Mitzvah - commandment. This tag is for questions about the nature of commandments or the status of being a commandment. (However, many particular commandments have their own tags.)

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Can a non-Jew don tefillin?

May a non-Jew or a person who is in the conversion process don tefillin? If not, what are the reasons that they cannot?
18
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4answers
2k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
17
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7answers
550 views

What justifications are there for not moving to Eretz Yisrael?

The Gemara in many places is clear that there is some level of mitzvah to live in Israel. This is also the accepted consensus among the rishonim. In the past, it was very difficult to move to Israel, ...
17
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7answers
2k views

Why are women exempt from (many) time-bound mitzvot?

I have heard two reasons for women being exempt from time-bound mitzvot and both seem problematic, so either there are additional explanations or I am not properly understanding these two: Women ...
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9answers
1k views

Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example the last mishna in Kidushin, Rashi Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the many obvious ...
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4answers
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If masturbation is so bad, why is it not in list of 613 Mitzvos?

If masturbation is, as stated in the Shulchan Oruch (Even HaEzer 23:1), "the worst sin in the Torah", then why is it not listed in any of the various lists of 613 Mitzvos and why is there no verse in ...
15
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3answers
302 views

The Mitzva of Peru U'Revu (Reproduction) - when does it start?

The first commandment in the Torah is Peru U'Revu, the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28). When does the obligation to fulfill this commandment begin? Does the Mitzva of Peru ...
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2answers
2k views

How many of the 613 Mitzvos can we do only in Israel?

There are many Mitzvos we can not do in today's generation. For example there are no Korbonos, no slaves, etc. Per the Chofetz Chaim, there are 77 positive Mitzvos and 194 negative Mitzvos which can ...
14
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3answers
407 views

Do people have an effect on the mood of God?

If a person commits idolatry or fornication he is sinful. Not only that, but the curse of Hashem is with that person. On the other hand, if a person does a lot of mitswots (commandments) and believes ...
14
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2answers
717 views

Which mitzvah is repeated the most times in the Chumash?

I have learned that not mixing milk and meat is mentioned 3 times in the chumash, and because of this we learn 3 different laws. I also found out today that the law "not to follow the ways of the ...
14
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2answers
383 views

Why isn't Peru URvu one of the 7 Noahide Laws?

The commandment to "Be fruitful and multiply" was given to Adam HaRishon. Why, then, is this not included in the Sheva' Mitzvoth Bnei Noaḥ?
14
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4answers
310 views

A practical joke that leads to a mitzvah

When I was in Yeshiva, someone somewhere in Klal Yisrael played a practical joke. Sometime during the week of Parshas Vayeishev, a text message went around saying something to the effect of "a 17 ...
12
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3answers
3k views

Does Judaism consider virginity to be a virtue?

Wikipedia outlines the attitudes of various cultures towards virginity including: Judaism In Judaism, sex is not considered to be sinful. Though premarital sex is disapproved, there is no ...
12
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2answers
185 views

Is there a model of reconciliation in the Tanach?

Monica asked an excellent question about how to correct someone who posts something objectionable on a public forum. I was struck by the suggestion that the usual course of action was "to take the ...
12
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2answers
313 views

Why isn't there a single, centralized Sanhedrin today?

It seems that many mitzvot in the Torah are opened to interpretation in some way, potentially subject to ruling by the Sanhedrin. And some mitzvot (examples below) seem to require the presence of the ...
12
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3answers
360 views

Can a single-parent father be exempt from time-bound mitzvot?

Rabbis such as Abudraham have explained a woman's exemption from positive time-bound commandments (mitzvot shehazman grama) in terms of a woman's ongoing and preliminary role in supporting her ...
11
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3answers
929 views

Are there required “ritual/daily” prayers in Judaism?

