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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.)

29
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9answers
2k views

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 ...
26
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10answers
3k views

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 ...
24
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3answers
5k views

Can a non-Jew don tefillin?

May a non-Jew or a person who is in the conversion process don tefillin? If not, what are the reasons that they cannot?
20
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4answers
5k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
20
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7answers
682 views

What justifications are there for not moving to Eretz Yisrael?

The Gemara in many places is clear that there is some level of mitzvah to live in Israel. This is also the accepted consensus among the rishonim. In the past, it was very difficult to move to Israel, ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

How many of the 613 Mitzvos can we do only in Israel?

There are many Mitzvos we can not do in today's generation. For example there are no Korbonos, no slaves, etc. Per the Chofetz Chaim, there are 77 positive Mitzvos and 194 negative Mitzvos which can ...
18
votes
3answers
620 views

Why isn't Peru URvu one of the 7 Noahide Laws?

The commandment to "Be fruitful and multiply" was given to Adam HaRishon. Why, then, is this not included in the Sheva' Mitzvoth Bnei Noaḥ?
17
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4answers
4k views

If masturbation is so bad, why is it not in list of 613 Mitzvos?

If masturbation is, as stated in the Shulchan Oruch (Even HaEzer 23:1), "the worst sin in the Torah", then why is it not listed in any of the various lists of 613 Mitzvos and why is there no verse in ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Which mitzvah is repeated the most times in the Chumash?

I have learned that not mixing milk and meat is mentioned 3 times in the chumash, and because of this we learn 3 different laws. I also found out today that the law "not to follow the ways of the ...
16
votes
3answers
510 views

The Mitzva of Peru U'Revu (Reproduction) - when does it start?

The first commandment in the Torah is Peru U'Revu, the commandment to "be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28). When does the obligation to fulfill this commandment begin? Does the Mitzva of Peru U'...
15
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8answers
573 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 ...
15
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2answers
500 views

Do people have an effect on the mood of God?

If a person commits idolatry or fornication he is sinful. Not only that, but the curse of Hashem is with that person. On the other hand, if a person does a lot of mitswots (commandments) and believes ...
15
votes
4answers
380 views

A practical joke that leads to a mitzvah

When I was in Yeshiva, someone somewhere in Klal Yisrael played a practical joke. Sometime during the week of Parshas Vayeishev, a text message went around saying something to the effect of "a 17 ...
14
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3answers
579 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 ...
14
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4answers
520 views

What is the source for the mitzvah of kiruv?

Is kiruv a mitzvah? Is it biblical or rabbinic? Is there any reason it should supersede other mitzvot? what are the sources in chazal and halacha relating to kiruv? related: Kiruv and halachik ...
14
votes
4answers
510 views

Can a single-parent father be exempt from time-bound mitzvot?

Rabbis such as Abudraham have explained a woman's exemption from positive time-bound commandments (mitzvot shehazman grama) in terms of a woman's ongoing and preliminary role in supporting her ...
13
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2answers
873 views

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 ...
13
votes
2answers
216 views

Is there a model of reconciliation in the Tanach?

Monica asked an excellent question about how to correct someone who posts something objectionable on a public forum. I was struck by the suggestion that the usual course of action was "to take the ...
13
votes
2answers
454 views

Why isn't there a single, centralized Sanhedrin today?

It seems that many mitzvot in the Torah are opened to interpretation in some way, potentially subject to ruling by the Sanhedrin. And some mitzvot (examples below) seem to require the presence of the ...
12
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5answers
725 views

Intrinsic reasons for being observant

If a person doesn't care much about the reward in Olam Habah, what reasons does he have for being religious (learning torah and observing the mitzvot)? As a parable, a businessman might not care ...
12
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3answers
1k views

Are there required “ritual/daily” prayers in Judaism?

I have a question about the daily prayers of Judaism. I noticed on my trip to Jerusalem that a lot of those practicing Judaism got up at a certain time in the morning on the plane and faced a wall and ...
12
votes
1answer
212 views

Discrepancy between Sefer HaMitzvos and Sefer Hachinuch

The Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvos, Lo Saaseh 148 writes that a non Kohen who eats kodshim breaks a negative mitzvah: שהזהירנו שלא לאכול זר מבשר קדשי הקדשים. והוא אמרו יתעלה וזר לא יאכל כי קדש הם. ואינו ...
12
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2answers
284 views

Why are most mitzvas impossible to keep?

Nowadays, one can only keep so many Mitzvos (271). That is less than half of the commandments of the Torah. I don't know if there is any statistic regarding how many Psukim discuss currently relevant ...
12
votes
5answers
197 views

Why can't we distribute mitzvah obligations around the community?

How do we know from the Torah that it would not be sufficient just to have some people doing davening, others doing negel vasser, others doing tzitzit, others doing hachnosas kallah, others doing ...
12
votes
1answer
283 views

What defines “on this earth” from a halachic standpoint?

Rabbi Ben-Zion Firrer asked whether Torah Law must be observed in space, since Deuteronomy 12:1 says one should follow the Commandments "all of the days which you are alive on this earth." What ...
12
votes
2answers
153 views

In the Talmud is there a way to distinguish when a verse is brought as מקור or אסמכתא?

