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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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 ...
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2answers
153 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, ...
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3answers
52 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, ...
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2answers
67 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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3answers
446 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 ...
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3answers
84 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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3answers
1k views

Does “reputation scoring” make “the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with”?

Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: <snip> Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, ...."
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4answers
132 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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8answers
2k views

Does Jewish tradition indicate that 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 ...
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2answers
407 views

Is it heresy to read the Bible literally?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in this debate with Richard Dawkins says: Rabbis in the 10th century laid down the following principle: If a biblical narrative is incompatible with established scientific ...
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2answers
2k views

Does Judaism have a concept of holy text literalism?

Apologies if this is an ignorant, foolish or offensive question. I am not Jewish, and am asking to satisfy my curiosity. Some time ago, on a political forum online, I was discussing religious ...
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3answers
194 views

The disappearance of וסת קבוע and הרגשות

At some point in history, Jewish women used to have very regularly scheduled Monthly cycles, and used to have some sensation that accompanied the onset of menstruation. Both of these play important ...
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2answers
49 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
119 views

Kalam Cosmological Argument

Wikipedia writes: The Kalām cosmological argument is a variation of the cosmological argument that argues for the existence of a first cause for the universe, and the existence of a god. Its ...
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9answers
3k views

If Christianity is avodah zarah and Islam is not, why has the Christian world triumphed over the non-Christian, and why do Jews prefer to live among Christians and not Muslims?

The Rambam quite clearly considered Christianity to be avodah zarah. He did not feel the same way about Islam, however, going so far as to condone praying within a mosque, and many Orthodox Jewish ...
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3answers
1k views

Chachma, bina vaadat. Whats the difference?

Whats the difference between the concepts: chachma, bina and daat? We see them listed together in the amida.
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8answers
234 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 ...
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1answer
54 views

Moreh Nevuchim Online

Is the Hebrew text of Maimonides' Moreh HaNevuchim available for free online? (In text form rather than Pdf).
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8answers
848 views

Why is there no description of Olam Haba in the Torah?

According to the beginning of the Mesilas Yesharim, the entire purpose of creation is for man to merit Olam Haba (the bliss of the next world). If so, why is there no mention nor description of Olam ...
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0answers
70 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
236 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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10answers
957 views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...
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2answers
420 views

Is believing that God, Israel, and Torah are one Avodah Zarah?

The Zohar said that God, Israel, and Torah are one. I thought Judaism is strictly monotheistic. When Jesus said, "I and the father is one", he was being a heretic. So how come the Zohar includes even ...
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1answer
62 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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5answers
210 views

Has a gadol be'Torah ever drastically changed his type of avodas Hashem? [closed]

I know that my question is a bit broad and maybe abstract but I'm not sure how to phrase it better. I'm looking for any change in avodah. It can be a change in which group of Jews he associated with ...
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1answer
590 views

Who is Moshiach?

How do I know that someone is Moshiach? Will I just know? Are there requirements? If someone tells me that he is the Moshiach, is he to be believed. It would seem seem strange to say so.
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4answers
212 views

Why did Hashem create the world in such a way that a leap year is needed?

I understand why we have a leap year; to keep the sun and moon cycles in sync, so that Pessach is always in the spring. That's all technical, as a result of the moon orbiting too slowly - or the sun ...
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11answers
761 views

Reconciling the evidence for the Uncertainty Principle with belief in an omniscient G-d

One of the foundations of modern quantum mechanics is the Uncertainty Principle. This principle is not an assumption, but rather is derived from assumptions made with regard to the structure of ...
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1answer
73 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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0answers
30 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?
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1answer
124 views

Why no “Musaf” for Korban Pesach?

Your average Jews in Temple times did not go participate actively in the regularly scheduled Temple offerings. For them, probably the biggest sacrificial experience of the year was the Korban Pesach ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
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5answers
248 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 ...
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2answers
683 views

What's up with the Chafetz Chaim yeshiva guys?

I know they learn a lot slower, dress a little flashier, and learn more mussar than in most mainstream yeshivos, but can someone specify exactly what is the philosophy of the Chafetz Chaim yeshiva ...
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1answer
55 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?
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8answers
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May one love a non-Jew?

May one love a non-Jew? Not romantically in the sense of marriage, but rather in the sense that one loves a friend or family. May a Jew love his Gentile father, for example? May a baal teshuvah ...
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6answers
2k views

Is there “Torah Inerrancy”?

Is there Torah inerrancy? In other words, does the Torah contain no factual errors: the Noah flood did occur, Garden of Eden did exist, Adam and Eve did live there and were subsequently expelled, etc ...
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1answer
75 views

וְהִתְקִין לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּנְיַן עֲדֵי עַד Is the translation of מִמֶּנּוּ **His** very self or his very self?

The Koren Sacks siddur translates the 4th of the 7 wedding blessings as: אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם דְּמוּת תַּבְנִיתוֹ, וְהִתְקִין לוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ בִּנְיַן עֲדֵי עַד: who ...
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1answer
29 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 ...
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3answers
106 views

What distinguishes humans from animals?

Both Humans and animals seem to have: Flesh: (Bereshit 6:13) The ketz (end) of kol basar is come before Me. Nefesh Chaya: (Bereshit 1:30) wherein is a Nefesh Chaya Ruach Chayim: (Bereshit 6:17 & ...
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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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4answers
237 views

Why don't we have a “shulchan aruch of forbidden beliefs”?

When discussing which beliefs are heretical to orthodox Judaism the phrase "there is no shulchan aruch on deos-beliefs" comes up often. I would like to know why this is the case. Why can there not be ...
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4answers
264 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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3answers
107 views

Does Judaism believe the doctrine of predestination?

Is there any indication of predestination doctrine in Judaism?
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3answers
99 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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5answers
138 views

Which (if any) Rishonim ascribe to a haskafah of hashgacha pratis over everything?

In contemporary times, HaShem's hashgacha over everything is a common hashkafah, at least in the Litvish/Chassidic communities (see Baal Shem Tov, Aruch HaShulchan, Rav Dessler 'Strive for Truth', ...
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2answers
95 views

How do we know that the revelation at Sinai was not a magician's trick?

As quoted in this answer: On the fiftieth day after they began counting the Omer--that is, fifty-one days after the Exodus, all of the Children of Israel, men, women and children, over two ...
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4answers
85 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 ...
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2answers
98 views

Is the proof from creations sound?

In the beginning of Hovot Helevavot the author prooves the existence of God by bringing a proof from all creations. To paraphrase: just as every creation (painting, car, book) has a creator so to ...
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3answers
149 views

What does Judaism say about meditation?

According to recent scientific studies, it has been found that regular meditation has various benefits such as better focus, reduced levels of stress, etc. Knowing that the roots of meditation comes ...