The Rambam wrote his Sefer HaMitzvos as a polemic against the Bahag's selection of the 613 mitzvos (as is clear from reading his Shorashim). They have many disagreements, which the Rambam lays out in his work.

From what I can tell, they both count a mitzvah to recite the Shema (Rambam Aseh #10, Bahag Aseh #1).

In the Machon Yerushalayim edition of the Bahag's work, they conveniently cross reference the Rambam's corresponding mitzvah number in the Bahag's list. When the Bahag has a mitzvah that the Rambam leaves out, they have the reference as a dash.

For some reason they have a dash after the Bahag's mitzvah of reciting the Shema. Unless I'm missing something, they don't disagree. Is there room to say they disagree? Or is Machon Yerushalayim mistaken (or is this a typo)? See below for a screenshot (the first one listed).

Bahag's list if positive mitzvos

One potential avenue for an answer is the Rambam counts a seperate mitzvah of the Unity of Hashem, and I don't think the Bahag lists it. Maybe the Bahag includes it in reciting the Shema, although I don't see how that is evident.

EDIT: After studying this version of the Bahag more, I realized that Machon Yerushalayim are relying heavily on the listing of the Bahag's mitzvos which was determined by Rav Avraham Shimon Traube, whose notes are on the bottom. He's the one who divided up the mitzvos (as there were no commas or periods in the original Bahag, and it's vague where to put them). He's also the one who cross-referenced the Rambam's Sefer HaMitzvos. An older (and freely available) version of his work can be found here, and you can see in the older version there's also a dash beside the mitzvah of Kriyas Shema. So this isn't a question on Machon Yerushalayim, but rather on Rav Traube's interpretation.

What's strange is Rav Traube doesn't provide any footnote, something he was careful to do when suggesting an innovative interpretation of the Bahag.

  • 4
    So the actual Q is about Machon Yerushalayim not Rambam or Bahag.
    – Al Berko
    May 5, 2019 at 22:10
  • 1
    @AlBerko well, if they're correct it's about the Bahag and Rambam.
    – robev
    May 5, 2019 at 22:14
  • 3
    Printing mistake? If I'm reading your screenshot correctly, on the very same line they have two mitzvos in a row labeled as #5. Presumably that's a mistake and Tzitzis should be 4 and Milah should be 5. So maybe there are two mistakes.
    – Alex
    May 6, 2019 at 1:10
  • @Alex could be. I used the 5752 version. Not sure if there's a newer version that's fixed.
    – robev
    May 6, 2019 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


I asked two very smart people for their input on this question, and they each told me their own answer.

One explanation is based on the fact that the Bahag (Hilchos Berachos Chapter 3) rules that besides the mitzvah of reciting the Shema, there's a biblical requirement to verbally recall the Exodus from Egypt. This is accomplished while saying Shema and it's blessings.

ספק אמר אמת ויציב ספק לא אמר חוזר ואומר וכן ברכות המזון וכן ברכת שבעת המינין דחיובא דאורייתא נינהו חוזר ומברך אבל שאר ברכות דרבנן לא הדר ומברך

However, the Ohr Somayach (Hilchos Kriyas Shema 1:3) holds that even though the Rambam (ad. loc.) say's there's a mitzvah to recall the Exodus, it's only Rabbinic. If so, perhaps this makes the Bahag's mitzvah of reciting the Shema include more than the Rambam's (ie: recalling the Exodus), making them not exactly the same mitzvah.

Another approach is based on what Rav Yerucham Fischel Perla writes in his commentary to Rav Saadiah Gaon's Sefer HaMitzvos (Aseh #3):

