How to Live Jewish: 297 Biblical Commandments

The Torah commands the Jews to observe 613 commandments (248 dos and 365 don’t dos). In 1931 Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan (noting that the majority of the biblical commandments only apply during temple times) published a list of 271 commandments which apply in the present era.


First Page of Rabbi Kagan's book listing the commandments applicable in the modern era
Rabbi Kagan’s book.


This article is an English translation of Rabbi Kagan’s list. Rabbi Kagan lived in Poland and therefore did not list commandments which are only applicable in Israel. In this translation, 26 commandments which apply in Israel have been added at the end of the list making a total of 297 commandments.

Positive Commands (dos):

1.       Believe that there is a G-d (Exodus 20:2)

2.       Believe that G-d is a Unitarian Monotheistic G-d (Deuteronomy 6:4).

3.       Love G-d (Deuteronomy 6:5).

4.       Fear G-d (Deuteronomy 6:13).

5.       Publicly Sanctify G-d’s Name (Leviticus 22:32).

6.       Walk in the ways of G-d (Deuteronomy 28:9)

7.       Pray to G-d Daily (Deuteronomy 6:13)

8.       Tie Tefillin on to the arm (Deuteronomy 6:8)

9.       Place Tefillin on to the head (Deuteronomy 6:8)

10.   Tie Tzitzis onto the corners of a garment (Numbers 15:38).

11.   Read Shema every morning and night (Deuteronomy 6:7)

12.   Fix a mezuza onto the doorways of the home (Deuteronomy 6:9)

13.   Bless G-d after eating bread (Deuteronomy 8:10)

14.   Learn and teach Torah (Deuteronomy 6:7)

15.   Write your own Torah Scroll (Deuteronomy 31:19)

16.   Attach yourself to the Torah Sages (Deuteronomy 10:20)

17.   Stand up before an old man or a Torah Sage (Leviticus 19:32)

18.   Fear the temple and synagogues (Leviticus 19:30)

19.   Pronouce the Kiddush Blessing on Shabbat (Exodus 20:8)

20.   Rest from work on the Shabbat (Exodus 23:12)

21.   Rejoice on the festivals (Deuteronomy 16:14)

22.   Destroy chametz on the 14th of Nissan (Exodus 12:15)

23.   Eat matza on the first night of Passover (Exodus 12:18)

24.   Tell the story of Exodus on the first nigh of Passover (Exodus 13:8)

25.   Rest from work on the first day of Passover (Leviticus 23:7)

26.   Count seven weeks from the second day of Passover (Leviticus 23:16)

27.   Rest from work on the seventh day of Passover (Leviticus 23:8)

28.   Rest from work on Shavuos (Leviticus 23:21)

29.   Rest from work on Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus 23:24).

30.   Hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (Numbers 29:1).

31.   Rest from work on Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:32).

32.   Fast on Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:27).

33.   Repent and verbally confess sins to G-d (Numbers 5:6-7).

34.   Rest from work on the first day of Succos (Leviticus 23:35).

35.   Live in a Sukkah on the seven days of Succos (Leviticus 23:42).

36.   Take the four species on Succos (Leviticus 23:42).

37.   Rest from work on Shemini Atzeres (Leviticus 23:36).

38.   Give charity (Deuteronomy 15:8)

39.   Keep promises (Deuteronomy 23:24).

40.   Observe the laws of nullifications of promises (Numbers 30:3).

41.   Honour your father and mother (Exodus 20:12).

42.   Fear your father and mother (Leviticus 19:3).

43.   Procreate (Genesis 1:28).

44.   Marry with the kiddushin procedure (Deuteronomy 24:1).

45.   Perform levirate marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5).

46.   If levirate marriage is not perform do chalitza (Deuteronomy 25:7-9).

47.   Circumcise every son at eight days old (Genesis 17:12).

48.   Slaughter using shechita method any animal, game, or bird which is to be eaten (Deuteronomy 12:21).

49.   Cover the blood of a bird or game that was slaughtered by shechita (Leviticus 17:13).

50.   Honor a Kohen (Leviticus 21:8).

51.   When slaughtering an animal, the arm, jaws and stomach should be given to a Kohen (Deuteronomy 18:3).

52.   Give the first wool sheared from a sheep to a Kohen (Deuteronomy 18:4).

53.   Sanctify the male firstborns of both humans and animals (Exodus 13:2).

54.   Redeem the firstborn son (Numbers 18:15).

55.   Redeem the male firstborn of a donkey (Exodus 34:20).

56.   If the firstborn donkey isn’t redeemed its neck should be broken (Numbers 15:20).

57.   Take challah from dough and give it to a Kohen (Numbers 15:20).

58.   Kohanim should bless the Jews (Numbers 6:23-26).

59.   A Kohen should become impure while burying close relatives (Leviticus 21:2-3).

60.   Love every Jew like yourself (Leviticus 19:18).

61.   Love a convert (Deuteronomy 10:19).

62.   Lend money to poor Jews (Exodus 22:24).

63.   Give a pawn to its owners when they need it (Deuteronomy 24:13).

64.   Forgive loans in the Sabbatical year (Deuteronomy 15:2).

65.   Allow a worker to eat from the crops he is working with (Deuteronomy 23:25).

66.   Pay a worker on time (Deuteronomy 24:15).

67.   Follow the Torah’s rules for business transactions and judge cases accordingly (Leviticus 25:14).

68.   Return a stolen object (Leviticus 5:23).

69.   Return a lost object (Deuteronomy 22:1).

70.   Help someone else unload an animal which is crouching under its load (Exodus 23:5).

71.   Help someone else place a load on a donkey or on the back of another person (Deuteronomy 22:4).

72.   Reprimand a sinner (Leviticus 19:17).

73.   Follow the Torah’s instructions regarding inheritances (Numbers 27:8).

74.   Send away the mother bird before taking the eggs or chicks (Deuteronomy 22:7).

75.   Make a fence for a roof (Deuteronomy 22:8).

76.   Remember the deed which Amalek did (Deuteronomy 25:17).

77.   Destroy the Amalekites (Deuteronomy 25:19).

Negative commands (don’t dos):

