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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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 ...
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1answer
98 views

Should observant Jews travel to areas that are centres for Avodah Zarah (Idol worship)? [closed]

In the light of the recent tragic event in Nepal, the question arose in my mind whether observant Jews ought specifically to travel to the far east where avodah zarah is intrinsic to the society?
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1answer
55 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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2answers
67 views

source that purpose of this is world is as an arena for human free will

In a lecture on science, Rabbi David Gotlieb states that the purpose of nature is to provide a misleading appearance that the world carries itself, and the purpose of that is to provide an arena for ...
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2answers
120 views

What does it mean that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?

Typically God does not interfere with a person's free choice. {provide source} If this is so, what is the idea of Hardening Pharaoh's heart? Was that a removal of Pharaoh's free choice?
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173 views

Ladies first or men first?

Bereshit 31:17 reads: וַיָּקָם יַעֲקֹב וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת נָשָׁיו עַל הַגְּמַלִּים׃ So Jacob rose, and he lifted up his sons and his wives upon the camels. Rashi: את בניו ...
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80 views

Is הפעולה בשמות or “theurgy” similar to prayer in the Ramchal’s Derekh HaShem?

Ramchal in Derekh HaShem III 2 (7) speaks about using the names of G-d to achieve effects not achievable using physical agencies. He says, א׳ הוא הזכרת שמו ית׳ כמי שקורא אותו שיענהו, וימשיך על ידי ...
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1answer
200 views

Why Wait for Moshiach

The Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah says God has no joy or sadness. If so, why do we wait for moshiach? For G-d's glory? G-d does not need anything from us. How are we supposed to have intent to ...
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67 views

Does God Compensate Animals For Their Pain During Shechita?

Rav Sa'adia Gaon states the following regarding ritual slaughter of animals: I will make this matter understandable and say: the Creator has decreed that every animal will die, and has given ...
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1answer
54 views

Where can I buy Or Hashem?

I found a new printing of Or Hashem by R. Chasdai Crescas on hebrewbooks.org (here), but I can't find it or any other print for sale. Any ideas?
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28 views

Giving up being a Jew [duplicate]

If one is born into a Jewish family can one renounce Judaism and cease to be a Jew? Is being a Jew more ethnicity than faith?
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34 views

Seeking uplifting vort for Thanksgiving day table

I am looking for suggestions for one or more short discussion topics or teachings for the Thanksgiving day table, with kids from 10 years of age and up. Topics alone are fine, but topics fleshed out ...
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0answers
33 views

How must we feel about the destruction of Syrian temples by Daesh? [duplicate]

It is a positive commandment to destroy false deities, all their accessories, and everything that is made for their purposes, as [Deuteronomy 12:2] states: "You shall surely destroy all the places [...
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31 views

What is the meaning of life according to Judaism? [duplicate]

I've heard different things, like improving your middot, etc. Is there an agreed upon meaning to life in Judaism?
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1answer
64 views

Difference between judgement and discernment in Torah thought

Pirkei Avos (2:5) tells us 'Don't judge your friend until you are in his situation'. I was wondering about the term 'judge' Merriam-Webster online defines:- 'judgement' as 'the process of forming ...
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47 views

Killing with hate?

At the end of parashat Emor it is written: וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה, אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וַיּוֹצִיאוּ אֶת-הַמְקַלֵּל אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה, וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתוֹ אָבֶן; וּבְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל עָשׂוּ, ...
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60 views

Maimonides' 13 Principles

What are the earliest sources who state that the thirteen principles of Maimonides are authoritative?
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39 views

Do animals have a connection with God?

According to Jewish sources, do animals have a connection with God? by connection I mean some kind of awareness of His existence or perhaps some sort of communion.
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0answers
25 views

Why did God make such a vast, expansive universe? [duplicate]

The title pretty much says it all — but it certainly seems unnecessary and plays very well into the theories of people such as Richard Dawkins. How are we best to respond to this challenge of theirs?
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41 views

How is it possible to have machlokot in very basic issues of the halacha [duplicate]

The orthodox world view assumes that the whole torah came from the mountain of sinai and is transferred from generation to generation. When there is a machloket this is because either: The ...
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0answers
25 views

Why do we believe that God is all powerful? [duplicate]

The only way we could know that God is all powerful is if we knew that He created the universe — then, logically, He would be all-powerful within it. (And, to the best of our knowledge, nothing exists ...
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60 views

Does the mitzvah of Tzedek require poverty and inequality in society?

If we accept that giving to the poor and an emphasis on Tzedek are Mitzvot that is repeatedly noted within Tanakh - for example some Midrashic commentary suggests that the sin of Sodom was actually a ...
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2answers
78 views

is it right to set goals?

is it right to set goals for yourself? how do you know that hashem knows you can accomplish more than the goal you have now? how do you know that hashem knows you bit more than you can chew?
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1answer
95 views

Not inquiring into heresy?

Is there some sort of injunction against inquiring into heresy? I am pretty sure there is an issur d'oraissa to inquire into Avodah Zarah? Thank you (By "inquire" I mean to investigate their beliefs ...
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2answers
75 views

Seeing signs from God

What is Judaism's view on signs from God? Let's say, for instance, that I am planning to take a bus somewhere, but the bus came a minute or two early and I missed it. Can one take that as being a sign ...
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2answers
126 views

Why create lust?

