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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Should observant Jews travel to areas that are centres for Avodah Zarah (Idol worship)? [closed]

In the light of the recent tragic event in Nepal, the question arose in my mind whether observant Jews ought specifically to travel to the far east where avodah zarah is intrinsic to the society?
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2answers
315 views

Should someone who isn't 100% certain of God's existence be considered a kofer?

I was told by two respected Roshai Yeshiva that one who isn't certain of God's existence (an agnostic) is not deemed to be a kofer (denier of His existence) as long as he thinks that His existence is ...
4
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2answers
208 views

Is Gematria accepted by all?

It is widely accepted that each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a Gematria (numerical value) attached to it. These numerical values often provide insight when comparing one Gematria to either ...
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2answers
210 views

Why believe in the revelation at Sinai other than the “Kuzari mesora” argument? [duplicate]

I was reading this post the other day, and came across a comment by user DoubleAA who stated in the comments something to the effect of "if the only reason you believe is because of the Kuzari ...
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5answers
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 ...
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0answers
54 views

How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
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3answers
224 views

Punishment in this World or in the World To Come

It says that (in general) Hashem lets a righteous person suffer in this world to cleanse him from sins (so he will have no more sins in the World to Come), while Hashem lets a wicked person prosper in ...
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5answers
325 views

Why does evil exist?

I realize this is a very common question, but the problem of evil is an important one, and as far as I can tell, has not been asked here. In short, why does G-d allow evil to exist?
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1answer
53 views

How do we learn “Taamei HaMitzvos”?

The Rambam famously believed that sacrifices were given to ween people off idolatry. Therefore, it can be assumed that when Mashiach comes, there won't be a need for sacrifices. Yet, the Rambam ...
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0answers
24 views

Why do we believe that God is all powerful? [duplicate]

The only way we could know that God is all powerful is if we knew that He created the universe — then, logically, He would be all-powerful within it. (And, to the best of our knowledge, nothing exists ...
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4answers
893 views

What is the purpose of the mosquito?

Everything created was created for the purpose of serving G-d's ultimate plan for his creation which is to acknowledge G-d. What lesson or use can we make from mosquitos?
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3answers
650 views

Why did God do nothing against the Romans that desecrated the Temple?

When good guy made a mistake, like Uzzah trying to fix the ark, God killed him (see II Samuel 6:6). However, Uzzah does not seem that evil. I mean, the ark stumbled and he just tried to help. Then, ...
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1answer
53 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
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0answers
53 views

Disproving Samaritan practices/beliefs?

Are there any Counter-Samaritan proofs or essays that anyone out there knows of, i.e. Torah based proof as to the fallacy of their practices/beliefs? Thank you
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0answers
26 views

Trying to be good [closed]

When browsing on my computer, I have had about three times that i wandered to the inappropriate videos from youtube. B"H I have never gone to an inappropriate site and don't plan on. After each time I ...
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3answers
36 views

Is free will something that the Torah has to tell me I have? Is it a chiddush?

The most oft quoted proof from the Torah that humans have free will is a pasuk in Devarim 30:19. הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, ...
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2answers
108 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 ...
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4answers
802 views

How can I respond to challenges to the Kuzari argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai?

The Kuzari's argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai was extremely convincing when I heard it, and I've read different summaries of it by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb and Rabbi Leib Keleman (I must ...
4
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1answer
122 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
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8answers
1k views

How does “eilu v'eilu” work out with an absolute truth?

I'm under the impression that religious Judaism believes in absolute truths. That being the case, how does the concept of "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chaim" (Eruvin 13b) work out? When two scholars ...
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4answers
160 views

Bitahon and Hishtadlut for livelihood

The Sefarim discuss (see Hobot Halevavot, Michtav MeEliyahu etc.) the idea of being Mishtadel (making an effort) for one's livelihood but believing that the Hishtadlut (effort) has absolutely nothing ...
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3answers
55 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 ...
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1answer
64 views

The Rambam's source for the first Ikkar

The Rambam's first Principle of Faith is that Hashem is the Cause of all other existence and His existence is independent of all other existence. To me it seems the best source for this would have ...
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1answer
45 views

Why do we thank G--d for taking us out of Egypt?

In many Prayers and weekly Torah readings, we thank G--d for taking us out of Egypt. But since G--d was the one that put us there, why are we thanking him for taking us out? I can even make this ...
3
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0answers
51 views

What does Judaism say about pets in the World to Come?

What does Judaism teach about animals in the World to Come? Pets hold such a beloved place in the now and appear, more than other animals, to have there own will in their actions. Is there hope that ...
5
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1answer
98 views

The lack of “ch” sound in Hebrew

As far as I know, there is no tradition of Lashon HaKodesh pronunciation in which there is a sound that matches the "ch" (IPA: t​͡​ʃ) of English. Is there any significance to this ...
3
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1answer
265 views

Does G-d approve or merely permit human consumption of meat?

Many vegetarians and vegans argue that G-d gave humans permission to eat meat only because of a human failing in abstaining anyway. My takeaway from that argument is that, in light of a more ...
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0answers
14 views

Using 'zechus avos' in this world

On the one hand zechus avos has an affect in this world. On the other hand schar mitzvah be'hay almah leika (the reward of a mitzvah is not given in this world.) How do these two idea's work? They ...
5
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1answer
293 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 ...
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3answers
127 views

Is getting a blessing from a rabbi considered heresy?

The situation a person is in, is the best situation God wants you to be in. By going to a rabbi to get a blessing to change your situation, you might be neglecting this fact. With that being the ...
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0answers
62 views

Did the ancient Rabbanim believe that the spirits of the dead walked the Earth?

In the Midrashim I noticed that Rabbanim keep mentioning events in which the Rabbi would be walking along and come across a man doing some task and it would turn out to be the spirit of a dead man who ...
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3answers
129 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?
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2answers
540 views

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
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2answers
273 views

Hyperbole in the Gemara?

There are many times where the Gemara says that someone who does something is equivalent to one who is "kofer b'kol" or killing someone (for example regarding lashon harah in Erchin 15b I have always ...
14
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8answers
832 views

Answering Atheist about Torah miracles

How do we explain our belief in the story of Yonah living in a Fish, the Splitting of a sea, and all the other fantastic Miracles described in the Torah to a person who was not brought up religious; ...
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3answers
86 views

How does my having someone in mind when I learn help them?

Many times, as a merit for a recovery for someone sick or someone in need, I have been asked to have that person in mind when I learn. In some places, they will put up a sign asking to have a certain ...
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2answers
66 views

What class of entity are Wisdom and Death?

Most Jews and Christians will only recognize the angels as being the only other spirits made by G0d, but angels are not omnipresent nor omnipotent and it seems to me that the Spirit of Wisdom in ...
7
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2answers
128 views

Does a dog know that it's a dog?

According to Jewish thought, do animals have the self-awareness to know that they exist? Do they know that they are animals? Does an animal differentiate itself from other animals?
7
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1answer
239 views

Does Orthodox Judaism have a generally held position on American politics? [closed]

The Pew Research Study on Jewish Americans says in part: On these measures (partisanship and ideology), the only other U.S. religious groups that are as conservative and Republican as Orthodox ...
4
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1answer
108 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 ...
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0answers
45 views

Should Jews be environmentalists? [duplicate]

Do we have a religious obligation to take care of the environment, and if so how far does it extend? Should I spend money to decrease my carbon footprint?
5
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2answers
239 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 ...
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3answers
96 views

How to arrive at total Devekut HaMachshava

The Sefarim (first Rama in Orah Haim) discuss "Shiviti Hashem Lenegdi Tamid" in other words Devekut Hamachshava. Does anyone have an Etza to reach this amazing Maala?
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2answers
85 views

How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

If a person is able to make choices in this world, and especially if a person is able to disbelieve that there is a Divine order of any type, how does it make sense for a person's soul to be punished ...
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4answers
165 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, ...
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3answers
89 views

Why did God create us in such a way that we enjoy things most if we work hard to attain them?

In the Book Mesilat Yesharim, the Ramhal, states that the reason we were put on this world is to work hard, fight the yetzer hara, and accept the reward in the World To Come. He goes on to say that if ...
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7answers
140 views

Books on the significance of the months in the Jewish calendar

I am looking for books/sefarim (Hebrew or English) that discuss the different months of the Jewish year, and their overall significance in relation to: Zodiac Signs Tribes Chagim Animals ...
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2answers
272 views

Why go to the doctor?

According to Jewish belief, God gives you sicknesses and god gives you cures. If you are sick it's because God wants you to be sick. Once he deems that you no longer need the disease you are then ...
3
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1answer
68 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 ...
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1answer
42 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?