Traditionally, there are seven rabbinic commandments to be added to the 613 in the Torah: Hallel, Purim, Hanukkah, Eruv, washing hands, lighting Shabbat candles, and saying blessings.

But there are many other requirements decreed by the rabbis over the centuries and found in Mishnah, Talmud, Mishneh Torah, Shulkhan Arukh, etc. Why are they not also considered commandments? Perhaps because they derive logically from the 613? Or because they are not deemed as important (and if so, why?)?

  • 1
    Can you give an example of one that is not either a safeguard of a Torah commandment or the specifics of a Torah commandment?
    – Damila
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 19:18
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/28054/…
    – אילפא
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 19:24
  • 1
    See this article judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/123618/…
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 19:52
  • @DoubleAA wow amazing article. Dr. I have also heard of two other ramazim: the number of words in the 10 commandments brought by Midrash Tanchuma Bamidbar 13:16 is 613 (I have never actually checked this), until אשר לרעך and the passage finishes with those 7 extra letters. Shnei Luchot HaBrit explains, in the name of the kadmonim, that they represent a hint to the 7 rabbinic mitzvot. Also, it is connected to the word "keter", crown which has a gematria of 620, and represents the 620 "pillars of light" revealed in the Mitzvot.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 21:22
  • @Damila what about fast days like 9th of Av, Tzom Gedalya... Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


I"ll answer by prefacing a Gemara in Eiruvin 21b that when Shlomo Hamelech instituted Eiruv and Netilas Yadaim a heavenly voice rang out and praised of how wise Shlomo is with these new mitzvos, tosfos asks why didnt this heavenly voice ring out when Shlomo instituted the prohibition of שניות (not marrying ones grandmother etc.), the Chasam Sofer in his responsa answers beautifully that by just creating מצות דרבנן of things "NOT TO DO" does not deserve praise because people can fall through which would make g-d more upset, rather the institution of מצות דרבנן of things "HOW TO DO" thats praiseworthy, therefore Shlomo didnt just prohibit carrying in a מבוי less someone come to carry in a public domain, but rather he told you "HOW" to carry by making a קורה or לחי. Same for נטילת ידים he didnt prohibit rather he said to wash yur hands prior... that is praiseworthy because now people wont transgress those new מצות. Perhaps we can add to answer your question of why we count just those seven mitzvos it is because none of them are prohbitions therefore warrant the praise to stand alone

  • Nice answer @shayachagigah! Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 3:25

Most Rabbinic commandments are added details to Biblical commandments. These are the cases where the Rabbis instituted brand-new commandments of their own.

  • Thanks. That's what I figured when I asked, but is it stated anywhere? Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 0:02
  • Is Eruv really brand new?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 0:19
  • Is saying blessings really brand new?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 0:20
  • Mandating blessings before food is discussed in Gemara, but conclusion is it is a rabbinic decree. And the obligation to make an eiruv is a new decree. These points are debatable, and there are other opinions, but I believe this is the standard view. See here at length: (hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=13035&st=&pgnum=103)
    – N.T.
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 7:14

You must log in to answer this question.

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