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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18
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8answers
2k views

Conversion: If G-d really wanted me to be a Jew (and observe mitzvot), why was I not born into a Jewish family

This question pertains to the issue of conversion, and if it makes sense in the Jewish context of some people being Chosen specifically by God. Before beginning, this poster is aware of the long, and ...
7
votes
5answers
304 views

Is the brain the seat of the soul?

There are disturbing ideas in the Feb 21, 2011 Time magazine cover article 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. The article attributes to Raymond Kurzweil the prediction that within the next 25 years ...
4
votes
2answers
61 views

Mind/soul/spirit/body “partites”

Various philosophers and theologians have posited different anthropological views concerning the 'division' of man into a mind/soul/spirit/body. The major views are summarized below: Unitary / ...
3
votes
2answers
228 views

Halachic Relevancy of 'Proving God'

The first halacha in the Mishnah Torah states that you must know for certain that God exists (Yesodei Hatorah 1:1). Does this mean that according to Rambam, God can be proven to exist through ...
1
vote
3answers
102 views

Does God have complete knowledge of future?

This question Did God know the holy place right away during the exodus? ask around the idea that G-d would choose His holy places during exodus time. However, if he knows the future, he couldn't ...
6
votes
3answers
291 views

Why is there no description of Olam Haba in the Torah?

According to the beginning of the Mesilas Yesharim, the entire purpose of creation is for man to merit Olam Haba (the bliss of the next world). If so, why is there no mention nor description of Olam ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

What is the religious significance of the existence of many denominations and sects?

For much of the past 2000 years, when most of contemporary Halacha was being formulated, there was only a single denomination\sect of Judaism. (Leaving aside Ashkenzi vs Sephardi, which is mostly a ...
6
votes
1answer
299 views

Following 'the spirit of the law' vs 'the letter of the law'

My question has several parts, and I'd love to hear your thoughts for all parts: What are the responsibilities of a Jew regarding the following of laws in general? Is it permissable to follow the ...
10
votes
5answers
507 views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there “Torah Inerrancy”?

Is there Torah inerrancy? In other words, does the Torah contain no factual errors: the Noah flood did occur, Garden of Eden did exist, Adam and Eve did live there and were subsequently expelled, etc ...
4
votes
2answers
115 views

Jewish alternative to a Christian self-help book

I had a bad psychological trauma some time ago and I felt the urgent need to review myself. I found that reading self-help books helped me. I tried to learn Mussar books (Mesillat yesharim, Chafetz ...
11
votes
9answers
596 views

do we really have free choice?

I was told Hashem created us with free will; so we can make a choice to do good or evil, right? Well, Hashem knows what we are going to do in 10 minutes. So do we really have free will? Hashem can see ...
14
votes
8answers
824 views

“If God had not delivered us from Egypt we would still be slaves”? Really?

One part of the Pesach seder that has always bothered me is saying that if God had not taken us out of Mitzrayim at that time we would still be slaves today. This seems lacking in faith in God; ...
7
votes
6answers
300 views

Will money fall from the sky if you pray for it?

If you daven for a parnasah and then just sit back will money come to you?
0
votes
1answer
91 views

Are Rabbinic decrees binding forever, or can they be rescinded?

Regarding the rabbinic decrees instructed in the Talmud, how can one know that a particular rabbinic commandment is binding to all future generations and may not be rescinded or amended ever? . ...
5
votes
5answers
239 views

Why does evil exist?

I realize this is a very common question, but the problem of evil is an important one, and as far as I can tell, has not been asked here. In short, why does G-d allow evil to exist?
3
votes
5answers
134 views

How can two contradictory ideas exist in Matzah?

מצה embodies two ideas: poor man’s bread (slavery) and free man’s bread (the bread that made in haste when they left Egypt). These ideas seem to contradict one another; how can they both exist in one ...
0
votes
2answers
53 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?
4
votes
2answers
71 views

Does God's providence extend to all people or only righteous people?

Does God's providence (Hashgacha Pratit) extend to all people? to all individuals of the nation of Israel? or only to righteous people (צדיקים)?
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Understanding ones own 'middah k'neged middah'

In order to better understand ones purpose, merits and relationship (etc.) with Hashem is there any merit in trying to figure out the מדה כנגד מדה aspects of one's life? Should one dwell on such ...
9
votes
4answers
526 views

Dreams in Judaism?

What does Judaism have to say about dreams and do have any legitimacy? Are they in any way binding, or are they assumed to be just products of an overactive imagination?
5
votes
2answers
111 views

Why did Hashem create the world in such a way that a leap year is needed?

I understand why we have a leap year; to keep the sun and moon cycles in sync, so that Pessach is always in the spring. That's all technical, as a result of the moon orbiting too slowly - or the sun ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

Tsnius for Women : Talmud Torah for Men

I have heard the idea that the concept of tsnius, or modesty, for women is equivalent to the command of Torah study for men. Once, I overheard this in a conversation between two men, one of whom I ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

Holiness in Intimacy

My understanding of one functionality of blessings is that they help one to take a moment and focus one's intent on the Creator and on one's higher purpose. This idea is especially poignant when one ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Bride and Groom: King and Queen?

I was at a wedding recently where a Rabbi spoke under the Chuppah and said that a groom is like a king and a bride is like a queen. I have heard these sayings a num er of times in the past. What is ...
13
votes
5answers
9k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
1
vote
3answers
149 views

Is one permitted to study other religions?

