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

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25
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2answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
303 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
518 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
388 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
720 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
277 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
126 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
288 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
293 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
811 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
78 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
416 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?
8
votes
2answers
189 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
votes
1answer
129 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
1k 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? ...
7
votes
2answers
158 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
500 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?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do/did Jews sacrifice animals?

What's the purpose of sacrificing animals in Jewish tradition/law?
6
votes
3answers
128 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?
6
votes
2answers
105 views

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?
6
votes
1answer
349 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
92 views

Chalitzah signifigance

What is Chalitzah Signifigance? What does it accomplish, and why is it done?
6
votes
1answer
172 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
2answers
133 views

Issurei arayos worse than rape.

Why does the Torah treat forbidden relationships, even when consensual, more seriously than it treats rape?
5
votes
4answers
367 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
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
117 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?
5
votes
4answers
241 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
130 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. ...
5
votes
5answers
203 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
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
86 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
99 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, ...
4
votes
4answers
906 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
143 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
577 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
102 views

Why is Kosher important?

Why is Kosher important to Jewish people? It is not necessarily healthy food from what I can see.
4
votes
3answers
84 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
302 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
94 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?
3
votes
3answers
44 views

Nazir and Korban Chatas

I understand that the Torah orders that at the time that a Nazir finishes his year he is required to bring a Korban Chatas. I'm finding it difficult to understand this. First of all what issur did ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Kashrus Explained

A close friend of mine asked me to fire this question at the mi.yodeya community so here goes: "I came across this rather interesting rendition of "kashrus Explained", not sure who authored it, but I ...
3
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
61 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
51 views

Yefat To'ar: Only for the Victors

Why does the Torah allow for a יְפַת תֹּאַר only in the case of a victory?
3
votes
1answer
106 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.
3
votes
0answers
35 views

Why do we call people up to the Torah by name?

In shul, if a guest is honored with an aliyah, I watch as the gabbai walks over (or sends someone) to get the guest's name, then call that same person up by that name. Once the guest has been told ...
3
votes
0answers
34 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)?