Questions tagged [taamei-mitzvot-reasons]

reasons (as best as we can understand them) for the Mitzvot/Commandments

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46
votes
8answers
4k views

What is the point of having a rapist marry the woman he raped?

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (JPS) 28  If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with ...
22
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7answers
801 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 ...
20
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5answers
2k views

What does "to confuse the Satan" mean and why does it work?

There are several things we don't do in order "to confuse the Satan", like not blowing Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashana. How does it help? Does Satan not realize that Rosh Hashana didn't pass yet? He ...
19
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5answers
4k views

Why can't a woman demand a divorce?

The halacha as I understand it is that only the man can take the final decision on divorce. I hear there are workarounds, but conceptually - why is that so? Why can't a woman decide by herself to ...
15
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2answers
580 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
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2answers
3k views

Why do Fish not need Shechita?

In order to eat "regular" Kosher animals, there is a requirement for the animal to undergo Shechita (ritual slaughter). If an animal were to be killed / die without Shechita it is forbidden to be ...
14
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5answers
981 views

Why does God hate sexual immorality?

After failing to curse the Jewish people, Bilaam advised Balak to lure the Jews into sexual immorality "for their God hates zimah" (Sanhedrin 106a). We also find that many cases of forbidden relations ...
14
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4answers
997 views

Why is giluey arayos one of the big 3?

I get why murder and idol worship are things you have to give your life up for. But why is giluy arayos - sexual sin so fundamental as to require a person to give up one's life? I'm looking for a ...
14
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3answers
6k views

Why shouldn't Gentiles keep Shabbat?

I know little about Judaism and it's a first time question, so please forgive any mistakes. According to this question non-Jews are forbidden from keeping Shabbat. What is the reasoning behind this? ...
13
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2answers
8k views

Why are we forbidden to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur

Why are we forbidden to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur? Is it because leather shoes are a sign of wealth, or comfort; or does it have some thing to do with cruelty to animals?
13
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1answer
202 views

Other reasons to start teaching children with Vayikra

The Midrash (Tanchuma Tzav #14, Vayikra Rabbah 7:3) advises one to start teaching their children with parshas Vayikra, since the korbonos are pure, just like children are pure. This is brought by the ...
12
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5answers
2k views

Why does the Torah forbid interest only on loans to Jews?

Why aren't we allowed to charge a Jew interest but we're allowed to charge a non-Jew?
12
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5answers
2k views

Why wool and linen?

Shatnez is the prohibition of wearing clothing that contains both wool and linen. I understand that the Torah tells us that the two materials are specfiically wool and linen, which is a perfectly ...
11
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10answers
2k views

What is the problem with dogs?

Deuteronomy 23:19: לֹא תָבִיא אֶתְנַן זוֹנָה וּמְחִיר כֶּלֶב בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְכָל נֶדֶר כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ גַּם שְׁנֵיהֶם Why does the Torah have a problem with using the ...
11
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4answers
331 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
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3answers
1k views

Why do accidental killers sent to arei miklat go free after the Kohen Gadol dies?

When someone kills accidentaly he is sent to live in an ir miklat ("city of refuge") until the Kohen Gadol ("High Priest") dies. This seems like an arbitrary time. What does the Kohen Gadol's death ...
11
votes
4answers
554 views

Why do we beat the arava?

The gemarah (Succah 44a-b) indicates that we beat (or according to Rashi, wave) the arava on Hoshana Rabba, what is the symbolic or theological reason behind doing this?
11
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3answers
717 views

Why was an imperfect world instructed in capital punishment?

So, according to wikipedia (I know... but still it was the best source I could find) Leading rabbis in Reform Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Orthodox Judaism tend to hold that the death penalty ...
10
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4answers
321 views

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום?

