The Gemarra in Kesubos 86a and Chullin 132b teaches the following:

במצות עשה כגון שאומרין לו עשה סוכה ואינו עושה לולב ואינו עושה מכין אותו עד שתצא נפשו

With regard to positive mitzvot, for example, if the court says to someone: Perform the mitzva of the sukka, and he does not do so, or: Perform the mitzva of the palm branch, and he does not do so, the court strikes him an unlimited number of times, even until his soul departs, in order to force him to perform the mitzva.

The Gemarra doesn't bring a source for this idea. What is it? I've seen many sources in Rishonim that take it for granted that בית דין כופין על המצוות, but didn't see any of them explain where this idea comes from. There's a concept that Beis Din (and potentially everyone) has an obligation to remove prohibited activities from people, but this seems different.

I saw the Avnei Miluim (42:1) suggests its from the sugya in Bava Basra 48a that a coerced sale is effective. I'm not sure if this is his insight, or others preceded him with it, or if there are any other explanations offered

  • Essentially what a beis din is doing in this case is issuing a punishment for not observing a certain mitzvah, and this really is no different than a beis din issuing a fine, etc.
    – ezra
    May 24, 2019 at 22:01
  • @ezra but here the Beis din has unlimited power.
    – Lo ani
    May 25, 2019 at 17:48
  • I think that's not an obligation but an option, a possibility as IF they have the power and IF they are willing to and IF the community really profits from it etc.
    – Al Berko
    May 25, 2019 at 18:07
  • 1
    For the case of a person who vows to bring a sacrifice, this is learned from the verses ועשית and יקריב אותו in Rosh Hashshana 6a (Tosafot ask why we need a verse there because of the general rule)
    – b a
    May 25, 2019 at 20:15
  • 1
    @LoAni BD always has unlimited power
    – Double AA
    May 26, 2019 at 1:18


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