Is one allowed to study other religions? If not, how is one supposed to know that Judaism is correct? If yes, is such study encouraged?
9
votes
5answers
637 views

Intrinsic reasons for being observant

If a person doesn't care much about the reward in Olam Habah, what reasons does he have for being religious (learning torah and observing the mitzvot)? As a parable, a businessman might not care ...
1
vote
3answers
110 views

Why wasn't the Torah given to klal Yisroel as a DVD?

The obvious answer is that they didn't have DVDs back in Moshe Rabeinu's time. But still, Hashem could have created them back then. My question, "Why wasn't the Torah given as a DVD?", is really ...
2
votes
0answers
80 views

The Second Temple [closed]

I'm a BT of just over 5 yrs now, struggling but studying hard (50 yrs of 'catch-up'!). I think of myself as a Chassidic Jew. I'm still intrigued, yet in a quandary about the validity of the 2nd ...
1
vote
3answers
112 views

What if our purpose is to be bad?

How do we know that our purpose is not to be bad? Surely evil men have, by extension, caused some good. And even without that idea, we have no use what our purpose is on this earth -- how do we know ...
2
votes
2answers
63 views

How did the Gedolim achieve fear of Yom HaDin when the Gemoro says daya letzarah beshatah?

The Gemoro says (Brachot 9b) dayah letzarah beshaatah. The way I understand this and I think Rashi learns like this as well, is that there is no point worrying about an upcoming Tzarah. If you can do ...
7
votes
4answers
263 views

Is Ferberization okay?

Is there anything objectionable (in terms of halacha, hashkafa and middos) to using the Ferber method for training an infant to fall asleep on its own? There is an element of cruelty, and the ultimate ...
-1
votes
2answers
128 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?
7
votes
3answers
308 views

Why did God do nothing against the Romans that desecrated the Temple?

When good guy made a mistake, like Uzzah trying to fix the ark, God killed him (see II Samuel 6:6). However, Uzzah does not seem that evil. I mean, the ark stumbled and he just tried to help. Then, ...
2
votes
2answers
191 views

Why is being religious a duty if God chose to not have a proof to his existence in this world?

According to the answers to the question "How do we know that God exists" it seems some (if not most) religious Jews believe there is no way to verify whether or not God even exists. If this view is ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Should someone who isn't 100% certain of God's existence be considered a kofer?

I was told by two respected Roshai Yeshiva that one who isn't certain of God's existence (an agnostic) is not deemed to be a kofer (denier of His existence) as long as he thinks that His existence is ...
-2
votes
3answers
140 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: ...
13
votes
8answers
639 views

Reconciling the evidence for the Uncertainty Principle with belief in an omniscient G-d

One of the foundations of modern quantum mechanics is the Uncertainty Principle. This principle is not an assumption, but rather is derived from assumptions made with regard to the structure of ...
11
votes
2answers
321 views

Why is Moshiach a “fundamental belief” (iqar)?

In what sense is belief in the eventual coming of Moshiach fundamental to Judaism? Rambam famously includes it as the twelfth in his list of iqarim, but why? Considering the other iqarim, Judaism ...
15
votes
4answers
492 views

Why is Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos so “controversial”?

I have heard that Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos is controversial, and that one needs a rebbe in order to learn it. What does the author say that is so difficult to understand?
2
votes
5answers
148 views

What is one's purpose in life and how does one find it?

How does one know or determine one's tafkid in life? And can a person have more than one tafkid? Please include sources. Thank you.
3
votes
2answers
107 views

Living a sheltered lifestyle

I often hear the argument that living a 'sheltered life' could be considered to be statistically justified i.e. the likelihood of your children 'veering from the correct' path is lower. By ...
2
votes
3answers
313 views

Chachma, bina vaadat. Whats the difference?

Whats the difference between the concepts: chachma, bina and daat? We see them listed together in the amida.
3
votes
1answer
76 views

How should one answer a fool asking about Torah matters?

My question comes from Shabbat 30b (Koren Talmud Bavli). Two contradictory proverbs are mentioned: Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Proverbs ...
9
votes
2answers
187 views

Free will a prerequisite for punishment?

I read that the angel Metat was subjected to 60 pulsei de-nura (Aramaic: פולסא דנורא "lashes of fire"). I have been taught that angels do not have free will. Did this angel act from free will or did ...
3
votes
4answers
223 views

How did Abraham conclude that the world must have a master?

Abraham is said to have arrived at the existence of Gd in Gen Rabah 39: אמר רבי יצחק משל לאחד שהיה עובר ממקום למקום וראה בירה אחת דולקת אמר תאמר שהבירה זו בלא מנהיג הציץ עליו בעל הבירה אמר לו ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

How exactly should I understand the Divine Presence?

I'm reading Talmud Bavli (the one from Koren) and I have a question concerning what I read in Shabbat Daf 12b. G-d is called the Omnipresent several times, implying to me that G-d is present ...
2
votes
2answers
153 views

How did Chazal know they were right about “who is a Jew”?

My question is predicated on the assumption that Jews were created by God as fundamentally different from non-Jews. (I am referring, for example, to the idea that Jews have a special type of soul. And ...
12
votes
8answers
663 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; ...