Counting Commandments Siyyum Bekhorim: Massekhet Makkot

ר' חנניא בן עקשיא אומר רצה הקב"ה לזכות את ישראל לפיכך הרבה להם תורה ומצות שנאמר (ישעיהו מב, כא) ה' חפץ למען צדקו יגדיל תורה ויאדיר:

Rabbi Ḥananya ben Akashya says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, sought to confer merit upon the Jewish people; therefore, He increased for them Torah and mitzvot, as each mitzva increases merit, as it is stated: “It pleased the Lord for the sake of His righteousness to make the Torah great and glorious” (Isaiah 42:21). God sought to make the Torah great and glorious by means of the proliferation of mitzvot.

דרש רבי שמלאי שש מאות ושלש עשרה מצות נאמרו לו למשה שלש מאות וששים וחמש לאוין כמנין ימות החמה ומאתים וארבעים ושמונה עשה כנגד איבריו של אדם אמר רב המנונא מאי קרא (דברים לג, ד) תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה תורה בגימטריא שית מאה וחד סרי הוי אנכי ולא יהיה לך מפי הגבורה שמענום:

Rabbi Simlai taught: There were 613 mitzvot stated to Moses in the Torah, consisting of 365 prohibitions corresponding to the number of days in the solar year, and 248 positive mitzvot corresponding to the number of a person’s limbs. Rav Hamnuna said: What is the verse that alludes to this? It is written: “Moses commanded to us the Torah, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob” (Deuteronomy 34:4). The word Torah, in terms of its numerical value [gimatriyya], is 611, the number of mitzvot that were received and taught by Moses our teacher. In addition, there are two mitzvot: “I am the Lord your God” and: “You shall have no other gods” (Exodus 20:2, 3), the first two of the Ten Commandments, that we heard from the mouth of the Almighty, for a total of 613.

בא דוד והעמידן על אחת עשרה דכתיב (תהלים טו, א) מזמור לדוד [ה'] מי יגור באהלך מי ישכון בהר קדשך הולך תמים ופועל צדק ודובר אמת בלבבו לא רגל על לשונו לא עשה לרעהו רעה וחרפה לא נשא על קרובו נבזה בעיניו נמאס ואת יראי ה' יכבד נשבע להרע ולא ימיר כספו לא נתן בנשך ושוחד על נקי לא לקח עושה אלה לא ימוט לעולם הולך תמים זה אברהם דכתיב (בראשית יז, א) התהלך לפני והיה תמים פועל צדק כגון אבא חלקיהו ודובר אמת בלבבו כגון רב ספרא לא רגל על לשונו זה יעקב אבינו דכתיב (בראשית כז, יב) אולי ימושני אבי והייתי בעיניו כמתעתע לא עשה לרעהו רעה שלא ירד לאומנות חבירו וחרפה לא נשא על קרובו זה המקרב את קרוביו נבזה בעיניו נמאס זה חזקיהו המלך שגירר עצמות אביו במטה של חבלים ואת יראי ה' יכבד זה יהושפט מלך יהודה שבשעה שהיה רואה תלמיד חכם היה עומד מכסאו ומחבקו ומנשקו וקורא לו (אבי אבי) רבי רבי מרי מרי נשבע להרע ולא ימיר כר' יוחנן דא"ר יוחנן אהא בתענית עד שאבא לביתי כספו לא נתן בנשך אפילו ברבית עובד כוכבים ושוחד על נקי לא לקח כגון ר' ישמעאל בר' יוסי כתיב עושה אלה לא ימוט לעולם כשהיה ר"ג מגיע למקרא הזה היה בוכה אמר מאן דעביד להו לכולהו הוא דלא ימוט הא חדא מינייהו ימוט אמרו ליה מי כתיב עושה כל אלה עושה אלה כתיב אפילו בחדא מינייהו דאי לא תימא הכי כתיב קרא אחרינא (ויקרא יח, כד) אל תטמאו בכל אלה התם נמי הנוגע בכל אלה הוא דמטמא בחדא מינייהו לא אלא לאו באחת מכל אלה הכא נמי באחת מכל אלו

