Do woman/non-Jews get a reward for not doing things they are permitted to do, and men / Jews are forbidden to do?

I know that if someone does a mitzvah they are not commanded doing, they get a reward.
Does this also apply by not doing avairos (sins)?

For example for a woman not to shave her payos, (and if applicable her beard)?
Or for a wife or (in certain cases) daughter of a kohen not to become tomai (impure).

Or for a non-Jew not to have relations with his daughter

Or a non-cohen not to become tomai

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    @RibbisRabbiAndMore Why can't you say such a lomdus in all the examples?
    – Alex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 18:05
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    @RibbisRabbiAndMore So who told you that in the tamei case it's the who that is assur but in all the others it's the what that is assur?
    – Alex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 18:48
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    @RibbisRabbiAndMore see Guide 3:47 where it is explained that the prohibition on kohanim becoming tamei is because kohanim need to be able to enter the Temple.
    – Alex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 19:49
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    Gur Aryeh in vayigash says a person doesn't get reward for negative commands hes not obligated in.
    – Shlomy
    Nov 23, 2020 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


Rabeinu yonah in Shaarei Teshuvah 3:9 writes:

אמרו רבותינו זכרונם לברכה ישב ולא עבר עבירה נותנין לו שכר כעושה מצוה כגון שבא דבר עבירה לידו וניצול ממנו... גם השכר הזה עקרו ויסודו מצות עשה שכבש יצרו ביראת אלהים

Our sages said "If someone sits and does not commit an aveira he is rewarded as in doing a mitzvah". This is when the situation of aveira comes to him and he saves himself from doing it. This reward is based and founded in the fact that he conquered his evil inclination due to the fear of Hashem...

Rashi on the Gemara Kedushin 39b also explains it to mean:

ישב ולא עבר עבירה דקאמר נוטל עליה שכר בעבירה שבא לידו וכפה יצרו ולא עבר

He is rewarded for an aveira which came to him and he conquered his yetzer [harah] and did not transgress.

We see from this that reward for refraining from an aveira is only when there is a conquering of the Yetzer Harah (evil inclination).

Therefore, when someone refrains from doing an act which he / she is not forbidden to do, This concept of overcoming the yetzer harah does not exist, and thus there is no reward.

  • +1 does eveyone agree with this Rabeinu Yonah?
    – hazoriz
    Jun 27, 2018 at 19:45
  • @hazoriz I dont know of anyone who doesn't. Jun 27, 2018 at 19:46
  • @hazoriz Rashi does too (edited). Jun 27, 2018 at 19:53
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    @Alex In the sugya of gadol metzuvah veoseh mimi sheaino metzuva veoseh, tosfos says there is no Yh by Aino metzuvah, yet some schar is given for the maaseh mitzvah, but refraining from aveira is only when there is kvishas hayetzer. Jun 27, 2018 at 21:32
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    @RibbisRabbiAndMore Does that mean there is no Yetzer Hara whatsoever, or just comparatively? Either way, if it's a necessary premise of your answer it should be edited in.
    – Alex
    Jun 27, 2018 at 21:41

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