1.       Do not eat the sciatic nerve (Genesis 32:33).

2.       Do not allow Chametz to be seen in Jewish ownership for the seven days of Passover (Exodus 13:7).

3.       Do not allow Chametz to be found in Jewish ownership for seven days of Passover (Exodus 12:19).

4.       Do not eat chametz on Passover (Exodus 13:3).

5.       To not eat a food containing chametz of Passover (Exodus 12:20).

6.       Do not do work on Shabbat (Exodus 20:10).

7.       Do not leave the techum on Shabbat (Exodus 16:29).

8.       Do not consider the possibility of a god other than Hashem (Exodus 20:3).

9.       Do not make an idol for worship (Exodus 20:4).

10.   Do not make an idol for worship even for a gentile (Leviticus 19:4).

11.   Do not bow to an idol (Exodus 20:5).

12.   Do not serve an idol according to its form of worship (Exodus 20:5).

13.   Do not promise in the name of an idol (Exodus 23:13).

14.   Do not seduce a city to idolatry (Exodus 23:13).

15.   Do not eat or drink from anything offered to an idol (Exodus 34:12-15).

16.   Do not turn to follow an idol (Leviticus 19:4).

17.   Do not benefit from items used to decorate an idol (Deuteronomy 7:25).

18.   Do not benefit from an idol, anything offered to it and anything used to serve it (Deuteronomy 7:26).

19.   Do not marry a gentile (Deuteronomy 7:3).

20.   Do not pity idolaters (Deuteronomy 7:2).

21.   Do not follow the gentile fashions and mannerisms (Leviticus 18:3).

22.   Do not listen to a prophet who prophecies in the name of an idol (Deuteronomy 13:4).

23.   Do not seduce anyone to serve an idol (Deuteronomy 13:7-12).

24.   Do not love someone who seduces you to idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:9).

25.   Do not stop hating him (Deuteronomy 13:9).

26.   Do not save someone who seduces to idolatry from danger (Deuteronomy 13:9).

27.   Do not prophecy in the name of an idol (Exodus 23:13).

28.   Do not perform acts of self mortification for an idol or in mourning (Deuteronomy 23:13).

29.   Do not promise in vain (Exodus 20:7).

30.   Do not promise falsely to deny financial liabilities (Leviticus 19:11).

31.   Do no make a false promise (Leviticus 19:12).

32.   Do not murder (Exodus 20:13).

33.   Do not kidnap (Exodus 20:13).

34.   Do not steal money or an object (Leviticus 19:11).

35.   Do not mug (Leviticus 19:13).

36.   Do not deny owing money (Leviticus 19:11).

37.   Do not hold back loans, deposits or workers’ wages (Leviticus 19:13).

38.   Do not delay payment to a worker (Leviticus 19:13).

39.   Do not give false testimony (Exodus 20:13).

40.   Do not pressure someone into selling something you desire (Exodus 20:14).

41.   Do not even consider pressuring someone into selling something you desire (Deuteronomy 5:18).

42.   Do not hold back the food, clothes or marital intimacy from your wife (Exodus 21:10).

43.   Do not hit (Deuteronomy 25:3).

44.   Do not hit parents (Exodus 21:15).

45.   Do not curse another Jew (Leviticus 19:14).

46.   Do not curse parents (Exodus 21:17).

47.   Do not oppress each-other in business transactions (Leviticus 25:14).

48.   Do not oppress someone with words (Leviticus 25:17).

49.   Do not oppress a convert with words (Exodus 22:20).

50.   Do not oppress a convert in finances (Exodus 22:20).

51.   Do not oppress widows and orphans (Exodus 22:21).

52.   Do not ask for a loan to be returned when you know that he doesn’t have the ability to return it (Exodus 22:24).

53.   Do not be involved in a loan which includes interest (Exodus 22:24).

54.   Do not lend money with interest to a Jew (Leviticus 25:37).

55.   Do not borrow money with interest from another Jew (Deuteronomy 23:20).

56.   Do not refrain from lending money because you are worried that the Shemitta year is approaching (Deuteronomy 15:9).