Rabbi Simlai continued: King David came and established the 613 mitzvot upon eleven mitzvot, as it is written: “A Psalm of David. Lord, who shall sojourn in Your Tabernacle? Who shall dwell upon Your sacred mountain? He who walks wholeheartedly, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. Who has no slander upon his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up reproach against his relative. In whose eyes a vile person is despised, and he honors those who fear the Lord; he takes an oath to his own detriment, and changes not. He neither gives his money with interest, nor takes a bribe against the innocent. He who performs these shall never be moved” (Psalms, chapter 15). Eleven attributes that facilitate one’s entry into the World-to-Come appear on this list. The Gemara analyzes these verses: “He who walks wholeheartedly”; this is referring to one who conducts himself like our forefather Abraham, as it is written concerning him: “Walk before Me and be wholehearted” (Genesis 17:1). “Works righteousness”; this is referring to one such as Abba Ḥilkiyyahu, a laborer who would not pause from his labor even to greet people; he righteously continued working. “And speaks truth in his heart”; this is referring to one such as Rav Safra, who was reciting Shema when a person approached him to purchase an item. He intended to accept the man’s offer, but he was unable to respond because it is prohibited to interrupt the recitation of Shema. The buyer misinterpreted Rav Safra’s silence and concluded that Rav Safra demanded a higher price, so he raised his offer. Rav Safra insisted on selling him the item for the sum that he was offered initially. “Who has no slander upon his tongue”; this is referring to one who conducts himself like our forefather Jacob, who did not want to mislead his father in order to receive his blessings, as it is written: “Perhaps my father will feel me, and I will be in his eyes like a fraud” (Genesis 27:12). “Nor does evil to his neighbor”; this is referring to one who did not infringe upon another’s trade, constituting illegal competition. “Nor takes up reproach against his relative”; this is referring to one who draws his relatives near, and does not distance them when they embarrass him. “In whose eyes a vile person is despised”; this is referring to one who conducts himself like King Hezekiah, who dragged the bones of his evil father, King Ahaz, in a bed of ropes, because he despised those considered vile by God. “And he honors those who fear the Lord”; this is referring to one who conducts himself like Jehoshaphat, king of Judea, who when he would see a Torah scholar would arise from his throne and hug him and kiss him, and call him: My father, my father, my teacher, my teacher, my master, my master. “He takes an oath to his own detriment, and changes not”; this is in accordance with the conduct of Rabbi Yoḥanan, as Rabbi Yoḥanan would say in the form of a vow when seeking to refrain from eating in another’s home: I shall fast until I will come to my house. He would fulfill that vow and refrain from eating, even though he took the vow only to avoid eating in that place. “He neither gives his money with interest”; meaning he does not lend money with interest even to a gentile, which is permitted by Torah law. “Nor takes a bribe against the innocent”; this is referring to one such as Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, who refused to sit in judgment in a case involving his sharecropper. Since the latter would bring him a basket of fruit, he was concerned that he might unconsciously favor him. At the conclusion of the verses, it is written: “He who performs these shall never be moved.” The Gemara relates: When Rabban Gamliel would reach this verse he would cry, and he said: It is one who performed all these actions who shall never be moved; but if he performed only one of them, he shall be moved. The Sages said to him: Is it written: He who performs all these? Rather, the phrase “he who performs these” is written, indicating that one is blessed even in a case where he performed one of them. As if you do not say so, compare that to a different verse that is written with regard to severe transgressions punishable by karet: “Do not impurify yourselves with all these” (Leviticus 18:24). Would you say that there too it means that it is one who comes into contact with all these who becomes impure, but one who comes into contact with one of these, no, he does not become impure? Rather, is it not that the phrase “with all these” means: With one of all these? Here too it means that one who performs one of all these has a place in the World-to-Come.

בא ישעיהו והעמידן על שש דכתיב (ישעיהו לג, טו) הולך צדקות ודובר מישרים מואס בבצע מעשקות נוער כפיו מתמוך בשוחד אוטם אזנו משמוע דמים ועוצם עיניו מראות ברע הולך צדקות זה אברהם אבינו דכתיב (בראשית יח, יט) כי ידעתיו למען אשר יצוה וגו' ודובר מישרים זה שאינו מקניט פני חבירו ברבים מואס בבצע מעשקות כגון ר' ישמעאל בן אלישע נוער כפיו מתמוך בשוחד כגון ר' ישמעאל בר' יוסי אוטם אזנו משמוע דמים דלא שמע בזילותא דצורבא מרבנן ושתיק כגון ר"א ברבי שמעון ועוצם עיניו מראות ברע כדרבי חייא בר אבא דאמר ר' חייא בר אבא זה שאינו מסתכל בנשים בשעה שעומדות על הכביסה וכתיב (ישעיהו לג, טז) הוא מרומים ישכון [וגו']

