Tagged Questions

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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14
votes
3answers
615 views

How can the Rambam's Eighth Principle of Jewish Faith be believed in light of Hazal?

The Rambam's eighth Principle of Jewish Faith states that the entire Torah in our possession - every verse - was dictated to Mosheh Rabbenu and that it has not changed. However, we have explicit ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Who was the serpent? [duplicate]

I have heard that the Serpent in the garden was satans attempt to mimic G-d's creation of man, that the serpent was satins's version of man. Is there any evidence for this opinion
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Hashem testing a person

The Chofetz Chaim al Torah says, Chazal teach in bereishis rabbah, "Hashem does not elevate a person to greatness until He first tests him." Where in bereishis rabbah do chazal say this?
3
votes
1answer
57 views

The Maharal and his influence on Jewish philosophy

In the Wiki article on the Maharal there is a quote by Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein citing Rabbi Nachman Bulman that the Maharal "prevented the Balkanization of Jewish thought". I understand what he is ...
-3
votes
3answers
110 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?
7
votes
1answer
126 views

Is it correct to say now “Moshiach must come in this generation”?

Is it correct to say “Moshiach must come in this generation”? Related How do we understand Talmudic predictions of Moshiach? The statement was made in a shiur I attended. I asked the maggid shiur ...
2
votes
4answers
145 views

What precisely is meant by “G-d can do anything”?

There's a general concept in Judaism that G-d can do "anything". I've seen How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes? and this answer, so I understand that it is limited to the possible. However, ...
2
votes
3answers
70 views

Studying mussar and philosophy on tisha b'av

Can one learn mussar on tisha b'av, or how about Kuzari or Moreh Nevuchim? Is it considered to be the study of Torah, which gladdens, or is it, since it is mussar, okay?
4
votes
2answers
71 views

Kill a no-longer-profitable horse?

My understanding is that a horse is killed when its profit no longer matches its expense. Is this something Jews should/may do? I can think of some pros and cons, but wonder what authorities have ...
7
votes
2answers
205 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
0answers
42 views

What is the importance of the tallit during prayer?

What is the difference whether one wears a tallit or not during תפילה (prayer/worship, sacred service)?
1
vote
1answer
63 views

Why do we fear saying G-d's name today?

I notice that many of my fellow Jewish friends prefer to say "Hashem". I understand that it is sin to say G-d's name in vain, but what about in a sacred way of awe and worship?
1
vote
1answer
46 views

What's the point of an oath?

There's an argument whether annulling an oath needs an excuse. Even if there needs to be an excuse, the excuse could be something weak like "I didn't know I shouldn't take oaths". What's the point of ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

Using the flatware of the wicked

This link goes to a page which sells silverware used by the leaders of the Third Reich. Hashkafically and Halachically, would it be inappropriate to kasher such utensils and use them at a kosher meal? ...
7
votes
1answer
137 views

What is the correct emotion to feel upon hearing about enemy civilian casualties?

Recent missiles sent by Hamas landed in Hebron. When my neighbor told me about this, it was unclear whether they had hurt any Arab civilians. I said that I hoped not, while my neighbor basically said ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Is it discussed why a baby is born without teeth?

I was wondering if the idea of a baby being born without teeth, and more specifically the painful process of teething, has been discussed by the Torah or addressed by any Rabbis?
0
votes
2answers
57 views

source that purpose of this is world is as an arena for human free will

In a lecture on science, Rabbi David Gotlieb states that the purpose of nature is to provide a misleading appearance that the world carries itself, and the purpose of that is to provide an arena for ...
8
votes
4answers
131 views

What is the need for angels?

Why did G-d create angels to assign them specific tasks (Bava Metzia 86b)? Since G-d is omnipotent, what is the need for angels -- why doesn't He perform these tasks directly?
7
votes
2answers
621 views

Moral Culpability in the Garden

Did Adam and Eve have moral culpability in the Garden before they ate from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil? It would seem that they were like small children in that sense, they were amoral--not ...
5
votes
2answers
72 views

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

Are there any aggadic, kabbalistic, halachic or other theological teachings related to the grammar or morphology of Hebrew? I am not referring to the orthography (or anything at all related to ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

Is the “pursuit of happiness” mentioned in the U.S. Declaration of Independence really a right “endowed by the Creator”?

Near the beginning of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, we have these words: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among ...
3
votes
6answers
145 views

What is the point of Davening/Praying

What is the point of praying? It is for sure not because Hashem needs/wants it. (Hashem is not lacking in any way he is infinite, and thus does not need our tefillos or our mitzvos) And it seems ...
5
votes
5answers
312 views

Why does the belief in Mashiach require that one be anxious for his coming?