57.   Do not ask for a loan which has passed the Shemitta year (Deuteronomy 15:2).

58.   Do not take as a collateral for a loan anything necessary for food preparation (Deuteronomy 24:6).

59.   Do not forcefully extract a collateral for a loan (Deuteronomy 24:10).

60.   Do not take clothes from a widow as a collateral for a loan (Deuteronomy 24:17).

61.   Do not hold back a collateral from its owner when he needs to use it (Deuteronomy 24:12).

62.   Do not be tightfisted towards the poor (Deuteronomy 15:7).

63.   Do not curse a judge (Exodus 22:27).

64.   Do not appoint an unworthy judge (Deuteronomy 1:17).

65.   Do not hear the claims of one litigant without the other litigant in court too (Exodus 23:1).

66.   Do not be merciful towards a litigant who is poor during a court hearing (Exodus 23:3).

67.   Do not be stringent towards a sinner in his court case (Exodus 23:6).

68.   Do not be biased in the court case of a convert or orphan (Deuteronomy 24:17).

69.   Do not give a false judgement (Leviticus 19:15).

70.   Do not be biased in favour of someone of importance in judgement (Leviticus 19:15).

71.   Do not accept bribes (Exodus 23:8).

72.   Do not fear one of the litigants when making a judgement (Deuteronomy 23:8).

73.   Do not accept the testimony of a single witness (Deuteronomy 19:15).

74.   Do not accept the testimony of a close family member (Deuteronomy 24:16).

75.   Do not accept the testimony of someone known to be a sinner (Exodus 23:1).

76.   Do not cause someone else to stumble in any matter (Leviticus 19:14).

77.   Do not tell someone about the gossip that was said about him (Leviticus 19:16).

78.   Do not hate another Jew (Leviticus 19:17).

79.   Do not embarrass another person (Leviticus 19:17).

80.   Do not take revenge on another person (Leviticus 19:18).

81.   Do not bear a grudge against another person (Leviticus 19:18).

82.   Do not hold back from saving someone from danger (Leviticus 19:16).

83.   Do not do a crime with weights and measures (Leviticus 19:35).

84.   Do not leave in your possession an incorrect measure or weight (Deuteronomy 25:13-14).

85.   Do not move a fence to encroach on another person’s land (Deuteronomy 19:14).

86.   Do not eat an animal carcass (Deuteronomy 14:21).

87.   Do not eat an animal which was mortally wounded (Exodus 22:30).

88.   Do not eat the forbidden fats of an animal (Leviticus 7:23).

89.   Do not eat blood (Leviticus 7:26).

90.   Do not eat the limb of a live animal (Deuteronomy 12:23).

91.   Do not cook milk and meat together (Exodus 23:19).

92.   Do not eat meat which has been cooked with milk (Exodus 34:26).

93.   Do not eat a non-kosher animal (Leviticus 11:4).

94.   Do not eat a non-kosher bird (Leviticus 11:13).

95.   Do not eat a non-kosher fish (Leviticus 11:11).

96.   Do not eat a flying bug (Deuteronomy 14:19).

97.   Do not a ground insect (Leviticus 11:41).

98.   Do not eat a ground worm (Leviticus 11:42).

99.   Do not eat water bugs (Leviticus 11:43).

100. Do not eat insects (Leviticus 11:44).

101. Do not eat bread from new crops before the 16th of Nissan (Leviticus 23:14).  

102.  Do not eat toasted grains from new crops before the 16th of Nissan (Leviticus 23:14). 

103. Do not eat fresh grains from new crops before the 16th of Nissan (Leviticus 23:14). 

104. Do not eat chametz on the 14th of Nissan after midday (Deuteronomy 16:3).

105. Do not eat fruits from a tree for the first three years after it is planted (Leviticus 19:23).

106. Do not eat in the style of the rebellious son (Leviticus 11:26).

107. Do not plant two kinds of seeds in one field (Leviticus 19:19).

108. Do not slaughter an animal and its calve on one day (Leviticus 22:28).

109. Do not redeem the firstborn of a kosher animal (Numbers 18:17).

110. Do not embrace people forbidden for marriage (Leviticus 18:6).

111. Not to lie carnally with your father (Leviticus 18:7).

112. Do not lie carnally with your mother (Leviticus 18:7).

113. Do not lie carnally with your father’s wife (Leviticus 18:8).

114. Do not lie carnally with your father’s brother (Leviticus 18:14).

115. Do not lie carnally with your daughter in law (Leviticus 18:15).

116. Do not engage in homosexual relations (Leviticus 18:22).

117. Do not engage in bestiality with a female animal (Leviticus 18:23).

