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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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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3answers
304 views

Source in Jewish writings for Moshiach?

What is the source in Jewish writings (Pre-Rambam) that there is a concept of a Moshiach, and his nature?
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2answers
252 views

Why is being religious a duty if God chose to not have a proof to his existence in this world?

According to the answers to the question "How do we know that God exists" it seems some (if not most) religious Jews believe there is no way to verify whether or not God even exists. If this view is ...
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0answers
95 views

What is Nivul Peh and who decides what it is [closed]

is Dam* or He** objectively considered curse words? what is the demarcator for curse words
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3answers
120 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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3answers
97 views

Intrinsic Value of Mitzvot

The question is the following: do mitzvot have intrinsic value, or only extrinsic value. A ramification of this is the following scenario: A person has two ways of performing an act; one of them would ...
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6answers
144 views

what is good and what does it mean that God is good?

what does the term "tov" (good) mean. I am asking especially in how it relates to God. i.e. what does "tov" mean and what does it mean that God is "tov". an example where God is ascribed "tov" is in ...
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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 ...
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3answers
117 views

Does God have complete knowledge of future?

This question Did God know the holy place right away during the exodus? ask around the idea that G-d would choose His holy places during exodus time. However, if he knows the future, he couldn't ...
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2answers
121 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 ...
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0answers
110 views

Do the Rishonim that hold G-d can have physical form (e.g Rav Moshe Taku, etc.) also hold he can incarnate?

Among the various Rishonim that hold that G-d can take physical form (e.g Rav Moshe Taku, etc.), do they also hold he can "incarnate" into physical form (i.e come down to Earth and be born to a woman ...
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79 views

Commandments on emotions [duplicate]

I can understand if the Torah commands one to wear tefilin or put on a mezuza. But to command a person not to hate anyone, not to covet anything of anyone, not to bear a grudge, love your fellow as ...
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2answers
126 views

Why create lust?

Why did G-d create lust (i.e. boys and girls)?
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2answers
270 views

How do those who adovcate chumrah understand this Gemorah (Gitin 55-56)

Because of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza, Jerusalem was destroyed. It happened this way: A certain man had a friend named Kamtza and an enemy called Bar Kamtza. He once made a party and said to his ...
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2answers
143 views

Did God create life forms containing infinite wisdom

In Tehilim King David said (92:5): "How great are Your works, Lord, how deep your thoughts!" According to Chazal (Torah sources, ideally Talmud, Midrash but can be Rishonim also) does this mean God ...
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2answers
2k views

Why does the Hebrew alphabet not have letters representing vowels?

(Re-asking this question in a way more suited to SE.) The Hebrew alphabet is actually an abjad rather than a "true" Western-style alphabet, in that every letter represents a consonant, and vowels, if ...
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2answers
400 views

Is it correct to say now “Moshiach must come in this generation”?

Is it correct to say “Moshiach must come in this generation”? Related How do we understand Talmudic predictions of Moshiach? The statement was made in a shiur I attended. I asked the maggid shiur ...
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3answers
669 views

What has the Holocaust taught us as a people?

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific and important events in our history. What have rabbis said are lessons we should take from it? I am looking for lessons that should apply to all Jews, ...
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2answers
486 views

Different types of Nevuah

What are the differences between the "typical" navi's prophecy, Moshe Rabbeinu's prophecy, and Bil'am HaRasha's prophecy? (Answers with sources [and preferably links to sources] only please!)
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1answer
344 views

Should a Jew who doesn't believe in G-d observe the commandments?

In an earlier question, I asked if it was a commandment to believe in G-d. As with so many areas, there were differing opinions. Some of the respondents claimed that there would be no point in being ...
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6answers
615 views

Drawing my own conclusions from the Torah

I've always made my own inferences and interpretations from the Torah. Whether it's from a story, a Perashah or something from the Tanach. But I don't know how good/permissible that is. A problem ...
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3answers
368 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?
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1answer
310 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 ...
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5answers
559 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 ...
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3answers
154 views

Can you pray something that isn't true or (at least) that the petitioner doesn't believe to be true?

In the Aruch HaShulchan OH 581:4, he writes regarding the selichos we recite before Rosh HaShanah: האחת: דאלו שאינם מתענים, ובהסליחה מוזכר לשון "תענית" או "צום" – לא יאמרו זה, דלא ליהוי כדובר שקרים. ...
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4answers
1k views

Zeh klal gadol batorah - really?

