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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15
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4answers
1k views

How can we be sure that Judaism is true/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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does belief in Judaism require irrationality?

In conversations with Rabbis, and in watching debates between Rabbis and atheists, I have often found that the response to questions which attack Judaism either on the basis of some of its perceived ...
5
votes
1answer
477 views

What are the most important writings of Rav Kook for Emunah and Hashkafah?

I would like to return to learn some of the writings of Rav Kook in order to improve my Hashkafah and Emunah. In the past I attended an Israeli "dati leumi" yeshiva where i learnt a bit of them, but ...
3
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4answers
231 views

Where does the sense of morality come from?

Where does our sense of morality which impels us to right conduct come from? Is it something internal to us, or perhaps it is external to us? Is it physical or spiritual, etc. For example, does our ...
1
vote
3answers
179 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 ...
5
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2answers
105 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, ...
4
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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 ...
2
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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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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" ...
4
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4answers
497 views

Aside from the Mitzvah “to be fruitful and multiply” why else should a Jewish person want to get married?

What does the Torah say regarding the reasons that one should get married? I am looking for sources such as "ein simcha beli isha" and other philosophical intrinsic reasons for finding a mate.
7
votes
4answers
172 views

No More Zechuth Avoth?

The Gemara (Bab. Shab. 55a) discusses when Zechuth Avoth ceased. I am aware of several opinions in Tosafoth that it ended for wicked people, or it ended for everyone but the very righteous or it ended ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
171 views

Ladies first or men first?

Bereshit 31:17 reads: וַיָּקָם יַעֲקֹב וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת נָשָׁיו עַל הַגְּמַלִּים׃ So Jacob rose, and he lifted up his sons and his wives upon the camels. Rashi: את בניו ...
23
votes
9answers
3k views

Conversion: If G-d really wanted me to be a Jew (and observe mitzvot), why was I not born into a Jewish family

This question pertains to the issue of conversion, and if it makes sense in the Jewish context of some people being Chosen specifically by God. Before beginning, this poster is aware of the long, and ...
2
votes
4answers
167 views

How can one give HaShem “Naḥat Ruaḥ”?

At the end of מוסף לשבת in דרכי אבות השלם (p. 375), a quotation is written in the name of רבי יהודה: אמר רבי יהודה: אשרי מי שעמלו בתורה ועושה נחת רוח ליוצרו Rabbi Yoḥanan makes a similar ...
5
votes
4answers
187 views

What is the traditional/common Haredi “non-Hasidic” response to using the “Three Oaths” as an anti-Zionist argument?

Kesubos 111b lists the "Three Oaths" made incumbent on the Jews and the nations during the Exile. The "Three Oaths" have served as a cornerstone of anti-Zionist literature ...
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
927 views

What does “to confuse the Satan” mean and why does it work?

There are several things we don't do in order "to confuse the Satan", like not blowing Shofar on Erev Rosh Hashana. How does it help? Does Satan not realize that Rosh Hashana didn't pass yet? He ...
1
vote
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 ...
6
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2answers
194 views

Modern Traditionalist Scholars Combatting Critical Approaches to the Tanach

I know that Shadal, David Hoffman, and many others tried very hard to combat the claims of scholars that criticized the Torah (both in terms of Higher and Lower Criticism). Can anyone help me find ...
4
votes
1answer
138 views

Is the idea that there is always at least one illness with an unknown cure - a Jewish idea?

I have heard many times that there will always be at least one illness that is uncurable. Is this a Jewish idea? What is its source?
3
votes
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
votes
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
votes
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
vote
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.
8
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3answers
3k views

Rainbow as a bad omen

There is a popular idea that seeing a rainbow is a bad sign, as if the world is deserving of a deluge (c"v) and the only reason Hashem does not do so is because of His promise. Is there any source for ...
7
votes
1answer
290 views

Is it forbidden for a Jew to read the writings of Baruch Spinoza?

The cherem against Spinoza says the following: The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Espinoza... We order that no one should communicate with him ...
4
votes
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 ...
22
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7answers
2k views

Sheidim: are they fact, or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
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.
2
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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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
101 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
665 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
0
votes
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.
2
votes
4answers
346 views

Is Mashiach an incarnation of God according to any Jewish tradition?

Some Christians believe that the Messiah was not supposed to be just a man but rather an incarnation of God. Do any Jews (not counting so-called messianic Jews who are really Christians) believe that ...
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 ...
9
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3answers
367 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?
11
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7answers
985 views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
5
votes
3answers
257 views

Could the world be destroyed due to environmental causes?

Some Environmentalists claim that our irresponsibility may/will result in, eventually, the destruction of life as we know it, due to global flooding and superstorms, or any other number of doomsday ...
3
votes
2answers
175 views

Can one destroy a bird's nest if the noise bothers him?

If there is a bird's nest next to one's study and he finds the endless chirping to be annoying, is he allowed to destroy it or should he try to bear the annoyance. This is not a question of halacha, ...
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, ...
2
votes
2answers
72 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?
7
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3answers
463 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 ...