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Seeking list of prohibitions which force one to do an action


Generally speaking, whenever the Torah tells us "do not do X," the context is "do not do a specific action" (don't eat non-Kosher, don't do work on Shabbos, etc.). In a select few prohibitions, however, one is forced to do an action in order to avoid being in violation of the prohibition, or at least has the option of actively doing something to avoid the prohibition. Among that subset, most of the relevant prohibitions have a twin positive commandment; when abiding by the prohibition, one will naturally abide by the twin commandment and thereby be forced to perform an action. These include, off the top of my head (with the mitzvah numbers providing reference within the Sefer HaChinuch):

  • Don't take the children first; send the mother then take the children (Devarim 22:6-7; Mitzvos 544-545)
  • Return a lost object; don't hide yourself from it (Devarim 22:1-3; Mitzvos 538-539)
  • Don't leave an animal struggling under a load; help to remove its burden (Devarim 22:4; Mitzvos 540-541)
  • Build a fence around your roof; don't leave dangerous objects lying around (Devarim 22:8; Mitzvos 546-547)
  • To appoint a Jewish king; not to appoint a non-Jewish king (Devarim 17:15; Mitzvos 497-498)
  • Not to be stingy with those in need; to give Tzedakah or charity loans (Devarim 15:7-11, Shemos 22:24; Mitzvos 66, 478-479)
  • Not to free a Jewish slave empty-handed; to send him with gifts (Devarim 15:13-14; Mitzvos 481-482)

The list goes on.

What's striking, however, is just how few prohibitions require an action to avoid violating them, without being paired with a positive commandment as well. To my knowledge, the only case of this is that a guarantor or lender on a loan has the prohibition against being involved in lending on interest, and they can get out of it after the fact by ripping up the loan document (Bava Metzia 62a.8).

Is this particular case the only example of a prohibition that, without having a twin positive commandment, requires one to do an action? If not, what are the other examples?

Why should this post be closed?


@robev Strictly speaking you're not in violation of the prohibition against eating the Pesach after the zman if you never eat the Pesach. There is no commandment to eat the Karban, only to bring it. See, ex., Mishnah Pesachim 8:2 and other cases of יצא לבית השריפה ופטורים מלעשות פסח שני. ‭DonielF‭ 12 days ago

"Strictly speaking you're not in violation of the prohibition against eating the Pesach after the zman if you never eat the Pesach". You're also not in violation of anything if you avoid being a witness to a loan. Are you looking for a negative mitzvah that comes upon a person? Or even if one volunteers for the situation (such as getting married). ‭robev‭ 12 days ago

@robev If the situation arises where one would be forced to grapple with the prohibition, the only way out is by an action. If someone ends up as the guarantor on such a loan, the only way out is to rip up the document. But I realize that the case of Karban Pesach might work because you can’t just leave it over – that’s נותר. The only options are to eat it early or to burn it early, both of which are actions. ‭DonielF‭ 12 days ago

2 answers


Another is (command 46 in the Chinuch) "not to withhold food, clothing, and relations" from one's wife.

Another is (command 348 in the Chinuch) "not to allow a non-Jew who lives in our lands to impose oppressive work upon a Jewish slave who had sold himself to him".

These negative ("don't…") commands require an action (from someone who finds himself in the right circumstances). And as far as I can tell, they have no counterpart positive ("do…") commands.



Here are some that I believe fit what you're looking for. Please inform me if I'm mistaken:


Maybe you could argue that the mitzvah to give testimony means tell what you actually saw, so perhaps my example of not lying during testimony is invalid. ‭robev‭ 11 days ago

Re lying in testimony: Or at least according to those who learn מדבר שקר תרחק only refers to the judges. ‭DonielF‭ 10 days ago

@DonielF my point was as far as I know, only the Semag and Zohar HaRakiah count it as a mitzvah ‭robev‭ 10 days ago

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