I once read that when we look at our tzitzit we're reminded of our obligation to keep all 613 commandments (and possibly more). Because it's written: 'And you shall see it and remember all the mitzvot (of) HaShem and you shall do them (Bamidbar 15:39)'. The Chazon Ish relates that fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzit binds you eternally to the entire Torah.

But how can one really do all the mitzvot or keep the entire Torah? Aren't some mitzvot only applicable to men, women, priest, judges, kings etc?

R' Elazar Kallir z"l explains that When the Jewish people are united as one body, with one heart, then that body can observe the entire Torah. Are there more commentaries that teach this principle?

  • Related or possible duplicate: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/4078/avot-keeping-mitzvot Mar 7, 2016 at 0:48
  • If you can find where you read your initial point, then editing such information into the questino would greatly increase its value to the commnuity.
    – Double AA
    Mar 7, 2016 at 0:52
  • The peshat is that one is reminded of all of the mitzvot, and then performs those that are applicable to him. Later writes understood the mitzvot as mystically redemptive and were therefore bothered by the fact not everyone can do all of the mitzvot. The Chassidic work Bnei Yissaschar answers that one can study the mitzvos.= (IIRC). Others write that the Jewish people as a whole are united and are redeemed through mass obsrvance. I would be fascinated to know the source for R. Elazar HaKalir cited in the question.
    – mevaqesh
    Mar 7, 2016 at 2:37

3 Answers 3


Meshech Chochma notes that in Parshas Yisro, the verse says (Shemos 19:8:

ויענו כל העם יחדו ויאמרו כל אשר דבר יהוה נעשה

whereas in Mishpatim it says (Shemos 24:7:

יאמרו כל אשר דבר יהוה נעשה ונשמע

In one place it says they answered together, but does not say נעשה ונשמע, just נעשה. In the other verse, it says נעשה ונשמע but does not say that they responded together. The Meshech Chochma writes that the two verses reflect two ways that the Jewish people keep the entire Torah - either through יחדו, being all together, i.e. each person doing what he can, and as a unit they fulfill the entire Torah, or through נשמע, through learning the parts of Torah that they cannot keep, each person has in a certain sense fulfilled the entire Torah.


You are asking two different questions. The first about the possibility of keeping all mitzvot, the second about a teaching from R Elazar Kallir z"l.

To answer the first one, some mitzvot are indeed only applicable in the Bet HaMikdash, others are linked to tumah and tahara (ritual purity and impurity), some are incumbent on having a Bet Din (Great Court), some are for kohanim or leviim, etc.

The Chofetz Chaim says that, since each mitzva is so precious, we certainly want to keep all those that are possible. He wrote a book called Sefer Mitzvos HaKatzer. In it he lists all the mitzvot that apply today: 77 mitzvot aseh (positive) and 194 mitzvot lo ta'aseh (negative). Additionally, there are 26 mitzvot that can be observed in Israel which were not practically relevant when the Chofetz Chaim wrote his book.

See here for the list of 77 positive mitzvot and source for this, and here for further details.

On your second question, see first part of here for some more background.


I apologize that I don't have sources, but I believe it is said that if one learns about the ענינים that don't apply to him it is as if he performed that Mitzvah!

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