Judaism's 613 commandments

I read with some surprise yesterday that Judaism has 613 commandments (mitzvot). How did we Christians pare them down to 10? What about the other 603? Are we in some trouble here?

A lot of them are place/event specific, some only for men, some only for women etc, etc, so the concept of 613 commandments is a bit manufactured - just a list of the various rules to be found in the Torah whether or not they’re generally applicable.

Good news for non-jews! We get to be lazy and we only have to follow 7 according to Jewish theology.


I have a Jewish friend who’s rather stunned that someone would ever want to become Jewish - much easier to follow 7 laws than 613.

Wonderful for obsessive-compulsives though. :smiley:

Mille grazie Kaninchen. I knew I could count on you.

Ah yes, the Noahide (spelling?) laws.

I have a Jewish friend who’s rather stunned that someone would ever want to become Jewish - much easier to follow 7 laws than 613.

Your comment reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s dentist Tim Watley converts to Judaism – for the jokes.

I read somewhere that the numerical value of the word TORAH equals 613. ?

Here’s a list of all of them:


The Ten Commandments are, in a matter of speaking, a paraphrased form of the 613
commandments. There are many ways to commit idolatry, adultery, etc, many ways
to break the Sabbath, and so forth.

It’s like, “Only Ten? They look simple enough,” then God says, “Oh really? Here is
what you have to do to perfectly keep my commandments…” so it’s more detailed
is all.

Seven Deadly Sins also, many ways to commit any one of them, but if we try to
avoid each of the deadly sins, we avoid committing a whole host of other sins.

So to honor the Sabbath (as the Ten Commandments say) is to obey yet another
whole host of commandments.

Thanks for that. They sound either very aspirational (“honor the old and wise”) or very pragmatic (“circumcise the young”). Or almost doctrinal (“know that G-d is one”).

There are 613 mitzvot (“commandments”) Everything that God says to do, or not do, is a mitzvah. The 10 commandments are, in Hebrew, the “esrim devarim” (the “ten things”). They are the most important of the mitzvot (the plural of mitzvah).

Is this word mitzva the same mitzva that means blessing?

Keep in mind that the Jews have the Talmud - volumes and volumes of commentary compiled over a 600 year period - to explain the practical application of the 613 commandments in everyday life.

The Talmud covers everything from divorce to whether you are allowed to trim your neighbor’s tree if it hangs over the fence into your yard.

And then they have Rabbis to explain the practical application of the Talmud!



… whence comes the adjective “talmudic” meaning (more or less) splitting fine hairs, I believe, in reference to the fine degrees of measure-taking that the Talmud exhibits.

Yes; mitzvah really means “commandment” but if you do something nice it’s referred to as a mitzvah, since we are commanded to be kind to people. So it’s a blessing to do kindnesses.

“Bar Mitzvah” means son of the commandment" and marks the occasion when a boy becomes a man, responsible for keeping all the commandments.

Our Jewish friends can correct me if need be - I’m Catholic, but studied Judaism for years in my religious studies. :slight_smile:

berakah is the Hebrew for blessing

In our Bible, the book of Baruch, his name means blessed

The Jewish people believe that there were the 10 Commandments handed down by G-d to the people through Moshe but that throughout the entire Torah, there are 613 mitzvah or commands of G-d. I have even heard it say somewhere that the first set of commandments that Moshe broke on Mt. Sinai had all these commands on them but were shortened in the next set. Who knows…

God bless!

We are not under the law but under grace.

The law has done little good for the jews who have failed to keep it and continue to fail to keep it.

Noahide is correct.

Because it is an Hebraic transliteration, Noachide would also be correct.


As is the name Barack, as in…:):):):):slight_smile:


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