ומעתה לפ"ז נראה ברור דעשה דאנכי ועשה דשמע ישראל ועשה דק"ש. הנך תלת רק חדא מצוה חשיבי לחשבון תרי"ג מצות. דמה שסתם הכתוב בקרא דאנכי חזר ופירש בפרשת שמע. דכתוב בה ודברת בם וגו' בשכבך ובקומך. לומר דלא בהאמנת הלב בלחוד סגי אלא שמוטל עלינו לייחד השם גם בקריאה בכל יום פעמים. בבוקר ובערב. והיינו מצות ק"ש. וכן מתבאר להדיא ממה שאמרו במדרש (דברים רבה ס' ואתחנן) מהיכן זכו ישראל לקרות שמע. אר"פ בר חמא ממתן תורה זכו ישראל לקרות שמע. כיצד את מוצא לא פתח הקב"ה בסיני תחלה אלא בדבר זה. אמר להם שמע ישראל אנכי ה' אלקיך. נענו כולם ואמרו ה' אלקינו ה' אחד. ומשה אמר בשכמל"ו עיי"ש. הרי להדיא דשמע ואנכי אחת הן ממש. וזו היא שיטת רבינו הגאון והבה"ג וסייעתו ז"ל. ולכן לא מנו במנין תרי"ג לא עשה דאנכי ולא עשה דשמע ישראל אלא מנו רק מ"ע דק"ש. דהיינו גופא מ"ע דאנכי ומ"ע דשמע ישראל שמנאום הראב"ע והרמב"ם ז"ל וסייעתם. אלא דבזה יש חילוק בין רבינו הגאון ז"ל להבה"ג וסייעתו ז"ל. דלהבה"ג כל הדבור דלא יהי' לך וגו' מפי הגבורה שמענוהו. דכל הדבור כולו אע"פ שיש בו ארבעה לאוין. לא חשיבי במנין תרי"ג אלא במצוה אחת. וא"כ מה שאמרו אנכי ולא יהי' לך מפי הגבורה שמענו ומשלימין שתי המצות החסרות מגימטריא של תורה. היינו לומר דשני דבורים אלו כל חדא חשיבא מצוה אחת. עשה ול"ת. אבל לרבינו הגאון ז"ל מה שאמרו אנכי ולא יהי' לך מפי הגבורה שמענו היינו עשה דאנכי שהיא כל דבור ראשון. ול"ת דלא יהי' לך. אבל שאר השלשה לאוין שבדבור זה דלא יהי' לך מפי משה שמענום. ונמנין כל אחד בפ"ע במנין תרי"ג. וזכינו בזה להסיר התלונה הגדולה של הרמב"ם ז"ל מעל הגאונים ז"ל הבה"ג ורבינו וסייעתם. שטרחו כל הראשונים והאחרונים ז"ל בתירוצה ולא סלקא להו כהוגן. דלפי מה שביארנו עיקר הקושיא מעיקרא ליתא:‏

Essentially, he believes that the Bahag combines three mitzvos of the Rambam's into one: Belief in Hashem [#1], Unity of Hashem [#2], and Reciting the Shema [#10]. The Bahag (and Rav Saadiah Gaon for that matter) simply count it as the mitzvah of reciting the Shema, and it includes all three of these mitzvos. This again would make the Bahag's mitzvah of reciting the Shema different than the Rambam's.

Then again, I've found two other seeming typos, where Rav Traube cross references mitzvos that are irrelevant. In one of those instances, he cross references the Rambam, and then in a footnote says it's one of the unique mitzvos of the Ramban. If those are typos, as it seems they are, this one could simply be as well.

What's odd is Machon Yerushalayim brings commentaries from Rav Hildesheimer and Rav Yerucham Fishel Perla, who comment on Rav Traube. They don't point out any of these "typos". Also, if the second suggestion above was true, I would have thought Rav Perla would have commented on Rav Traube's lack of a cross reference for the mitzvah of Shema.

  • 1
    +1 for the attempts; two well researched arguments. But neither of them ring true - the Behag's 1st is Krias Shema, not Zechiras Mitzrayim nor Yichud Hashem. Machon Yerushalayim would never ignore the reference for such a farfetched reason; they are not Rishonim (who can do cryptic things which we must work on to understand), they are there to make your life easier. If they would mean this, they would cross reference the Rambam with a footnote explaining the differences.
    – chortkov2
    Jul 18, 2019 at 6:23
  • I hear your argument. The only thing I can say is the main mitzvah is Kriyas Shema, but the Bahag includes more in the mitzvah, which the Rambam does not
    – robev
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:26
  • 1
    Exactly. Which is an argument I could hear if a Rishon made a distinction between Rambam and Bhag, but not something like Mechon yerushalayim. It's not practical...
    – chortkov2
    Jul 18, 2019 at 12:32

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