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It seems that the comments, above, explain the meaning of the two words. Looking at the roots - "Mitzvah" comes from "tzavah" (zvh) meaning "to command". The Torah has mitzvot - commandments, because it states "Do (or don't do) this". rarely does it explain HOW to do or not do something. (Technically, mitzvot lo ta'aseh are "easier" b/c you just don't do ...


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From this article: Some say that since the patient has inspired me (consciously or not) to perform a mitzvah, a commandment, and has caused the one who prays or studies Torah to draw closer to G-d, then the patient has direct merit as a result of the prayer. Another way of understanding this is the one who prays is binding himself to the patient, ...


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The Ramban in parshas Ki Seitzei chapter 22 vs 6 mentions a second reason for shiluach hakan and not slaughtering the animal with it's child on the same day which seems pertinent to the question at hand. 'The reason for both (commandments) is so we shouldn't have a stern heart and not have pity. Or so that scripture should not allow a complete destruction, ...



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