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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9
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6answers
612 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
112 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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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?
-3
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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 ...
0
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1answer
54 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
168 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 ...
3
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2answers
74 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 ...
0
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3answers
154 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 ...
1
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1answer
74 views

Do communal and individual prayers correspond to different sacrifices?

Prayer, in general, is compared to the sacrifices that were offered in the Temple, as alluded to in Hoshea 14:3. But, halacha distinguishes between the prayers of an individual (תפלה ביחיד) and the ...
0
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0answers
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
166 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" ...
2
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4answers
83 views

How does “everything is from heaven aside from fear of heaven” apply when others are doing the wrong action?

There's an idea in Judaism that says "HaKol BeYedei Shamayim Chutz MiYirat Shamayim," "Everything is in Hashem's hands except fear of Heaven" (Berachot 33b and Megillah 25a) This means that ...
8
votes
1answer
78 views

Tefilla: how to develop the habit of prayer?

This is a simple question, but still a struggle: how to develop the habit of prayer and, most important, how to like it? There was a time I used to say both shacharis and mincha prayers, sometimes ...
5
votes
2answers
128 views

Doing something bad with a good intention

I recently studied the story of Hannah in school. I learned that Penninah would make fun of Hannah for not having children so she could reproach herself and pray deeply to G-d. Penninah was actually ...
1
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1answer
114 views

Difference between Muskalot and Mefursamot?

The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim writes that before Adam ate of the tree of knowledge the human being existed with concepts of "truth and falsehood," whereas afterwards their perception was in terms of ...
3
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3answers
152 views

Did the Rabbi just back us into a corner?

In the following quote, the Khazar king questions the Rabbi's belief in a (relatively) young world starting with Adam. The Rabbi concedes that the question posed 'would weaken my belief', but argues ...
4
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0answers
34 views

Looking for a Chazon Ish about developement of Minhagim

It has stuck in my head for a while now - roughly quoted as saying that one shouldn't mock minhagim that have developed in klal yisroel even if the origin seems dubious - as Hashem wouldn't allow ...
-1
votes
1answer
55 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? ...
0
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1answer
25 views

Are animals commanded (Bereishit 1:22)?

In two places in parshat Bereishit Gd commands "be fruitful and multiply". The second place is the familiar commandment directed to humans (Gen 1:28). In the first place, the same words are used but ...
1
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4answers
633 views

Why does God exist?

Why does God exist as opposed to nothing existing. Is this just a contingent fact that we must accept or is there some kind of reason we can understand a bit why it must be so? Please source.
4
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0answers
53 views

Which Rishonim viewed maaseh bereishit as an allegory?

I have often heard that many rishonim were comfortable with the idea that at least the first week of creation could be read allegorically, not literally. What are the specific sources that support ...
2
votes
2answers
49 views

Ezra spreading out his hands 'unto' G-d, Solomon's hands towards heaven

In Ezra 9.5, there is a reference to Ezra 'spreading his hands unto G-d'. Similarly, Solomon 'spreads forth his hands towards heaven' (2 Chronicles 6.13) and subsequently addresses G-d. In line with ...
2
votes
3answers
242 views

Could G-d change His mind about the future of humanity?

Jews believe that G-d made a permanent covenant with them. We also believe He made a covenant with mankind. We believe in a Messianic redemption and ultimate restoration of the world to peace and ...
6
votes
4answers
580 views

Source that we don't know how God judges people

I wrote in this answer, "We can't possibly know how God judges people after they die." I was making the point that the way we live our lives should be according to halacha but we can't possibly know ...
3
votes
3answers
291 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.
0
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1answer
134 views

What is the role of a father in a family according to Jewish thought?

What does the Torah, encompassing all of Jewish works, say about the duties and responsibilities of a father? I would like some sources on the matter.
0
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1answer
97 views

What is the role of a husband in a marriage according to Jewish thought?