118. Do not engage in bestiality with a male animal (Leviticus 18:23).

119. Do not lie carnally with your grand-daughter (Leviticus 18:10).

120. Do not lie carnally with your daughter (See number 121).

121. Do not lie carnally with a woman and her daughter (Leviticus 18:17).

122. Do not lie carnally with a woman and her son’s daughter (Leviticus 18:17).

123. Do not lie carnally with a woman and her daughter’s daughter (Leviticus 18:17).

124. Do not lie carnally with a married woman (Exodus 20:13).

125. Do not lie carnally with your father’s brother’s wife (Leviticus 18:14).

126. Do not lie carnally with your brother’s wife (Leviticus 18:16).

127. Do not lie carnally with your half-sister (Leviticus 18:9).

128. Do not lie carnally with your paternal half-sister (Leviticus 18:11).

129. Do not lie carnally with your father’s sister (Leviticus 18:12).

130. Do not lie carnally with your mother’s sister (Leviticus 18:12).

131. Do not lie carnally with your wife’s sister while your wife is alive (Leviticus 18:18).

132. Do not lie carnally with a woman who has menstruated (Leviticus 18:18).

133. Do not lie carnally with a prostitute (Deuteronomy 23:18).

134. Do not remarry your divorcee if she had married someone else (Deuteronomy 24:4).

135. A woman whose husband died childless, may not marry anyone but a brother (Deuteronomy 25:5).

136. A man whose genitals have been mutilated should not marry a Jewish girl (Deuteronomy 23:2).

137. A mamzer should not marry a Jewish girl (Deuteronomy 23:3).

138. A Kohen should not marry a prostitute (Leviticus 21:7).

139. A Kohen may not marry a chalalah (Leviticus 21:7).

140. A Kohen should not marry a divorcee (Leviticus 21:7).

141. A Kohen should not become impure by coming into contact with a dead body (Leviticus 21:1).

142. Do not create hybrids of animals or birds (Leviticus 19:19).

143. Do not castrate a male whether human or animal (Leviticus 22:24).

144. Do not create an image of a person even for decoration (Exodus 20:20).

145. Do not make an oil similar to the anointing oil (Exodus 30:32).

146. Do not make a mixture of spices like the temple spices (Exodus 30:37-38).

147. Do not do any work on the first day of Passover (Leviticus 23:6-7).

148. Do not do any work on the seventh day of Passover (Leviticus 23:8).

149. Do not do any work on Shavuos (Leviticus 23:21).

150. Do not do any work on Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus 23:24-25).

151.  Do not do any work on Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:28).

152. Do not eat or drink on Yom Kippur (Leviticus 23:29).

153. Do not do work on the first day of Sukkos (Leviticus 23:35).

154. Do not do any work on the eighth day of Sukkos (Leviticus 23:36).

155. Do not any act which will cause a profaning of G-d’s name (Leviticus 22:32).

156. Do not stray after the thoughts of the heart and the sight of the eyes (Numbers 15:39).

157. Do not destroy any holy object or blot out G-d name (Deuteronomy 12:4).

158. Do not stray from the words of the Sanhedrin (Deuteronomy 17:11).

159. Do not add onto the commandments of the Torah (Deuteronomy 13:1).

160. Do not detract from the commandments of the Torah (Deuteronomy 13:1).

161. Do not make a stone floor for prostration (Leviticus 26:1).

162. Do not erect a stone altar in any place (Deuteronomy 16:22).

163. Do not get a tattoo (Leviticus 19:28).

164. Do not shave a bald spot in mourning (Deuteronomy 14:1).

165. Do not practice divination (Leviticus 19:26).

166. Do not practice soothsaying (Leviticus 19:26).

167. Do not practice augurism (Deuteronomy 18:10).

168. Do not practice magic (Deuteronomy 18:10).

169. Do not practice incantations (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

170. Do not practice necromancy (Leviticus 19:31).

171.  Do not practice seances (Leviticus 19:31).

172. Do not enquire of a necromancer (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

173. Do not enquire of a seance medium (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

174. Do not make enquiries from the dead (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

175. Do not make a false prophecy in G-d’s name (Deuteronomy 18:20).

176. Do not shave the hair on the corners of the head (Leviticus 19:27).

177. Do not destroy the corners of the beard (Leviticus 19:27).

