Jewish philosophy as well as Jewish perspectives - i.e. not only formal philosophy. NOT for questions about Jewish practice unless there's a philosophical component.

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Were the early Hebrews technically a African tribe? [on hold]

Hebrew is one of the earliest Afroasiatic languages. It has been argued that the Hebrews were a offshoot of the Canaanites, even akin to them. It is nearly undesputable that the Canaanites were ...
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0answers
10 views

Are there any people worshipping Baal today? [on hold]

I hear much mention in Scripture against the worship of Baal (the false god). He appears to be a snare to the ancient Israelites many a times. My question is, is there any Baal worshipers today or has ...
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3answers
44 views

Path of the Just - what does שיתברר ויתאמת mean?

The Mesilat Yesharim starts off: יסוד החסידות ושרש העבודה התמימה הוא שיתברר ויתאמת אצל האדם מה חובתו (Translation: The foundation of saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of ...
4
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4answers
838 views

What is the purpose of the mosquito?

Everything created was created for the purpose of serving G-d's ultimate plan for his creation which is to acknowledge G-d. What lesson or use can we make from mosquitos?
2
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1answer
58 views

The Rambam's source for the first Ikkar

The Rambam's first Principle of Faith is that Hashem is the Cause of all other existence and His existence is independent of all other existence. To me it seems the best source for this would have ...
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1answer
34 views

Why do we thank G--d for taking us out of Egypt?

In many Prayers and weekly Torah readings, we thank G--d for taking us out of Egypt. But since G--d was the one that put us there, why are we thanking him for taking us out? I can even make this ...
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60 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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0answers
39 views

What does Judaism say about pets in the World to Come?

What does Judaism teach about animals in the World to Come? Pets hold such a beloved place in the now and appear, more than other animals, to have there own will in their actions. Is there hope that ...
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1answer
71 views

The lack of “ch” sound in Hebrew

As far as I know, there is no tradition of Lashon HaKodesh pronunciation in which there is a sound that matches the "ch" (IPA: t​͡​ʃ) of English. Is there any significance to this ...
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1answer
242 views

Does G-d approve or merely permit human consumption of meat?

Many vegetarians and vegans argue that G-d gave humans permission to eat meat only because of a human failing in abstaining anyway. My takeaway from that argument is that, in light of a more ...
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0answers
10 views

Using 'zechus avos' in this world

On the one hand zechus avos has an affect in this world. On the other hand schar mitzvah be'hay almah leika (the reward of a mitzvah is not given in this world.) How do these two idea's work? They ...
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1answer
166 views

What are the most important writings of Rav Kook for Emunah and Hashkafah?

I would like to return to learn some of the writings of Rav Kook in order to improve my Hashkafah and Emunah. In the past I attended an Israeli "dati leumi" yeshiva where i learnt a bit of them, but ...
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2answers
200 views

Is there any reason to deny aliens?

Is there any reason that we couldn't believe in life on another planet somewhere? Is there any source that indicates to the contrary?
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2answers
27 views

Is free will something that the Torah has to tell me I have? Is it a chiddush?

The most oft quoted proof from the Torah that humans have free will is a pasuk in Devarim 30:19. הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, ...
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2answers
79 views

The disappearance of וסת קבוע and הרגשות

At some point in history, Jewish women used to have very regularly scheduled Monthly cycles, and used to have some sensation that accompanied the onset of menstruation. Both of these play important ...
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3answers
101 views

Is getting a blessing from a rabbi considered heresy?

The situation a person is in, is the best situation God wants you to be in. By going to a rabbi to get a blessing to change your situation, you might be neglecting this fact. With that being the ...
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45 views

Did the ancient Rabbanim believe that the spirits of the dead walked the Earth?

In the Midrashim I noticed that Rabbanim keep mentioning events in which the Rabbi would be walking along and come across a man doing some task and it would turn out to be the spirit of a dead man who ...
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3answers
103 views

Does adhering to Torah make one a Jew?

I have heard Rabbi Asher Meza say that if one "adheres to Torah," this makes one a Jew; is this true at all?
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2answers
443 views

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
7
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2answers
262 views

Hyperbole in the Gemara?

There are many times where the Gemara says that someone who does something is equivalent to one who is "kofer b'kol" or killing someone (for example regarding lashon harah in Erchin 15b I have always ...
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1answer
35 views

What's the point of an oath?

There's an argument whether annulling an oath needs an excuse. Even if there needs to be an excuse, the excuse could be something week like "I didn't know I shouldn't take oaths". What's the point of ...
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8answers
715 views

Answering Atheist about Torah miracles

How do we explain our belief in the story of Yonah living in a Fish, the Splitting of a sea, and all the other fantastic Miracles described in the Torah to a person who was not brought up religious; ...
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3answers
123 views

The Meaning behind the Kaf

Searching for the root for Kipah (כפה) I found the word Kaphaph (כפף) from the root Kaph or Kaf כף. Kaf (as a word) means (hand)palm, while yod refers to yad (the hand). Kaf (as a letter כ) has a ...
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3answers
65 views

How does my having someone in mind when I learn help them?

Many times, as a merit for a recovery for someone sick or someone in need, I have been asked to have that person in mind when I learn. In some places, they will put up a sign asking to have a certain ...
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1answer
79 views

Is it discussed why a baby is born without teeth?

I was wondering if the idea of a baby being born without teeth, and more specifically the painful process of teething, has been discussed by the Torah or addressed by any Rabbis?
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1answer
78 views

What were the nine points of the pesak din of Michalowitz?

"Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein was the architect of the ultra-Orthodox manifesto, the famous nine-point pesak din of Michalowitz (Michalovce, Nagymihály) issued by 24 rabbis from northeastern Hungarian ...
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2answers
55 views

What class of entity are Wisdom and Death?

Most Jews and Christians will only recognize the angels as being the only other spirits made by G0d, but angels are not omnipresent nor omnipotent and it seems to me that the Spirit of Wisdom in ...
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2answers
121 views

Does a dog know that it's a dog?

According to Jewish thought, do animals have the self-awareness to know that they exist? Do they know that they are animals? Does an animal differentiate itself from other animals?
6
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1answer
149 views

Does Orthodox Judaism have a generally held position on American politics? [closed]

The Pew Research Study on Jewish Americans says in part: On these measures (partisanship and ideology), the only other U.S. religious groups that are as conservative and Republican as Orthodox ...
4
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1answer
98 views

Is it better to be ugly or beautiful?

I will bring a few sources to make the point… On the one hand, supporting ugly, we have the Gemara (Nedarim 50b) The Emperor's daughter said to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananya: ‘Such beautiful wisdom ...
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44 views

Should Jews be environmentalists? [duplicate]

Do we have a religious obligation to take care of the environment, and if so how far does it extend? Should I spend money to decrease my carbon footprint?
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2answers
228 views

Could the world be destroyed due to environmental causes?

Some Environmentalists claim that our irresponsibility may/will result in, eventually, the destruction of life as we know it, due to global flooding and superstorms, or any other number of doomsday ...
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3answers
86 views

How to arrive at total Devekut HaMachshava

The Sefarim (first Rama in Orah Haim) discuss "Shiviti Hashem Lenegdi Tamid" in other words Devekut Hamachshava. Does anyone have an Etza to reach this amazing Maala?
4
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2answers
145 views

Is Gematria accepted by all?

It is widely accepted that each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a Gematria (numerical value) attached to it. These numerical values often provide insight when comparing one Gematria to either ...
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2answers
68 views

How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

If a person is able to make choices in this world, and especially if a person is able to disbelieve that there is a Divine order of any type, how does it make sense for a person's soul to be punished ...
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4answers
141 views

What precisely is meant by “G-d can do anything”?

There's a general concept in Judaism that G-d can do "anything". I've seen How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes? and this answer, so I understand that it is limited to the possible. However, ...
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2answers
216 views

Is is wrong to be racist?

Is there anything wrong about being a racist? By racist I mean believing that certain groups of people are objectively worse in any qualitative way based on their race.
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3answers
79 views

Why did God create us in such a way that we enjoy things most if we work hard to attain them?

In the Book Mesilat Yesharim, the Ramhal, states that the reason we were put on this world is to work hard, fight the yetzer hara, and accept the reward in the World To Come. He goes on to say that if ...
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7answers
126 views

Books on the significance of the months in the Jewish calendar

I am looking for books/sefarim (Hebrew or English) that discuss the different months of the Jewish year, and their overall significance in relation to: Zodiac Signs Tribes Chagim Animals ...
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2answers
259 views

Why go to the doctor?

According to Jewish belief, God gives you sicknesses and god gives you cures. If you are sick it's because God wants you to be sick. Once he deems that you no longer need the disease you are then ...
14
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3answers
604 views

How can the Rambam's Eighth Principle of Jewish Faith be believed in light of Hazal?

The Rambam's eighth Principle of Jewish Faith states that the entire Torah in our possession - every verse - was dictated to Mosheh Rabbenu and that it has not changed. However, we have explicit ...
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1answer
54 views

The Maharal and his influence on Jewish philosophy

In the Wiki article on the Maharal there is a quote by Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein citing Rabbi Nachman Bulman that the Maharal "prevented the Balkanization of Jewish thought". I understand what he is ...
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1answer
40 views

Hashem testing a person

The Chofetz Chaim al Torah says, Chazal teach in bereishis rabbah, "Hashem does not elevate a person to greatness until He first tests him." Where in bereishis rabbah do chazal say this?
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15 views

Who was the serpent? [duplicate]

I have heard that the Serpent in the garden was satans attempt to mimic G-d's creation of man, that the serpent was satins's version of man. Is there any evidence for this opinion
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9answers
2k views

How do we know that God exists?

Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic. According to traditional Jewish sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
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2answers
127 views

Do Amalekians not have souls?

I remember reading once (in Sender Zeyv's novel Ten Lost), that some Jewish sources say that Amalekians don't have souls. Obviously, this might not be so reliable, coming from a work of fiction, so ...
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10answers
449 views

Any primary sources that all Jewish males should l'chatchila stay in learning forever?

Does anyone know of any specific sources in Chazal or Rishonim (or even earlier achronim) that indicate that l'chatchila all Jewish males should learn full time forever? I know that this is the ...
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1answer
114 views

Is it correct to say now “Moshiach must come in this generation”?

Is it correct to say “Moshiach must come in this generation”? Related How do we understand Talmudic predictions of Moshiach? The statement was made in a shiur I attended. I asked the maggid shiur ...
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3answers
67 views

Studying mussar and philosophy on tisha b'av

Can one learn mussar on tisha b'av, or how about Kuzari or Moreh Nevuchim? Is it considered to be the study of Torah, which gladdens, or is it, since it is mussar, okay?
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2answers
69 views

Kill a no-longer-profitable horse?

My understanding is that a horse is killed when its profit no longer matches its expense. Is this something Jews should/may do? I can think of some pros and cons, but wonder what authorities have ...