Lori came home from school, her mother asked, "Did you have a nice time?"

"Yes," answered Lori, "but I feel much more at ease and comfortable at home than at Shani's house!"

Lori's mother smiled. She knew that "there's no place like home!"

HaShem is everywhere.

Yet, there is one place which He calls His home.

This is the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple in Jerusalem).

In the Beit HaMikdash, HaShem's greatness can be felt more than in any other place in the world.

This Positive Mitzvah commands us to construct this great building for HaShem.

Our world is a world where a rainbow could be. At first, there was a world that only received and returned no dividends. Its inhabitants took no ownership. They lived with their Creator's benevolence, they did what they did with no need for excuses, and eventually died as they died. And that was it.

With the Flood, this world was re-created. The earth was cleansed, the atmosphere purified. It became a world that could take the sunshine that poured in from above and refract it into many colors.

It became a world where a created being could be born, take the soul, body, share of the world and all the sustenance its Maker gave to it, use that, do something with that -- and then return it, saying, "See what I have done with what you gave me!" And so, G-d vowed to never destroy the world again. For, if the inhabitants would go wrong, they might always turn around and clean up their own mess.

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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