178. Females should not wear male dress (Deuteronomy 22:5).

179.  Males should not wear female dress (Deuteronomy 22:5).

180. Do not plow with an ox and donkey together (Deuteronomy 22:10).

181. Do not wear clothes made out of wool and linen (Deuteronomy 22:11).

182. Do not ignore a lost object and leave it without returning it to its owner (Deuteronomy 22:1-3).

183. Do not leave an animal crouching underneath its load without helping to unload (Deuteronomy 22:4).

184. Do not break a promise (Numbers 30:3).

185. Do not delay something which was promised (Deuteronomy 23:22).

186. A worker may not eat from the crops he is working with until the work is completed with that crop (Deuteronomy 23:26).

187.  A worker may not take home from the crops he is working with or give to others (Deuteronomy 23:26).

188. Do not muzzle an animal to prevent it eating while it is working (Deuteronomy 25:4).

189. If you wish to take eggs or chicks from a nest do not take them with the mother (Deuteronomy 22:6).

190. Do not leave something dangerous at home (Deuteronomy 22:8).

191. Do not destroy a fruit tree (Deuteronomy 20:19).

192. Do not live in Egypt (Deuteronomy 17:16).

193. An impure person should not enter the Temple Mount area (Deuteronomy 23:11).

194.  Do not forget the deeds of Amalek (Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

Commandments that are performed in Israel:

1.       Leave a corner of each field and tree for the poor (Leviticus 19:10).

2.       Leave the dropped stalks for the poor (Leviticus 19:10).

3.       Leave the grapes that are not in a cluster for the poor (Leviticus 19:10).

4.       Leave the dropped grapes for the poor (Leviticus 19:10).

5.       Leave the forgotten sheaf for the poor (Deuteronomy 24:19).

6.       Do not harvest the corner of the field designated for the poor (Leviticus 23:22).

7.       Do not pick up the dropped stalks while harvesting (Leviticus 23:22).

8.       Do not harvest the grapes that are not in clusters (Leviticus 19:10).

9.       Do not harvest the grapes that are dropped (Leviticus 19:10).

10.   Do not take a sheaf which was forgotten in the field (Deuteronomy 24:19).

11.   Separate terumah from crops and give it to a Kohen (Deuteronomy 18:4).

12.   Take a tithe from the crops and give it to a Levite (Numbers 18:24).

13.   The Levite should take a tithe of his tithe and give it to a Kohen (Numbers 18:26).

14.   Separate a second tithe in the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the Shemittah cycle (Deuteronomy 14:22-23).

15.   Separate a tithe for the poor in the third and sixth year of the Shemittah cycle (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

16.   The produce of a trees fourth year should be sanctified (Leviticus 19:24).

17.   To have given all the tithes to their designated recipients by Passover of fourth and seventh year of the Shemittah cycle (Deuteronomy 26:12-13).

18.   Do not eat crops which have not had their tithes separated from them (Leviticus 22:15).

19.   Do not change the order of separating the various tithes (Exodus 22:28).

20.   Declare all crops of the seventh year free (Exodus 23:11).

21.   Rest from working the land in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:2).

22.   Do not work the land in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:4).

23.   Do not work with the trees in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:4).

24.   Do not harvest what grows of its own accord in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:5).

25.   Do not harvest the fruits that the tree produces in the seventh year (Leviticus 25:5).

26.   Do not help idolaters settle in the land of Israel.

It is our fervent hope that the third temple will be built speedily and we will merit to observe all 613 commandments again as we say daily in our prayers:

May it be Your will, Lord, our G-d, and the G-d of our Fathers that the Holy Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, and grant us our share in Your Torah. And there we will serve You reverently as in the days of old, and in earlier years. And let the Lord be pleased with the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem as in the days of old and in earlier years

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *