Definition of mitzvah in US English:



  • 1A precept or commandment.

    • ‘They are only obligatory if it is possible to fulfill them, so the first principle to recall is that it is a mitzvah (a commanded obligation) for people to have children only if they can.’
    • ‘There are 613 mitzvoth in the Jewish religion but one of them really stands out in my mind and that is honoring our parents.’
    • ‘As was mentioned earlier, it is a mitzvah which rules the principle of family purity and falls upon the woman, directly and exclusively, for she is the only person responsible for its consummation.’
    • ‘Several modern scholars rule that this mitzvah includes an obligation to prevent someone from losing their health in the first place.’
    • ‘I spent the time studying Torah with a rabbi in New York, and at some point decided to commit myself to observing the mitzvoth of the Torah.’
    principle, rule, tenet, canon, code, doctrine, guideline, working principle, law, ordinance, statute, command, order, decree, mandate, dictate, dictum, directive, direction, instruction, injunction, prescription, commandment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A good deed done from religious duty.
      • ‘Giving charity is a positive mitzvah, a personal religious obligation no less than prayer or Torah study.’
      • ‘It's a mitzvah - a good deed - and we wish him great success.’
      • ‘Since it is a mitzvah to visit the sick, every traditional Jewish community has a group that makes hospital visits on request - to friends or strangers.’
      • ‘In such a case, it is a great mitzvah for a Jew to donate organs to save another person's life.’
      • ‘As humans we are charged with the angelic task of managing the amazing place we call the world through a system of prayer and mitzvoth.’
      • ‘It's considered what we call an mitzvah, a good deed to do.’
      • ‘But when she heard about my situation, she decided it was a bigger mitzvah to help me than to study Torah in Israel.’


Mid 17th century: from Hebrew miṣwāh ‘commandment’.