Are there any mitzvot that can be done completely passively? I'm wondering which mitzvot, if any, babies or people with physical and mental disabilities can fulfill. One that comes to mind is dwelling in a sukkah, though maybe even that requires actively eating. Or maybe hearing shofar, which only requires the ability to hear.

  • 1
    besides the initial action putting of it on you are fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzis as long as you are wearing a tallis
    – Dude
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 14:27
  • Sitting in a sukkah
    – robev
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 17:20
  • The positive "mitzvos temidios" (constant mitzvos) - knowing there is a G-d, loving Hashem, fearing him, making him one - are done "passively". There is a ramping-up process as you make yourself the kind of person who does these things, but after that the mitzvos are fulfilled continually, by being that kind of person.
    – MichoelR
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 18:25

3 Answers 3


Even a positive mitzvah performed in the past can count as still "being performed". The Talmud says that circumcision is a constant reminder of the covenant and the commandments, even when one is naked:

[King David] entered the bath and saw himself standing naked. He exclaimed: “Woe is me that I stand naked without any mitzvot around me!” But, when he reminded himself of the circumcision in his flesh, his mind was set at ease. [Menaḥot 43b]


Yeah there are 365 negative commandments. They are passive as you don't do stuff. As opposed to the 248 positive commandments.

  • Not always true. For example, why does the Rambam give a lengthy explanation of the history of the rise of Avodah Zarah in his first halacha of the laws of Avodah Zara? The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the Rambam is saying you can't fulfil this mitzva passively, e.g. through simply not getting involved with anything to do with Avodah Zara through apathy or ignorance. You are obligated to know exactly what is wrong about it.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 1:18

There is one mitzvah that can only be performed passively, even unknowingly: Shikchah, leaving a forgotten bundle of grain in the field for the poor and needy to collect. That is, intentionally leaving a bundle behind may be a way to give something to the needy, but it is only shikchah if it was actually forgotten.

(That said, if one did go back and collect the forgotten bundle, whether in violation of the lav or under circumstances where it is permitted, he is still required to actively give the grain to the needy.)

To answer the question you meant to ask, rather than taking it literally: People with physical disabilities can still perform mitzvos that involve the mind, rather than physical performance, like reciting the shema, the shesh mitzvos temidios, etc. Those with mental disabilities may be patur from most mitzvos, depending on the level of handicap or disability, but most can be taught to daven to one extent or another. A patient in a coma cannot really "fulfill" any mitzvos, though there are enough anecdotes of such patients showing some sort of reaction when certain mitzvos were performed around them (hearing the shofar, etc.). How much it "counts" is not a question I can answer.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .