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
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5answers
12k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
0
votes
2answers
339 views

Is Judaism only intellectual or is it emotional? [closed]

1) Is Judaism only intellectual or is it emotional? 2) How does one feel an emotional attachment with G-d (i.e. the Shechinah) like the Jews felt at Har Sinai?
1
vote
4answers
171 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
3answers
451 views

Does G-d want intermarried couples to divorce?

Does G-d want intermarried couples to divorce? I don't want to provide too much explanation, but rather leave it open-ended. I will ask those who post answers to consider a broad range of cases, ...
8
votes
2answers
89 views

Would they have died anyway?

I preface my question by noting that this question can be uncomfortable to some people, but hope that this great community can answer it Take any tragic event where people died, be it 9/11 or the ...
7
votes
2answers
43 views

Do I have to be certain that there is a God? [duplicate]

Does the Torah require me to believe/know that God exists based on premises that I consider to be and reason to be certainties? Is it proper or even just ok to believe that God exists based on ...
3
votes
0answers
28 views

Is there any significance in the 10th of Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith quoting a Passuk?

If you read Rambam's 13 Ani Maamin's, 13 Principles of Faith, you'll note that only the 10th one makes reference to Tanach. Is there a reason for that? (Looking for sourced answer, rather than ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

Is Holiness an achievable goal for an individual?

The Torah, at Lev. 19:2, teaches "You shall be holy for I, Hashem your G-d, am holy." What is holiness in this context? Is it an achieveable goal, or must we observe the commandments perfectly? If ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

Why should you be seeking medical attention?

From what I understand, all sicknesses and injuries fall upon a person because either G-d wants to wake him up to repent or to punish him. With that being the case, by seeking healing the person is ...
2
votes
2answers
83 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
27 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
406 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
31 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
95 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
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
168 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
votes
3answers
724 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
votes
3answers
249 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
42 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?
0
votes
2answers
127 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
217 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
224 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
478 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
60 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
votes
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
57 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
141 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
143 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
146 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
votes
0answers
52 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
91 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
351 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
60 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
116 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
396 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
81 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
372 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
95 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
78 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
votes
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
votes
5answers
531 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
votes
2answers
203 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
55 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
58 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
473 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 ...