A khumra (חומרה; pl. חומרות, khumrot) is a prohibition or obligation in Jewish practice that exceeds the bare requirements of Jewish law. One who imposes a khumra on him- or herself in a given instance is said to be מחמיר makhmir. The rationale for a khumra comes from Deuteronomy 22:8, which states that when one builds a house, he must build a fence around the roof in order to avoid guilt should someone fall off the roof. This has been interpreted by many as a requirement to "build a fence around the Torah" in order to protect the mitzvot.

An obligation or prohibition can be adopted by an individual or an entire community. Early references to khumrot are found in the Talmud, and the understanding and application of them has changed over time.

Most often found in Orthodox Judaism, khumrot are variously seen as a precaution against transgressing the Halakha or as a way of keeping those who have taken on the stringency separate from those who have not.

See also

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