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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2answers
87 views

Does the Zodiac really have influence on our lives?

Ancient thought, even among the rabbis of the Talmud, was that the Zodiac controlled certain Earthly events. In Hebrew, the signs of the Zodiac are מזלות, now known as "luck". For example, in Shabbat ...
16
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6answers
882 views
2
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1answer
80 views

No other King but God…and David?

In The Avinu Malkeinu prayer, it says, "We have no King other than you", what about the House of David/Mashiach?
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0answers
25 views

The proper Jewish response to ISIS smashing “idols” [duplicate]

I saw a video going around facebook of members of ISIS smashing ancient statues in a museum. It was essentially a needless act of destruction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSmhC4rpho4 However, it ...
3
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2answers
155 views

What is the Orthodox Jewish view of the afterlife?

What is the nature of life after death, according to Orthodox Judaism as it exists today? I have tried to read up on this, but I often hear very conflicted views... I mean I once read that Sheol is ...
4
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2answers
393 views

G-d doesn't have emotions? Why?

Here I've read, that the Rambam in yesode hatorah says, G-d has no emotions. But the Torah is full with things like: what He hates (usually the breaking of His laws, especially the sins related ...
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1answer
27 views

What kind of “tikun hamiddos” is advocated by the Torah?

Does the Torah require a person to 1- uproot and change the source of bad middos (and not simply to deny and suppress his desires) or 2- deny and suppress his desires and behavior (but not ...
6
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0answers
45 views

Judaism and dementia

Are there any books/articles that discuss dementia from a Jewish perspective? I am looking for a perspective that include coping with, and relevant hashkafa. The intended audience being not the sick ...
14
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5answers
11k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
2
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2answers
123 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 ...
0
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2answers
328 views

Is Judaism only intellectual or is it emotional? [closed]

1) Is Judaism only intellectual or is it emotional? 2) How does one feel an emotional attachment with G-d (i.e. the Shechinah) like the Jews felt at Har Sinai?
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4answers
161 views

Judaism and Communism

Does the Torah model of society value concepts such as liberty and democracy, or does it value a model based on Communism i.e. a non-materialistic, equality-based society etc.? Torah and Rabbinic ...
0
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3answers
425 views

Does G-d want intermarried couples to divorce?

Does G-d want intermarried couples to divorce? I don't want to provide too much explanation, but rather leave it open-ended. I will ask those who post answers to consider a broad range of cases, ...
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2answers
80 views

Would they have died anyway?

I preface my question by noting that this question can be uncomfortable to some people, but hope that this great community can answer it Take any tragic event where people died, be it 9/11 or the ...
7
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2answers
35 views

Do I have to be certain that there is a God? [duplicate]

Does the Torah require me to believe/know that God exists based on premises that I consider to be and reason to be certainties? Is it proper or even just ok to believe that God exists based on ...
2
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0answers
29 views

Individual Life Mission

What are the earliest sources that support or contradict the view of Sfas Emes and Chiddushei HaRim that each person (or Jew) has a unique mission in the world?
3
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0answers
16 views

Is there any significance in the 10th of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith quoting a Passuk?

If you read Rambam's 13 Ani Maamin's, 13 Principles of Faith, you'll note that only the 10th one makes reference to Tanach. Is there a reason for that? (Looking for sourced answer, rather than ...
3
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1answer
113 views

Is Holiness an achievable goal for an individual?

The Torah, at Lev. 19:2, teaches "You shall be holy for I, Hashem your G-d, am holy." What is holiness in this context? Is it an achieveable goal, or must we observe the commandments perfectly? If ...
5
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1answer
172 views

Why should you be seeking medical attention?

From what I understand, all sicknesses and injuries fall upon a person because either G-d wants to wake him up to repent or to punish him. With that being the case, by seeking healing the person is ...
2
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2answers
70 views

Who was for and against Jews fighting back against the Germans in WW2?

There was a famous controversy regarding the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that was the largest uprising the Jews performed against the Nazis. I have heard tell that a lot of Rabbonim banned fighting back ...
2
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1answer
22 views

Complete wickedeness instead of tikkun as path to redemption?

Rabbi Yochanan tells us that “אין בן דוד בא, אלא בדור שכולו זכאי, או כולו חייב”. “the son of David (Mashiach) comes only in a generation that all the people have merits or in a generation that all are ...
11
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5answers
375 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
9
votes
4answers
884 views

How can we be sure that Judaism is the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
2
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1answer
56 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 weak like "I didn't know I shouldn't take oaths". What's the point of ...
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0answers
26 views

A prayer not accompanied with personal efforts to solve the problem – how is it viewed?

This article by Rabbi Berel Wein reminds us that that our father Yaakov prepared for his encounter with Eisav by adopting three possible strategies and not relying on prayer alone. He says ...
3
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2answers
84 views

What is the importance of the tallit during prayer?

