What are the parameters of hiddurim? To me, it seems as if the term is used somewhat arbitrarily.

  • It seems you have made an assumption about the answer to this question in the one you linked. Is there a reason why you now suspect that assumption is incorrect? In that case, it seems the linked question should be closed or deleted until there is an answer to this one.
    – Daniel
    Apr 26, 2017 at 19:59
  • If the term is used arbitrarily, then how can it have parameters?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 27, 2017 at 1:16
  • @mevaqesh, If it is arbitrary, then that's an answer. If not, then there are parameters to how hiddurim are defined, as seems to be the case amongst those who discuss the subject (eg. sofrim, ד minim sellers, tzitzit/tallit sellers). Apr 27, 2017 at 3:28
  • To clarify, do you have any reason to think that term has a universal technical definition, rather than words in general which just depend on usage?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 27, 2017 at 4:30
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/46214/759
    – Double AA
    May 9, 2017 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


The concept of Hiddur Mitzva is used for a variety of cases where a Mitzva is done beyond its bare necessity, be it in quality or quantity.

After all, the source of Hiddur Mitzva is in Shabbat 133b - based on the verse in שמות טו:ב that says זה א-לי ואנוהו which is explained to mean (according to the Braisa) התנאה לפניו במצות - This is my Gcd and I will beautify Him. i.e. make the Mitzvoth in a pleasant fashion.

דתניא זה אלי ואנוהו התנאה לפניו במצות עשה לפניו סוכה נאה ולולב נאה ושופר נאה ציצית נאה ספר תורה נאה וכתוב בו לשמו בדיו נאה בקולמוס נאה בלבלר אומן וכורכו בשיראין נאין

Make a nice Sukka, a nice Lulav, Shofar, Tzitzit and Sefer Torah; write it with proper intent using nice ink, a nice quill, an expert scribe and then cover it with a pretty cover.

So we already see that sometimes Hiddur Mitzva means that the object is pretty, sometimes it means it's done in a clean fashion, and sometimes it means to make it look pretty.

Some examples:

Make it look pretty

Bikurim: they would add fresh fruit around the edge of the basket to make it look nice - for Hiddur Mitzva. See משנה - ביכורים - רע''ב-פרק ג - משנה י

עיטור. הפירות הנאים שמקיף סביבות הסל להדור מצוה: ‏

Doing it with gust

A person shouldn't eat on Erev Pessach afternoon so that he will eat Matza with a good appetite because of Hiddur Mitzva. See משנה - פסחים - רע''ב-פרק י - משנה א

לא יאכל אדם. כדי שיאכל מצה לתאבון משום הדור מצוה. ‏

And שלחן ערוך - אורח חיים-סימן רמב - להזהר בכבוד שבת that one should buy fish - a delicacy - even if the price shoots up, because of Hiddur Mitzva.

דדוקא כשנתייקר השער יותר משליש כמו שהיה מקדם אבל אם נתייקר פחות משליש או שליש כמו שהיה מקדם אין לעשות תקנה וחייבים לקנות דגים לכבוד השבת דהידור מצוה עד שליש ע''ש

Bigger is better

The Gemara discusses paying up to 1/3 more for a bigger item for Hiddur Mitzva. See תלמוד בבלי - בבא קמא-דף ט - ב

אלא אמר ר' זירא בהידור מצוה עד שליש במצוה

The more the merrier

Having lots of people participate in a Mitzvah is Hiddur Mitzva - how many Cohanim should be added to the choir? Up to 120. See תלמוד בבלי - ערכין - תוספות-דף יג - א

עד כמה יהא הידור מצוה וא''צ לחפש יותר אחר כהנים אמר רב הונא עד ק''כ

Cleaner is better

Even though a Brit Mila exposed the diaper area by definition, it should nevertheless be cleaned beforehand because of Hiddur Mitzva. See ערוך השולחן - אורח חיים-סימן פא - דין צואת קטן

וודאי הידור מצוה היא שיהיה נקי ויפה. ולא גרע מהידור מצוה בכל המצות

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