The gemara in Berachos 8a-b states: אמר רב הונא בר יהודה אמר רבי אמי לעולם ישלים אדם פרשיותיו עם הצבור שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום [...] שכל המשלים פרשיותיו עם הצבור מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו Rav ...
10
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4answers
2k views

What is the purpose of the goat for Azazel, as opposed to conventional offerings?

I've long been confused by the two goats on Yom Kippur. The kohein gadol confesses his and his house's sins on the bull that is offered; in addition, there is a goat that is offered (without ...
10
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2answers
2k views

Why is alcohol not prohibited?

I came across a post on Mi Yodea about the Torah approach to alcohol and a lot of it seems pretty negative. For example, Brachot 40a - 'grapes cause sorrow to the world', Yoma 76 - wine is called יין ...
10
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1answer
206 views

What does a tahara accomplish for a dead person?

What does a tahara, the process of washing and dressing a dead person, accomplish spiritually for the meis?
10
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2answers
272 views

Why did God give the Rabbis so much power?

The Torah demands that we adhere to the laws implemented by the Rabbis (I think the source is "don't veer from what they tell you to the right or to the left"). This has given the Rabbis far-reaching ...
9
votes
3answers
482 views

Does kosher mean healthy?

What is the relation between kosher and healthiness? G-d wants us to eat properly but also to be healthy. For example, it is better to try not to eat too much meat (even if it's kosher), and more ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do/did Jews sacrifice animals?

What's the purpose of sacrificing animals in Jewish tradition/law?
9
votes
1answer
785 views

Why is chillul Shabbat considered so wicked?

There is a mitzvah deoraita (Biblical commandment) to bury a person executed by bet din (Jewish court of law). Similarly, there is the law that a righteous person should not be buried next to a wicked ...
8
votes
2answers
195 views

how to describe to a jew what tefillin is?

BH i very often have the merit of putting tefillin on jews that have never put it on. how do i describe to them what it does spiritually?
8
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2answers
234 views

Beis Shammai's dinar for kiddushin - philosophy?

The Mishna in Kiddushin (1:1) outlines a machlokes regarding the minimum amount of money necessary to effect kiddushin (i.e. create a marriage). According to Beis Hillel, the amount of money (or ...
8
votes
3answers
475 views

Why 1 box for the tefillin shel yad and 4 boxes for the shel rosh?

Why does the tefillin shel yad (hand) have 1 box and the shel rosh (head) have 4 boxes? I know it's because of the physical "structure", i.e. - the yad has 1 parchment and the rosh has 4 separate ...
8
votes
3answers
268 views

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?

Why is the Shofar sounded on Rosh Hashanah?
8
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2answers
220 views

Dictionary of symbology in Kodshim and Taharot

I'm wondering if anyone has ever put together a book that lists all the different elements that can come up in the realms of Kodshim and Taharot (e.g. bulls, the number seven, water, slaughtering, etc....
8
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3answers
4k views

What's the reason of using Yad in reading Torah?

I heard from a Bengali writing - just a single line that - Jews fear their God that much that they even fear to touch the God's word. Then I searched and found that Jews use Yad when they read Torah. ...
8
votes
1answer
444 views

Shiluach haKen and character

A number of reasons are given for sending away the mother bird before taking her eggs/young. The Rambam says it is for the mercy on the mother bird. The Ramban says it is to perfect our own mercy. ...
8
votes
1answer
125 views

Why do we specifically skip Lo Lanu and Ahavti?

On those days on which we skip part of Hallel (i.e. Rosh Chodesh and the last six days of Pesach), why were the first pieces of Tehillim 115 and 116 (Lo Lanu and Ahavti) the pieces chosen to be ...
8
votes
1answer
99 views

Why is there no mitzvah for an individual to write his own mezuzah?

Ramba"m states that there is a mitzvah for every individual to write his own Torah. This mitzvah can be accomplished by writing one letter. Why is there no mitvah for writing a mezuza. It seems that ...
8
votes
1answer
80 views

What was the significance of Pomegranates?