Why did G-d create lust (i.e. boys and girls)?
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2answers
270 views

How do those who adovcate chumrah understand this Gemorah (Gitin 55-56)

Because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, Jerusalem was destroyed. It happened this way: A certain man had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy called Bar Kamtza. He once made a party and said to his ...
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2answers
140 views

A Jewish Equivalent for this Quote?

I have read an Islamic quote that I like very much: "All praise is due to Allah; all the mistakes have been mine." Can anyone think of a Jewish source that expresses a similar concept?
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2answers
146 views

Why have great rabbis written of their hard times?

Rambam: And that was a most terrible event as my brother drowned in the Indian Ocean, he had taken such care of me and now I was left alone and bewildered in a strange land. Rabbi Moshe ...
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8answers
262 views

What is the purpose of life on this earth

We know that hashem created the whole world only for the purpose of human's on earth. Everything else is there for his benefit to obtain his purpose. So the question is, what real purpose does he ...
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3answers
165 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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2answers
92 views

many traditions are deep rooted, and thusly fought over (why?) …but don't we have bigger fish to fry? [closed]

why are so many of these traditions, if not really based in halacha, or real traditions (eg halacha/kabbalah) considered so important? like who really cares how we cut our fingernails and in what ...
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1answer
41 views

Moshiach or gan eden [duplicate]

What is the purpose of everything, our Torah and mitzvos. Is it to go to gan Eden in olam haba or is it to bring moshiach? Whenever I ask people usually I get either answer. Can someone clarify like ...
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1answer
86 views

How could the Jews have been sure the Golden Calf wasn't actually G-d?

This probably sounds like a ridiculous question, but in all seriousness, many Jews lost their lives in the aftermath of the worship of the Golden Calf (Shemos 32:27-28). While I understand only 40 ...
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4answers
191 views

Maybe God lied?

How do we know that God didn't lie at Sinai? Maybe he said he was good and compassionate, and promised us reward, but it's all a trick? Why believe that God is true?
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1answer
83 views

Rationalism in Judaism

what exactly is the difference between the rationalist approach and the non-rationalist approach in Judaism. I assume both believe in miracles.
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1answer
89 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 ...
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2answers
65 views

How are there arguments over how God works?

How can there be arguments over basic, major points in Jewish machshavah? How do we not all agree (and by "all", I mean all major primary sources) over how God works? How did this not come through in ...
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1answer
57 views

Does the Torah want you to be social?

In Pirkei Avot 1:15 it says: And receive every man with a pleasant countenance. What exactly is meant by this advice and how far does it extend? Should you be going out of your way to socialize? ...
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1answer
62 views

Jewish Souls and Gentile Souls [duplicate]

Were Adam and Eve and Noah Jewish? Are we to consider them Gentiles? If they are Gentiles, are we to consider their souls different from Jewish souls?
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2answers
170 views

Is tearing the hymen something that should be avoided

I have always heard that tearing the hymen by beilas mitzva (first intercourse with a virgin after marriage) is a good thing and it should not be avoided (maybe to tear it is the mitzvah as it seems ...
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2answers
184 views

Why was this world created?

As I've researched, G-d has many creations, trillions of worlds before this world, and will create many after this world. Why did G-d create this world?
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3answers
315 views

Does Judaism have a double standard? [closed]

I have asked two questions on Mi Yodeya regarding discrepancies between claims found in Torah and what we think we know about the world. One is a small one: Rivers in Genesis And one is a huge one: ...
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6answers
261 views

Why are we here if the chances are zero

A somewhat philosophical question (based on a saying by Albert Einstein): If God existed eternally and Olam Haba is infinite in time and this world is finite in time duration, then the chances of one ...
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2answers
57 views

What is free will and do we have it?

I guess to do evil and good there must be somekinda free will.If someone kills another without understanding it,one can´t say He /She did no evil,but you can say they are without fault. So I would ...
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1answer
122 views

Belittling of the Holocaust? [closed]

Hitler killed six million Jews. Rabbi Meir Kahane, HaShem Yikom Damo, famously said NEVER AGAIN. What is the Torah attitude towards espouse misguided viewpoints such as the one recently portrayed by ...
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1answer
71 views

Children saying Divrei torah at the Pesach seider [duplicate]

Are there any Gedolim who oppose the concept of children saying Divrei torah to their parents at the Pesach Seider?
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2answers
70 views

Testing Hashem (for Monetary Gain)

If I remember right, The Legacy of Maran Rav Aharon Kotler describes how a son tests his father's ability to sense if a glass has been toveled in a mikveh. The father passed the test consistently. ...
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6answers
560 views

Can G-d ever take on a physical form?

There are 3 religions that says so. The obvious one is Christianity with that being it's central term. The second one is Hindu. Khrisna is said to be a God incarnate. But in torah I often see stories ...
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2answers
243 views

Doomsday scenario, what would Hashem do?

Lets say John is about to end all mankind by releasing a deadly virus that can never be reversed, cured, or stopped. Will Hashem step in and stop the act? This is a contradiction because Hashem gave ...