Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A commandment of the Jewish law.
  • n. The fulfillment of such a commandment.
  • n. A worthy deed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the 613 commandments of Jewish law
  • n. An act of kindness

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Judaism) a good deed performed out of religious duty
  • n. (Judaism) a precept or commandment of the Jewish law

Etymologies

Hebrew miṣwâ, from ṣiwwâ, to command; see ṣwy1 in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Hebrew מצווה, commandment (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word mitzvah does not mean “good deed” but actually means commandment.

    THE BLESSING OF A SKINNED KNEE

  • “Sometimes a mitzvah is seeing for yourself and coaxing a smile from the darkness.”

    February 2008

  • "It's what we call a mitzvah, a blessing or a good deed, to go to a funeral.

    Saturday the Rabbi Went Hungry

  • It is considered a blessing - or "mitzvah" - for a congregation to have a Sefer Torah.

    Summit Daily News - Top Stories

  • He said this like it was a marvelous good deed, something Jeri might have called a mitzvah.

    The Gin Closet

  • May we be found worthy by God to be numbered in the circle of these women and men … The reward of a mitzvah is the recognition of the great deed by God.

    Regina Jonas.

  • The Shulhan Arukh rules that although it is customary for a man to light the Hanukkah lamp on behalf of the entire household, and although the mitzvah is a time-dependent precept, a woman may fulfill the obligation on behalf of her household (Orah Hayyim 675: 3).

    Festivals and Holy Days.

  • Just as the mitzvah of the Hanukkah lights is described as a mitzvah for “a person and his household,” which the man usually performs, women accepted kindling the Sabbath lights as their personal mitzvah.

    Observance of Mitzvot: Custom and Halakhah.

  • Our Jewish friends have what is called a mitzvah, which can literally mean a Biblical commandment; in a larger sense it can also mean any act of human kindness.

    Archive 2006-08-20

  • An example is the Jewish Kabbalistic transformation of the notion of mitzvah (“commandment”) to that of

    Mysticism

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