What was the significance of Pomegranates on the Kohen Gadol's "Me'il"? Why specifically Pomegranates and not any other shape?
8
votes
1answer
101 views

Why don't we affix the Mezuza unrolled?

If the Mezuza were placed on the doorpost unrolled (in a suitable protective wrapping) one would be able to see the words and be inspired. Why don't we do this? Maybe it was because of the state ...
8
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3answers
385 views

Issurei arayos worse than rape

Why does the Torah treat forbidden relationships, even when consensual, more seriously, from our perspective, than it treats rape?
8
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5answers
495 views

What is the logical explanation for קם ליה בדרבה מיניה?

HodofHod: In essence, the idea is this: If a person does one act, and with that one act incurs two different kinds of penalties, we only apply the stricter one. So if a person (for example) ...
8
votes
3answers
301 views

Why is a female heiress allowed to marry out of the tribe?

In Bamidbar 27:7, Rashi says that the commandment in Bamidbar 36:7 (That daughters who inherit from their father must marry in that tribe) was only for the Generation that entered the land. The ...
7
votes
4answers
922 views

Why is the foreskin removed?

Why is the foreskin removed? God gave it men, did God also tell them to have it removed?
7
votes
4answers
374 views

What are we "celebrating" on Shmini Etzeres?

According to the Gemorah in Sukkah Daf 48a Shmini Etzeres is a Chag in and of itself. However what exactly is the "chag" of Shmini Etzeres. Sukkos we are commemorating the Anei HaKavod, Pesach is ...
7
votes
4answers
861 views

Why do korbanot require/allow exceptions from Shabbat restrictions?

Someone recently asked me why we keep Shabbat restrictions now if violation of those restrictions was clearly necessary to burn korbanot in the Beit Hamikdash. My knee-jerk response is: God said so. ...
7
votes
2answers
245 views

Why is Shavuos all alone?

Why is it that, out of the 16 days of non-High Holiday biblical festivals (7 days of Pesach + 1 day of Shavuos + 7 days of Sukkos + 1 day of Shemini Atzeres), only the single day of Shavuos is without ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Why can't an illegitimate child enter the temple?

Deuteronomy 23:3: A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD. Why can't an illegitimate child enter ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Passover Lamb: Why is the bone not broken?

The Torah in Exodus 12:46 teaches us the prohibition of breaking a bone from the Passover lamb: בְּבַ֤יִת אֶחָד֙ יֵאָכֵ֔ל לֹא־תוֹצִ֧יא מִן־הַבַּ֛יִת מִן־הַבָּשָׂ֖ר ח֑וּצָה וְעֶ֖צֶם לֹ֥א תִשְׁבְּרוּ־בֽוֹ׃ It ...
7
votes
2answers
838 views

Why must a Yoledet, a woman who just gave birth, bring a sin offering?

Why must a יולדת bring a sin offering? What does she need כפרה for? As it says in Vayikra 12:6-7: וּבִמְלֹאת יְמֵי טָהֳרָהּ לְבֵן אוֹ לְבַת תָּבִיא כֶּבֶשׂ בֶּן שְׁנָתוֹ לְעֹלָה וּבֶן יוֹנָה אוֹ ...
7
votes
1answer
178 views

Why do we sit in the sukkah in the autumn?

I remember hearing at some point that there's a disagreement between the Ashkenazi and Sefardi rishonim regarding why we sit in the sukkah in the autumn: Ashkenaz - Because we love God, so we go out ...
7
votes
1answer
73 views

Why was Shaatnez used in making the Mishkan?

(Someone else asked a question like this and deleted it while I was writing my answer, so I'm reposting the question.) The tapestries of the Mishkan were made of wool and linen, as were the priestly ...
7
votes
2answers
218 views

Why do different people have different levels of mitzvah obligation?

If the point of giving us mitzvot is to allow us to earn a reward in olam haba and to perfect creation (there's all of Jewish philosophy boiled down into 102 characters), why wouldn't all Jewish ...

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