Tag Archives: Sukkot

Mitzvot of Holidays and Kosher Food (P#134-170)

Read the full text here.

Summary: The 134th and 135th positive mitzvot are to observe Shemitah, and let the land lie fallow every seventh year. The next six are similarly to observe the Yovel, the 50th “Jubilee” year; to rest, blow the shofar, and return ancestral lands, as well as to count the years, and cancel debts. While a Jew is obligated to cancel debts owed to him by another Jew, he is not obligated to cancel debts of a gentile, which is command #142. The next three mitzvot deal with gifts given to the kohanim. The kohanim were dependent on these gifts, since they did not own land in Israel and were busy with Temple services. Mitzvah #146 and 147 is to properly shecht animals before eating them, and to cover their drained blood with earth. Next is shiluach haken, “sending away the mother bird” (read more about this perplexing mitzvah here). Mitzvot #149 to 152 are to check animals for kosher signs to make sure they are permitted for consumption (land mammals, birds, insects, and fish – in that order). Mitzvah #153 is to calculate the months and years in devising the Jewish calendar, and the following two are to rest and commemorate Shabbat. The next five are related to Pesach: destroying chametz, relating the Haggadah, eating matzah, and resting on the first and seventh days of the festival. Mitzvah #161 and 162 is to count Sefirat HaOmer, and then rest on Shavuot. We conclude the holiday list with resting on Rosh Hashanah (163), fasting on Yom Kippur (164), resting on Yom Kippur (165), resting on the first and last days of Sukkot (166-167), dwelling in the sukkah (168), netilat lulav (169), and hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (170).

Insight: In ancient times, the holidays of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot were the three regalim, “pilgrimage festivals”. This is when Jews journeyed to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate together in the holy city. Regalim literally means “legs”. As stated previously, each of the mitzvot corresponds to a particular body part. There are 248 positive mitzvot and 248 major evarim, bones and organs. The 365 negative mitzvot correspond to the body’s 365 gidim, major nerves and sinews. As such, all the mitzvot dealing with the three festivals, or “legs”, correspond to various parts of the legs in human anatomy. In a famous story, a group of nurses once came to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky and complained of severe leg pain from overwork. He instructed them to avoid working on the regalim, and their leg pains would go away. This is precisely what happened!