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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333 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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3answers
153 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. ...
7
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2answers
277 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 ...
7
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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
217 views

Good inclination or evil inclination in the womb?

The Posuk says: ויתרוצצו הבנים בקרבה (בראשית כה, כב)‏ To which Rashi comments: כשהיתה עוברת על פתחי תורה של שם ועבר יעקב רץ ומפרכס לצאת, וכשהיתה עוברת על פתחי עבודה זרה עשיו מפרכס לצאת ...
7
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3answers
315 views

Why did God allow slavery?

How could a kind GxD allow his people to use slavery on their weaker contemporaries and neighbours and yet be so strict with other requirements.
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4answers
904 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." ...
6
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1answer
265 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 ...
6
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2answers
537 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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3answers
317 views

May we genetically engineer stuff?

The possibilities of genetic engineering continue to grow. May a Jewish scientist genetically engineer things?
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2answers
156 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
209 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
128 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
2k views

Do Jews think that all the unbelievers would go to hell someday?

I wonder whether Judaism teaches that those unbelievers or those who are Jews but nevertheless lead a sinful life would go to hell someday when judgement time comes.
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4answers
183 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 ...
6
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2answers
424 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 ...
5
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2answers
113 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 ...
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2answers
105 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
218 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 ...
5
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2answers
311 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
419 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 ...
5
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1answer
150 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 ...
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4answers
904 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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2answers
99 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)?
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4answers
165 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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1answer
176 views

If someone doesn't believe in the Gemara, is he a heretic?

If someone says "I believe that the Mishnayos/Braisos/Toseftas are accurate, but I think that the Gemara made mistakes and has no holiness. Is such philosophy heresy? What about someone who argues ...
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1answer
247 views

Why make a bracha on an earthquake but not on an eclipse?

According to this page, Chaza"l intentionally omitted solar and lunar eclipses from the list of natural phenomena upon which we make a bracha. The following explanation is given: "The Hebrew term ...
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1answer
526 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 ...
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1answer
108 views

Ideology of R' S. R. Hirsch

Perhaps someone can summarize the idea of "Torah im Derech Eretz" as endorsed by R' Samson Raphael Hirsch.
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4answers
758 views

Are Jews racist against non-Jews? [closed]

Are Jews racist against non-Jews?
3
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3answers
131 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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1answer
68 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 ...
3
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1answer
91 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 ...
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0answers
123 views

What does it mean to make up for prayers unavoidably missed - Tashlumin?

The laws of Tashlumin (making up for prayers unavoidably missed) are delineated in Halachipedia “If one forgot to say Shacharit one should say Mincha twice, the first for Mincha and the second ...
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2answers
415 views

Is buying a lottery ticket a lack of faith?

Everybody would like to be rich, and winning the lottery is the easiest (albeit most unlikely) path to sudden wealth. In terms of Jewish hashkafa (philosophy), I agree that buying more than one ...
3
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1answer
109 views

Asking From Angels Borchuni Lshalom

Jews usaly do not ask angels for help as per the RAMBAM. He writes (in Sanhedrin, Perek 11) in the fifth Yesod ha'Emunah the prohibition against serving Avodah Zarah -- that not only should a person ...
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0answers
50 views

Is it permissible to bring back extinct species?

Is it allowed according to halacha to bring back extinct species? The technology is on its way, and i have seen some discussion in non-Jewish contexts about the ethics of it, and how we might be ...
2
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2answers
129 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 ...
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2answers
142 views

Torah source for celebrating your personal achievements

It seems to have become a popular idea that celebrating achievements, even after successfully realizing a small goal, is important to continue developing and staying motivated. I'm looking for a ...
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0answers
79 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
2
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4answers
308 views

Is Mashiach an incarnation of God according to any Jewish tradition?

Some Christians believe that the Messiah was not supposed to be just a man but rather an incarnation of God. Do any Jews (not counting so-called messianic Jews who are really Christians) believe that ...
2
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3answers
169 views

Astrology in the Torah

The Torah seems to have many examples where astrology is deemed real. (such as the astrology predictions that Moshe would be struck by water which made Paraoh throw the jewish males in the nile river. ...
2
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3answers
808 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.
2
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1answer
72 views

Purpose of Suffering

The Talmud in Berachos 5a says: "Rava said: If a man sees suffering coming on him, let him examine his ways..." does this mean the suffering is to atone for his sin or does it mean the suffering is ...
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1answer
182 views

If the Oral Torah is Divine, why are there arguments? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why don’t we just follow the shittah of Moshe Rabeinu? If the Oral Torah is Divine, how are there arguments in the Mishnah and Gemara? (I have heard this question asked ...
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2answers
179 views

VeNiShmartem - Positive or Negative?

VeNiShmartem Meod LeNafshotheichem (Devarim 4:15), the Mitzvah of self-preservation - requiring that we guard our health - sounds rather proactive. However, it is written with the word ShMR, to ...
2
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1answer
100 views

How can the prohibition against murder be reconciled with capital punishment in the Torah (mitath beth din)?

How can the prohibition on murder be reconciled with capital punishment in the Torah, i.e., mitath beth din? I understand that the death penalty was effectively abolished by the Sanhedrin in 30 CE. ...
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3answers
356 views

What is the orthodox view towards the existence of a progressive denomination? [closed]

How did the progressive and orthodox denominations come about? What is the orthodox view towards the existence of a progressive denomination? MODERATOR NOTE: The chatting in the comments on this ...
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2answers
75 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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3answers
170 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 ...