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
82 views

Who was for and against Jews fighting back against the Germans in WW2?

There was a famous controversy regarding the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that was the largest uprising the Jews performed against the Nazis. I have heard tell that a lot of Rabbonim banned fighting back ...
2
votes
1answer
26 views

Complete wickedeness instead of tikkun as path to redemption?

Rabbi Yochanan tells us that “אין בן דוד בא, אלא בדור שכולו זכאי, או כולו חייב”. “the son of David (Mashiach) comes only in a generation that all the people have merits or in a generation that all are ...
11
votes
5answers
400 views

Is belief in a G-d a commandment?

I am studying to convert to Judaism and one of the questions I was asked was about the Ten Commandments. I remember reading at that time that there was debate about the division of the statements ...
2
votes
0answers
30 views

A prayer not accompanied with personal efforts to solve the problem – how is it viewed?

This article by Rabbi Berel Wein reminds us that that our father Yaakov prepared for his encounter with Eisav by adopting three possible strategies and not relying on prayer alone. He says ...
3
votes
2answers
94 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)?
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2answers
126 views

Is showing excessive honor to Gedolim idolatry?

At what point is the kavod shown toward the Gedolim considered idolatry? Terms like 'Gadolatry' are sometimes used as if to indicate that too much respect is being shown for certain rabbis to the ...
1
vote
3answers
164 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Can someone have a soul of the opposite gender?

Inspired by this question: Prayer for changing name for transgender reasons? While the subject of transgendered individuals has been discussed, I was wondering if it is possible, from a hashkafic ...
15
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3answers
697 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 ...
3
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3answers
246 views

Torah and the Holy Bible

Why doesn't the Holy Bible contain only the original First five books of the Bible and nothing else? As I understand the Bible to state that nothing shall be removed and nothing was to be added.
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Why are observant Jews so reluctant to admit that Chazal could ever make mistakes? [closed]

I have great respect for many of our sages of blessed memory, but there seems to be a tendency among Jews to refuse to admit the possibility that they could have ever made mistakes. I have been ...
2
votes
1answer
40 views

Why did God create wild vicious animals?

Can we learn any lesson from the wild beasts that devour their prey? Do the sages have anything to say about wild animals?
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2answers
119 views

Do you know of a Rabbi who rejects modern technology?

A little bit like the Amish... I just want to know if such an ideology exists in Judaism. I know that the Hatam Sofer and Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein opposed modern philosophy, maybe one Rabbi opposed ...
3
votes
2answers
83 views

Why should God punish the firstborn of another nation that was in Egypt?

The Pasuk describes the victims of the plague of the firstborn as follows: It came to pass at midnight, and the Lord smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who ...
4
votes
4answers
215 views

Lubavitch and Geocentricism

I read here in an article by Rabbi Gil Student that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe zy"a believed in the geocentric model despite the modern scientific evidence to the contrary. What is the source for this ...
2
votes
2answers
217 views

Animal sacrifice in Judaism — was it copied from other religions?

Why is there animal sacrifice in Judaism? Animal sacrifice was found in other religions before Judaism, so could it be that the Jews copied the practice of animal sacrifice from other religions?
7
votes
2answers
477 views

What does “servant of G-d” mean?

The mussar texts are replete with the idea that we should be servants of God, and the first paragraph of the shema itself says "and you shall love your god with all your heart and all your might." So ...
-1
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the meaning of “ we are the children of God ”? [closed]

Shalom , What is the meaning when the jew say that and according to this can we say that Moses is the son of God as he is the biggest teacher " while not meaning what the Christians said " ? I hope I ...
4
votes
3answers
187 views

How much of this world is really ordained by Heaven?

On another website, someone quoted the Rambam: I do not believe that it is through the interference of Divine Providence that a certain leaf drops [from a tree], nor do I hold that when a certain ...
4
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0answers
45 views

How is strict doctrine motivated as being the product of God's will? [duplicate]

I'm not Jewish by any interpretation of the term, but curiosity frequently leads me to click on Stackexchange's Hot Network Questions. Questions on judaism.stackexchange.com often stand out because of ...
1
vote
2answers
56 views

What's the takeaway message for Chanuka?

One of the oft-cited teachings of Rav Hirsch is that every Jewish holiday contains an infusion of kedusha (holiness) and a lesson, both of which aren't only important in and of themselves, but rather ...
8
votes
2answers
139 views

The concept of the “Tzadik” in Chasidut

I've recently started to learn about Breslev Chasidut and was amazed by many great advices of Rabbi Nachman zt'l but I am very confused to read things about the so called Tzadik of the Generation e.g. ...
7
votes
1answer
138 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
4
votes
1answer
145 views

Ishmael & Great Nation Status

So God tells Abraham that he will make Ishmael into a great nation. Some nations, like China, are great without God having made a bilbical promise to anyone. When Abraham was promised that Ishmael ...
2
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0answers
51 views

Waving at a security camera on Shabbat

Background: Walking past motion detector/sensor activated lights on Shabbat -- it's better to avoid setting of motion-activated lights on Shabbat. Unintentional closing and opening of electrical ...
4
votes
1answer
90 views

Why is Akaidas Yitzchak considered a good thing?

