Summary: The list of negative (“don’t do”) mitzvot continue with various prohibitions regarding consuming sacrificial offerings and tithes. These could not be consumed outside of Jerusalem, God’s designated holy city. Mitzvah #146 is not to consume the meat of the olah offering at all. This offering was brought to atone for the greatest of sins, and had to be completely burned. Mitzvah #153 is not to eat tevel, produce that has not yet been tithed. Mitzvah #157 is not to break one’s vows. The next three are for a kohen not to marry a zonah, chalalah, or a divorced woman, all three being women that have previously had relations with another man who is likely still alive. There is an additional mitzvah for a kohen gadol not to marry a widow. There are mitzvot for a kohen not to enter the Temple with unkempt hair (#163) or with torn clothing (#164), as well as for a kohen not to go AWOL and leave in the middle of services (#165). The next three mitzvot all deal with prohibitions for kohanim to become impure by proximity to a corpse. This is followed by two mitzvot for any members of the Tribe of Levi not to take possession of any portion of the Holy Land, or any spoils of war. Mitzvah #171 is not to tear out one’s hair in grief when mourning for the dead. The next 22 mitzvot all deal with kosher food, among them to not eat unkosher animals, fish, birds, insects, creeping things and worms, carrion, blood, a certain type of fat called chelev, the sciatic nerve (gid hanashe), meat and dairy mixed together, the fruit of a tree in its first three years (orlah), or hybrid species (kilayim) produced in Israel.
Insight: Why is Jerusalem so special? Why was it forbidden to build sacrificial altars anywhere outside Jerusalem, or to consume offerings elsewhere? The reason is that Jerusalem is the centre of the universe, the exact point of the Even HaShetiya, the “Foundation Stone” from which all of Creation began. It is a portal to the spiritual realms, and the place where Heaven and Earth meet. It is the place where Abraham brought Isaac during the Akedah, where Jacob saw the vision of the Heavenly Ladder, and where David established his eternal royal dynasty. Long before this, the city was founded by Shem, the son of Noah, following the Great Flood. Shem later went by the name Melchizedek, described in the Torah as God’s first priest (see Genesis 14). He named the city Shalem, a place of “wholeness” and “peace”, while Abraham later named it Yireh, where God can be seen. So as not to disrespect either tzadik, it was decided in the Heavens to combine these name and call the city Yerushalayim, “Jerusalem”. (For more on this, see ‘The Origins of Jerusalem and the Priesthood’ in Garments of Light, Volume One.)