In the Talmud it is explained that 613 commandments were revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai, 365 prohibitive precepts, corresponding to the number of days in the solar year, and 248 positive precepts, corresponding to the number of body parts in the human body. The body of 613 commandments is usually known by the Hebrew mnemonic TaRYaG, whose letters, when tallied according to their numerical equivalent, equal 613. The concept of TaRYaG is generally known and accepted. However, throughout history there has been much discussion about the commandments themselves and the question as to which are considered part of the TaRYaG because the Torah clearly contains more than 613 laws. In TaRYaG, noted scholar Rabbi Abraham Hirsch Rabinowitz investigates the major debates and problematic issues connected with the tradition of TaRYaG study. Rabbi Rabinowitz begins by explaining the historical dilemmas pertaining to and the origins of the TaRYaG tradition, including its basis in Halachah. The greatest scholars of Jewish thought have contributed studies on TaRYaG, and this volume clearly shows why the subject merited attention. Maimonides' Sefer HaMitzvot, in which the 613 commandments are explained and categorized, is fully analyzed, and its relationship to the Mishneh Torah is shown. The contributions of the Tosafists and later authors are also examined. A bibliography of TaRYaG works is included to encourage further study. The 613 commandments serve as the basis for learning all of the Written and Oral Laws. For this reason, TaRYaG is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in delving into serious study of Halachah and a helpful resource for anyone already engaged in such study.
by Abraham Hirsch Rabinowitz