reasons (as best as we can understand them) for the Mitzvot/Commandments

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Keeping Kosher and Leather

I would like to ask a question regarding something I am quite confused by. Why is it okay to wear leather from an animal slaughtered not in a kosher fashion yet you cannot eat that animal's meat? To ...
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2answers
67 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 ...
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0answers
33 views

Why do we wrap tefillin around the forearm and hand?

According to Masechet Menachot daf 37, we're supposed to place the box of the arm on the bicep. Why then do we also have a strap that wraps around the arm and hand (according to earliest sources)?
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2answers
59 views

What is the significance of sprinkling blood on/around the Mizbeahh?

Parashat WaYiqra details certain methods of sprinkling the blood of qorbanot on or around the Mizbeahh (and the Parokhet for that matter). For example, WaYiqra 1:5, 1:11, 1:15, 3:2, 3:8, 3:13, 4:6-7, ...
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1answer
105 views

Why are there four types of execution?

Why are there four types of execution? Wouldn't it be enough if there were only one type of execution? Lashes for example are only of one type and the standard 40 lashes.
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1answer
39 views

Sin offering for Zavah?

Vayikra 15:30, "And the kohen shall make one into a sin offering and one into a burnt offering, and the kohen shall effect atonement for her, before the Lord, from the uncleanness of her discharge." ...
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0answers
49 views

Why does the mitzvah of Sukkah have a meaning?

The pasuk states (Vayikra 23:43): לְמַעַן, יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם Various commentaries point out that in order ...
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1answer
375 views

Why are we forbidden to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur

Why are we forbidden to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur? Is it because leather shoes are a sign of wealth, or comfort; or does it have some thing to do with cruelty to animals?
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273 views

What is the problem with dogs?

Deuteronomy 23:19: לֹא תָבִיא אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל נֶדֶר כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ גַּם שְׁנֵיהֶם Why does the Torah have a problem with using the ...
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1answer
106 views

What is the significance of the Mishcan in Judaism?

A good part of Sefer Shemos discusses the tedious details of the construction of the mishcan (tabernacle). To the layman, these commandments seem very illogical. Aside from the fact that God ...
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3answers
82 views

reason for tefilin and connection to black square boxes

What is the reason for wearing tefilin? is it to induce a person to study torah? Or perhaps in order to remember the exodus from Egypt? If so, what is the connection between this to wearing black ...
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4answers
227 views

Why do korbanot require/allow exceptions from Shabbat restrictions?

Someone recently asked me why we keep Shabbat restrictions now if violation of those restrictions was clearly necessary to burn korbanot in the Beit Hamikdash. My knee-jerk response is: God said so. ...
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1answer
55 views

Why do some korbanos and not others require n'sachim?

Some korbanos require n'sachim (accompanying flour, oil, and wine) and some do not: specifically, all korbanos require n'sachim except the b'chor, the maasar b'hema, the pesach, and most chataos and ...
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1answer
66 views

Why do we have shmitta only in Israel

The reason for shmitta is similar to shabbos and is even called "shabbos" so why do we have it only in Israel? We keep shabbos everywhere. Unlike other mitsvot depending on the 'land' they are for ...
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1answer
107 views

Why has the poro aduma no reason

Why has hashem given us a mitsva without a reason and one which is impossible to understand. All the others even the 'chukim' at least Solomon understood. This one even he didnt that shows it is ...
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1answer
88 views

Why is a “Nazir” not allowed to drink wine?

Why is a “Nazir” not allowed to drink wine? If the reason is for him being sober, then why the prohibition on haircuts or the injunction against being impure? Moreover, in the pasuk it says ...
3
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1answer
136 views

Why is Shavuos all alone?

Why is it that, out of the 16 days of non-High Holiday biblical festivals (7 days of Pesach + 1 day of Shavuos + 7 days of Sukkos + 1 day of Shemini Atzeres), only the single day of Shavuos is without ...
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1answer
84 views

Why do we still even try to do Sheluach HaKan?

If we don't need the birds' eggs, as they used to, why do we send a mother bird away from her own eggs just to fulfill the mitzvah of Sheluach HaKan? Would the mitzvah even apply if we are doing it ...
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1answer
71 views

Does a siyyum in the 9 days obviate other issurim?

Each year, I try to coordinate my learning so that I can make a seudat mitzvah during the nine days and some close friends can have some meat and wine to celebrate. Does the siyum also allow them to ...
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3answers
255 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 ...
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1answer
87 views

What is special about Molech?

What is unique about the worship of Molech that distinguishes it from other avodah zara enough that it deserves discussion and specific prohibition in the Torah? We see it specifically discuessed ...
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1answer
57 views

What is the spiritual value of counting the omer?

I understand that it is a mitzvah to count the 49 days of the omer from the second night of Pesach through erev Shavuos. But what is the spiritual value of counting s'fira? I.e. what does G-d want ...
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3answers
455 views

What are the reasons that chewing cud is a kosher sign?

In parashat Shemini (Lev. 11:3), we learn that one of the signs for distinguishing kosher mammals is that a species must chew its own cud. Are there any taamim (explanations) that elucidate the ...
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4answers
455 views

Why were cows so Important and preferred as sacrifice over other animals in Bani Israel?

I read a lot about cows used in sacrifice , what is the reason that cows were sacrificed and what was the importance of cows for Bani Israel
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1answer
121 views

What does a tahara accomplish for a dead person?

