How many Jewish laws are there? It’s a question that has been asked countless times, and it’s one that doesn’t have a definitive answer.
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The 613 Mitzvot
The 613 mitzvot are the cornerstone of Jewish life and law. They are divided into two categories: the 365 negative commandments, which prohibit certain acts, and the 248 positive commandments, which require certain acts. The negative commandments are further subdivided into those that apply only to men and those that apply only to women; the positive commandments are similarly subdivided.
The 7 Noahide Laws
All of humanity is descended from Noah and his family, who survived the Flood. Because of this, all people are obligated to uphold the Seven Noahide Laws, which were given to Noah and his descendants.
The Seven Noahide Laws are:
1. Do not deny God.
2. Do not blaspheme God.
3. Do not murder.
4. Do not engage in sexual relations outside of marriage.
5. Do not steal.
6. Do not eat from a live animal.
7. Establish courts of law to ensure obedience to the first six laws
The 10 Commandments
There are 10 main Jewish laws, also known as the 10 Commandments. These laws are the foundation of Jewish morality and ethics, and are still relevant to Jews today. They are:
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make for yourselves an idol.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5. Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor
The 13 Principles of Faith
There are 13 principles of faith in Judaism. These principles build upon the Shema, which is the foundational statement of Judaism that declares belief in one God. The 13 principles come from Maimonides, a 12th century rabbi and philosopher. The principles are designed to codify Jewish beliefs and clarify issues of Jewish morality.
The 48 Ways to Acquire Torah
There are 48 ways to acquire Torah, according to Rabbi Akiva. They are:
1. By being born into a Jewish family;
2. By being circumscribed;
3. By being redeemed;
4. By being physically anointed with the oil of sanctification;
5. By hearing the blast of the shofar;
6. By witnessing alev (the waving of the lulav and etrog);
7. By beholding the nissuin (the ceremonial marriage);
8. By partaking of the Passover offering;
9. By studying Torah day and night;
10. By serving great scholars;
11. By sitting in front of them (to study);
12. By acting according to their instructions;
13. One who is afflicted with leprosy, skin disease, or anything similar which causes him to be excommunicated from mankind – if he accepts upon himself the rulings of the Torah, even though he has not been instructed by anyone, he merits acquiring it;
14 . One who is righteous among the nations of the world – if he accepts upon himself the rulings of the Torah, even though he has not been instructed by anyone, he merits acquiring it Aaron and his sons were included in this (they were righteous and acquired Torah without being instructed).
The 248 Positive Commandments
There are 248 positive commandments in the Torah, also known as the mitzvot. These are commandments that Jews are required to fulfill. The mitzvot are divided into categories, including those relating to God, ethical conduct, civil law, sexual practice, and ritual practice.
The 365 Negative Commandments
The basic Jewish principle is that there is one God who wants us to obey His will, as expressed in the Torah.
“Do not follow the majority in doing evil” (Exodus 23:2). The Sages explain that even if everyone around you is doing something wrong, you should not do it just because it’s popular. You should have enough self-respect to stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone.
There are said to be 613 commandments in the Torah, 248 positive (“Do this!”) and 365 negative (“Don’t do this!”). Actually, there are many more mitzvot in the Talmud and rabbinic literature, but these are the ones that form the basis of Jewish law.
The 613th Commandment – The Mitzvah of Loving G-d
The 613th and last of the commandments given in the Torah is the mitzvah of loving G-d. This seems like a rather vague and personal commandment, but it is actually very specific. We are told in the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:5) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”
The Talmud (Sotah 14a) tells us that there are three things that we must do in order to fulfill this commandment:
1) We must learn about G-d.
2) We must recognize G-d’s greatness.
3) We must serve G-d.
The first step, learning about G-d, is accomplished by studying His Torah and His laws. The second step, recognizing G-d’s greatness, is accomplished by acknowledging that He is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe and that everything we have comes from Him. The third step, serving G-d, is accomplished by obeying His commandments and doing His will.
The Talmud – The Oral Law
The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the basis of Jewish religious law. It consists of the Mishnah, a collection of rabbinic oral traditions, and the Gemara, a commentary on the Mishnah. The Talmud contains 613 mitzvot (commandments), which are divided into positive commandments (“Thou shalt”) and negative commandments (“Thou shalt not”).
The Kabbalah – The Mystical Tradition
The Kabbalah is the mystical tradition of Judaism. It is a set of teachings that aim to explain the relationship between God and the universe.
There are many different schools of thought within the Kabbalah, but all of them agree on certain basic principles. One of these is that there are 613 Jewish Laws, which are divided into 248 positive commandments (things we should do) and 365 negative commandments (things we should not do).
The Kabbalah also teaches that there is a spiritual root to every one of these laws. Each law is seen as a path that leads us closer to God. By following these laws, we can become more spiritually aware and attuned to the divine presence in our lives.