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

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29
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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
375 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
714 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
884 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?
11
votes
2answers
501 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
650 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
326 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
146 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
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4answers
343 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
334 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
2answers
208 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
971 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
88 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
3answers
2k 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? ...
8
votes
1answer
101 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
691 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
2answers
144 views

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?
7
votes
1answer
149 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
2answers
663 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
174 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
3answers
228 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
4answers
1k 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
156 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
2k views

Why do/did Jews sacrifice animals?

What's the purpose of sacrificing animals in Jewish tradition/law?
6
votes
3answers
170 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
1answer
157 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
108 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
464 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
123 views

Chalitzah signifigance

What is Chalitzah Signifigance? What does it accomplish, and why is it done?
6
votes
2answers
151 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
136 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
169 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
196 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. ...
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
425 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
219 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
4answers
311 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
153 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
219 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
143 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
91 views

Benefits and Reasoning of Orlah?

Looking for something authoritative. Wikipedia has the following Hebrew Bible Commentators generally assume that the law was good agricultural practice, and that early harvesting would ...
5
votes
1answer
86 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
97 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
78 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
1answer
80 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
1answer
25 views

Why may the me'il, in particular, not be torn?

Shemot 28:32 says about the me'il that it not be torn. Zevachim 95a states that this is a prohibition. The Sefer Hachinuch §101 explains that it is disrespectful to damage it in any way. Why does ...
5
votes
6answers
495 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
67 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
69 views

Why can't a yavam marry a chalutzah?

As recorded in Yevamos 10b and Yevamos 32a, a yavam (brother of a man who died married, but childless) cannot marry his sister-in-law (yevamah) after performing chalitzah (the ritual in which he ...