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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
As Divided for The Daily Learning Schedule

Positive Mitzvot 226, 227, 230, 231;
Negative Mitzvah 66


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Positive Mitzvah 226: Execution by Beheading
Exodus 21:20 "[The sin] shall surely be avenged"

This Positive Mitzvah concerns the punishment of beheading a person who transgressed a sin serious enough to require this severe penalty.


Positive Mitzvah 227: Execution by Strangulation
Exodus 21:16 "He shall be put to death"

This Positive Mitzvah concerns the execution of a person by strangulation.


Positive Mitzvah 230: Hanging
Deuteronomy 21:22 "And you shall hang him on a tree"

Some sins are so serious that the court is commanded to publicly hang the corpses of the transgressors.

The hanging takes place only after the person is put to death by the Beit Din. People will then see the severe consequences of violating HaShem's will.


Positive Mitzvah 231: Burying the Dead
Deuteronomy 21:23 "You shall surely bury him on the same day"

We are commanded to bury the body of a deceased person on the same day he died. This law applies to executed criminals and to those who have died from any other cause (see Negative Mitzvah 66).


Negative Mitzvah 66: We are forbidden to leave a person unburied overnight
Deuteronomy 21:23 "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree"

Man was created in the image of HaShem and we must respect the body of a human being, even if he is no longer alive.

At times, a Beit Din may order the execution of a criminal and, after his execution, have the corpse hung as an example to the people. (See Positive Mitzvah 230). The corpse may not be left hanging overnight. Rather we must take the body down before sunset and bury it on the same day.

This law also applies to anyone that passes away.

We are forbidden to delay the burial to the next day, except in cases where it is required for respect and honor of the dead person. In a case where arrangements for the funeral have to be made, or relatives and friends need time to get to the funeral, such a delay is permissible.


Let's say you saw a magnificent machine, with hundreds of thousands of parts, all working in spectacular unison and harmony, far beyond anything the human mind could contrive. And you examined the details of this machine and found that some aspects of its workings puzzle you. Would you complain to the inventor? Or would you pray in awe for understanding? Yet, to G-d you have complaints!

------------

The Tzaddik lacks nothing and so he prays for his people. But if he lacks nothing, then he knows that in truth they also lack nothing, and if so, for what is he praying? He prays they should have open eyes and open hearts to see and to know that in truth they lack nothing. But how can one who lacks nothing pray? Because deep inside he lacks nothing, but deeper, at his very core, he is his people.

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


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