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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3
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1answer
52 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
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0answers
33 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
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2answers
414 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 ...
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0answers
82 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
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2answers
75 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 ...
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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. ...
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4answers
339 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 ...
9
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1answer
103 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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0answers
48 views

May one complain to G-d?

Is one allowed to be angry with G-d about misfortunes and pray to G-d in a complaining, or even insolent manner? In Brachot 31b, we see that Chana spoke insolently toward G-d. However, I heard from ...
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3answers
243 views

How was the Shaalos Utshuvos Min Hashamayim allowed to do what he did?

The Shut Min Hashamayim was written by a Rishon in the time of Tosfos. He used to ask questions from Shamayim (Heaven) in a Sheilas Chalom (Dream Question) and write the answers down. Many of those ...
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0answers
39 views

How is it possible to have machlokot in very basic issues of the halacha [duplicate]

The orthodox world view assumes that the whole torah came from the mountain of sinai and is transferred from generation to generation. When there is a machloket this is because either: The ...
1
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3answers
384 views

Where is it taught that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome?

I heard various rabbonim say that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome. Where is the source for this?
12
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6answers
1k views

How can we bring moshiach if no prior generation could?

Considering that we know that each subsequent generation is less righteous than the previous generation — a phenomena known as yeridos ha'doros — how can our generation bring the moshiach if no ...
8
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2answers
776 views

Does demolition of terrorists' homes have any basis in Judaism?

Israel is currently implementing a policy of demolishing the homes of terrorists, even after they have been 'eliminated', as a deterrent to others. Is this kind of action OK, according to halacha + ...
3
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3answers
127 views

Is there a source where Emuna and Bitachon are described as separate ideas?

In the sefer Emuna UBitachon, the Chazon Ish popularized the idea that Emuna and Bitachon are really two parts of one idea, one being the belief in the idea, and one being the idea believed in. Is ...
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2answers
123 views

The Chazon Ish's definition of bitachon

The Chazon Ish wrote in the book Emunah U'Bitachon Chapter 2 that the definition of bitachon is NOT the mistaken belief that when faced with 2 possible outcomes one must believe that the better (or ...
8
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1answer
103 views

Why is chillul Shabbat considered so wicked?

There is a mitzvah deoraita (Biblical commandment) to bury a person executed by bet din (Jewish court of law). Similarly, there is the law that a righteous person should not be buried next to a wicked ...
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0answers
80 views

Do sociopaths/psychopaths lack “דעת” of Good and Evil?

As YeZ points out in this answer, "daat" is the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do sociopaths and/or psychopaths lack the דעת of the distinction between good and evil?
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2answers
97 views

What would have happened if Esav hadn't sold the bechora?

If Esav hadn't sold the bechora to Yaakov what, if anything, would have been different? In other words, what consequence was there to the sale? What did it change, how did it make anything different? ...
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2answers
154 views

Is “siman tov u'mazal tov” a halachically problematic phrase?

Literally translated, this is what is commonly said in the Jewish community, upon hearing very good news (typically lifecycle events as such as engagement, marriage, birth). "A good sign and a good ...
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2answers
108 views

Why create lust?

Why did G-d create lust (i.e. boys and girls)?
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3answers
91 views

Truth in a vacuum and Emes

The rules of mathematical logic classify a vacuous truth as being true. Therefore, if I say "All of my answers with score >500 have been accepted," that is a true statement according to the rules of ...
5
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1answer
104 views

Is it discussed why a baby is born without teeth?

I was wondering if the idea of a baby being born without teeth, and more specifically the painful process of teething, has been discussed by the Torah or addressed by any Rabbis?
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2answers
104 views

Is a Jew allowed to be annoyed about a minhag?

I heard that Minhag Yisroel is Torah, and that some Jews get annoyed about the minhag of Kitniyot. Should they try to stay away from that feeling? I understand the Rambam in hilchot daiot that a Jew ...
0
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1answer
92 views

Not inquiring into heresy?

Is there some sort of injunction against inquiring into heresy? I am pretty sure there is an issur d'oraissa to inquire into Avodah Zarah? Thank you (By "inquire" I mean to investigate their beliefs ...
7
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1answer
523 views

If Lev Melech B'yad Hashem, why bother voting?

We have a concept in Jewish thought that rulers do not have free will concerning public affairs, based on the verse in Mishlei 21:1 'לב מלך ביד ה, the heart of a king is in the hand of Hashem (See ...
10
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1answer
99 views

Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in the fruit of a tree?

In the story of creation man is forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in a tree specifically?
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2answers
951 views

Why is it important that God created the first pair of tongs?

It says in Pirkei Avot 5:6 that God made the first pair of tongs immediately before creation. Could not one have made tongs out of bone or wood wrapped in leather or made with a metal, such as gold, ...
0
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1answer
90 views

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
323 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 ...
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2answers
222 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 ...
4
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2answers
229 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
56 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?
12
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3answers
228 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 ...
3
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1answer
56 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 ...
4
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4answers
903 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
722 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, ...
6
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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
55 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
27 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
46 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
109 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 ...
5
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4answers
892 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
126 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
163 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 ...