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23

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 performed on the Sabbath; there is no necessity to receive a license from the court. The more zealous one is [in this regard], the more praiseworthy. (2.16) ...


20

The Semak, in his list of the 613 Commandments, counts male masturbation as a Biblical prohibition in Negative Command #292.


18

A non-Jew certainly may wear tefillin (in other words, there is no law against them doing so), but they will not be fulfilling a mitzvah. From that perspective, they might be viewed in the same way that one views a Jewish woman who lays tefillin: the Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 38:3) exempts her but allows her to wear them if she wishes. Note, however, that ...


18

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 to me. I used the Mishneh LaMelech's Derech Mitzvosecha § 1, this article, and the Ramban's summary at the end of his Hasagos to help with this list. In ...


18

This discrepancy was noticed by the Radvaz (Shu"t Chelek 3 Simman 585), Mishneh LeMelech (Parshas Derachim, Derech Mitzvoseicha Chelek 4 Simman 467), and the Minchas Chinuch (Mitzvah 467), among others. As mentioned, the Chinuch leaves out the mitzvah against a zar eating terumah, and he replaces it with the prohibition against bringing the korbon pesach on ...


18

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 (1:18) offers the following rule: Any mitzvah which is not entirely in the hands of the one performing it, as it requires the participation of another person ...


17

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 only burning, but uncovered and unforgotten-- allowing it to light up the rest of your life, and the world. Also, this mitzvah uniquely enables the performance ...


14

Very conveniently, the answer lies plainly in one verse. VaYikra (Leviticus) 19:17 states, "Do not hate your brother in your heart; you surely must rebuke your neighbor, but you must not bear sin because of him." (My own translation) Rashi there states: "but You shall not bear a sin on his account: I.e., [in the course of your rebuking your fellow,] do not ...


14

The list of differences can be found in an appendix to the Minchas Chinuch. Ramban includes all of these positive mitzvos, which the Rambam doesn't Mitzvah 1: Positive mitzvah of eating maaser sheni. Mitzvah 2: Positive mitzvah of not eating impure trumah Mitzvah 3: Positive mitzvah of not selling shvi'is fruits Mitzvah 4: Positive mitzvah of settling ...


14

Basically, we don't have the power to declare someone categorically exempt. Abudraham suggested one explanation, but our system of laws categorically says "all men are obligated", "all women are not." If a person is truly in a situation beyond their control, halacha recognize that. If it's five minutes before sunset and a single dad who hasn't yet prayed ...


13

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 people in the process of conversion being required to do more. If so, it's likely a misunderstanding. Once you are studying with a rabbi he will guide you to ...


13

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 לבעילה ראשונה בעילת מצוה Commandment Intercourse It calls it "commandment intercourse" because Scripture says "who has intercourse with you makes you" ...


12

1) See Shabbat 23a, which discusses Menorah on Chanukah: מברך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר של חנוכה והיכן צונו רב אויא אמר מלא תסור רב נחמיה אמר שאל אביך ויגדך זקניך ויאמרו לך Soncino translation: What benediction is uttered? — This: Who sanctified us by His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of Hanukkah. And where did He ...


12

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 – 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments. Rambam tried very hard to calculate the exact 613 mitzvot, and surpassed all his predecessors in this ...


12

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. These are all equally relevant for females. The last one may apply somewhat differently to females and males. There are many other vitally important ...


12

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 רָשָׁע אִוְּתָה רָע" (the soul of a wicked person desires evil), and contrasting those with Chazal's statements such as "לפום צערא אגרא" (the reward is ...


12

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, like all blessings, is an expression of gratitude to God for giving us the good things in life. Studies have shown that regularly expressing gratitude and ...


12

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 is a mitzvah to make fun of Avodah Zarah, it even provides sources! Here it is, with the Davidson Edition translation: ורבנן ההוא לכנות לה שם דתניא ר"א אומר ...


12

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. וְהוּא מַמְצִיא כָּל נִמְצָא. וְכָל הַנִּמְצָאִים מִשָּׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ וּמַה שֶּׁבֵּינֵיהֶם לֹא נִמְצְאוּ אֶלָּא מֵאֲמִתַּת הִמָּצְאוֹ: וְאִם יַעֲלֶה עַל ...


12

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" after its incipit. But it's not traditionally part of the count of official sections. This follows from the traditional count of 53 sections in the ...


11

Maybe that's just it. With exile having been our dominant mode of existence for most of our history, there is a real danger that we'll come to see that as the norm. By having - and learning about - so many mitzvos, with the details richly given, that we can't perform in galus, then that drives home the point that things are not how they should be, which in ...


11

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 those seeking to become obligated, that's an awful lot of learning and testing before the person can enter into the community. A convert is required to agree ...


11

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 you may leave the sukkah under the same circumstances.


11

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: בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוד מַלְכוּתו לְעולָם וָעֶד: Deut. 6 וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת יי אֱלהֶיךָ בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ וּבְכָל מְאדֶךָ: וְהָיוּ הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה ...


11

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 Rav Tuvi bar Rav Kisna raises a contradiction to Rava and asked: We learned in the mishna that anyone who performs one mitzva has goodness bestowed upon ...


11

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 each category:


10

The classic Sefer Chareidim by R' Elazar Azikri (d.1600) catalogs all the mitzvos according to body parts. (R' Elazar Azikri was also the author of the poem, Yedid Nefesh.) An abbreviated version, Kitzur Sefer Chareidim, was written by R' Avraham Danzig, author of the Chayei Adam. The sefer does not attempt to establish a precise one-for-one match for each ...


10

First of all, note that opinions brought in Avnei Nezer 2:500 that you need to have the candles lit in some sort of kli (vessel) and not just loose. According to these opinions, the menora itself is a mitzva object. That said, even if you don't rule that way we have a notion of hiddur mitzva even for things that aren't direct mitzva objects such as the ...


10

"Rama, Orach Chaim 656:1, rules that one must spend up to one-fifth of his assets on order to fulfill a positive [Biblical] mitzvah and his entire fortune in order not to violate a negative [Biblical] commandment." (source) As for negative commandments that are violated by passivity--such as the commandment that you may not allow someone else to die--there ...


10

The Lubavitcher Rebbe says (in a long speech about "Family Planning") that One of the strongest objections is fear of financial inability to support children. Naturally, parents want the best for their children, and fear of being unable to provide adequately is a powerful deterrent to having them. This is a genuine concern -- but based on an assumption ...


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