Understand the need to live the creation

A further look at an unusual mitzva.

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Phil Chernofsky,

Phil Chernofsky
Phil Chernofsky
Ben Bresky


The last mitzva topic of B'chukotai, and of the whole book of Vayikra, is Maaseir B'heima. See the Sedra Summary for many details of this mitzva. Then, come back here.

There is something easy-going about this mitzva that is atypical of most mitzvot.

Imagine you raise sheep, goats, and/or cattle. Let's make it simple - you raise sheep.
By late summer, your sheep have given birth to nine lambs. The mitzva of Maaseir B'heima does not at all apply to you this year.

Okay, let's say you have 12 newborns. Now you have a mitzva to perform. As noted in the Sedra Summary, you set up a pen for the new lambs that allows them to exit one at a time and you stand by the opening and count them. You declare the tenth one as holy mark it with a splotch of paint so that it won't get confused with the other lambs, and then you have to take it to Yerushalayim within its first year, offer it as a korban, and enjoy a BBQ or Mangal with your family and friends in Jerusalem, all of you having become T'HORIM.

Let's say, you don't gather the newborns and don't count them out? You missed the opportunity to do a mitzva, but there is no penalty. All 12 of your lambs can be raised, sold, eaten - whatever. Seems like an easy-going mitzva.

The non-fulfillment of may mitzvot is accompanied by different consequences. Not this one. It feels like a mitzva purely for the sake of mitzva. Motivated by Ahavat HaShem.

Not much room left, but think about this additional point. The mitzva of Maaseir B'heima applies today! Even without a Mikdash. But halacha requires us to NOT fulfill this mitzva. Too many complications. Sad that halacha has to say don't. May we see...