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

Section 1 – The first to count the Taryag 1) Bahag – Ba’al Halachos Gedolos (identity disputed, 8th century Babylonia) Life: Most1 say Halachos Gedolos was written by Rav Shimon Kaira in the year 741 ...
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24 votes
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Differences between RaMbaM and RaMbaN's mitzvah count

The following is just my understanding of the sources, and if there are any mistakes (ex: in the Ramban's reasons to disagree with the Rambam, the titles given to mitzvos, etc.), please point them out ...
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Discrepancy between Sefer HaMitzvos and Sefer Hachinuch

This discrepancy was noticed by the Mishneh LaMelech in his Parshas Derachim Derech Mitzvosecha 4:487, and the Minchas Chinuch § 487, among others. As mentioned, the Chinuch leaves out the mitzvah ...
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24 votes
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Making a pikuach nefesh phone call on Yom Kippur - mitzva or something to be avoided?

מְפַקְּחִין פִּקּוּחַ נֶפֶשׁ בְּשַׁבָּת וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לִטּל רְשׁוּת מִבֵּית דִּין. וְהַמַּקְדִּים לְהַצִּיל הַנֶּפֶשׁ הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. [All] activities necessary to save a life should be ...
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23 votes
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Are there any brachos for "touching" something?

R. Bachya (1255–1340) in Kad Ha-Kemach (Kitvei R. Bachya, Chavel ed., p. 166) writes: חוש המישוש לא תיקנו עליו ברכה לפי שאין לחוש הזה חלק בשכל כי כולו גופני היפך השכל The sense of touch has no ...
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18 votes
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Why don't we say a blessing before giving charity?

Great question. A writer from the Houston Community Kollel has surveyed historical answers to this famous question (here) (1) The great medieval commentator Rashba (1235-1310) in his Responsa (1:...
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17 votes

One Jewish Practice

I think you should begin the practice of learning something Jewish every day. This mitzvah is, in my mind, both necessary and sufficient for a Jewish life. Why? Because it keeps your pintele yid not ...
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17 votes

Is there a teaching that states, those who work deserve to be paid?

Wages must be paid to an employee, and paid on time: Vayikra 19:13: לֹֽא־תַעֲשֹׁ֥ק אֶת־רֵֽעֲךָ֖ וְלֹ֣א תִגְזֹ֑ל לֹֽא־תָלִ֞ין פְּעֻלַּ֥ת שָׂכִ֛יר אִתְּךָ֖ עַד־בֹּֽקֶר׃ You shall not defraud your ...
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14 votes

Does the gentile seeking conversion have more obligations than a Noahide Person?

God expects Jews to follow the torah and gentiles to follow the Noachide laws. Until you've converted you're still a gentile and don't have additional heavenly obligations. Perhaps you have heard of ...
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13 votes
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Why is the first time a couple has marital relations called "beilas mitzvah?"

Tosfos, Ketubot 4a: בעילת מצוה. קרי לה בעילת מצוה משום דכתיב כי בועליך עושיך ואמרי' (סנהדרין דף כב:) אין אשה כורתת ברית אלא למי שעושה אותה כלי וע''י כך מידבק בה ובאין לידי פריה ורביה ולהכי קרי לה ...
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13 votes
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Is donating blood a mitzvah?

HaRav Eliezer Waldenberg zt"l has a famous piece in his Tzitz Eliezer (vol 16, siman 23). He notes that it is definitely a mitzvah but one is not obligated (and would in fact be forbidden, if it ...
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12 votes
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Is there a constant Mitzvah for women?

There are six commandments applicable to males at all times: Know there is God. Don't believe in other gods. Belief in unity of God. Love God. Fear God. Don't be lead astray by your eyes and heart. ...
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I'd love to but Hashem doesn't let

The Rambam in Shemoneh Perakim, ch. 6, discusses the preferable attitude towards avoiding aveiros, and references this midrash. After citing sentiments of the Nevi'im, such as (Mishlei 21:10) "נֶפֶשׁ ...
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12 votes

One Jewish Practice

You can learn the blessing of Shehakol and recite it before you take a drink. Once you learn it (and that can take time), it takes about two seconds to say. You can learn the words here. Shehakol, ...
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12 votes
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Source for it being a mitzvah to make fun of Avodah Zarah?

