Selected Topics from: S. Schechter, Aspects of Rabbinic Theology

The Torah in Its Aspect of Law (Mizwoth):

The Tradition about 613 Commandments:

TB Makkot 33b:

Rabbi Simlai expounded:
Six hundred and thirteen commandments were spoken to Moses.
Three hundered and sixty five negative commandments, corresponding to the number of days in the solar year;
and two hundred and forty-eight positive commandments, corresponding to the limbs in a human body.

Says Rav Hamnuna: What is the Biblical source?
"Moses commanded us a law [Torah], even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Deuteronomy 33:)--
The numerical value of the word "Torah" totals 611.
"I am [the Lord thy God, etc." (Exodus 20:2) and "Thou shalt have no [other gods before me]" (Exodus 20:3) we heard directly from the Almighty.

Schechter refutes the Christian accusation that obeying so many commandments is "burdensome" [cf. Paul: "the curse of the law"].


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