There are 613 mitzvot enumerated in the Torah. There are many mitzvot (more than half) that are not directly applicable today e.g. laws pertaining to the temples. Despite there being some remnants of these mitzvot in Rabbinic law, why, if the Torah is timeless, is so much not applicable?

Aside from learning about the non-applicable mitzvot or in order to be in preparation for their future application, why were these mitzvot included if they would not be used for thousands of years?

I am assuming, of course, that the Torah was written with all generations in mind.

  • See the introduction of the Toldot Yaakov Yossef.
    – kouty
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:30
  • The mitzvot pertaining to the Temple may seem like a thing of the past. But we need to be prepared for the third Temple on every generation. Thus, these mitzvot for the Beit Hamikdash are actually timeless.
    – Gabriel12
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:33
  • @Gabe12, I'm more curious as to why the Torah was written such that much of the application would not be directly relevant for thousands of years? I said "aside from learning about the non-applicable mitzvot", perhaps i will make this more clear with an edit.
    – bondonk
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:38
  • A non maried man cannot make some mitsvot, without agricole production, many mitsvot are also not possible for him. Until the Bet Hamikdash we do not make kodshim, but the mitsvot are not cancelled they will come back. Mishna discussed about mitsvot in Midbar. Many mitsvot was not relevant in Midbar and become practicable in Israel
    – kouty
    Jul 12, 2016 at 6:52
  • 4
    Any set of laws intended for multiple circumstances would have to include laws inapplicable at certain times. "the Torah was written with all generations in mind" is the answer, not the question.
    – Double AA
    Jul 12, 2016 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


You could as easily ask why the torah has mitzvot that can be observed only in Israel, when God knew that we would be in exile for thousands of years. But for God to not give us mitzvot specific to Israel, or the Temple, would "normalize" galut and the absence of the Temple.

It shouldn't feel normal and routine that we are not in Israel, and it shouldn't feel normal and routine that we do not have the Temple today. As Menachem wrote in an answer about yearning for the moshiach:

The truth is that Exile is darkness, and the reason you're so comfortable in the darkness is that you've never seen the light (don't worry, none of us have). The seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe would call this "a doubled and re-doubled darkness", a darkness that is itself concealed, until you don't even realize it is dark. The more you learn about what the world should be, and how you can bring it to that state, the more you'll start feeling it.

We should not get so comfortable that the Temple becomes irrelevant. Mitzvot specific to it are one way to keep it on our radar. It's not just about learning so we'll be ready, though there's that, too.

  • Interesting idea, that that's the reason that those mitzvos are in the Torah. Is it your own?
    – msh210
    Jul 12, 2016 at 17:09
  • @msh210 just my own reasoning, yes. It seemed like a more philosophical question, so I offered it even though I can't cite a source. Jul 12, 2016 at 17:37

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