We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Mitzvah?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At CulturalWorld.org, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In Jewish tradition, the term “mitzvah” describes a commandment from God. There are 613 mitzvot, divided into positive and negative mitzvot. Positive mitzvot are commandments which dictate that the faithful must do something, such as donating to charity or respecting parents. Negative commandments are explicit instructions about things which people should not do, like kidnapping and murdering. These commandments are rooted in the Torah, the religious text which is the foundation of Judaism.

In addition to being used to refer to these 613 commandments, the term “mitzvah” also more generally means a worthy, good, or kind deed. Many people of the Jewish faith believe that they should engage in mitzvot as often as possible as part of an expression of their faith, affirming their connection to God on a regular basis by doing acts of kindness in His name. A mitzvah can be large or small, with the intent of doing good being the focal point of the action.

Any number of actions could be considered a mitzvah. One could drive elderly people to medical appointments, donate to an arts organization, or volunteer at an animal shelter, for instance. The ability to use good deeds to connect with God allows people who are otherwise disadvantaged to establish a relationship with God and contribute to their communities. Homeless people, for instance, could not make tithes or donations, but they could volunteer to help collect garbage in the streets, or perform other mitzvot which benefit their communities.

Many religions have a long tradition of charity and encouraging good deeds, and Judaism is no exception. Acts of kindness to others are viewed as a good service, and they are encouraged among people of all ages. Even a small action, such as engaging in the common courtesy of holding a door open for someone else, or stopping to assist at an accident, could be viewed as a mitzvah. Some people try to make a regular habit of engaging in mitzvot, picking a particular day a week to volunteer with an organization, bring meals or companionship to someone who is housebound, and so forth.

The need to engage in acts of kindness is specifically spelled out in the 613 mitzvot, and those acts of kindness can be for any living organism, not just a human being. Rendering assistance to animals in need of assistance is a mitzvah, with one even dictating that people should to assist beasts of burden who have collapsed under a heavy load.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a CulturalWorld.org researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By Tomislav — On Sep 17, 2011

@Monika - I was astonished at the number of commandments too. I hope people aren't required to know all of them, but I guess it is like anything else, if you are determined to learn it, you probably will!

I am not Jewish, nor do I know that much about the Jewish religion, but I do believe this is a good idea to do on a regular basis.

We should all help each other out, and help animals out as well. I think it is nice that they include the smaller nice tasks as mitzvahs too, like the simple task of opening the door for someone else.

Even just smiling at others and as much as possible can go a long way. It will put you in a better mood, and usually put others in a better mood to. Just acknowledging someone and saying something as simple as "hi" can make a big difference in people's lives.

I think having at least one day a week dedicated to doing good deeds for others is great! If at all possible we should do good deeds for people every chance we get.

Since I am a Christian, I believe God is the one to be praised for these acts of kindness. Of course if someone does something nice for you, you should be appreciative and thankful to them as well as God.

If you are doing the good deeds, you shouldn't get conceited. Remember God is the one who made the best possible.

By Monika — On Sep 17, 2011

@indemnifyme - The idea of a miztvah does sound like a nice one. I'm a little bit blown away by these 613 rules commandments though. How does a person ever remember them all?

By indemnifyme — On Sep 16, 2011

I'm not very familiar with the Jewish faith, but I think the idea of a mitzvah is a very nice one. If everyone did a small act of kindness every day, the world would be a much better place.

I also think it's nice the idea of a mitzvah can include animals too. I have a few friends that do a lot of volunteer work at animal shelters and I think that should "count" as much as good deed towards a person does.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

CulturalWorld.org, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.