The question of why belief in Mashiach should be a fundamental belief (an ikkar/yesod of Judaism of the Rambam's 13) is asked here, and I answered it myself here. However, when it comes to this ...
7
votes
1answer
155 views

What is déjà vu?

Déjà vu is the strong feeling that one has already experienced a particular situation, while that situation is occurring. Theories abound as regards what it is, what causes it and what possible ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Torah source for celebrating your personal achievements

It seems to have become a popular idea that celebrating achievements, even after successfully realizing a small goal, is important to continue developing and staying motivated. I'm looking for a ...
3
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
313 views

How does Silence lead to wisdom

In pirkei avot it says that silence is an ingredient to becoming wise. (ch.6 "Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities....minimizing talk") how does keeping silent make a person wiser? It also ...
2
votes
0answers
53 views

What is Nivul Peh and who decides what it is [closed]

is Dam* or He** objectively considered curse words? what is the demarcator for curse words
1
vote
4answers
145 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
2answers
125 views

Refuting claims that everything before Shmuel was made up? [duplicate]

There is a recent movement amongst Bible Scholars suggesting, almost as undeniable fact, that everything we have from Tanach pre-Shmuel times was made up, and not recorded as it was actually ...
2
votes
3answers
86 views

Recommend Book on Jewish Philosophy contrasting Secular philosophies

BSD I am looking for a contemporary book with Jewish philosophies and how it relates to other philosophies throughout history whether comparing or contrasting. Not comparative religion books but ...
-2
votes
2answers
49 views

How are there arguments over how God works?

How can there be arguments over basic, major points in Jewish machshavah? How do we not all agree (and by "all", I mean all major primary sources) over how God works? How did this not come through in ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

how does one not get lost in the details?

Halachah is very detail oriented and of course all of these details are important but sometimes it seems easy from time to time to get so focused on the specifics of the right way of how to so ...
-1
votes
4answers
164 views

Maybe God lied?

How do we know that God didn't lie at Sinai? Maybe he said he was good and compassionate, and promised us reward, but it's all a trick? Why believe that God is true?
3
votes
3answers
295 views

How can we say everything is good?

Considering that we can do things that are against the divine will (like sinning, for instance), how can we say that everything that occurs is for the good? I understand that everything that God does ...
1
vote
3answers
48 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
222 views

Why is resurection of the dead a fundamental of faith according to the Rambam?

The Rambam defines the resurrection of the dead as a fundamental of Judaism. However, unlike the Ramban, the Rambam holds that first there is Moshiach, then resurrection, and then the final result of ...
6
votes
2answers
161 views

Issurei arayos worse than rape.

Why does the Torah treat forbidden relationships, even when consensual, more seriously than it treats rape?
-4
votes
2answers
115 views

Would whole brain emulation be compatible with Judaism?

Many people theorize that in principle, the brain could be uploaded to a computer which would then contain the person's consciousness. Would a successful demonstration of this be compatible with ...
0
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
114 views

Are seemingly hashkafik texts like Pirkei Avot and Rambam Hilchot Deot halachikly binding?

A surface read of Pirkei Avot and Hilchot De'ot would suggest that their contents appears to be primarily advice as to how one should proceed over and above the minimal halachik requirements. ...
0
votes
5answers
598 views

Do Jewish people tend to be rude?

From what I've seen many non-Jews have a stereotype of Jewish people as being rude and greedy. Is there a Jewish source (from the bible,talmud, midrash, zohar, or classic torah commentators) that ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Question on the Chovos Halevavos

This question was raised after reading a passage in the Duties of the Heart Gate 3 ch.9: The Understanding: The mystery of your being is that the Creator created you out of nought, in common ...
4
votes
2answers
64 views

Mind/soul/spirit/body “partites”

Various philosophers and theologians have posited different anthropological views concerning the 'division' of man into a mind/soul/spirit/body. The major views are summarized below: Unitary / ...
2
votes
2answers
96 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
145 views

Jewish alternative to a Christian self-help book

I had a bad psychological trauma some time ago and I felt the urgent need to review myself. I found that reading self-help books helped me. I tried to learn Mussar books (Mesillat yesharim, Chafetz ...
3
votes
5answers
139 views

How can two contradictory ideas exist in Matzah?

מצה embodies two ideas: poor man’s bread (slavery) and free man’s bread (the bread that made in haste when they left Egypt). These ideas seem to contradict one another; how can they both exist in one ...
0
votes
2answers
69 views

What does it mean that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?

Typically God does not interfere with a person's free choice. {provide source} If this is so, what is the idea of Hardening Pharaoh's heart? Was that a removal of Pharaoh's free choice?
4
votes
2answers
82 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)?