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While there are various other works titled similarly, the title "Sefer Hamitzvot" without a modifier refers to Maimonides' work. It is a listing of all the commandments of the Torah , with a brief description for each.

In the work, the Rambam lists all the mitzvot traditionally contained in the Torah Pentateuch. Note: For each rule, Maimonides cites many illustrative examples. We present only one or two examples for each rule. The work is the subject of a number of commentaries, including one from Nahmanides , one titled Megillath Esther "Scroll of Esther", by Isaac de Leon , bearing no direct relationship with the Biblical Book of Esther , and others titled Lev Sameach and Kinath Soferim.

In an appendix, Nahmanides lists commandments that might have merited individual inclusion in his estimation. This work is regarded as the most authoritative listing of the commandments, and numerous later works rely on its enumeration some with minor variations. After their promotion by the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson , several of Maimonides's works are studied daily by followers of the Chabad movement.

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In Maimonides ' introduction to the Sefer Hamitzvot "The Book of Commandments" , he states the goal he set to accomplish with authoring this work. The Talmud end of Tractate Makkot tells us that there are biblical precepts— of which are "positive commandments," i. The positive commandments correspond to the limbs in the human body, each limb, as it were, demanding the observance of one commandment. The negative commandments correspond to the days of the solar year, each day enjoining us not to transgress a certain prohibition. While the Talmud gives us these precise numbers , it does not list the positive commandments or the negative ones. Thus, numerous " mitzvah counters" have arisen throughout the generations — many who preceded Maimonides — each one attempting to provide a comprehensive listing of the mitzvot, each one's list differing slightly from all others'. Maimonides prefaces his Sefer Hamitzvot with fourteen guiding principles that allow us to determine which Torah precepts are included in the count, and which are not.


Maimonides' Introduction to Sefer Hamitzvot

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Sefer Hamitzvot


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