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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13
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5answers
8k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
11
votes
2answers
234 views

What is “emunas chachomim”?

My daughter came home from school with a textbook response for what "emunas chachomim" is. I disagreed strongly with what was written in the book, so I'm not even going to say what they said. ...
10
votes
2answers
173 views

Non-belief in Torah's divinity - Wickedness or Ignorance?

If a Jew breaks halacha because he honestly does not believe that the Torah is G-d's law or that he is obligated it follow it, is his nonconformance with the law considered wickedness or ignorance? ...
8
votes
2answers
236 views

“God is Fire”: Trying to Source an Analogy for Prayer

I remember reading once a very clever analogy, which I was sure that I had found in the writings of Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who sourced it, from memory, in the writings of the Rav, R' Yosef Ber ...
8
votes
2answers
202 views

Can our deceased relatives observe us?

People often say (e.g. at s'machot and other such events) things like "Grandpa Chaim would have loved to be here today, but we know he is smiling down on us from shamayim" Is this really a ...
7
votes
2answers
889 views

The meaning of Tzadik

I am having difficulty in understand the meaning of Tzadik. Maimonides says "One whose merit surpasses his iniquity is a tzadik". I have trouble in understanding this sentence. Can someone explain the ...
7
votes
0answers
210 views

Why does God care so much about Details [duplicate]

Kizayis, Kebeitzah, Toich Kedai Achilas Pras, Zman Kriyas Shemah Why is god so into details what are their significance(e.x why does god care if I daven after Zman Kriyas Shemah)?
6
votes
2answers
284 views

Does the end justify the means

Is the phrase "The ends justify the means" a concept favored in Judaism? For instance, can one lie in order to get others to perform a Mitzvah?
5
votes
2answers
377 views

How can I know a rav has daas Torah

I have been privileged to know rabbis of great wisdom and knowledge who could address my issues with unique and helpful insights through the prism of Torah. I always understood them to have "daas ...
5
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4answers
360 views

Why is the foreskin removed?

Why is the foreskin removed? God gave it men, did God also tell them to have it removed?
4
votes
2answers
125 views

Is there a p'sak when dealing with de'os?

I was wondering if the idea of paskening applies to the de'os area of Torah. As an example there is a machlokes rishonim how to view Chazal's relationship with the science they relied on to pasken ...
3
votes
1answer
182 views

Must one go according to his/her opinion (leshitato)?

Imagine that a Halakhic Decisor (decider?) maintains a certain Halakhic position or Hashkafic belief. [I am assuming that such thing as a Hashkafic Decisor exists.] Anyway, is it imperative that s/he ...
2
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1answer
155 views

Is free will limited to humans?

Do other beings besides humans have free will? Perhaps animals have free will? What about angels? Does the status of other types of beings' freedom of will affect us in any way?
0
votes
1answer
146 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
444 views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...
8
votes
2answers
281 views

Moreh Nevuchim: To learn or not to learn?

I have come across many people who believe that it is inappropriate to learn Moreh Nevuchim especially at a younger inexperienced age. However, it seems that many important issues are discussed in the ...
6
votes
5answers
480 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
426 views

Why is there so much stuff?

If the point of all of creation is for the Jewish people to accept and carry out the torah [I realize this is not axiomatic and may be a point of contention - see Shabbat 88a] what is the need for the ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does the Jewish calendar HAVE to end?

It seems to be common knowledge that on or around the year 6,000 of the Jewish calendar "everything" (left intentionally vague) will come to an end and there will be a 1,000 year 'Shabbos'. I'm ...
12
votes
6answers
529 views

Being a light to the nations - what does it mean?

I'm working on this as my project for a yeshiva program, and I'd like some input What does the concept actually mean? It's only mentioned briefly in most of our scripture and commentary. Are there ...
9
votes
1answer
228 views

Does someone who dies very young have a soulmate?

As discussed in this question, the Talmud tells us that 40 days before someone is born, a heavenly voice calls out "This person is destined for so-and-so". Not sure if anyone can answer this, but ...
8
votes
3answers
617 views

How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
6
votes
1answer
223 views

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew?

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew? I understand that idolatry, or embracing the mainstream Christian perception of Jesus as divine, is absolutely out of the question. Furthermore, ...
5
votes
1answer
363 views

Why did Rabbis stay away from Amei Haaretz?

The Gemara tells Torah scholars that they should not mix with Amei Haaretz, and shouldn't be around them, eat with them, etc. The reason is that the Torah Scholars would learn from their bad ways. ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

English translation of Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim (Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed) on the Internet?

Is there an English translation on the Internet of Rambam's philosophic treatise on Jewish philosophy, Moreh Nevuchim?
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Why are angelic icons not prominent in Judaism?

I learned that the song Shalom Aleichem is all about welcoming the Shabbat angels, and clearly angels are celebrated in Judaism. However I've noticed that images of angels are not very widespread in ...
13
votes
8answers
805 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; ...
10
votes
2answers
115 views

Why didn't the Tur discuss traditional Jewish philosophy?

