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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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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1answer
129 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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4answers
52 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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3answers
180 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
61 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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1answer
33 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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2answers
173 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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3answers
74 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] http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/434682/...
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1answer
73 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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1answer
45 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
57 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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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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6answers
615 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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2answers
113 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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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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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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1answer
56 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
176 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
77 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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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 ...
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1answer
78 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
172 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
89 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
124 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 "...
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3answers
154 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 ...
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0answers
35 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 ...
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1answer
57 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? ...
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1answer
26 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 ...
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4answers
644 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.
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58 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
252 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 ...
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4answers
583 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 ...
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3answers
312 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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1answer
165 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.
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1answer
103 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.
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0answers
33 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 [...
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3answers
59 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, etc.)...
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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) ?
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7answers
230 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
53 views

Does HaShem still do miracles in exile?

Are there any sources that HaShem still performs 'open miracles' even during the exile?
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1answer
134 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 ...
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0answers
74 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 ...
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1answer
253 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 ...
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1answer
68 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?
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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! ...
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32 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?