According to Halacha, is the concept of hiddur mitzvah, beautifying the mitzvah, biblical or rabbinic in nature? Or is it a machloket amongst the poskim?

2 Answers 2


It is a machloket Rishonim.

Ra'avad (cited in Chidushei Anshei Shem, Berachot 38a, no. 2) suggests that it is biblical, and Ritva to Sukka 11b s.v. V'Ee writes that it is rabbinic.

It is derived in Shabbat 113b from Shemot 15:2 "This is my God and I will glorify Him".

It is also heavily involved in the mitzva of the four species, as the pasuk (Vayikra 23:40) calls the etrog a pri etz hadar, a beautiful fruit.

Thanks to Rabbi Josh Flug for citing the sources here.

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    Hashgacha pratit strikes again! Just this morning, I was reviewing the first line of chapter 1 to Sefer Pirkei Shirah which discusses the praises spoken by the Heavens (plural) and the praises told by the Rakia (singular) about G-d's glory (כבוד אל). To understand this requires looking carefully at the opening lines to Bereshit, 1:1-8. That השמים is הש-מים, meaning הש-צ which is הש׳ין-צ׳דיק or האש-מים. That ואנוהו is an expression of כבוד. Commented Apr 17 at 13:33

In practice, we seem to pasken that it is d'rabanan.

This is implied because the Shulchan Aruch (656, 1) brings the unresolved question whether hiddur mitzvah is an additional 33% or 50% beyond the basic obligation, and rules leniently, like the Rosh (bava kama 1, 7, as explained by pilpula charifta there, citation kuf) and Tosfos (menachos 41b). Based on the rule that when there is an unresolved question about a d'oraysa obligation he rules stringently, this would imply that this is only a d'rabanan.

See עין יצחק (או"ח ס' ד) who brings this question.

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