In the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, some hierarchy is established for tzitzis:

The Torah equates this commandment, and also connects it, to all of the commandments of the Torah combined. (Siman 9:1)


The commandment to don tefillin is also, in addition to the mitzvah of tzitzis, a very precious mitzvah. For the fulfillment of the entire Torah is equated with the mitzvah of tefillin. (Siman 10:1)

Additionally, in the siddur Tehillat Hashem page 9:

These are the precepts, the fruit of which man enjoys in this world, while the principal [reward] remains in the World to Come: honoring one's father and mother, performing deeds of kindness, early attendance at the House of Study morning and evening, hospitality to strangers, visiting the sick, dowering the bride, escorting the dead, concentration in prayer - and the study for Torah is equivalent to them all.

How can we reconcile these verses? Is it not clearly established that tzitzis, tefillin, and Torah study are more important, since they are equal to all the others combined?

  • Why assume there is only one way of ordering importance?
    – Double AA
    Oct 12, 2022 at 22:39
  • Also (in addition to @DoubleAA's comment) notice that while the Mishnah tells you to be equally careful in all mitzvos, it still Recognizes that there is a mitzvah qallah (a "light" mitzvah) and a mitzvah chamurah (a weighty one). The Mishnah itself implies multiple axies; however you understand it measuring qalah vs. chamurah, it isn't the same measure used for how much reward it earns. Oct 13, 2022 at 11:35
  • Note also that tzitzis, tefillin and Torah study are not only mitzvos in their own right, but aids in remembering to do them (tzitzis), with the right intent (tefillin) and correctly (Talmud Torah). They could be equal in value to all the other mitVos because of that valuse derived from aiding those other mitzvos. Oct 13, 2022 at 11:38
  • Similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/130986/759
    – Double AA
    Oct 13, 2022 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


As mentioned, there is a different value to each mitzvah, we just don't know what it is. Note also that the “value” of a mitzvah is not necessarily fixed. It can vary. The Mishnah says:

בֶּן הֵא הֵא אוֹמֵר, לְפוּם צַעֲרָא אַגְרָא -- Ben He He says: According to the effort is the reward. [Pirkei Avot 5:23]

It implies that mitzvot that require more effort count for more. The Talmud adds:

One mitzvah involving pain is worth a hundred mitzvot that do not. [Avot de Rabbi Natan 3:6, Jerusalem Talmud]

Fo example, contemporary Rabbi Dessler notes that someone born into an observant family will receive relatively little reward for observance, because it took little effort. Keeping commandments is automatic for him. Conversely, someone born in a non-religious family will receive much reward for being observant, and little, if any, punishment for not spending many hours a day studying Torah. [Rabbi E.E. Dessler, Michtav M'Eliyahu, Hebrew edition, book 1, page 113]

So the bottom line is: All the quotes from Chazal that imply that some commandments are more important than others are simply personal opinions. All agree that Jews are responsible for ALL commandments, and all agree that we don't know from the Torah the value of each commandment, so there can be no halacha about the value of commandments.

  • This is a good answer, but there are halacha on the importance of the commandments
    – Alexander
    Oct 13, 2022 at 19:06
  • 1
    What, for example? Oct 13, 2022 at 20:40
  • I mentioned two examples in my question, though there may be more
    – Alexander
    Oct 13, 2022 at 21:16
  • I see them as opinions, not halacha. Rav Nachman of Breslov said everybody should have a single mitzvah that he is extremely attentive to, while observing all other mitzvot normally. That is yet another opinion. Oct 13, 2022 at 22:24
  • That is a great idea. The first two sources I cited are from the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, which is halacha
    – Alexander
    Oct 13, 2022 at 22:57

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