The Talmud is full of the standard procedure of the Sages interpreting Tanakh verses to learn various laws and behaviors. Is there a way to tell when a Rabbi cites a Pasuk as a traditionally known ...
12
votes
2answers
782 views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
196 views

Why does “aseh doche lo saaseh”?

There is a halachic principle that עשה דוחה לא תעשה - when a positive and negative mitzvah conflict, we obey the positive one. The Talmud learns this out of pesukim, but what is the hashkafic/...
11
votes
2answers
332 views

Is there an imperative to have a fancy menorah?

Is it considered a meritorious practice to have a fancy/expensive/large menorah? Normally the imperative to beautify mitzvos is related to the mitzvah item itself (e.g. talis, tefillin, esrog), so ...
11
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3answers
185 views

How does my having someone in mind when I learn help them?

Many times, as a merit for a recovery for someone sick or someone in need, I have been asked to have that person in mind when I learn. In some places, they will put up a sign asking to have a certain ...
10
votes
2answers
286 views

Eating outside of a Sukkah - Negative or Positive commandment?

On Sukkoth we are required to dwell in a Sukkah, which is generally minimally defined as at least eating our meals (which in turn is generally minimally defined as grain-based products) inside the ...
10
votes
6answers
319 views

“עם לבן גרתי”? Really? “עם לבן ברתי” maybe

Rashi brings a gematria at the beginning of Parshas Vayishlach: גרתי בגימטריא תרי"ג, כלומר, עם לבן הרשע גרתי, ותרי"ג מצות שמרתי, ולא למדתי ממעשיו הרעים Now, if one takes this literally, it is ...
10
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3answers
644 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
408 views

Is gezel shainah a real thing?

I have heard people say things like "don't wake him up that's gezel shainah". I would like to know if that phrase has any basis in halacha and if so what are the parameters? For example if I wake ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Should women eat in the Sukkah?

Is there any inyan for a woman to eat in the sukkah. I know they're not required (after all, it's a mitzvas asei shehazeman grama [מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא]), but I still know many women who do. Is this ...
10
votes
3answers
358 views

In regards to Torah and Rabbinical writings, how does “honor your father and mother” work when you've been raised in an abusive household?

This is a question I have always had a hard time getting an answer for and I was hoping somebody would be able to explain it. Honoring your parents is one of the most basic mitzvah in all of Judaism....
10
votes
2answers
374 views

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?
10
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4answers
259 views

Minimum Requirement of Love your Neighbor

What is the minimum requirement to not be transgressing the mitzva of "ואהבת לריעך כמוך" "love your fellow as yourself" (Lev. 19:18)? For example, must one actively try to love others or it is enough ...
10
votes
1answer
363 views

Where are we commanded to wrap ourselves in Tzitzit?

When we put on a tallit, we say a blessing (copied from here) Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'...
9
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
9
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2answers
355 views

connection of obligation to keep mitzvos and sexual maturity

Does anybody know why a boy is obligated to keep mitzvos after he gains sexual maturity (13 years old)? How is the possibility of fathering children connected to that? Thanks.
9
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2answers
459 views

Visiting Israel: A Mitzvah?

Is visiting Israel a Mitzvah? (visiting as opposed to living) Just some points I would hope an answer to cover: Was it a mitzvah back then? Is it still a mitzvah nowadays? Does the mitzvah apply ...
9
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3answers
200 views

Why are there no special mitzvahs of Shavuos

Why is there no Mitzvas Hayom on Shavuos (For example, on Sukkos there is a commandment of shaking the Lulav, on Rosh Hashanh one must blow the Shofar, on Purim one must read the Meggilah, on Chanukah ...
9
votes
1answer
651 views

Is modesty a positive or negative commandment?

Given that: There are two types of Mitzvoth (commandments), 'Aseh and Lo Ta'aseh (positive and negative; ie., "Thou Shalt" and "Thou Shalt Not"). a. Positive commandments, with some exceptions can ...
9
votes
3answers
170 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
9
votes
2answers
252 views

Does the mitzvah to return a lost object apply to aveirah items?

I recently saw a flyer that quoted from R' Chaim Kanievsky, Shlita as saying that if one find a smartphone that is not "kosher" there is no mitzvah obligation to return it. Is this in fact the halacha;...
9
votes
1answer
116 views

Why is remembering the Exodus fulfilled by Shema and not first parashah of tefillin or Song of the Sea?

I was taught we fulfill the daily commandment to remember the exodus from Egypt at the end of the Shema, when we read: אֲנִ֞י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר הוֹצֵ֤אתִי אֶתְכֶם֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם ...
9
votes
2answers
186 views

Where did the Semag Go?

Premise - the Semag was one of the popular/accepted works by a Rishon, and thus was chosen to be placed in the Ein Mishpat/Ner Mitzvah with Rambam and Tur. The Semak was written based off of it, as ...
9
votes
3answers
450 views

If a person isn't sure he is Jewish, does he have to keep Mitzvot?

Let's say that a person has a reason to think his mother might be Jewish (there is some evidence, but only a little), and it is likely that the person will never be able to know for sure. In such a ...
9
votes
2answers
113 views

Is it still tzedakah if it is returned?

If a poor person asks for charity and I give some money to that person, but he then returns it to me, (because he doesn't feel it is enough, or any other reason) have I accomplished the mitzvah of ...