What is the difference whether one wears a tallit or not during תפילה (prayer/worship, sacred service)?
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2answers
48 views

What distinguishes humans from animals?

Both Humans and animals seem to have: Flesh: (Bereshit 6:13) The ketz (end) of kol basar is come before Me. Nefesh Chaya: (Bereshit 1:30) wherein is a Nefesh Chaya Ruach Chayim: (Bereshit 6:17 & ...
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3answers
165 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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2answers
119 views

Is showing excessive honor to Gedolim idolatry?

At what point is the kavod shown toward the Gedolim considered idolatry? Terms like 'Gadolatry' are sometimes used as if to indicate that too much respect is being shown for certain rabbis to the ...
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3answers
147 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
3
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4answers
1k views

Can someone have a soul of the opposite gender?

Inspired by this question: Prayer for changing name for transgender reasons? While the subject of transgendered individuals has been discussed, I was wondering if it is possible, from a hashkafic ...
15
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3answers
666 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 ...
3
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3answers
231 views

Torah and the Holy Bible

Why doesn't the Holy Bible contain only the original First five books of the Bible and nothing else? As I understand the Bible to state that nothing shall be removed and nothing was to be added.
4
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1answer
113 views

Why are observant Jews so reluctant to admit that Chazal could ever make mistakes? [closed]

I have great respect for many of our sages of blessed memory, but there seems to be a tendency among Jews to refuse to admit the possibility that they could have ever made mistakes. I have been ...
2
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1answer
32 views

Why did God create wild vicious animals?

Can we learn any lesson from the wild beasts that devour their prey? Do the sages have anything to say about wild animals?
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2answers
96 views

Do you know of a Rabbi who rejects modern technology?

A little bit like the Amish... I just want to know if such an ideology exists in Judaism. I know that the Hatam Sofer and Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein opposed modern philosophy, maybe one Rabbi opposed ...
3
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2answers
72 views

Why should God punish the firstborn of another nation that was in Egypt?

The Pasuk describes the victims of the plague of the firstborn as follows: It came to pass at midnight, and the Lord smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who ...
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4answers
182 views

Lubavitch and Geocentricism

I read here in an article by Rabbi Gil Student that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe zy"a believed in the geocentric model despite the modern scientific evidence to the contrary. What is the source for this ...
2
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2answers
210 views

Animal sacrifice in Judaism — was it copied from other religions?

Why is there animal sacrifice in Judaism? Animal sacrifice was found in other religions before Judaism, so could it be that the Jews copied the practice of animal sacrifice from other religions?
7
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2answers
470 views

What does “servant of G-d” mean?

The mussar texts are replete with the idea that we should be servants of God, and the first paragraph of the shema itself says "and you shall love your god with all your heart and all your might." So ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the meaning of “ we are the children of God ”? [closed]

Shalom , What is the meaning when the jew say that and according to this can we say that Moses is the son of God as he is the biggest teacher " while not meaning what the Christians said " ? I hope I ...
4
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3answers
182 views

How much of this world is really ordained by Heaven?

On another website, someone quoted the Rambam: I do not believe that it is through the interference of Divine Providence that a certain leaf drops [from a tree], nor do I hold that when a certain ...
4
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0answers
45 views

How is strict doctrine motivated as being the product of God's will? [duplicate]

I'm not Jewish by any interpretation of the term, but curiosity frequently leads me to click on Stackexchange's Hot Network Questions. Questions on judaism.stackexchange.com often stand out because of ...
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2answers
55 views

What's the takeaway message for Chanuka?

One of the oft-cited teachings of Rav Hirsch is that every Jewish holiday contains an infusion of kedusha (holiness) and a lesson, both of which aren't only important in and of themselves, but rather ...
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2answers
127 views

The concept of the “Tzadik” in Chasidut

I've recently started to learn about Breslev Chasidut and was amazed by many great advices of Rabbi Nachman zt'l but I am very confused to read things about the so called Tzadik of the Generation e.g. ...
7
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1answer
135 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
4
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1answer
136 views

Ishmael & Great Nation Status

So God tells Abraham that he will make Ishmael into a great nation. Some nations, like China, are great without God having made a bilbical promise to anyone. When Abraham was promised that Ishmael ...
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0answers
44 views

Waving at a security camera on Shabbat

Background: Walking past motion detector/sensor activated lights on Shabbat -- it's better to avoid setting of motion-activated lights on Shabbat. Unintentional closing and opening of electrical ...
4
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1answer
87 views

Why is Akaidas Yitzchak considered a good thing?

I'm having some difficulty understanding the incident of the Akaida. God tested Avraham by commanding him to take his son as a human sacrifice to see if he would obey even this (Genesis 22). However, ...
7
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3answers
341 views

What was the value of the Rishonim's philosophical inquiries about God and the world?

Many Rishonim used the philosophy of their time or previous times to 'prove' God's existence and/or learn about the nature of the world. 1- Why did they do this? (Is there a mitzvah to use ...