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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What about the Kohen?

It is a given that the Kohen blesses the people, but who blesses the Kohen? Is the Kohen excluded from the Brakha or is he included in the one he makes on the kehillah's behalf?
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185 views

Jews vs gentiles: disputes

Recently I got a pleasureful reading of the Ramban's dispute. I think it a great source for "דע מה להשיב" (know what to answer to heretics). I'm sure there were similar disputes by other great ...
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141 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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108 views

Why do we Daven for יראת שמים / fear of Heaven?

The Gemara in Nidah 16: mentions the following in the name of Rabbi Chanina: דאמר רבי חנינא הכל בידי שמים חוץ מיראת שמים שנאמר (דברים י) ועתה ישראל מה ה' אלהיך שואל מעמך כי אם ליראה וגו'. - ...
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143 views

Jewish alternative to a Christian self-help book

I had a bad psychological trauma some time ago and I felt the urgent need to review myself. I found that reading self-help books helped me. I tried to learn Mussar books (Mesillat yesharim, Chafetz ...
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120 views

Why did Hashem create the world in such a way that a leap year is needed?

I understand why we have a leap year; to keep the sun and moon cycles in sync, so that Pessach is always in the spring. That's all technical, as a result of the moon orbiting too slowly - or the sun ...
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97 views

How exactly should I understand the Divine Presence?

I'm reading Talmud Bavli (the one from Koren) and I have a question concerning what I read in Shabbat Daf 12b. G-d is called the Omnipresent several times, implying to me that G-d is present ...
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405 views

How can I know a rav has daas Torah

I have been privileged to know rabbis of great wisdom and knowledge who could address my issues with unique and helpful insights through the prism of Torah. I always understood them to have "daas ...
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154 views

Modern Traditionalist Scholars Combatting Critical Approaches to the Tanach

I know that Shadal, David Hoffman, and many others tried very hard to combat the claims of scholars that criticized the Torah (both in terms of Higher and Lower Criticism). Can anyone help me find ...
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301 views

Why does the belief in Mashiach require that one be anxious for his coming?

The question of why belief in Mashiach should be a fundamental belief (an ikkar/yesod of Judaism of the Rambam's 13) is asked here, and I answered it myself here. However, when it comes to this ...
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136 views

Is there a p'sak when dealing with de'os?

I was wondering if the idea of paskening applies to the de'os area of Torah. As an example there is a machlokes rishonim how to view Chazal's relationship with the science they relied on to pasken ...
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86 views

If a person stops doing the bad action or begins to do the right action, why does he still need to do Teshuvah for a חטא (sin)?

If a person stops doing the bad action or begins to do the right action, why does he still need to do Teshuvah for a חטא (sin)? In other words, why do you need to do Teshuvah if you have stopped the ...
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228 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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109 views

Amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah

What's the source for amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah? Is there any benefit to try learning Torah on your own without help, when you can learn Torah through asking others and looking ...
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263 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 ...
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95 views

How did the trees deviate from God's command?

In Bereshis 1:11 God commands עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ however in the next pasuk where it happens we find וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה-פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ-בוֹ, לְמִינֵהוּ. This discrepancy is explained by ...
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93 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 ...
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151 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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156 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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156 views

Which of Moshe Chaim Luzzatto's works influenced Chassidut, Mussar, and Haskalah?

In Dovid Cohen (known as Rav Ha-Nazir)'s Wikipedia page, the following idea is attributed to him: He saw in Moses Hayyim Luzzatto the harbinger of this redemption, pointing out that the three ...
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79 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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136 views

Is it forbidden for a Jew to read the writings of Baruch Spinoza?

The cherem against Spinoza says the following: The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Espinoza... We order that no one should communicate with him ...
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228 views

Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
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128 views

Which rabbi said “if a horse had the mind of Kant …”?

I recall hearing in yeshiva that one great rabbi -- I think one of the baalei mussar? once said: If a horse had the mind of Kant, it would author volume after volume of great philosphical works -- ...
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128 views

What is the difference between a kofer and apicorsis

I always hear the terms "apicorsis" and "kofer״, along with "kefirah" and amaratzit. What is the definition of each?
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236 views

How did Abraham conclude that the world must have a master?

Abraham is said to have arrived at the existence of Gd in Gen Rabah 39: אמר רבי יצחק משל לאחד שהיה עובר ממקום למקום וראה בירה אחת דולקת אמר תאמר שהבירה זו בלא מנהיג הציץ עליו בעל הבירה אמר לו ...
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224 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 ...
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267 views

Is believing that God, Israel, and Torah are one Avodah Zarah?

The Zohar said that God, Israel, and Torah are one. I thought Judaism is strictly monotheistic. When Jesus said, "I and the father is one", he was being a heretic. So how come the Zohar includes even ...
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115 views

How can I make my Judaism more enjoyable?

I really enjoy being Jewish, most of the time, but let's be honest, sometimes it can be difficult to enjoy Judaism. Sometimes it's the little things, like having to wait those extra minutes to eat ...
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328 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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503 views

What's up with the Chafetz Chaim yeshiva guys?

I know they learn a lot slower, dress a little flashier, and learn more mussar than in most mainstream yeshivos, but can someone specify exactly what is the philosophy of the Chafetz Chaim yeshiva ...
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English translation of Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim (Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed) on the Internet?

Is there an English translation on the Internet of Rambam's philosophic treatise on Jewish philosophy, Moreh Nevuchim?
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Does Judaism endorse guilt?

I am not a Jew. In a few TV series, I saw/heard that Jews experience self-repression due to their belief. I heard that being Jewish means enduring a lot of guilt, or becoming aware of things to feel ...
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132 views

No More Zechuth Avoth?

The Gemara (Bab. Shab. 55a) discusses when Zechuth Avoth ceased. I am aware of several opinions in Tosafoth that it ended for wicked people, or it ended for everyone but the very righteous or it ended ...
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115 views

Stealing one or one Hundred

I wanted to Know any SOURCES and their answers as to if I steal 1 dollar or one hundred dollars is it the same Sin or is it different? Is it one sin of stealing or one Hundred? When you are punished ...
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77 views

Helping others succeed

What do you do when you are trying to help friends get themselves on a good track, but you are afraid that by helping them you yourself might fall...what is the Torah obligation here?
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73 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 ...
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145 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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67 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 ...
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97 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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429 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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256 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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108 views

Are seemingly hashkafik texts like Pirkei Avot and Rambam Hilchot Deot halachikly binding?

A surface read of Pirkei Avot and Hilchot De'ot would suggest that their contents appears to be primarily advice as to how one should proceed over and above the minimal halachik requirements. ...
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Mind/soul/spirit/body “partites”

Various philosophers and theologians have posited different anthropological views concerning the 'division' of man into a mind/soul/spirit/body. The major views are summarized below: Unitary / ...
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74 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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235 views

Halachic Relevancy of 'Proving God'

The first halacha in the Mishnah Torah states that you must know for certain that God exists (Yesodei Hatorah 1:1). Does this mean that according to Rambam, God can be proven to exist through ...
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249 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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66 views

Why does the Rambam require repentance, and not just more good deeds, before Yom Kippur?

The Rambam says if someone's virtues-vs-sins balance is even as of Rosh Hashanah, their verdict happens on yom kippur. If they did teshuva in those ten days, they get a pass; if not, they don't. ...
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163 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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112 views

Is the idea that there is always at least one illness with an unknown cure - a Jewish idea?

I have heard many times that there will always be at least one illness that is uncurable. Is this a Jewish idea? What is its source?