Rabbi Simlai’s exposition continues: Isaiah came and established the 613 mitzvot upon six, as it is written: “He who walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands from holding of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing blood, and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil” (Isaiah 33:15). The Gemara elaborates: “He who walks righteously”; this is referring to one who conducts himself like our forefather Abraham, as it is written concerning him: “For I have known him, that he will command his children…to perform righteousness and justice” (Genesis 18:19). “And speaks uprightly”; this is referring to one who does not shame another in public. “He who despises the gain of oppressions”; this is referring to one such as Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha, who refused to sit in judgment in a case involving one who gave him priestly gifts, to avoid the appearance of impropriety. “Who shakes his hands from holding of bribes”; this is referring to one such as Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, who, as explained above, refused to sit in judgment in a case involving his sharecropper. “Who stops his ears from hearing blood”; this is referring to one who would not hear derision of a Torah scholar and remain silent, such as Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, who was well known for this. “And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil” is to be understood in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba, as Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says: This is referring to one who does not look at women when they stand over the laundry at the river. The women would lift the garments they were wearing to keep them out of the water, and thereby expose part of their bodies. And it is written with regard to one who performs these matters: “He shall dwell on high; his fortress shall be the munitions of rocks; his bread shall be given, his waters shall be sure” (Isaiah 33:16).

בא מיכה והעמידן על שלש דכתיב (מיכה ו, ח) הגיד לך אדם מה טוב ומה ה' דורש ממך כי אם עשות משפט ואהבת חסד והצנע לכת עם (ה') אלקיך עשות משפט זה הדין אהבת חסד זה גמילות חסדים והצנע לכת זה הוצאת המת והכנסת כלה והלא דברים קל וחומר ומה דברים שאין דרכן לעשותן בצנעא אמרה תורה והצנע לכת דברים שדרכן לעשותן בצנעא על אחת כמה וכמה

Micah came and established the 613 mitzvot upon three, as it is written: “It has been told to you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord does require of you; only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). The Gemara elaborates: “To do justly,” this is justice; “to love mercy,” this is an allusion to acts of loving-kindness; “and to walk humbly with your God,” this is an allusion to taking the indigent dead out for burial and accompanying a poor bride to her wedding canopy, both of which are to be performed without fanfare glorifying the doer. The Gemara notes: And are these matters not inferred a fortiori? If, with regard to matters that tend to be conducted in public, e.g., funerals and weddings, the Torah states “walk humbly” when doing them, then in matters that tend to be conducted in private, e.g., charity and Torah study, all the more so should they be conducted in private.

חזר ישעיהו והעמידן על שתים שנאמר (ישעיהו נו, א) כה אמר ה' שמרו משפט ועשו צדקה

בא עמוס והעמידן על אחת שנאמר (עמוס ה, ד) כה אמר ה' לבית ישראל דרשוני וחיו מתקיף לה רב נחמן בר יצחק אימא דרשוני בכל התורה כולה

אלא בא חבקוק והעמידן על אחת שנאמר (חבקוק ב, ד) וצדיק באמונתו יחיה

Isaiah then established the 613 mitzvot upon two, as it is stated: “So says the Lord: Observe justice and perform righteous-ness” (Isaiah 56:1).

Amos came and established the 613 mitzvot upon one, as it is stated: “So says the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek Me and live” (Amos 5:4). Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak objects to this: There is no proof that the verse in Amos is establishing all the mitzvot upon one; say that Amos is saying: Seek Me throughout the entire Torah, as the verse does not specify the manner in which one should seek the Lord.

Rather, say: Habakkuk came and established the 613 mitzvot upon one, as it is stated: “But the righteous person shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

(1) הֲדַרַן עַלָךְ מַסֶּכֶת מַכּוֹת וְהֲדַרַך עֲלָן, דַּעְתָּן עֲלָךְ מַסֶּכֶת מַכּוֹת וְדַעְתָּךְ עֲלָן. לָא נִתֽנַשֵׁי מִינָךְ מַסֶּכֶת מַכּוֹת וְלֹא תִּתֽנַשִׁי מִינַן, לָא בְּעָלְמָא הָדֵין וְלֹא בְּעָלְמָא דְאַָתֵי.

