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|Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule
Positive Mitzvah 174
and Negative Mitzvot 312, 313, 314
Positive Mitzvah 174: Obeying the Supreme Jewish Court
Deuteronomy 17:11 "According to the Torah which they shall teach you"
We all want to be healthy.
We try to eat properly and take care of ourselves.
We seek medical advice that will help prevent us from getting sick.
We know we can count on a doctor's suggestions, because the doctor has spent time researching, studying, experimenting and learning how the human body works. We accept his advice, thankful that the doctor dedicates himself to improving our health.
Every Jew wants to fulfill the Torah and Mitzvot.
We are grateful to the Rabbis and judges who dedicate their lives to learning the Torah and explaining it to us.
Their professional knowledge in Torah helps clarify many laws and obligations.
This Positive Mitzvah commands us to heed their instructions and follow their guidelines in keeping Torah and Mitzvot.
Negative Mitzvah 312: It is forbidden to disobey the authority of our Torah leaders
Deuteronomy 17:11 "You shall not deviate from the sentence which they shall tell you"
When Moshe received the Torah from HaShem, he wrote down the written law. These are the five "Chumashim," also called the Five Books of Moses.
HaShem taught him many explanations, definitions and detailed laws which help us understand the Torah.
For a long time, most of the detailed laws were studied orally and passed down from generation to generation, teacher to student. Even small children were so well learned and versed in Torah law that they knew these explanations by heart!
However, when the Jewish nation went into exile, we suffered many hardships that made it very difficult for people to devote most of their day to Torah study. Often, ruling nations forbade the study of Torah altogether!
It was then that the great Rabbis and Sages decided to write down the oral law so that it would not be forgotten.
The Rabbis were given authority by the written Torah to write and explain these detailed laws.
They based everything on what they learned from their teachers and their teacher's teachers - all the way back to Moshe who learned it from HaShem!
The Sages proved that every question that arises in any situation can be answered according to Torah law.
Because of this devotion to Torah, today, thousands of years later in a modern world with advanced technology, Torah law still applies to the very last detail!
The Torah gave Halachically trained Rabbis the authority to guide us in understanding and practicing Torah law.
We are commanded to listen to them and follow their instructions.
This Negative Mitzvah cautions us not to disobey their teachings.
Negative Mitzvah 313: It is forbidden to add anything to either the Written or Oral Law
Deuteronomy 13:1 "You shall not add to it"
Would you think of adding anything to the "Declaration of Independence?"
Of course not! This important document, written many years ago, served as the basis for the Constitution of the United States.
Even today, we use its messages and ideals to formulate laws.
No one would try to change its wording or content.
How much so, would no one dare to add to the Torah, which was not written by man, but rather contains the words of HaShem!
We are forbidden to add anything to the Torah.
For example, we may not wear five Tzitzit instead of four, nor may we make up new Mitzvot on our own.
Negative Mitzvah 314: It is forbidden to delete anything from the Torah
Deuteronomy 13:1. "You shall not subtract from it"
Just as we are forbidden to add to the Torah (see above) we are not allowed to subtract anything from it.
Over 1700 years in advance, the author of the Zohar predicted a revolution of science that would take place about the date 1840. There it describes the fountains of wisdom bursting forth from the ground and flooding the earth -- all in preparation for an era when the world shall be filled with wisdom and knowledge of the Oneness of its Creator.
From this we know that the true purpose of all technology and modern science is neither convenience nor power, but a means to discover G-dliness within the physical world.
They say the most profound darkness comes just before the dawn. The harshest oppression of our forefathers in Egypt came just before their liberation. That was a coarse darkness of slavery of the body. Today it is a darkness of the soul, a deep slumber of the spirit of Man. There are sparks of light, glimmerings of a sun that never shone before -- but the darkness of night overwhelms all. Prepare for dawn.
From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman - firstname.lastname@example.org