What does the Torah, encompassing all of the Jewish works, say about the duties and responsibilities of a husband? I would like some sources on the matter.
0
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0answers
32 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
56 views

In Rambam's negative theology, why are G-d's attributes of action considered something that we can know about G-d?

In Rambam's negative theology, there is a distinction between descriptions of G-d's essence (which we can only speak about in negative terms, e.g. G-d is not physical, non temporal, non ignorant, ...
3
votes
3answers
89 views

Is it forbidden to try to give a specific description of HaShem?

Is it forbidden to try to give a definition of G-d as (i.e. a person/entity/consciousness who is unlimited without a physical shape not limited to space and time) ?
2
votes
6answers
195 views

What is the basis for the focus on the difference between Jews and everybody else?

I have noticed that in a large portion of the questions and answers here, the distinction between Jews and other people is repeatedly emphasized. I know enough about the Tanakh to understand that ...
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2answers
50 views

Does HaShem still do miracles in exile?

Are there any sources that HaShem still performs 'open miracles' even during the exile?
7
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1answer
133 views

What do you say on a person's 120th birthday?

Normally, most people wish someone "Ad meah ve'esrim" ([May you live] to a hundred and twenty). What do you say on a person's hundred and twentieth birthday. I have seen the answers about why 120 ...
3
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0answers
73 views

G-d changing the past

A bit of a childish question. Is it possible for God to change the past? or is it one of those things that are generally possible but in certain occasions will never happen? I'm asking because of ...
4
votes
1answer
249 views

To which philosophers does the Rambam refer in his letter about astrology?

In a responsum written to the rabbis of southern France, the Rambam makes reference (paragraph 10, here) to Greek and Persian philosophers who disprove astrology, but doesn't name them. אבל חכמי ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

What's the difference between the resurrection of the dead and heaven?

It seems like the final destination for a Jew is heaven ("Olam Haba") if he behaved properly. What then is the purpose of the resurrection of the dead and how does it differ from heaven?
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Transcendence, Immanence, and Ya'akov

I've been following some of the discussion here: Does Judaism believe in a form of Panentheism? and here: Hashem is here and there and everywhere? And I have to admit I am more confused than ever! ...
0
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0answers
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?
3
votes
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 ...
0
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1answer
60 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
117 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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8answers
260 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
104 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?
0
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1answer
30 views

What is the practical application or message in the expression המבין יבין והמשכיל ידום?

Follow up to this M.Y. question. I think that I have seen Rash"i or perhaps the Gemarah use this expression, occasionally, Loosely the phrase translates as: "The one that understands will, and the ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

During the time when the Sanhedrin was primarily Sadducees, would the average citizen that believed in the Oral Law have to listen to them?

During the reign of Alexander Yannai, the court was mostly Sadducees (Sanhedrin 52b, other places) before Shimon Ben Shetach returned and was able to remove them. During the period before Shimon Ben ...
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3answers
112 views

Does Judaism believe the doctrine of predestination?

Is there any indication of predestination doctrine in Judaism?
3
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6answers
141 views

what is good and what does it mean that God is good?

what does the term "tov" (good) mean. I am asking especially in how it relates to God. i.e. what does "tov" mean and what does it mean that God is "tov". an example where God is ascribed "tov" is in ...
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3answers
120 views

Does the Torah 'know' about 'quantum mechanics' and 'DNA synthesis'?

There are many articles and books available on the interplay between science and Judaism. Very often they come in the form of a halachic discussion of applying science to be able to resolve a halachic ...
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4answers
269 views

Can one refer to God as Vengeful?

I saw a dvar Torah on a site that was talking about Shelach and the sin of the spies. The piece was titled "Relating to a Vengeful God". My first reaction was outrage - it's seemed blasphemous. ...
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4answers
95 views

How could the whole Torah be given at Sinai? [duplicate]

When we have instances of Moshe not knowing how to answer questions in the Torah. One of which happens in this week's Torah portion. Numbers 9 8 And Moses said unto them: 'Stay ye, that I may hear ...