(2) יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ אלוקינו ואלוקי אַבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁתְהֵא תּוֹרַתְךָ אוּמוּנִתֵנוּ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶה ותְהֵא עִמָנוּ לעוֹלָם הַבָּא. חַנִינָא בַּר פַּפָּא, רַמִי בַּר פַּפָּא, נַחְמָן בַּר פַּפָּא, אַחַאי בַּר פַּפָּא, אַבָּא בַּר פַּפָּא, רַפֽרַם בַּר פַּפָּא, רָכִיש בַּר פַּפָּא, סוֹרְחָב בַּר פַּפָּא, אַדָא בַּר פַּפָּא, דָרוֹ בַּר פַּפָּא.

(3) הַעֲרֵב נָא ה' אֱלֹקינוּ, אֶת דִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָתְךָ בְּפִינוּ וּבְפִיפִיּוֹת עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְנִהְיֶה אֲנַחְנוּ כּוּלָנוּ וְצֶאֱצָאֵינוּ וְצֶאֱצָאֵי עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, כּוּלָנוּ יוֹדְעֵי שְׁמֶךָ וְלוֹמְדֵי תּוֹרָתְךָ. מֵאֹיְבַי, תְּחַכְּמֵנִי מִצְו‍ֹתֶךָ: כִּי לְעוֹלָם הִיא-לִי. יְהִי-לִבִּי תָמִים בְּחֻקֶּיךָ-- לְמַעַן, לֹא אֵבוֹש לְעוֹלָם, לֹא-אֶשְׁכַּח פִּקּוּדֶיךָ: כִּי בָם, חִיִּיתָנִי. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' לַמֽדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ.

(4) מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנוּ לְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אלוקינו ואלוקי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁשַּׂמְתָּ חֶלְקֵנוּ מִיּוֹשְׁבֵי בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ, וְלֹא שַׂמְתָּ חֶלְקֵנוּ מִיּוֹשְׁבֵי קְרָנוֹת. שֶׁאָנוּ מַשְׁכִּימִים וְהֵם מַשְׁכִּימִים אָנוּ מַשְׁכִּימִים לְדִבְרֵי תּוֹרָה וְהֵם מַשְׁכִּימִים לִדְבָרִים בְּטֵלִים. אָנוּ עֲמֵלִים וְהֵם עֲמֵלִים. אָנו עֲמֵלִים וּמְקַבְּלִים שָׂכָר וְהֵם עֲמֵלִים וְאֵינָם מְקַבְּלִים שָׂכָר. אָנוּ רָצִים וְהֵם רָצִים. אָנוּ רָצִים לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, וְהֵם רָצִים לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת. שֶׁנֱאמַר: וְאַתָּה אֱלֹקים, תּוֹרִדֵם לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת--אַנְשֵׁי דָמִים וּמִרְמָה, לֹא-יֶחֱצוּ יְמֵיהֶם; וַאֲנִי, אֶבְטַח-בָּךְ.

(5) יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אלקי, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁעֲזַרֽתַּנִי לְסַיֵים מַסֶּכֶת מַכּוֹת, כֵּן תּֽעַזְרֵנִי לְהַתְחִיל מְסֶכְתוֹת וּסֽפָרִים אַחֵרים וּלְסַיֵימָם, לִלְמֹד וּלְלַמֵּד, לִשְׁמֹר וְלַעֲשׂוֹת וּלְקַיֵּם אֶת כָּל דִּבְרֵי תַלְמוּד תּוֹרָתְךָ בְּאַהֲבָה, וּזְכוּת כֹֹּל הַתְנָאִים וְאָמוֹרָאִים וּתַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים יַעֲמוֹד לִי וּלְזַרְעִי שֶׁלֹא תָּמוּש הַתּוֹרָה מִפֽי וּמִפִי זַרְעִי עד עוֹלָם. וַיִתְקַיֵים בִּי: בְּהִתְהַלֶּכְךָ, תַּנְחֶה אֹתָךְ, בְּשָׁכְבְּךָ תִּשְׁמֹר עָלֶיךָ; וַהֲקִיצוֹתָ, הִיא תְשִׂיחֶךָ. כִּי-בִי, יִרְבּוּ יָמֶיךָ; וְיוֹסִיפוּ לְּךָ, שְׁנוֹת חַיִּים אֹרֶךְ יָמִים, בִּימִינָהּ; בִּשְׂמֹאולָהּ, עֹשֶׁר וְכָבוֹד. 'ה' עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן; ה', יְבָרֵךְ אֶת-עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם.

