Are you punished from Hashem if you don't do a mitzvah asey (brachos, davening, asher yatzar, etc.)?


3 Answers 3


Generally, no (with a couple of exceptions - failure to bring the Korban Pesach, or to undergo a bris milah - both of which are punishable by kareis).

However, the Gemara (Berachos 26a, Chagigah 9a-b) classifies failure to perform other positive mitzvos as מעוות לא יוכל לתקון - a crooked thing that cannot be straightened out. Or in the formulation of Tanya (Iggeres Hateshuvah, ch. 1), האור נעדר - the Divine "light," that should have been drawn down by the mitzvah-action, is missing.

  • 1
    Failure to bring the Pesach and not doing milah are the only two which involve kares. However, there are many others which are punishable in some way (and maybe even all of them). See, for example, S' HaChinuch mitzvah #1, "...and his punishment is very severe."
    – b a
    Jun 17, 2012 at 7:07
  • Not a punishment as much as incentive and encouragement, but see the Talmud quoted here: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/16656/603
    – Menachem
    Jun 17, 2012 at 20:53

It is clear from Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvah that teshuvah must be done for missing a positive commandment. The implication is that there will be some price to pay for not doing it. What that is he does not say...

  • Isn't one obligated to bring a Korban Olah for failing to fulfill a mitzvas asey, e.g. going a whole day without Tefilin? (Note that our questioner is mixing deoraysa and derabanans).
    – Shalom
    Jun 10, 2010 at 1:18
  • But is it an actual obligation to bring an Olah in that case, or is it just that it's the right thing to do, but there's no formal obligation?
    – Alex
    Jun 10, 2010 at 3:40
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    @Yahu: There are two aspects to a positive mitzvah - obeying a Divine commandment, and accomplishing a positive act. Failure to perform the mitzvah, then, also has two aspects - disobedience and lack of accomplishment. Teshuvah is needed for the former, not necessarily because there is a price to pay, but simply because disobedience against Hashem is a pretty serious thing.
    – Alex
    Jun 10, 2010 at 3:43
  • If there is no price to pay how serious can it be?
    – Yahu
    Jun 10, 2010 at 4:07

There are different types of positive commandment with respect to punishment.

One type is obligatory on the person, such as wearing tefillin or saying shma.

Another type isn't an obligation upon the person, such as tzitzis, which is only obligatory if one wears a four-cornered garment, or mezuza, which is only obligatory on residents of a home. One can go his whole life without such a garment or home and never be obligated to do the mitzvah.

The Talmud in Menachos (41a) states that, for the latter type of mitzva, during times of Divine anger, one is punished for not having obligated oneself and performed the mitzva. Clearly, the first type of mitzva incurs penalty all the time.

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