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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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 Kiddushin (4:14), Rashi on Bereshit 32:5, etc.) in light of the ...
Sam's user avatar
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27 votes
12 answers
4k 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 ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
27 votes
3 answers
10k 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?
Ger's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
8k 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 ...
Menachem's user avatar
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24 votes
7 answers
1k 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 ...
Aryeh's user avatar
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22 votes
5 answers
8k 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 ...
Baruch's user avatar
  • 239
21 votes
7 answers
991 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, ...
Ariel K's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
1k 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?
Seth J's user avatar
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19 votes
3 answers
6k 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 ...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
551 views

Discrepancy between Sefer HaMitzvos and Sefer Hachinuch

The Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvos, Lo Saaseh 148 writes that a non-Kohen who eats kodshim/holy food breaks a negative mitzvah: שהזהירנו שלא לאכול זר מבשר קדשי הקדשים. והוא אמרו יתעלה וזר לא יאכל כי קדש ...
robev's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Differences between RaMbaM and RaMbaN's mitzvah count

I know both the Rambam and Ramban listed all of the 613 mitzvos, and that they differ in some (I think like 16ish?) What are the ones upon which they differ? If possible please include why they differ ...
robev's user avatar
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16 votes
4 answers
981 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 ...
rachav's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why don't we say a blessing before giving charity?

Before doing many mitzvos (commandments), we are required derabanan to say a blessing. Why is this not the same for giving tzedakah (charity)?
Shalom Meisels's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
avi's user avatar
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16 votes
3 answers
676 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'...
Gershon Gold's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
704 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 ...
user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
673 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 ...
zachariah's user avatar
  • 151
15 votes
4 answers
438 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 ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
387 views

Why is there Pesach Sheini - The Second Passover?

What is the primary/basic reason why one has a second chance to bring the Korban Pesach (Passover Sacrifice) on Pesach Sheni (a month after Passover)? Other mitzvos, such as hearing the shofar or ...
Yirmeyahu's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
276 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 ...
Jon Ericson's user avatar
  • 1,017
14 votes
3 answers
859 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 ...
yydl's user avatar
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13 votes
6 answers
800 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 ...
Ani Yodea's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
617 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 ...
Judah Gabriel Himango's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
480 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 ...
SAH's user avatar
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12 votes
7 answers
490 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 ...
jake's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
ironman's user avatar
  • 667
12 votes
4 answers
603 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 ...
user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
410 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 ...
Rabbi Yaakov's user avatar
  • 1,058
12 votes
5 answers
230 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 ...
SAH's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
312 views

Hiddur Mitzvah for a la'av - does it exist?

One of the reasons given for people having long peyos is because there is a prohibition to cut them very short and they are beautifying the mitzvah by letting then grow really long. My thinking that ...
Moshe Steinberg's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
919 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'...
rosends's user avatar
  • 37.9k
12 votes
3 answers
239 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 ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
mil's user avatar
  • 1,973
12 votes
0 answers
242 views

Source for Geonic division of mitzvos

The Rambam and those who follow suit divide the 613 mitzvos into two groups, 248 positive mitzvos and 365 negative mitzvos. This is sourced from Makkos 23b. However, many of the Geonim (for example: ...
robev's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
487 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/...
Ypnypn's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
yydl's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
453 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 ...
not-allowed to change my name's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
289 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 ...
SimchasTorah's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
458 views

Exempt 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. Someone whose ...
robev's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
313 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 ...
Al Berko's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

How many lists of the 613 Mitzvot are there, and who wrote them?

How many different individuals listed the 613 Mitzvot? Who was the first, and who was the most recent?
michael's user avatar
  • 858
10 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is donating blood a mitzvah?

Is donating blood a mitzvah? Are there contemporary sources? I am looking for an answer from a posek, rav, etc.
yisrael's user avatar
  • 981
10 votes
4 answers
666 views

Does a jail-cell need a mezuzah?

Does one in jail need to put a mezuzah on his cell? Assuming this is a standard American jail. If it is a jail owned by a Jew, is there an obligation on the inmate or the owner?
Dr. Shmuel's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
327 views

Are there any brachos for "touching" something?

4 of the 5 senses explicitly have berachos: Taste- Shehakol food, blessings on fruits & vegetables etc (see: OC 202-207) Smell- Pleasant fragrances (OC 216) Hearing- Thunder (MB 227:5) Seeing-...
alicht's user avatar
  • 12.1k
10 votes
2 answers
376 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 ...
Seth J's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
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 ...
NJM's user avatar
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10 votes
6 answers
2k views

Does ‘Love Your Neighbor As Yourself’ apply only to Jews?

This verse is obviously one of the most central & important in the whole Torah. It has helped sustain us as a kind, harmonious, & loving nation for over 3,000 years & has helped introduce ...
Lages's user avatar
  • 1,114
10 votes
4 answers
756 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 ...
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
777 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....
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
637 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?
Hacham Gabriel's user avatar

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