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 is the meaning of the saying “two Jews, three opinions?” [closed]

There is an old saying that goes something like "ask two Jews, you'll get three opinions." What is the meaning of it? More specifically, why the numbers two and three, as opposed to "ask two Jews, ...
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3answers
64 views

Alternative to “mensch”

When talking to a Torah Scholar, if you want to say that they are a "mensch" (as well), is there a better word that fits with a more Haredi/Litvish hashkafah? I am asking as (it seems to me) a more ...
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2answers
152 views

How does Rambam explain the use of magic in Tanakh?

I've heard that the Rambam says that when the Torah speaks about magic it is meant as a parable. If this is the case, how does he explain Pharoah's sorcerers and other incidents in Tanakh such as ...
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1answer
102 views

Poems on Atticism by Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal) [closed]

Can anyone find poems on Atticism for me by Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal)?
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3answers
799 views

Is Shadal a mainstream commentary?

Shadal (Shmuel David Luzzatto) wrote, among many other things, a commentary to the Torah. I do not know very much about the style and approach of his commentary, but strangely, I've actually never ...
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4answers
106 views

Meaning of snow

Rain is mentioned commonly in the Torah, G'mara and prayers. And it's viewed as a blessing in Judaism. But what about snow (שלג)? If it is, what's its meaning?
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2answers
118 views

Near Death Experience and Judaism

How does Judaism view Near Death experiences? do we believe they are a figment of the imagination, or do we accept them? and if we do accept them, how do we believe stories of people who claim that ...
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2answers
94 views

God created both the written law and the oral before the world was created. Why didn't he make all of it 'written'?

If He wanted to us to follow all of it and the oral law was most of what we received at Mount Sinai why didn't He tell us to write it all down?
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1answer
125 views

Why do Jews believe the entire Torah, as opposed to parts or most, was given by God to Moses?

It is the Rambam's 8th Principle of Faith that the entire Torah (possibly except the last several verses) was dictated by God to Moses. Why do we believe that? Why, for example, can't we say that the ...
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1answer
85 views

Jewish considerations regarding moving to Mars

My question is independent of particular halachic issues that a Jew would face on Mars. It is not even about the legality of the decision to move to Mars in light of the knowledge that many obstacles ...
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4answers
50 views

Should we replace fear of G-d with love of G-d?

I've always heard that we should love G-d with all our hearts but also fear Him. I've understood all my life that fearing G-d is a fundamental midah, something every Jew must have. But I've also heard ...
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5answers
259 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 ...
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3answers
148 views

Mashiach in year 6000?

I have heard in various discussions that we have an idea that mashiach will come at the latest by year 6000. Is this a normative belief? Furthermore, is this a belief that is understood literally by ...
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1answer
55 views

What are the basics books of rationalist jewish philosophy?

According to wikipedia, there is a lineage of rationalist jewish philosophy books. 1° Rambam: More Nebuchim 2° Ralbag: Sefer Milhamot Hashem 3° R' Hesdai Crescas: Or Hashem 4° R' Albo: Sefer ...
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2answers
160 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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11answers
3k 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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1answer
26 views

Most auspicious times for bathing in Mikve according to Kabbalah

I am interested in the Kabbalistic answer to this question (below) because of my interest in the deeper spiritual experience and philosophical knowledge, but if you know of an answer according to ...
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3answers
276 views

What is the role of a wife towards her husband according to Jewish thought?

What does the Torah, encompassing all of the Jewish works, say about the duties and responsibilities of a wife towards her husband? I would like some sources on the matter.
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3answers
121 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?
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1answer
66 views

What is the argument between Rashi and the Ra'avid about the meaning of HaMelech HaKadosh

I was reading בחינת דת, a work of Hashkafa by Elias ben Moise del Medigo and in it he references* an argument between Rashi and the Ra'avid regarding the meaning of HaMelech HaKadosh. The context is ...
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3answers
95 views

Intrinsic Value of Mitzvot

The question is the following: do mitzvot have intrinsic value, or only extrinsic value. A ramification of this is the following scenario: A person has two ways of performing an act; one of them would ...
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3answers
73 views

What method of reasoning did Abraham use to reach Enlightenment?