(1) We will return to you, Tractate Makkot, and you will return to us; our mind is on you, Tractate Makkot, and your mind is on us; we will not forget you, Tractate Makkot, and you will not forget us – not in this world and not in the next world.

(2) May it be Your will, our G-d, and the G-d of our fathers, that we should be loyal to Your Torah in this world, and it should be with us in the next world. Chaninah bar Pappa, Rami bar Pappa, Nachman bar Pappa, Achai bar Pappa, Aba bar Pappa, Rafram bar Pappa, Rachish bar Pappa, Sorchav bar Pappa, Ada bar Pappa, Daro bar Pappa.

(3) Please make it sweet, G-d our G-d, the words of Your Torah. In our mouths, and in the mouths of your nation the House of Israel. And it should be that we, all of us, our children and the children of your nation the House of Israel, that we should all know Your name and learn Your Torah. [Psalms 119:98] "Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me." [Psalms 119:80] "Let my heart be complete in Your statutes, in order that I may not be put to shame." [Psalms 119:93] "I will never forget Your precepts; for with them You have quickened me." [Psalms 119:12] "Blessed are You O G-d, teach me Your statutes."

(4) We give thanks before You, Lord, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, for you gave us a share among those who sit in the study hall, and not among those who sit on street corners. For we arise early, and they arise early; we arise for words of Torah, and they arise for words of emptiness. We work, and they work; we work and receive a reward, and they work and do not receive a reward. We run, and they run; we run towards eternal life, and they run to a pit of desolation. As it says: (Psalms 55:24) "And You, O Lord, bring them down into a pit of desolation, people of blood and deceit will not live out half of their days; and I, I will trust in You."

(5) May it be your will, Lord my G-d, just as You have helped me to complete Tractate Makkot, so too may you help me to start other tractates and books, and to complete them, to learn and to teach, to observe and to enact and to fulfill all the words of the teaching of your Torah with love. And may the merit of all of the Tannaim and Amoraim and Torah scholars be present for me and for my descendants, to ensure that the Torah does not depart from my mouth and from the mouths of my descendants for all eternity. And may the following be fulfilled for me: (Proverbs 6:22) "When you walk, it will lead you, when you lie down, it will watch over you. When you awake, it will speak with you." (Proverbs 9:11) "For through me your days will be multiplied, and the years of your life will be increased." (Proverbs 3:16) "Length of days is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor." (Psalms 29:11) "G-d will give strength to his nation, G-d will bless his nation with peace."

יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא בְּעָלְמָא דִּי הוּא עָתִיד לְאִתְחַדְתָּא, וּלְאַחֲיָאה מֵתַיָּא, וּלְאַסָּקָא יַתְּהוֹן לְחַיֵּי עָלְמָא, וּלְמִבְנָא קַרְתָּא דִּי יְרוּשְלֵם, וּלְשַׁכְלְלָא הֵיכָלֵהּ בְּגַוָּהּ, וּלְמֶעֱקַר פּוּלְחָנָא נוּכְרָאָה מִן אַרְעָה, וּלְאָתָבָא פּוּלְחָנָא דִּי שְׁמַיָּא לְאַתְרָהּ, וְיַמְלִיך קוּדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא בּמַלְכוּתֵה וִיקָרֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵיכוֹן וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב, וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן


יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא.

יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרוֹמַם וְיִתְנַשֵּׂא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא. בְּרִיךְ הוּא. לְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.

עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל רַבָּנָן. וְעַל תַּלְמִידֵיהוֹן וְעַל כָּל תַּלְמִידֵי תַלְמִידֵיהוֹן. וְעַל כָּל מַאן דְּעָסְקִין בְּאוֹרַיְתָא. דִּי בְאַתְרָא קַדִּישָׁא הָדֵין וְדִי בְכָל אֲתַר וַאֲתַר. יְהֵא לְהוֹן וּלְכוֹן שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא חִנָּא וְחִסְדָּא וְרַחֲמִין וְחַיִּין אֲרִיכִין וּמְזוֹנֵי רְוִיחֵי וּפֻרְקָנָא מִן קֳדָם אֲבוּהוֹן דְּבִשְׁמַיָּא וְאַרְעָא וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן. [אמן]

יְהֵא שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא וְחַיִּים עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן:

עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם (בעשי"ת הַשָּׁלוֹם) בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: