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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2
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2answers
120 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
72 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?
4
votes
2answers
294 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
174 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
119 views

Why believe in the revelation at Sinai other than the “Kuzari mesora” argument? [duplicate]

I was reading this post the other day, and came across a comment by user DoubleAA who stated in the comments something to the effect of "if the only reason you believe is because of the Kuzari ...
12
votes
5answers
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
54 views

How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
12
votes
3answers
215 views

Punishment in this World or in the World To Come

It says that (in general) Hashem lets a righteous person suffer in this world to cleanse him from sins (so he will have no more sins in the World to Come), while Hashem lets a wicked person prosper in ...
5
votes
5answers
305 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?
8
votes
4answers
495 views

Why a human Messiah?

I understand that Mashiach is going to be a human. What is the source for this, and are there any explanations why it must be so? Can't G-d Himself redeem us?
29
votes
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?
2
votes
1answer
38 views

How do we learn “Taamei HaMitzvos”?

The Rambam famously believed that sacrifices were given to ween people off idolatry. Therefore, it can be assumed that when Mashiach comes, there won't be a need for sacrifices. Yet, the Rambam ...
1
vote
4answers
146 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
votes
0answers
24 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
876 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?
7
votes
3answers
469 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
47 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Disproving Samaritan practices/beliefs?

Are there any Counter-Samaritan proofs or essays that anyone out there knows of, i.e. Torah based proof as to the fallacy of their practices/beliefs? Thank you
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Trying to be good [closed]

When browsing on my computer, I have had about three times that i wandered to the inappropriate videos from youtube. B"H I have never gone to an inappropriate site and don't plan on. After each time I ...
3
votes
3answers
35 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
102 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
595 views

How can I respond to challenges to the Kuzari argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai?

The Kuzari's argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai was extremely convincing when I heard it, and I've read different summaries of it by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb and Rabbi Leib Keleman (I must ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
7
votes
5answers
426 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
876 views

How does “eilu v'eilu” work out with an absolute truth?

I'm under the impression that religious Judaism believes in absolute truths. That being the case, how does the concept of "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chaim" (Eruvin 13b) work out? When two scholars ...
4
votes
4answers
148 views

Bitahon and Hishtadlut for livelihood

The Sefarim discuss (see Hobot Halevavot, Michtav MeEliyahu etc.) the idea of being Mishtadel (making an effort) for one's livelihood but believing that the Hishtadlut (effort) has absolutely nothing ...
1
vote
3answers
51 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
61 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
39 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
44 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
252 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
234 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
222 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?
-2
votes
3answers
110 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
53 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 ...
-3
votes
3answers
118 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?
2
votes
2answers
465 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
votes
2answers
271 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 ...
13
votes
8answers
772 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; ...
9
votes
3answers
74 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
82 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
58 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
123 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
votes
1answer
186 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
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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?
5
votes
2answers
236 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
88 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?