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Questions tagged [mitzvah]

Mitzvah - commandment. This tag is for questions about the nature of commandments or the status of being a commandment. (However, many particular commandments have their own tags.)

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Why "know-it-all- Adam should be commanded at all?

THe last couple of question dealt with Adam's commandments in Eden. And it pushes me back to understand the very nature of a commandment: Let's imagine a little kid that should be commanded not to ...
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What was God's original plan regarding Adam?

I would like to research the common ground for our understanding of G-d's original plan of the creation if Adam didn't sin. According to Sanhedrin 38, he was fully developed at noon, having 6 hours ...
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186 views

What are the 7 Noachide Laws

What are the 7 Noachide Laws? And where do we know them from?
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Studying versus doing

In commenting on Leviticus 26:14, Or HaChaim argues that if you study the details of the sacrifices today, when you cannot actually do them, you have fulfilled the commandments on sacrifices better ...
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Can Mishloach Manot count as Matanot Laevyonim and vice versa?

If I donate ready to eat food to a soup kitchen, or, even more directly, if I see 2 homeless men on the street on Purim and hand them each a sandwich and a drink, can that fulfill my obligation to ...
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Why does Rambam count learning from Midos in 613 Mitzvos?

This is a follow-up question to "why-one's-daughter-is-not-mentioned-in-arayos-in-the-torah" (please read before continuing). Both the Gemmorah and Rambam agree that the prohibition of one's daughter ...
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571 views

Asei Doche Lo Sasei vs. Mitzvah Habaah Beaveirah

These are two concepts in Judaism: עשה דוחה לא תעשה - that if there is a Mitzvah Asei in the Torah, and a Mitzvas Lo Sasei, we say that the Asei overrides the Lo Sasei, and one should do it. For ...
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Does the mitzvah of eradicating Amalek supersede Shabbos?

The Sefer Chinuch 604 tells us we have a mitzvah to wipe out Amalek. למחות זרעו מן העולם - שנצטוינו למחות זרעו של עמלק ולאבד זכרו מן העולם, זכר ונקבה, גדול וקטן, ועל זה נאמר (דברים כה יט) ''תמחה את ...
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Tosafos - Not a mitzvah to live in Israel since can't keep the land mitzvos

Tosafos in Kesubos 110b writes: הוא אומר לעלות כו' - ...והיה אומר רבינו חיים דעכשיו אינו מצוה לדור בא"י כי יש כמה מצות התלויות בארץ וכמה עונשין דאין אנו יכולין ליזהר בהם ולעמוד עליהם: He says ...
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Is it true that on Shabbat Purim, one holds a mock service instead of a real one?

My Reform synagogue held a joke service (with familiar melodies, but silly or parodying lyrics) on the Shabbat following Purim. While a few Shabbat traditions were kept, most were parodied or skipped. ...
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3answers
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Is it arrogant to publicly perform a mitzvah according to the Shulchan Oruch when others publicly are not careful to do it properly?

I observe various mitzvos that are not carried out according to the letter of the law in Shulchan Oruch. For example, taking 3 steps backward after Shemonah Esrei as described in OC 123 One bows ...
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Why are women exempt from (many) time-bound mitzvot?

Women are generally exempt from time-bound mitzvot (Kiddushin 29a). I have heard two reasons for women being exempt from time-bound mitzvot and both seem problematic, so either there are additional ...
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Is there an underlying logic to the selection of detail in the Torah?

When studying a text, I tell my students that nothing is accidental and that details are included or excluded for some sort of reason. Part of discussion is hypothesizing what that reason is (in each ...
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Avot keeping Mitzvot

How are we to understand the tradition that the patriarchs kept all of the mitzvot in the Torah (see for example the last mishna in Kidushin, Rashi Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the many obvious ...
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Did Esther have the halachic status of a captive?

Esther was taken (Esther 2:8), ostensibly against her will, by king Achashveirosh. I would like to know if she had the halachic status of a captive such that, for example, the mitzvah of redeeming a ...
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Sukkah: Why not tough it out?

Why specifically by Sukkah is there a concept of מצטער פטור מן הסוכה הוא (Shulchan Aruch OC 640:4) someone who is in pain in by being in the Sukkah is exempt? We don't have such a low threshold for ...
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Weighing mitzvot/aveirot

I apologize for the somewhat vague question; it was difficult to write. I would welcome any specific editing suggestions. What matters in the calculation of a person's righteousness? Is it: Number ...
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Does Hashem reward you for keeping negative mitzvot?

Does Hashem reward you for keeping negative mitzvot or only punishes for trangressions?
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Sources for scientific rationale for the 613 Mizvot?

Are there any published works on the scientific rationale for any of the 613 Mizvot? For example: Handwashing: It only took the medical community did not deem it medically relevant until 2 centuries ...
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Source for it being a mitzvah to make fun of Avodah Zarah?

I've heard from multiple Rabbanim that it is a mitzvah to make fun of Avodah Zarah. I have been performing this mitzvah with pleasure for many years and I would like to know the source for it.
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Credit for a mitzvah done wrong

Hypothetical case: I have been putting tefillin on every applicable morning for many years now. This morning, in shul, someone came up to me and said, "Your shel yad is placed completely incorrectly! ...
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1answer
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What are the practical parameters of Mitzvah Haba'ah B'Aveirah?

There are a few questions which ask about whether the concern of a mitzvah which is (or whose practice is) contingent upon the existence of a sin applies in specific cases. But are there any clear cut ...
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1answer
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Our relation relationship with Hashem

Avos states, "Do not be as servants who are serving the master in order to receive a reward, rather be as servants who are serving the master not in order to receive a reward." Yet, Mesillas Yesharim ...
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Is it a “mitzvah” to accept tzedakah?

While there is a mitzvah to give tzedakah -- as per the Rambam's list Not to refrain from maintaining a poor man and giving him what he needs (Deut. 15:7) To give charity according to one's ...
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To serve, the biggest command?

Looking at the basis for our covenant with G-d, I noticed G-d said to Avraham (Bereshit 17:1): “Walk before Me”, which is sometimes understood to mean: “Serve Me”. And also (Bereshit 17:9): “You shall ...
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Reversal of the number of positive and negative precepts

The Gemara in Makkos 23b states: דרש רבי שמלאי שש מאות ושלש עשרה מצות נאמרו לו למשה שלש מאות וששים וחמש לאוין כמנין ימות החמה ומאתים וארבעים ושמונה עשה כנגד איבריו של אדם R. Simlai when ...
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1answer
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Have the 613 commandments ever been ranked by order of importance?

Has any major commentator ever attempted to rank the 613 commandments by order of importance? There are hints in the Sources about relative importance: The Ten Commandments, the Noahide Laws, the Big ...
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Would a non-Israeli Jewish king need to write a sefer Torah?

In Deuteronomy/Devorim 17:14, and 17:18-20 we see that a king of Israel is required to write a copy of the Torah to read and keep with him always. Would a convert to Judaism, who is a king of another ...
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Can a shliach be paid?

We know that shlucho shel adam ka'moso and that the shliach is an extension of person who sent him. However, is the shliach allowed to be paid? (ie if he's coming from medinas hayam to deliver a get, ...
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Why was Chizqia losing Olam Haba?

Talmud Berachot 10a tells the discussion between Yeshaya and Chizqia about children: מת אתה בעולם הזה ולא תחיה לעולם הבא! אמר לו מאי כולי האי?! אמר לו משום דלא עסקת בפריה ורביה. אמר לו וכולי Dead ...
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1answer
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Who are the Kutim, and what happened to them?

In the Yerushalmi Pesachim on daf Bet amud Bet, it talks about the "Kutim" and how whenever they keep a mitzvah, they are more exacting/cautious about it than the Jews. Who are these Kutim, why does ...
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What are the mitzvot that a gentile is forbidden to do?

I know that some mitzvot like keeping shabbat, putting tefillin are forbidden for a gentile to do because they are a sign of the covenant between Israel and HaShem. What are the full list of the ...
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Why does God modify commandments upon request?

I can find two instances of this in Tanach: 1) when G appoints Moshe to speak before Israel, he says he is "heavy of tongue" and G lets him use Aaron as a spokesman. 2) G commands Ezekiel (4:9) to ...
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Patur from mitzvah and do it, have you fulfilled it contradiction

In Hilchos Kriyas Shema, the SA (OC 71:1) says מִי שֶׁמֵּת לוֹ מֵת שֶׁהוּא חַיָּב לְהִתְאַבֵּל עָלָיו, אֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ מֻטָּל עָלָיו לְקָבְרוֹ, פָּטוּר מִקְּרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּמִתְּפִלָּה. ...
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Differences between RaMbaM and RaMbaN's mitzvah count

I know both of the Rambam and Ramban listed all 613 mitzvos, and they differ in some (I think like 16ish?) What are the ones upon which they differ? If possible please include why they differ in ...
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107 views

Can people take Mishloach Manot?

Is there an operative element to Mishloach Manot that requires a sending, i.e. a physical transfer from person to person? (related sources in these related questions ) If I must travel on Purim, I ...
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Would placing a security camera in a Mezuzah harm the status of the Mezuzah?

I saw this question posted on another forum and I didn't see any valid answers or conclusions. If a person had a Mezuzah case which was fitted with a hidden security camera, would that impact the ...
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Is there any reward for the intent or attempt to do a mitzvah?

As per the title, does one earn any reward/s'char for the attempt (or even just the intent) to perform a mitzvah? This evening, we all piled out of shul to say Kiddush Levana only to find that the ...
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Additional Oral Law classification systems?

This question is a follow-up to the "no-form-for-the-oral-law" question. These are the systems of organizing the total Oral Law (as opposed to Mitzvos Classification systems) that are known to me: ...
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Comparing different counting of the 613 mitzvot

I would like to make a rudimentary chart comparing the 613 mitzvot as enumerated by the Ramban, the Rahag, Saadia Gaon, et al. and highlighting in different colors what mitzvot are ubiquitous across ...
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No mitzvah to wear tefillin every day?

I heard that the Bet HaLevi and the Peri Megadim hold that there is no Mitzva for a person to don Tefilin everyday. Can someone source these opinions and explain exactly what they are meaning to say?
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Does Mechilah invalidate Kibud Av?

Following the question: "no-bracha-on-kibud-av-vaeim", some tried to say that the Sages did not set a Berocho for this Mitzvah as the father can be Mochel and there's no Mitzvah in such a case. ...
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566 views

One Jewish Practice

For someone who is Jewish, yet an atheist, what is one practice that is doable that they could keep? With suggestions for one doable Jewish practice, prayer, etc; please include guidelines of how to ...
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Rashi's reason for juxtaposition of mitzvos insufficient

The Torah (Deuteronomy 22:6-11) describes 5 mitzvos consecutively, seemingly in random order (although the last three are indeed connected): Sending away the mother bird Building a fence on your roof ...
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To what extent does the Torah make allowances for people in severe physical pain? [closed]

I have a severe progressive neurological disease and it's exceptionally painful. Current medical technology unfortunately is not able to provide much in the way of treatment or relief. Everyday things ...
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Is telling unpleasant truth about a person Lashon Hora?

Is telling something unpleasant, something that would portray a person in a very negative light even though it is true, considered Lashon Hora?
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642 views

What constitutes the Shema?

In wanting to add a Jewish practice, I am now saying the Shema daily. (It is nice to know that is a mitzvah explicitly in the Torah.) What is the "actual" Shema. When I was a kid (Reform) we would ...
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1answer
130 views

Is a Baal Keri allowed to do Mitzvot?

If a person is impure because of his nocturnal emission. Is he allowed to do mitzvot? Should he still strive to do them or should he keep low key and try to avoid them because of his impure state?
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225 views

Only 613 commandments? Can't be!

In the beginning of the sefer Ma'alos HaTorah, authored by the brother of the Vilna Gaon, the question is asked (on the Gemara at the end of Makkos) how the gemara can state that there are only 613 ...
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260 views

What if there is no object for use in a mitzva?

There is a story I once heard about the Ben Ish Chai examining the only known etrog available in Iraq. Despite the great need for it, he declared the etrog passul for use and no one could fulfill the ...