Mishneh Torah 8
"You shall not harden... your heart, and you shall not shut your hand," and, "Do not stand by your brother's blood," and... provide for all, clothe or redeem them all.
And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there.'
משנה תורה הִלְכּוֹת מְזוּזָה ו:א
עֲשָׂרָה תְּנָאִין יֵשׁ בַּבַּיִת, וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתְחַיַּב הַדָּר בּוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת לוֹ מְזוּזָה, וְאִם חָסֵר תְּנָאי אֶחָד מֵהֶן, פָּטוּר מִן הַמְּזוּזָה; וְאֵלּוּ הֶן: שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בּוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת אוֹ יָתֵר, וְשֶׁיִּהְיֶה לוֹ שְׁתֵּי מְזוּזוֹת, וְיִהְיֶה לוֹ מַשְׁקוֹף, וְתִהְיֶה לוֹ תַּקְרָה, וְיִהְיוּ לוֹ דְּלָתוֹת, וְיִהְיֶה גֹּבַהּ הַשַּׁעַר עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים אוֹ יָתֵר, וְיִהְיֶה בֵּית חֹל, וְיִהְיֶה עָשׂוּי לְדִירַת אָדָם, וְעָשׂוּי לְדִירַת כָּבוֹד, וְעָשׂוּי לְדִירַת קְבָע.
Mishneh Torah Laws of Mezzuza 6:1
There are 10 conditions that a house must meet in order for the resident to be obligated to put up a mezuzah… It must be at least 4 amot (1 amah = 18 inches) by 4 amot. It must have 2 doorposts. It must have a lintel (horizontal structure spanning the opening). It must have a roof. It must have doors. The gate must be 10 t’fachim (1 tefach = 3 inches) or higher. It must be for ordinary purposes. It must be made as a place for people to live. It must be made as an honorable place. It must be made as a permanent place (translation by Rabbi Jill Jacobs).
The Sukkah of Rebbe Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev
As told by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.
This is a story about the early Hassidic Rebbe Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev. It was the custom for rabbis to host the most important members of their community for Sukkot – the most wealthy, the most intelligent, the most respected.
But Rebbe Levi Yitzhak did the opposite – he picked the poor people, the people no one spent time with and invited them to his Sukkah.
The important people got upset and questioned the rabbi about it. Reb Levi Yitzhak explained: After 120 years, when I get to the true world; I know that there’s a magnificent sukkah there, the sukkah made out of the skin of Leviatan/Leviathan – the giant sea creature. It’s the sukkah where Abraham Avinu makes the blessings, Moshe Rabbeinu teaches torah, and Aharon and all the great Leviim play musical instruments during hol hamoed sukkot; and David haMelekh sings songs.
Reb Levi Yitzhak said I once had a dream that I was in the real world, the world of God, and the festival of Sukkot
came, and I wanted to be in that prominent sukkah, that sukkah of Leviathan.
There were a number of people guarding the gate to the sukkah. They asked for my name, and they began to hesitate. And they said look, Rebbe Yitzhak, you’re a very fine person but how can you compare to Avraham Avinu, to Moshe Rabbeinu, Aharon the Kohen haGadol, David HaMelekh. After all, this is a very special, exclusive sukkah.
And in my dream I answered them: in my sukkah, I didn’t invite the prominent people; I invited the little people, the forgotten people. If I did that in my sukkah, I think you can accept me and the likes of me into this sukkah of leviatan. And I was admitted.
The portrait of what Reb Levi Yitzhak did gets to the very heart of festival joy. The Rambam says in Hilchot Yom Tov – there’s a commandment of v’samachta b’hagecha – the ways that Jews rejoice is by inviting to the festival table the widows, the orphans, the poor, the unfortunate. That’s what real festival joy means, real festival sharing means. The Rambam puts it sharply:
“A person who spends time in the festival within his own family setting, eating good food, enjoying a fine meal but does not invite people who have no other place to go or do not have the wherewithal to provide for themselves good food, then such an individual who isolates himself from the unfortunates, he’s not rejoicing in the festival; he’s rejoicing in the gluttonous needs of his stomach.”
בענף יוסף (המפרש בסידור אוצר התפילות) כתב וז"ל כל ירא שמים יראה שיהיה לו עני בכל יום ויום על שלחנו ויראה בעיניו כאילו הוא מהאבות הנ"ל שזימן אצלו ביומו ויתן לו מנה יפה. ובספר מועד לכל חי להדר"ח פלאג"י זצ"ל (ע"מ רנ"ו שע"ק י) עורר והוסיף דמאיך גיסא אם נמנע מלזמן עני אחר לדלחנו גדול עוונו מנשוא ומקללין אותו השבעה אושפיזין עילאין קדושין, ואם אין לו, שישלח להם תבשיל ויאמר בעת הנתינה זה חלק מסעודתינו יהיה חלק האושפיזין שיבואו לסוכתנו.
In Anaf Yosef it is written, anyone who is God fearing, will make sure to have a poor person each day at his table, and see him as if he is one of the forefathers that is invited on these days, and he should be given a nice meal. In the book Moed Le’kol Chai, he adds that one that does not invite a poor person is cursed by the fathers in heaven. And if there is not a poor person to invite in, he should send to them food, and while preparing say that this for the guests that would come to the sukkah.
Babylonian Talmud (8a)
A person must reside in a town for thirty days, then they are required to contribute to the soup kitchen; after three months to the charity fund; after six months; the clothing fund; after nine months the burial fund; after twelve months to repairing the town walls.
משנה תורה הִלְכּוֹת שְׂכִירוּת ו:ג
המשכיר בית לחבירו חייב להעמיד לו דלתות ולפתוח לו החלונות שנתקלקלו ולחזק את התקרה ולסמוך את הקורה שנשברה ולעשות נגר ומנעול וכל כיוצא באלו מדברים שהן מעשה אומן והם עיקר גדול בישיבת הבתים והחצרות, השוכר חייב לעשות מעקה ומזוזה ולתקן מקום המזוזה משלו, וכן אם רצה לעשות סולם או מרזב או להטיח גגו הרי זה עושה משל עצמו.
Mishneh Torah Laws of Renting 6:3
One who rents a house to another is obligated to construct doors and to fix broken windows, to reinforce the ceiling and to fix broken beams, and to provide a bolt and a lock and similar things which are produced by skilled craftspeople and which are essential to living in a house. The tenant is obligated to put up a ma’akeh and a mezuzah... And if they [the tenant] want a ladder [that goes up to the parapet] or to fix a gutterspout or plaster the roof [i.e., so it looks nice], they should do that for themselves (Some translation from Rabbi Jill Jacobs).