I think I read somewhere in the torah that breaking one commandment means breaking all. Hashem himself said that. I could be wrong.

Searching at google and all I found is from a book of James in Christians' "new testaments"


For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

I think it's in the torah somewhere. I read that before. I look at wikipedia on 613 mitzvah and couldn't find any. Searching google and didn't find anything.

Is it in the torah at all?

  • AFAIK, no it isn't. There are certain commandments that are considered to be "equal to the entire Torah," which philosophically implies that breaking said specific commandments is equivalent to breaking the whole of Torah, but from the perspective of the actual law? No. Jun 29, 2015 at 14:20
  • James is a jew. I wonder where does he get the idea that breaking one commandment is breaking all of it?
    – user4951
    Jun 29, 2015 at 14:23
  • I would guess so too. Seems like Hashem is a reasonable god that knows that not all commandments are capital offense. Some are misdemeanors. Just making sure though.
    – user4951
    Jun 29, 2015 at 14:23
  • 6
    @JimThio Maybe he made it up? Not all Jews practice Judaism.
    – Double AA
    Jun 29, 2015 at 14:38
  • 1
    OP asked a nearly identical question on Hermeneutics.SE.
    – Susan
    Jul 7, 2015 at 9:16

2 Answers 2


In James (ICC): A Critical and Exegetical Commentary the author in his text (I have not checked his notes) brings several possible sources for the statement. Amongst them are:

m. Qidd 1.10 (= Mishna Kiddushin 1:10 "and whosoever does not perform a single commandment it shall not be well with him, and he shall not enjoy length of days, and he shall not inherit the Land.")

b Qidd 39b (= Gemoro Kiddushin 39b This is the discussion of the above mishnah. IMHO it does not support the notion that “breaking one commandment means breaking all.”)

Deut 4.2 “Do not add to the word which I command you, nor diminish from it, to observe the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."

He quotes also Deut 17.20 and Josh 23.6 but they do not seem to me to be relevant.

In summary, there is very little explicit proof from the quoted Jewish sources for the statement.

Further, the Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvo 3:1 says:

“Each and every person has merits and sins. A person whose merits exceed his sins is [termed] righteous.”

If by stumbling on just one point a person was guilty of breaking all of the Torah, a person who had sinned even once could hardly be considered righteous.

So the concept in general is not Jewish; with the exception of those special mitzvos mentioned by Isaac Kotlicky.


According to Jewish sources (not clear to me where, now), the only sins that renders you "Breaking All", is Shabbos and Avodah Zora. And of-course it is only if it was done intentionally (Bemeized).

Another thing that is mentioned, is a "Mumer Leduvar Echud" (מומר לדבר אחד). That's not believing that one specific mitzvah was given to Moshe Rabeinu. I'm not sure if this is called, breaking all.

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