This podcast series will go through the list of the Mitzvot. We will learn the Sefer HaMitzvot HaKatzar (“Concise Book of Commandments”), written by Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan (the Chofetz Chaim). The book is an abbreviated reworking of the Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvot that only includes commandments applicable outside of Israel in the post-Temple era. ************************* Podcast Link: https://seferhamitzvot.buzzsprout.com/
Positive #24 - To Tell About the Exodus from Egypt on the First Night of Passover
In this episode, we learn positive mitzvah #24, which is to tell about the Exodus from Egypt on the first night of Passover, which is the evening of the 15th of Nissan.
The mitzvah is to tell over the story of Exodus from Egypt, from beginning to end, with as many details as possible. This mitzvah applies even to people who already know the story. The more, the better!This mitzvah applies on the evening of 15th day of Nissan, which is the first night of Passover. Outside of Israel, it also applies to the second night of Passover.Even though the Torah states that one should tell over the story to his son, that is just an example of how to fulfill this mitzvah. Indeed, one should tell the story over to his daughters, friends, siblings, parents, guests, and anyone who is present at the seder. Even if one is sitting alone, they should still tell over the story to themselves.The Torah states this mitzva four separate times, with a slightly different wording each time. Our Sages learn from this an important educational / pedagogical lesson -- there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to education. Each child learns in a different way. The parents are tasked with adjusting their teaching style to cater to each child's needs. Parents should engage, excite, and involve their child in this mitzvah.
Positive #23 - To Eat Matzah on the First Night of Passover
In this episode, we learn positive mitzvah #23, which is to eat matzah on the first night of Passover, which is the evening of the 15th of Nissan.
Matzah is unleavened bread, which is when one of the five grains (wheat, barley, spelt, oats, rye) are mixed with water and baked in less than 18 minutes. The matzah is not given enough time to rise.This mitzvah applies on the evening of 15th day of Nissan, which is the first night of Passover. Outside of Israel, it also applies to the second night of Passover.Before eating the matzah, there is a specific blessing to be recited: "al achilat matzah"To increase one's appetite for matzah when performing this mitzvah, the Sages enacted that one should not eat matzah on the eve of Passover.
Positive #22 - To Remove Chametz from Your Possession
In this episode, we learn positive mitzvah #22, which is to remove chametz from your possession on the 14th day of Nissan.
Chametz is when one of the five grains (wheat, barley, oat, spelt, rye) are mixed with water and left to rise for at least 18 minutes.One can remove chametz by eating, destroying it, throwing it out, or declaring it as ownerless.The deadline for this mitzva is the 14th day on the month of Nissan at midday.The Sages made the deadline one hour earlier, so that people don't leave it for the last minuteThe Sages instituted that the night before this deadline, people should search their homes to find all their chametz ("Bedikat Chametz").
Positive #21 - To Be Happy During the Holidays
In this episode, we learn positive mitzvah #21, which is to be happy during the Holidays of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot, and Sukkut.
During the times of the Beit HaMikdash, one would offer an additional sacrifice, which would mostly be eaten by its owners. This was a way of partaking in an enjoyable meals.Nowadays, in the absence of the Beit HaMikdash, one fulfills this mitzva by eating enjoyable foods and drinks, such as meat and wine.A man should buy his wife a gift to increase her happiness on the Holiday, such as clothing.Parents should buy their children special items, such as sweets or toys.One should give charity to help those who are less fortunate also to fulfill this mitzva and enjoy the Holiday.As always, everything should be done in moderation. A person should not engage in overindulgence and drunkenness.
Positive #20 - To Rest from Work on Shabbat
In this episode, we learn positive mitzvah #20, which is rest from work on Shabbat.
This positive mitzva has a corresponding negative mitzva of "not to work on Shabbat."Work is referred to as melacha, or melachot in plural.At a high level, a melacha is defined as an activity performed in the construction of the Mishkan, or the traveling Temple that the Jewish people had in the desert.There are also many subcategories, which were not necessarily performed in the construction of the Mishkan, but they are similar enough to be considered a melacha.There are 39 main melachot and many more subcategories.
Positive #19 - To Declare Shabbat as Holy
In this episode, we learn positive mitzvah #19, which is declare Shabbat as holy with words.
We verbally declare Shabbat as holy (1) at its beginning, through kiddush, and (2) at its end, through havdala. The Prophet & Sages added two rabbinic ways of fulfilling this mitzva, by (3) preparing for Shabbat and (4) enjoying it.
Kiddush (beginning of Shabbat)At the beginning of Shabbat, we declare Shabbat as a holy day ("mekadesh haShabbat")Typically said with a cup of wine, before having a special mealHavdala (end of Shabbat)At the end of Shabbat, we declare that the holy day of Shabbat is over ("lehavdil ben kodesh le'chol")Also typically said with a cup of wineKavod Shabbat (preparations)wearing nice clothingshowering, haircuts, shaving before Shabbatpurchasing food before Shabbatcleaning the home and setting up the table before ShabbatOneg Shabbat (enjoyment)eating and drinking enjoyablyrestingstudying Torah