I'm quite surprised that in my below research, I did not see any references to the Gemara in Avodah Zarah 45b-46a (edit: I saw it mentioned as an aside in one source), which not only implies that it ...
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12 votes
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Does Hashem reward you for keeping negative mitzvot?

Mishnah Makkot 3:15: רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, מִמְּקוֹמוֹ הוּא לָמֵד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יח) וְנִכְרְתוּ הַנְּפָשׁוֹת הָעֹשֹׂת וְגוֹ', וְאוֹמֵר (שם) אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם הָאָדָם וָחַי בָּהֶם. הָא, ...
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Is the first of the 10 Commandments considered a mitzvah?

Rambam in Yesodei HaTorah ch. 1 explicitly uses this as the source for the commandment to know of Hashem’s existence. יְסוֹד הַיְסוֹדוֹת וְעַמּוּד הַחָכְמוֹת לֵידַע שֶׁיֵּשׁ שָׁם מָצוּי רִאשׁוֹן. ...
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Lists of chukkim and mishpatim?

In "Chorev" R. Samson Raphael Hirsch divides the Torah into several categories, two of which are mishpatim and chukim. Here is an image of the table of contents, showing which mitzvot are classed in ...
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Why does Chinuch confuse Parashat Nitzavim and Vayelech?

Parashat Vayelekh isn't formally a thing. There is Parashat Nitzavim, and in some years it is read over two weeks. When that happens some people have started calling the second half "Parashat Vayelekh"...
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11 votes
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Only 613 commandments? Can't be!

Ralbag addresses the issue of number of mitzvot in his commentary to Exodus Chapter 12 in the Sixth Lesson. He points out the following: R. Simlai in Makkot 23b expounds that there are 613 mitzvot – ...
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11 votes

How can geirus (conversion to Judaism) be done without the prospective convert knowing at least the basics of ALL the mitzvos?

Viewing geirut as spelling out every detail of the b'rit seems impractical. Even many Jews from birth don't know the basics of all the commandments, and while it's reasonable to have a higher bar for ...
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11 votes

Sukkah: Why not tough it out?

As the Mishnah Berurah there explains, it’s because of תשבו כעין תדורו - one lives in the sukkah as he would in his house. You would leave your house if it was causing you significant discomfort, so ...
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11 votes
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What constitutes the Shema?

Because the literature surrounding the Shema is quite vast, I will bring only general essentials below. Text of the Shema, referenced below: Deut. 6 שְׁמַע יִשרָאֵל יי אֱלהֵינוּ יי אֶחָד: ...
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11 votes
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Source for: Abstaining from sin being considered a mitzvah in Talmud Bavli

Kiddushin 39b: רמי רב טובי בר רב קיסנא לרבא תנן כל העושה מצוה אחת מטיבין לו עשה אין לא עשה לא ורמינהי ישב ולא עבר עבירה נותנים לו שכר כעושה מצוה אמר ליה התם כגון שבא דבר עבירה לידו וניצול הימנה ...
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10 votes

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

The answer is in the passuk itself: “lirayacha” - your fellow, which always comes to include all Jews. The Rambam makes this point explicitly in De’os 4:3: מִצְוָה עַל כָּל אָדָם לֶאֱהֹב אֶת כָּל ...
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10 votes
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Don't do as non-Jews do?

Yes. As discussed in Sahedrin 74b and codified in Halacha, there are "things Jews are not allowed to do, per halacha, simply on the grounds that some non-Jews do it, and not because these things are ...
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10 votes

Does a jail-cell need a mezuzah?

This is actually addressed by the Chida in his Birkei Yosef 286:3. He brings the Bais Hillel(not to be confused with Bais Hillel from the gemara) who holds that a jail is not a dwelling of honor,so ...
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Is it better to do a Mitzvah now or delay to do it better (with more Hiddur) later on?

The Terumas Hadeshen (#35) discusses delaying Kiddush Levana in order to fulfill the obligation in it's hiddur on Motze Shabbos. He discusses whether it is worth delaying a mitzvah for it's hiddur, ...
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10 votes

Is donating blood a mitzvah?

R Abraham S. Abraham, the author of the Nishmat Avraham compendium of medical halacha, writes (vol 2, p. 346) Rav [Shlomo Zalman] Auerbach wrote to me that he also permits donating blood to the blood ...
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9 votes

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

As someone in this category, I would like to remind everyone that this is what psak is for. One cannot be exempted from commandments, a competent rabbi familiar with a single-parent father's ...
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