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Deuteronomy 13:1 – Do not Add

28 Av 5783 – 15 August 2023

“Everything that I am commanding you – be careful to fulfill it; do not add to it and do not subtract from it”

Why does the Torah seem to repeat here what had been written previously in 4:2 “Do not add to the word I am teaching you and do not diminish from it; to observe the commandments of Hashem your God which I am commanding you.”

The Gaon of Vilna explained that the passage in chapter four is warning us not to add any commandments to the 613 given by God and to not eliminate any of them. Here, in chapter 13, the Torah is telling us to observe each commandment that God gave us precisely, without adding or subtracting anything from its performance. For example, we are commanded to take four species of produce on the holiday of Sukkot (Leviticus 23:40) – not more and not less.

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

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