Is it possible for a prophet to add to the Torah, or change any of it? Can a prophet say that God has told him that certain parts no longer apply or are wrong? How do we know?

  • The answer to this question is no, as noted by the answerers. A better question is whether a prophet can add a "rabbinic" mitzvah, on which see this article: hakirah.org/Vol%2012%20Krakowski.pdf. Short answer: according to the Rambam, no, but according to some others, yes.
    – wfb
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 3:00
  • I'm not sure if this is authoritative enough, but related: The Snake Oven - תנורו של עכנאי, and Not in Heaven.
    – Kobi
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 7:26
  • What about God commandment to build beith hamikash in Jerusalem? Or what about God's commandment to the niniveh to do tesuvah? All those are done after the torah.
    – user4951
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 11:10
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    @JimThio Why do you say that the commandment to build the Temple came after the giving of the Torah? And in any case, how do either of these change the Torah?
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 29, 2014 at 13:51
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    @jimThio the "additions to the rules" that you are talking about exist, but they are admittedly rabbinic in origin. They do not claim to change what is in the Torah. God's "commandment" to Nineveh to repent isn't a new mitzvah. Teshuva is always required. There was no new law that needed to be upheld.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 15, 2015 at 19:14

4 Answers 4


The answer is no. In Yehoshua 23:6, Yehoshua says to the people:

וַחֲזַקְתֶּם מְאֹד--לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת, אֵת כָּל-הַכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה: לְבִלְתִּי סוּר-מִמֶּנּוּ, יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול

Be very strong to protect and do everything that is written in Moshe's Torah. Do not deviate from it to the right or to the left.

In Deuteronomy 4:2

... לֹא תֹסִפוּ, עַל-הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם, וְלֹא תִגְרְעוּ, מִמֶּנּוּ

Do not add onto what I am commanding to you, and do not detract from it...

Proverbs 30:6

אַל-תּוֹסְףְּ עַל-דְּבָרָיו: פֶּן-יוֹכִיחַ בְּךָ וְנִכְזָבְתָּ

Do not add onto [God's] words, lest he test you and you be found to be a liar.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, Rambam writes in his Mishneh Torah

לפיכך אם יעמוד איש בין מן האומות בין מישראל ויעשה אות ומופת ויאמר שה' שלחו להוסיף מצוה או לגרוע מצוה או לפרש במצוה מן המצות פירוש שלא שמענו ממשה או שאמר שאותן המצות שנצטוו בהן ישראל אינן לעולם ולדורי דורות אלא מצות לפי זמן היו הרי זה נביא שקר שהרי בא להכחיש נבואתו של משה ומיתתו בחנק על שהזיד לדבר בשם ה' אשר לא צוהו

Therefore, if a person will arise, whether Jew or gentile, and perform a sign or wonder and say that God sent him to:

a) add a mitzvah,

b) withdraw a mitzvah

c) explain a mitzvah in a manner which differs from the tradition received from Moses, or

d) if he says that the mitzvot commanded to the Jews are not forever, but rather were given for a limited time,

he is a false prophet. He comes to deny the prophecy of Moses and should be executed by strangulation, because he dared to make statements in God's name which God never made.

All of these sources clearly show that nothing may be added or subtracted from the Torah. Even someone who claims to be a prophet may never do so, and to attempt to do so will show him to be a false prophet.

  • 1
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 17:05
  • @double aa, I don't get it.
    – Seth J
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 1:10
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    @JimThio Priests (kohanim) are still determined today by paternal lineage. As far as capital punishment is concerned, we don't say that the mitzvah does not exist anymore. Rather, we don't have a court who is authorized to confer that punishment. Even back when the Sanhedrin was still around, though, capital punishment was only meted out extremely rarely. There are many mitigating factors when it comes to capital crimes, and it would be extremely rare (probably impossible) for someone to actually do something worthy of capital punishment today without any of the mitigating factors applying.
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 16:15
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    AFAIK, killing all the males and enslaving the women is only for a milchemet mitzvah, which Israel's wars today would not qualify as. Nobody considers the ban on polygamy to be an addition to the Torah. We agree that the Torah does not require us to be polygamous. We have added an additional stringency outside of the Torah, not to the Torah. We are certainly not required to practice polygamy according to the Torah, so there is no contradiction. The same is true of your other examples about concubinage (not the same as prostitution) and slavery.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 15:30
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    @JimThio ^ Also, remember that Israel is not a halachic state, so even if they allow same sex marriage (which I don't think they do since Israel only has religious marriage and no "civil marriage"), that doesn't mean that it's permitted according to the Torah. And of course, it is not permitted.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 16:42

The Bavli records (Temurah 16a):

[The verse states: "These are the commandments" (Leviticus 27)] These are the commandments and no prophet is allowed to innovate something from now on.

That said, later authorities do have a number of interesting powers (when not claiming to be doing so under direct divine order) including directing Jews to not perform certain mitzvot when done passively (שב ואל תעשה), removing certain principles from the Torah (יש כח ביד חכמים לעקור דבר מן התורה), redistributing wealth at will (הפקר בית דין הפקר), and temporary permission to violate any prohibition except Avoda Zara (הוראת שעה).

  • 1
    ... none of which is done on the authority of later prophecy.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 18:19
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    @IsaacMoses I said "when not claiming to be doing so under direct divine order"
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 18:23

The 9th Ani Maamin - which are based on the 13 principals that the Rambam in his Hakdama to his Pirush on Perek Chelek in Mesechtas Sanhedrin mentions as the points of belief a Jew must have - states that there will be no changes to the Torah.

אני מאמין באמונה שלימה שזאת התורה לא תהא מוחלפת ולא תהא תורה אחרת מאת הבורא יתברך שמו.


  • It states that the Torah won't be replaced. I don't see how that proves things can't change.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 18:49
  • There will be no changes to the torah but does that mean that there will be no changes to God's commandment? For example, torah prohibited homosexual relationship. Reconstructionist jews now blessed homosexual marriage. Is it possible that God did prohibit homosexual marriage but latter changed his mind. You know what, it's okay now. That sort of thing?
    – user4951
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 14:30

It appears that Rabbi Yehudah Halewi is of the opinion that Nevi'im and the Sanhedrin can add to / subtract from concepts of a Biblical nature as he discusses in Sefer Hakuzari 3:40-41.

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