I'm having some difficulty understanding the incident of the Akaida. God tested Avraham by commanding him to take his son as a human sacrifice to see if he would obey even this (Genesis 22). However, ...
7
votes
3answers
349 views

What was the value of the Rishonim's philosophical inquiries about God and the world?

Many Rishonim used the philosophy of their time or previous times to 'prove' God's existence and/or learn about the nature of the world. 1- Why did they do this? (Is there a mitzvah to use ...
-2
votes
2answers
57 views

Testing Hashem (for Monetary Gain)

If I remember right, The Legacy of Maran Rav Aharon Kotler describes how a son tests his father's ability to sense if a glass has been toveled in a mikveh. The father passed the test consistently. ...
5
votes
1answer
113 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
392 views

What are Rambam's “עיקרים”?

Rambam, in his Commentary to the Mishna (Sanhedrin 10), enumerates 13 "עיקרים" or "יסודות", which he holds are the core "principles" that every Jew is expected to believe. (Summary in English.) But ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

How do we logically know that there are not 2 Gods (according to the Chovos HaLevavos)?

The Chovos HaLevavos in Shaar HaYichud Chapter 7 in the paragraph's that start "The 3rd way" and "The 7th way" explains why it makes sense for there to be only one God and not (none or) two. 1- Can ...
5
votes
3answers
354 views

Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
-1
votes
2answers
63 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
93 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
76 views

why do we greatly honor the Davidic line of kings?

I have trouble understanding why we greatly honor the Davidic line of kings, why we pray for the restoration of the dynasty. Taking as examples the last six major kings of the Davidic line, they ...
0
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0answers
24 views

Why did God make such a vast, expansive universe? [duplicate]

The title pretty much says it all — but it certainly seems unnecessary and plays very well into the theories of people such as Richard Dawkins. How are we best to respond to this challenge of theirs?
8
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5answers
528 views

Why study non-practical tractates of Talmud?

A quick background: I recently sat down with my step-father and brother and learned Masechet Makkot with them for a bit - this was their first time learning Talmud. Given that the masechet starts ...
0
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2answers
192 views

Where do Jews believe The Quran came from? [closed]

The "prophet" Muhammad stated that the angel Gabriel visited him with revelation and he put great importance upon Gabriel. So my question is, where do Jews believe Muhammad's revelation came from and ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

infallible reasoning for believing in a god that created and runs the world [duplicate]

In the Torah it is written that we should serve God, love him, have trust in him, believe that he runs the show and in return we are promised a share in the world to come - a world of eternal bliss. ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Ruach haKodesh and Shekinah?

What is the difference between Ruach haKodesh and Shekinah? Is there a difference between the two concepts or are they exactly the same?
-4
votes
6answers
470 views

Can G-d ever take on a physical form?

There are 3 religions that says so. The obvious one is Christianity with that being it's central term. The second one is Hindu. Khrisna is said to be a God incarnate. But in torah I often see stories ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

Adam and the tree of life?

I have been considering Adam and what G-d said about Adam pertaining to the tree of life directly after the fall. After Adam had transgressed, G-d commanded that the tree of life be withheld from him ...
4
votes
0answers
31 views

The importance of having a Rebbe for non-halachic subjects

It's easily understandable why a person must have a Rabbi to ask questions to in matters of halacha (a posek). If I remember correctly, many mefarshim explain one of the 2 statements of "asei le'cha ...
9
votes
2answers
403 views

Is there really a distinct “Jewish soul”?

I have heard many times about Jews having a "special soul" or a "Jewish soul" - a soul which is either lacking and/or fundamentally different than that of non-Jews. However, the sources which are ...
0
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0answers
78 views

Jewish Soul vs Gentile Soul [duplicate]

Will someone please tell me how a Jewish soul differs from a Gentile soul. My brief readings on the subject seem to suggest an attitude of spiritual racism on the part of Jews.
-1
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1answer
48 views

Jewish Souls and Gentile Souls [duplicate]

Were Adam and Eve and Noah Jewish? Are we to consider them Gentiles? If they are Gentiles, are we to consider their souls different from Jewish souls?
4
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2answers
63 views

Punishment for thoughts

I was wondering: 1a) Does halacha ever allow for someone to be punished by people (be'yedei adam) for a thought the person had? (I'm not sure how beis din or whoever would know about the person's ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

Avodah Zarah 2b - about gold and silver

So I was recently studying Gemore Avoda Zara 2b with my friend. This part gave us some trouble: אמר להם הקב"ה במאי עסקתם אומרים לפניו רבש"ע הרבה שווקים תקנינו הרבה מרחצאות עשינו הרבה כסף וזהב ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

“Jewish Philosophy” defined by halacha

I have heard the idea that the halacha (and the boundaries it creates) provide the basic premises with which our worldview and basic (philosophical/conceptual) understanding of the Torah is created. ...
4
votes
4answers
337 views

What if someone is unable to believe in God?

Suppose someone really truly wants to believe in Hashem, but is simply unable to. Even after much trying and learning Torah, he still is simply unable to believe in God. Would that person be ...