Of all classical works of Halacha, only the Rambam has a section dedicated "Hilchos Deos". For example, he begins with the most fundamental Jewish belief, the belief in one G-d, that G-d is the ...
7
votes
3answers
134 views

Can you pray something that isn't true or (at least) that the petitioner doesn't believe to be true?

In the Aruch HaShulchan OH 581:4, he writes regarding the selichos we recite before Rosh HaShanah: האחת: דאלו שאינם מתענים, ובהסליחה מוזכר לשון "תענית" או "צום" – לא יאמרו זה, דלא ליהוי כדובר שקרים. ...
7
votes
3answers
547 views

Zeh klal gadol batorah - really?

In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4 ואהבת לרעך כמוך: אמר רבי עקיבא זה כלל גדול בתורה: "You shall love your fellow as yourself. Said Rabbi Akiva: This is a great principle in the Torah." ...
6
votes
3answers
833 views

Do Jews think that all the unbelievers would go to hell someday?

I wonder whether Judaism teaches that those unbelievers or those who are Jews but nevertheless lead a sinful life would go to hell someday when judgement time comes.
6
votes
2answers
258 views

No Olam Habah for these?

At the end of Gemorah (Tractate) Sanhedrin, there is discussion of people who are not Zocheh to get into Olam Haba (Gan Eden). Is there a comprehensive list somewhere of people mentioned throughout ...
5
votes
1answer
122 views

Why does God tolerate demons? What is their purpose?

The Bavli records in many places the existence of demons, and answers to this question cite rishonim and acharonim who take this seriously. Pesachim 112b relates a story in which demons are ...
5
votes
3answers
96 views

Amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah

What's the source for amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah? Is there any benefit to try learning Torah on your own without help, when you can learn Torah through asking others and looking ...
5
votes
2answers
84 views

Bitahhon vs. Hishtadlut

In discussing the six constant mitzvot, Jewish Pathways mentions that: "To achieve results, [one must] invest effort. But the materials, circumstances, and ultimate result are all provided by ...
5
votes
4answers
200 views

Do a mitzva for mashiach?

I recently saw in The Moshiach Times, a popular Chabad-Lubavitch publication for children, an exhortation to "do a mitzvah for moshiach": to do a mitzva with the specific purpose of hastening the ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

How is knowledge of G-d different from any other knowledge?

The Rambam, in his Morei Nevuchim, says that when it comes to knowledge about G-d, we can only know what G-d is not. I.e. He is not limited in space, or time, He does not have property A, nor does he ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

All Sifre HaRamhal? (Rabbi Moshe Chayim Lutzato)

Is there a set that has "Kol Sifre HaRamhal"? The have "Kol Sifre HaHida" and other Rabanim, so maybe they'll also have all Sefarim of the Ramhal?
5
votes
6answers
198 views

Resources for learning about the foundations of Judaism

I recently met an intelligent Soviet immigrant interested in learning more about Judaism. He would like to start with understanding the basics. Such as: How do we understand G-d? What are the ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

how do we get out of non-achdus and golus? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are some practical things we can do to bring Moshiach? Given that we are still in galus (physical as well as spiritual exile), and given that our sages tell us the ...
4
votes
2answers
237 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
227 views

May we genetically engineer stuff?

The possibilities of genetic engineering continue to grow. May a Jewish scientist genetically engineer things?
4
votes
1answer
149 views

If someone doesn't believe in the Gemara, is he a heretic?

If someone says "I believe that the Mishnayos/Braisos/Toseftas are accurate, but I think that the Gemara made mistakes and has no holiness. Is such philosophy heresy? What about someone who argues ...
4
votes
1answer
150 views

Why make a bracha on an earthquake but not on an eclipse?

According to this page, Chaza"l intentionally omitted solar and lunar eclipses from the list of natural phenomena upon which we make a bracha. The following explanation is given: "The Hebrew term ...
4
votes
1answer
303 views

Does God discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish people?

I often wonder if God has a different attitude towards people who are not Jews. Why Jews are consisdered to be most favored nation? Does that mean that all other people are inferior to Jews? Wouldn't ...
4
votes
1answer
392 views

Torah Im Derech Eretz and Torah Umada

What exactly is "Torah Im Derech Eretz" and "Torah Umada." I am not looking for a translation but rather an explanation of Yeshiva University's philosophy regarding these things. What are the ...
4
votes
3answers
235 views

Source in Jewish writings for Moshiach?

What is the source in Jewish writings (Pre-Rambam) that there is a concept of a Moshiach, and his nature?
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Ideology of R' S. R. Hirsch

Perhaps someone can summarize the idea of "Torah im Derech Eretz" as endorsed by R' Samson Raphael Hirsch.
3
votes
2answers
57 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
207 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 ...