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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

33
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
927 views

What does “to confuse the Satan” mean and why does it work?

There are several things we don't do in order "to confuse the Satan", like not blowing Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashana. How does it help? Does Satan not realize that Rosh Hashana didn't pass yet? He ...
14
votes
3answers
413 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

Why can't a woman demand a divorce?

The halacha as I understand it is that only the man can take the final decision on divorce. I hear there are workarounds, but conceptually - why is that so? Why can't a woman decide by herself to ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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?
12
votes
3answers
370 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
votes
2answers
563 views

Why do accidental killers sent to arei miklat go free after the Kohen Gadol dies?

When someone kills accidentaly he is sent to live in an ir miklat ("city of refuge") until the Kohen Gadol ("High Priest") dies. This seems like an arbitrary time. What does the Kohen Gadol's death ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
663 views

Why was an imperfect world instructed in capital punishment?

So, according to wikipedia (I know... but still it was the best source I could find) Leading rabbis in Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism tend to hold that the death ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
185 views

Why does God hate sexual immorality?

After failing to curse the Jewish people, Bilaam advised Balak to lure the Jews into sexual immorality "for their God hates zimah" (Sanhedrin 106a). We also find that many cases of forbidden relations ...
10
votes
1answer
155 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?
10
votes
4answers
416 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
366 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
117 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
votes
3answers
3k 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? ...
9
votes
2answers
220 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

Why is chillul Shabbat considered so wicked?

There is a mitzvah deoraita (Biblical commandment) to bury a person executed by bet din (Jewish court of law). Similarly, there is the law that a righteous person should not be buried next to a wicked ...
8
votes
3answers
189 views

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?
7
votes
4answers
2k 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
821 views

Why does the Torah forbid interest only on loans to Jews?

Why aren't we allowed to charge a Jew interest but we're allowed to charge a non-Jew?
7
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
203 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?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the reason of using Yad in reading Torah?

I heard from a Bengali writing - just a single line that - Jews fear their God that much that they even fear to touch the God's word. Then I searched and found that Jews use Yad when they read Torah. ...
7
votes
2answers
159 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, ...
7
votes
2answers
190 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
votes
1answer
70 views

Significance of a Four Cornered Garment

The point of wearing Tzitzit is for us to remember all of the Mitzvot, (Numbers 15:39) and there are several explanations given for how the Tzitzit remind us of the Mitzvot. However, the explanations ...
7
votes
1answer
74 views

Why don't we affix the Mezuza unrolled?

If the Mezuza were placed on the doorpost unrolled (in a suitable protective wrapping) one would be able to see the words and be inspired. Why don't we do this? Maybe it was because of the state ...
7
votes
3answers
247 views

Issurei arayos worse than rape

Why does the Torah treat forbidden relationships, even when consensual, more seriously, from our perspective, than it treats rape?
6
votes
3answers
231 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
168 views

how to describe to a jew what tefillin is?

BH i very often have the merit of putting tefillin on jews that have never put it on. how do i describe to them what it does spiritually?
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do/did Jews sacrifice animals?

What's the purpose of sacrificing animals in Jewish tradition/law?
6
votes
1answer
163 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
166 views

Why 1 box for the tefillin shel yad and 4 boxes for the shel rosh?

Why does the tefillin shel yad (hand) have 1 box and the shel rosh (head) have 4 boxes? I know it's because of the physical "structure", i.e. - the yad has 1 parchment and the rosh has 4 separate ...
6
votes
1answer
597 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
148 views

Chalitzah signifigance

What is Chalitzah Signifigance? What does it accomplish, and why is it done?
6
votes
9answers
748 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
150 views

Why must we acquire Lehhem Mishneh for every Shabbat meal?

The Torah (Shemot 16; Parashat BeShalahh) details the miracle of the mahn ("manna"), which HaShem brought down from the Heavens to sustain 'Am Yisra'el in their journey through the desert. In a ...
6
votes
2answers
182 views

Why does the mitzvah of Sukkah have a stated meaning that its practitioner must have in mind?

The pasuk states (Vayikra 23:43): לְמַעַן, יֵדְעוּ דֹרֹתֵיכֶם, כִּי בַסֻּכּוֹת הוֹשַׁבְתִּי אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּהוֹצִיאִי אוֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם in order that your [ensuing] ...
6
votes
1answer
225 views

Shiluach haKen and character

A number of reasons are given for sending away the mother bird before taking her eggs/young. The Rambam says it is for the mercy on the mother bird. The Ramban says it is to perfect our own mercy. ...
6
votes
1answer
232 views

Why tovel new dishes?

Yes, we tovel due to Bamidbar 31:23, but what is the logic? I am looking for an explanation that will address the following questions. Do we tovel to kasher or to remove tuma or for another reason? ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it possible that Judaism would one day allow eating pork?

As far as I understand, pork was originally banned from consumption since it was hard to maintain a clean enviroment for pigs in a desert climate (as summarized in the Wikipedia). Since nowadays ...
5
votes
4answers
461 views

Why is the foreskin removed?

Why is the foreskin removed? God gave it men, did God also tell them to have it removed?
5
votes
2answers
481 views

Does the gentile seeking conversion have more obligations than a Noahide Person?

I am a gentile seeking to convert to Judaism, but I can't make a contact with a Beit Din since there is no Rabbi in my country neither an active Synagogue. But I am very serious toward conversion and ...
5
votes
2answers
128 views

Why must a Yoledet, a woman who just gave birth, bring a sin offering?

Why must a יולדת bring a sin offering? What does she need כפרה for? As it says in Vayikra 12:6-7: וּבִמְלֹאת יְמֵי טָהֳרָהּ לְבֵן אוֹ לְבַת תָּבִיא כֶּבֶשׂ בֶּן שְׁנָתוֹ לְעֹלָה וּבֶן יוֹנָה אוֹ ...
5
votes
4answers
376 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
234 views

Shavuos and Malachim(angels)

We all know that there is a custom on Shavuos to eat dairy. One of the reasons given is based on a Medrash that When Moshe Rabbenu went up to Heaven to receive the Torah the angels complained and said ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

Why is Kosher important?

Why is Kosher important to Jewish people? It is not necessarily healthy food from what I can see.
5
votes
1answer
145 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 ...