The 613 Mitzvot (Commandments) of HaShem

Last updated September 05.2014)

Rabbi and noted medical doctor Moses ben-Maimon (also known as Maimonides and Rambam) was born Passover Eve 1135 C.E. and died in Egypt (or Tiberias) on 20th Tevet, December 12, 1204. He was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher, one of the greatest Torah scholars of the Middle Ages, and of all times. His carefully calculated list of the 613 biblical Commandments is still generally accepted as authoritative by Jews of all movements and sects. Among his other achievements is the listing of Thirteen Principles which all Jews are encouraged to accept.

There is of course a problem with any attempt to codify Jewish Law. Religious Jews struggle intimately with HaShem over beliefs and proper observances. Jews want to know why as well be clear on how to properly observe the mitzvot. These Laws guide all Jewish observance. There is no Jewish pope. Each of us determines our own walk with HaShem within the bounderies of Tradition and these Laws. Codifcation sidesteps this process by its very nature. While the correct application of these Laws are debated endlessly (driving on Shabbat for instance, the use of electricity on Shabbat, topics that are not directly mentioned), their intention is generally accepted as binding. It would certainly be inaccurate to view these as "suggestions." These are divine commandments found in Torah. Living them however, applying them to ones daily life, is not always so clear. Books like the Kitzur Schulchan Oruch give more practical direction.

According to this traditional count 248 are mitzvot aseh (“positive commandments” commands to perform certain actions) and 365 are mitzvot lo taaseh (“negative commandments” commands to abstain from certain actions).

These mitzvot only apply to Jews. For non-Jews HaShem has established The Seven Laws.



Signs and Symbols

Prayer and Blessings

Love and Brotherhood

The Poor and Unfortunate

Treatment of Gentiles

Marriage, Divorce and Family

Forbidden Sexual Relations

Times and Seasons

Dietary Laws

Business Practices

Employees, Servants and Slaves

Vows, Oaths and Swearing

The Sabbatical and Jubilee Years

The Court and Judicial Procedure

Injuries and Damages

Property and Property Rights

Criminal Laws

Punishment and Restitution


Idolatry, Idolaters and Idolatrous Practices

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry


The Firstborn

Kohanim and Levites

T'rumah, Tithes and Taxes

The Temple, the Sanctuary and Sacred Objects

Sacrifices and Offerings

Ritual Purity and Impurity

Lepers and Leprosy

The King



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