What does a tahara, the process of washing and dressing a dead person, accomplish spiritually for the meis?
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1answer
135 views

Why is misusing God's name so bad?

One is not allowed to take God's name in vain, and certainly not allowed to curse the name of God (chas v'shalom). I'd like to understand conceptually why these things are considered such grievous ...
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2answers
225 views

Why is giluey arayos one of the big 3?

I get why murder and idol worship are things you have to give your life up for. But why is giluy arayos - sexual sin so fundamental as to require a person to give up one's life? I'm looking for a ...
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3answers
908 views

Why shouldn't Gentiles keep Shabbat?

I know little about Judaism and it's a first time question, so please forgive any mistakes. According to this question non-Jews are forbidden from keeping Shabbat. What is the reasoning behind this? ...
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3answers
207 views

What are we “celebrating” on Shmini Etzeres?

According to the Gemorah in Sukkah Daf 48a Shmini Etzeres is a Chag in and of itself. However what exactly is the "chag" of Shmini Etzeres. Sukkos we are commemorating the Anei HaKavod, Pesach is ...
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1answer
101 views

Why is Kosher important?

Why is Kosher important to Jewish people? It is not necessarily healthy food from what I can see.
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1answer
86 views

Why whole-day or daytime fast?

Why is it that the 9th of Av is a full-day fast but the other post-Mosaic fasts are daytime-only fasts? What determined the length?
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3answers
126 views

Why do we beat the arava?

The gemarah (succah 44a-b) indicates that we beat (or according to Rashi, wave) the arava on Hoshana Rabba, what is the symbolic or theological reason behind doing this?
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85 views

If a person stops doing the bad action or begins to do the right action, why does he still need to do Teshuvah for a חטא (sin)?

If a person stops doing the bad action or begins to do the right action, why does he still need to do Teshuvah for a חטא (sin)? In other words, why do you need to do Teshuvah if you have stopped the ...
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2answers
89 views

Why do Teshuvah for an accidental חטא (sin)?

Why am I obligated to do Teshuvah if I do a חטא (sin) accidentally, according to Rambam (Hilchot Teshuva 1:1)? What am I doing Teshuvah for?
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148 views

Maimonides on Circumcision

These are not questions about circumcision. They are about what Maimonides said about the practice. I would to know if the following things do, or do not, in fact represent things Maimonides said ...
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1answer
68 views

The purpose of Rosh Hashana

What should a person try to accomplish on Rosh hashana? I know yom kipur is about teshuva. but what is the goal of Rosh hashana? They say that it is the "Head" of the year, which means the root of ...
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4answers
813 views

What is the philosophy or logic for considering masturbation to be sinful?

There are a couple of questions, here and here, on this site mentioning masturbation. Both of them assume that masturbation is a sin and some of the answers cite specific texts backing that up. ...
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1answer
322 views

Why can't an illegitimate child enter the temple?

Deuteronomy 23:3: A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD. Why can't an illegitimate child ...
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Why does a Zavah bring a Korban? [duplicate]

Does anyone know why the Zavah (a woman who experiences certain menstrual bleeding outside her regular cycle) brings a sin offering on the eighth day after the bleeding ceases? (Leviticus 15:29).
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2answers
155 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 ...
8
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2answers
183 views

Why did God give the Rabbis so much power?

The Torah demands that we adhere to the laws implemented by the Rabbis (I think the source is "don't veer from what they tell you to the right or to the left"). This has given the Rabbis far-reaching ...
7
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1answer
128 views

Beis Shammai's dinar for kiddushin - philosophy?

The Mishna in Kiddushin (1:1) outlines a machlokes regarding the minimum amount of money necessary to effect kiddushin (i.e. create a marriage). According to Beis Hillel, the amount of money (or ...
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1answer
124 views

Why do we sit in the sukkah in the autumn?

I remember hearing at some point that there's a disagreement between the Ashkenazi and Sefardi rishonim regarding why we sit in the sukkah in the autumn: Ashkenaz - Because we love God, so we go out ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the point of having a rapist marry the woman he raped?

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (JPS) 28  If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay ...
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2answers
630 views

Why do Fish not need Shechita?

In order to eat "regular" Kosher animals, there is a requirement for the animal to undergo Shechita (ritual slaughter). If an animal were to be killed / die without Shechita it is forbidden to be ...
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1answer
71 views

What does R' Shimon mean when he “Expounds the reason of a verse”?

There is a known argument In Kiddushin and other places where it says that R' Shimon "expounds [for Halachic purposes] the reason of a verse" (דרש טעמא דקרא). What does this mean? Does it mean that ...
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2answers
288 views

Does kosher mean healthy?

What is the relation between kosher and healthiness? G-d wants us to eat properly but also to be healthy. For example, it is better to try not to eat too much meat (even if it's kosher), and more ...
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1answer
126 views

How to explain Matzah Shemurah in 18 minutes

(Not to be confused with this question) How can one explain Matzah to a curious colleague in under 18 minutes? So far I have been asked: Why does it need to be extra watched? (I've shown her Sh. ...
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98 views

Dictionary of symbology in Kodshim and Taharot

I'm wondering if anyone has ever put together a book that lists all the different elements that can come up in the realms of Kodshim and Taharot (e.g. bulls, the number seven, water, slaughtering, ...
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4answers
754 views

Why wool and linen?

Shatnez is the prohibition of wearing clothing that contains both wool and linen. I understand that the Torah tells us that the two materials are specfiically wool and linen, which is a perfectly ...