What method(s) of reasoning did Abraham use to discover HaShem's existence and that he is Adon Olam? I'm wondering about particular methods. [1] ...
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8answers
2k views

Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

I've always thought that our true essence, who we actually are, our personalities are our souls. To me, bodies are just temporary "homes" for the soul. My body can perish, but my soul will continue ...
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2answers
110 views

Role of the soul in living things

Are the bodies of living things (bacteria, plant, animals, humans) running like a purely physical machine or are they coupled with some kind of spiritual soul to breathe life into this machine. Our ...
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1answer
43 views

What is the hebrew Word for the rationalist approach [closed]

What is the hebrew term for the rationalist approach of the Rambam, the Ran, the Rivash, Ralbag etc.?
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0answers
54 views

Teaching Machshava and Hashkafa to Non-Jews

I know there is a prohibition against teaching Oral Torah to Non-Jews, but what about Machshava and Hashkafa? Sometime Non-Jews ask questions and the answer relates to either Hashkafa/Machshava. Is it ...
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0answers
618 views

Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
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6answers
611 views

Drawing my own conclusions from the Torah

I've always made my own inferences and interpretations from the Torah. Whether it's from a story, a Perashah or something from the Tanach. But I don't know how good/permissible that is. A problem ...
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1answer
118 views

How are those that interact with the Israeli government viewed from a halachic standpoint by anti-Zionist groups?

How does Satmar, Neturei Karta, and other similar groups view Religious Zionists and Haredim that interact with the Israeli government, from a halachic standpoint (i.e. are they acceptable as ...
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2answers
143 views

Did God create life forms containing infinite wisdom

In Tehilim King David said (92:5): "How great are Your works, Lord, how deep your thoughts!" According to Chazal (Torah sources, ideally Talmud, Midrash but can be Rishonim also) does this mean God ...
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2answers
54 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 ...
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6answers
516 views

Where is it taught that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome?

I heard various rabbonim say that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome. Where is the source for this?
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3answers
115 views

The wicked rewarded here seemingly aren't rewarded in full. Fair?

I'm reading volume 1 of Strive for Truth, Rabbi Aryeh Carmell's English-language adaptation of Michtav Meeliyahu, and one of the first essays cites Chazal as explaining that one reason good things ...
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0answers
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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1answer
51 views

Reb Yoel's opinion on Torah of Baal Shem Tov

In the answer here, an opinion that 'the Torah of the Baal Shem Tov is forgotten' is attributed to Reb Yoel of Satmar. Is there an actual source for these words being said by him? Is there any ...
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3answers
152 views

How do we know that non-commandments in the Torah still apply today?

It has been stated elsewhere on here that the laws of the Torah are eternally binding on all Jews (e.g no chametz on Passover, shake the 4 species etc.), is there anywhere that discusses whether other ...
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4answers
1k views

How can we be sure that Judaism is true/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 ...
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3answers
158 views

Should lust for one's wife be curbed?

According to Judaism illicit relations are forbidden. I always thought that the way one can control his lustful desires is by marrying. In the Garden of Peace, Rabbi Shalom Arush says that a man ...
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2answers
72 views

Has any rav / gadol answered Maharal's question on why we pray?

I located this in beurei hatefilah מהרל נתיבות עולם א עמוד פא נתיב העבודה פרק ה And there are those who ask about tefila: if a person is worthy that G-d should grant him what he is requesting ...
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7answers
3k views

Why does belief in Judaism require irrationality?

In conversations with Rabbis, and in watching debates between Rabbis and atheists, I have often found that the response to questions which attack Judaism either on the basis of some of its perceived ...
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1answer
466 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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4answers
231 views

Where does the sense of morality come from?

Where does our sense of morality which impels us to right conduct come from? Is it something internal to us, or perhaps it is external to us? Is it physical or spiritual, etc. For example, does our ...
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3answers
177 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 ...
5
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2answers
105 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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
103 views

Is it permitted that male person to have feminine job? And otherwise?

Is it forbidden for a male person to have feminine job? If so, how is a feminine job defined according to halacha? Likewise, is it forbidden for a female person to have a masculine job?
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0answers
33 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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2answers
163 views

What is an overview of Judaism's arguments against the “unconscious violinist” analogy used to support abortion in the case of rape?

I am looking for the response of any denomination that is against abortion in the case of rape that has also responded to the scenario below or something similar to it. "A Defense of Abortion" ...
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4answers
495 views

Aside from the Mitzvah “to be fruitful and multiply” why else should a Jewish person want to get married?

What does the Torah say regarding the reasons that one should get married? I am looking for sources such as "ein simcha beli isha" and other philosophical intrinsic reasons for finding a mate.
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4answers
170 views

No More Zechuth Avoth?

The Gemara (Bab. Shab. 55a) discusses when Zechuth Avoth ceased. I am aware of several opinions in Tosafoth that it ended for wicked people, or it ended for everyone but the very righteous or it ended ...