In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4 ואהבת לרעך כמוך: אמר רבי עקיבא זה כלל גדול בתורה: "You shall love your fellow as yourself. Said Rabbi Akiva: This is a great principle in the Torah." ...
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2answers
1k views

The meaning of Tzadik

I am having difficulty in understand the meaning of Tzadik. Maimonides says "One whose merit surpasses his iniquity is a tzadik". I have trouble in understanding this sentence. Can someone explain the ...
7
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4answers
190 views

Commemorating Death

What are some sources about when it is appropriate - if ever - to celebrate the death of an enemy? My question is inspired by last night's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, naturally, as well as ...
7
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2answers
285 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 ...
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2answers
518 views

No Olam Habah for these?

At the end of Gemorah (Tractate) Sanhedrin, there is discussion of people who are not Zocheh to get into Olam Haba (Gan Eden). Is there a comprehensive list somewhere of people mentioned throughout ...
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4answers
582 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 ...
6
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2answers
157 views

What were Alter Halpern's main issues with Marcus Jastrow's Dictionary?

I have heard that Alter Halpern, a Rabbi in England, published an article or kuntres presenting issues with Marcus Jastrow's Dictionary (for the Talmud, midrash, targum), i.e Sefer HaMilim. What ...
6
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2answers
624 views

How do we understand Talmudic predictions of Moshiach?

There are some predictions in the Talmud for when Moshiach/Messiah will come. Avoda Zara 9b brings a Beraisa and Rabbi Chanina that say when Moshiach will come (the opinions are a few years apart), ...
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2answers
163 views

How is knowledge of G-d different from any other knowledge?

The Rambam, in his Morei Nevuchim, says that when it comes to knowledge about G-d, we can only know what G-d is not. I.e. He is not limited in space, or time, He does not have property A, nor does he ...
6
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1answer
216 views

Jewish views on patriotism/nationalism

I heard a lecture in which a rabbi espoused very negative views against nationalism in a July 4th speech. What are Jewish sources that counter his claim, that is, sources in which the Rabbis/great ...
6
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1answer
142 views

All Sifre HaRamhal? (Rabbi Moshe Chayim Lutzato)

Is there a set that has "Kol Sifre HaRamhal"? The have "Kol Sifre HaHida" and other Rabanim, so maybe they'll also have all Sefarim of the Ramhal?
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3answers
363 views

May we genetically engineer stuff?

The possibilities of genetic engineering continue to grow. May a Jewish scientist genetically engineer things?
5
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1answer
156 views

how do we get out of non-achdus and golus? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are some practical things we can do to bring Moshiach? Given that we are still in galus (physical as well as spiritual exile), and given that our sages tell us the ...
5
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2answers
433 views

Drinking on Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah has two opposite aspects, one of judgment, and one of Yom Tov. We spend the day(s) in prayer and literally plead for our lives. Yet we eat festive meals and drink wine for Kiddush. Is ...
5
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1answer
268 views

simple faith versus blind faith

There is a view that it is better to avoid studying philosophical works such as the Rambam's guide for the perplexed or the Shaar Yichud from Duties of the Heart. This is based on the idea that Emunah ...
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2answers
176 views

Why did God created physical impulse towards the “wrong” women

When I was young and had struggles with my "yetzer hara" - sexual impulse, I was fascinated by the Jewish attitude towards that impulse. God created this impulse for a purpose. It is meant to push ...
5
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2answers
122 views

Bitahhon vs. Hishtadlut

In discussing the six constant mitzvot, Jewish Pathways mentions that: "To achieve results, [one must] invest effort. But the materials, circumstances, and ultimate result are all provided by ...
5
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1answer
453 views

Does God discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish people?

I often wonder if God has a different attitude towards people who are not Jews. Why Jews are consisdered to be most favored nation? Does that mean that all other people are inferior to Jews? Wouldn't ...
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0answers
57 views

Teaching Machshava and Hashkafa to Non-Jews

I know there is a prohibition against teaching Oral Torah to Non-Jews, but what about Machshava and Hashkafa? Sometime Non-Jews ask questions and the answer relates to either Hashkafa/Machshava. Is it ...
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4answers
925 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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4answers
191 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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4answers
790 views

Are Jews racist against non-Jews? [closed]

Are Jews racist against non-Jews?
4
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1answer
603 views

Torah Im Derech Eretz and Torah Umada

What exactly is "Torah Im Derech Eretz" and "Torah Umada." I am not looking for a translation but rather an explanation of Yeshiva University's philosophy regarding these things. What are the ...
4
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1answer
102 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 ...
4
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2answers
113 views

Does God's providence extend to all people or only righteous people?

Does God's providence (Hashgacha Pratit) extend to all people? to all individuals of the nation of Israel? or only to righteous people (צדיקים)?