When would it reach a degree of discomfort, illness, or other types of cases of distress that one would be exempt from fulfilling a positive commandment? For example, does the concept of "Nafal BaMishkav", meaning, a desire/need to lay down in bed be considered an "Oines" which is exempt, or would it need to be something more severe?

Can someone explain or elaborate? With Sukkah, it's very simple - if you are uncomfortable, you aren't obligated, period. I am referring to every other case of a positive Asei. Is that a standard criterion, or an individual criterion for each mitsvot, or clusters of Mitsvot?

Thank you.

  • Possible duplicate: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27260
    – msh210
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:57
  • Why would lying in bed exempt you from all mitsvot under the rubric of ones? Many mitsvot can be fulfilled why lying in bed.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 14, 2017 at 16:26
  • 2
    The case of sukkah is most probably an exception. The principle of teshvu k'ein taduru mandates that the sukkah experience parallel one's normal living. Accordingly in a case of discomfort one is exempt.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 14, 2017 at 16:27
  • 3
    Possible duplicate of At what cost must one perform a mitzvah?
    – Alex
    Feb 24, 2019 at 0:39
  • 1
    @sabbahillel He asks specifically if there is a “standard criterion” for this, or if it varies by Mitzvah. Saying that it’s individually determined is an answer, not a close reason.
    – DonielF
    Mar 27, 2019 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


Tefilin is a perfect example of what you are describing.

Chulin 110a:

חזייה דלא הוה מנח תפילין אמר ליה מאי טעמא לא מנחת תפילין אמר ליה חולי מעיין הוא ואמר רב יהודה חולי מעיין פטור מן התפילין

Rav Ḥisda saw that Rami bar Tamrei had not donned phylacteries, and said to him: What is the reason that you have not donned phylacteries? Rami bar Tamrei said to him: He, i.e., I, am suffering from intestinal illness, and Rav Yehuda said that one who has intestinal illness is exempt from the mitzva of phylacteries, which require a clean body, because he would have to remove them constantly to defecate.

Orach Chaim 38.1:

חולה מעיים פטורמתפילין: הגה אפילו אין לו צער אבל שאר חולה אם מצטער בחליו ואין דעתו מיושב עליו פטור ואם לאו חייב. [מרדכי וא"ח ומיי' פ"ד]:

One who is ill in his intestines is dispensed from the [commandment to wear] tefillin. Rema: "Even if he is not in pain. However any other invalid, if he is in pain due to his illness and his mind is not at ease, he is also dispensed [from the commandment]. Otherwise he is obligated."

Rambam, Tefilin 4.13:

כָּל הַפָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע פָּטוּר מִתְּפִלִּין. חוֹלֵי מֵעַיִם וְכָל מִי שֶׁלֹּא יָכוֹל לִשְׁמֹר אֶת נְקָבָיו אֶלָּא בְּצַעַר פָּטוּר מִן הַתְּפִלִּין. מִצְטַעֵר וּמִי שֶׁאֵין דַּעְתּוֹ מְיֻשֶּׁבֶת וּנְכוֹנָה עָלָיו פָּטוּר מִן הַתְּפִלִּין שֶׁהַמֵּנִיחַ תְּפִלִּין אָסוּר לוֹ לְהַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מֵהֶן.

One who is exempt from reading the Shema is exempt from putting on phylacteries. Those who suffer intestinal troubles or have difficulty in controlling their sphincters are exempt from the obligation of putting on phylacteries. One, who is in pain or whose mind is not calm and composed is exempt from the duty of putting on phylacteries; for the wearer must not allow his consciousness of them to wander.

  • 1
    One is exempt here because of the inability to fulfill the technical requirements of guf naki and proper daas in performing these specific mitzvos, not because of some general rule that discomfort or distress exempt one from positive mitzvos.
    – user5173
    Mar 27, 2019 at 16:52
  • Aren’t they both true. @user5173
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Mar 27, 2019 at 17:53
  • No, they are not. There are limits to how far one has to go to fulfill a positive mitzvah, but they are substantially higher than the discomfort that exempts one from Sukkah, as in the OP’s question, and the exemptions listed in your answer are specific to the technical requirements of those mitzvos.
    – user5173
    Mar 27, 2019 at 22:15

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