I have a question about the daily prayers of Judaism. I noticed on my trip to Jerusalem that a lot of those practicing Judaism got up at a certain time in the morning on the plane and faced a wall and ...
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3answers
341 views

Asei Doche Lo Sasei vs. Mitzvah Habaah Beaveirah

These are two concepts in Judaism: עשה דוחה לא תעשה - that if there is a Mitzvah Asei in the Torah, and a Mitzvas Lo Sasei, we say that the Asei overrides the Lo Sasei, and one should do it. For ...
10
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2answers
229 views

Eating outside of a Sukkah - Negative or Positive commandment?

On Sukkoth we are required to dwell in a Sukkah, which is generally minimally defined as at least eating our meals (which in turn is generally minimally defined as grain-based products) inside the ...
10
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5answers
679 views

Intrinsic reasons for being observant

If a person doesn't care much about the reward in Olam Habah, what reasons does he have for being religious (learning torah and observing the mitzvot)? As a parable, a businessman might not care ...
10
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6answers
280 views

“עם לבן גרתי”? Really? “עם לבן ברתי” maybe

Rashi brings a gematria at the beginning of Parshas Vayishlach: גרתי בגימטריא תרי"ג, כלומר, עם לבן הרשע גרתי, ותרי"ג מצות שמרתי, ולא למדתי ממעשיו הרעים Now, if one takes this literally, it is ...
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2answers
231 views

Why are most mitzvas impossible to keep?

Nowadays, one can only keep so many Mitzvos (271). That is less than half of the commandments of the Torah. I don't know if there is any statistic regarding how many Psukim discuss currently relevant ...
10
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3answers
282 views

What is the source for the mitzvah of kiruv?

Is kiruv a mitzvah? Is it biblical or rabbinic? Is there any reason it should supersede other mitzvot? what are the sources in chazal and halacha relating to kiruv? related: Kiruv and halachik ...
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1answer
430 views

Differences between RaMbaM and RaMbaN's mitzvah count

I know both of the Rambam and Ramban listed all 613 mitzvos, and they differ in some (I think like 16ish?) What are the ones upon which they differ? If possible please include why they differ in ...
10
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1answer
136 views

What defines “on this earth” from a halachic standpoint?

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firrer asked whether Torah Law must be observed in space, since Deuteronomy 12:1 says one should follow the Commandments "all of the days which you are alive on this earth." What ...
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3answers
568 views

Should women eat in the Sukkah?

Is there any inyan for a woman to eat in the sukkah. I know they're not required (after all, it's a mitzvas asei shehazeman grama [מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא]), but I still know many women who do. Is this ...
9
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3answers
112 views

Why does “aseh doche lo saaseh”?

There is a halachic principle that עשה דוחה לא תעשה - when a positive and negative mitzvah conflict, we obey the positive one. The Talmud learns this out of pesukim, but what is the ...
9
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4answers
108 views

Why can't we distribute mitzvah obligations around the community?

How do we know from the Torah that it would not be sufficient just to have some people doing davening, others doing negel vasser, others doing tzitzit, others doing chachnosas kallah, others doing ...
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3answers
151 views

Why are there no special mitzvahs of Shavuos

Why is there no Mitzvas Hayom on Shavuos (For example, on Sukkos there is a commandment of shaking the Lulav, on Rosh Hashanh one must blow the Shofar, on Purim one must read the Meggilah, on Chanukah ...
9
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3answers
146 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
9
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1answer
460 views

Is modesty a positive or negative commandment?

Given that: There are two types of Mitzvoth (commandments), 'Aseh and Lo Ta'aseh (positive and negative; ie., "Thou Shalt" and "Thou Shalt Not"). a. Positive commandments, with some exceptions can ...
9
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2answers
102 views

Is it still tzedakah if it is returned?

If a poor person asks for charity and I give some money to that person, but he then returns it to me, (because he doesn't feel it is enough, or any other reason) have I accomplished the mitzvah of ...
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3answers
110 views

How does my having someone in mind when I learn help them?

Many times, as a merit for a recovery for someone sick or someone in need, I have been asked to have that person in mind when I learn. In some places, they will put up a sign asking to have a certain ...
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5answers
726 views

Is 'simcha' a mitzvah?

"Mitzvah gedola le'heyos be'simcha..." many of us have heard this. I am wondering if there is an actual mitzvah to be be'simcha? (I am looking for sourced comments and not just idea's). I know that ...
8
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3answers
305 views

How is “החודש הזה לכם” the first mitzva?

The following question came up in this week's Parshat Hashavua' Chat: Rashi, at the beginning of his commentary to the Torah: אמר רבי יצחק: לא היה צריך להתחיל [את] התורה אלא (שמות יב ב) מהחודש ...
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4answers
250 views

Is gezel shainah a real thing?

I have heard people say things like "don't wake him up that's gezel shainah". I would like to know if that phrase has any basis in halacha and if so what are the parameters? For example if I wake ...
8
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2answers
139 views

Extent of financial consideration before having children

Are there financial considerations that a couple must take before having a child or children i.e. should one have children 'at any cost' or is this not a consideration. If yes, would these financial ...
8
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2answers
245 views

Is there an imperative to have a fancy menorah?

Is it considered a meritorious practice to have a fancy/expensive/large menorah? Normally the imperative to beautify mitzvos is related to the mitzvah item itself (e.g. talis, tefillin, esrog), so ...
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2answers
304 views

Visiting Israel: A Mitzvah?

Is visiting Israel a Mitzvah? (visiting as opposed to living) Just some points I would hope an answer to cover: Was it a mitzvah back then? Is it still a mitzvah nowadays? Does the mitzvah apply ...
8
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1answer
95 views

are you obligated to give testimony if you know you are pasul l'eidus?

I remember learning that there is a mitzvah to give testimony if you know of something which it requires. My question is if you know about yourself, with certainty, that you are pasul l'eidus in ...
8
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4answers
187 views

Minimum Requirement of Love your Neighbor

What is the minimum requirement to not be transgressing the mitzva of "ואהבת לריעך כמוך" "love your fellow as yourself" (Lev. 19:18)? For example, must one actively try to love others or it is enough ...
8
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1answer
84 views

May one beautify his Payos?

Rashi (B'reshis 37:2) calls it an "an act of immaturity [to fix one's] hair (...) so he would look good". Obviously, payos are made from hair, but they are not considered regular hair within kabbala ...
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3answers
378 views

If a person isn't sure he is Jewish, does he have to keep Mitzvot?

Let's say that a person has a reason to think his mother might be Jewish (there is some evidence, but only a little), and it is likely that the person will never be able to know for sure. In such a ...
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3answers
135 views

Mitzvos on which the only b'racha is birkas “Shehechiyanu”

I saw in the name of the Or Zaru'a and others that one does not make a b'racha before writing a sefer Torah even though it is a positive mitzva with an action associated because (among other reasons) ...
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2answers
274 views

connection of obligation to keep mitzvos and sexual maturity

Does anybody know why a boy is obligated to keep mitzvos after he gains sexual maturity (13 years old)? How is the possibility of fathering children connected to that? Thanks.
7
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1answer
139 views

Negative commandments that only apply to women?

Are there any mitzvos lo sa'aseh that only apply to women?
7
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2answers
186 views

Why do different people have different levels of mitzvah obligation?

If the point of giving us mitzvot is to allow us to earn a reward in olam haba and to perfect creation (there's all of Jewish philosophy boiled down into 102 characters), why wouldn't all Jewish ...
7
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1answer
248 views

No mitzvah to wear tefillin every day?

I heard that the Bet HaLevi and the Peri Megadim hold that there is no Mitzva for a person to don Tefilin everyday. Can someone source these opinions and explain exactly what they are meaning to say?
7
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1answer
64 views

Does one violate the Torah prohibition of tormenting a widow if she has remarried?

Does one violate the Torah prohibition (Ex. 22:21) of tormenting a widow if she has remarried? You may be inclined to say that the purpose of the Mitzvah is because she's defenseless and the Torah ...
7
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1answer
200 views

Understanding hachnasas orchim

Is hachnasas orchim (welcoming guests) a mitzvah (either of biblical or rabbinic origin)? If not why is it considered more important than greeting the divine presence (bereshis 18:3 Rashi)? Does it ...