Tagged Questions

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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4
votes
1answer
120 views

How long does it take to become a kofer?

If a person for whatever reason momentarily has a thought which denies God, but then afterwards reaffirms his belief in Hashem, is that an act of kefira? Does a momentary lapse in belief constitute a ...
5
votes
2answers
283 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Is Holiness an achievable goal for an individual?

The Torah, at Lev. 19:2, teaches "You shall be holy for I, Hashem your G-d, am holy." What is holiness in this context? Is it an achieveable goal, or must we observe the commandments perfectly? If ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

If there is only one oral Torah how do we reconcile different interpretations of a written verse? [duplicate]

Many times when you read a confusing verse in the scriptures, several commentators offer their own interpretation. For example, Rashi can say X, Sforno says Y, and Ramban says something completely ...
10
votes
2answers
319 views

“God is Fire”: Trying to Source an Analogy for Prayer

I remember reading once a very clever analogy, which I was sure that I had found in the writings of Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who sourced it, from memory, in the writings of the Rav, R' Yosef Ber ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

Does Rambam take the 6 days of creation literally?

I was told in this answer to another question: "The Rambam did not take the '6 days' of Bereishis literally, as well as other details." The answer linked to Moreh Nevuchim (link) but I couldn't find ...
7
votes
1answer
253 views

Is it heresy to read the Bible literally?

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in this debate with Richard Dawkins says: Rabbis in the 10th century laid down the following principle: If a biblical narrative is incompatible with established scientific ...
1
vote
1answer
100 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
365 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), ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Kalam Cosmological Argument

Wikepedia writes: The Kalām cosmological argument is a variation of the cosmological argument that argues for the existence of a first cause for the universe, and the existence of a god. Its ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

Are we destined to be evil?

It seems like from the very first chapters of the Torah, mankind is destined to be evil and transgress the law of God: The very first couple make the only sin they can. The second child the world ...
3
votes
2answers
280 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 ...
-6
votes
2answers
220 views

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to break halacha or violate a mitzva? [closed]

Is it possible for a Reform Jew to violate a mitzva in the Torah or break halacha, like breaking shabbos by doing melacha ('labor')? After all, from what I understand, Reform Jews don't believe in a ...
2
votes
0answers
95 views

Rambam held of Timtum halev?

There is a famous story of the Rambam in the name of R' Chaim Brisker: "When the Rambam visited Yemen, he met a certain gaon of the geonim of the time. And after the Rambam returned home, this ...
5
votes
2answers
99 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
238 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

Why is Akaidas Yitzchak considered a good thing?

I'm having some difficulty understanding the incident of the Akaida. God tested Avraham by commanding him to take his son as a human sacrifice to see if he would obey even this (Genesis 22). However, ...
3
votes
2answers
135 views

Why were there no Jewish philosophy tracts until the Rasag?

Jews had their first bump into philosophy when Alexander the Great conquered Israel (in the early Tanaic period). Since then, we lived under the Greeks and Romans for a few hundred years. Both of ...
7
votes
4answers
249 views

If Hashem doesn't change, how does prayer work?

If Hashem is perfect and unchanging, how can we pray to Him to have mercy on us? Doesn't that imply a change? I've heard it implied that the way this works is that the prayer itself has the effect ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

Eavesdropping: permitted or prohibited?

Is there a halachic or hashkafic problem with eavesdropping? Maybe it could be like reading another's mail which Rabenu Gershom made a gezera about.
7
votes
3answers
400 views

Was Rambam affected by Islam?

Was Rambam's philosophy affected in any way by Islamic culture or religion? If so, could that influence have influenced his interpretation of halacha? This question is inspired by an ongoing ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

why was technology withheld for so long from man

Why did God withhold the discovery of modern technology from man until recently? what is the reason for this and why does this reason not apply in our era? (according to the shaar bitachon ch.3 God ...
5
votes
2answers
408 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
191 views

Why do some Jewish groups wear a uniform?

My impression of male Chareidi Jews is that they only ever wear a white shirt with a black suit shoes and hat, no tie. I also get the impression that particular other (possibly Chassidic) groups have ...
5
votes
0answers
102 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
5
votes
4answers
247 views

Do a mitzva for mashiach?

I recently saw in The Moshiach Times, a popular Chabad-Lubavitch publication for children, an exhortation to "do a mitzvah for moshiach": to do a mitzva with the specific purpose of hastening the ...
2
votes
2answers
220 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
165 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
134 views

Is there a concept of time in Gan Eden and the world to come?

Does Time exist in Gan Eden and the world to come. I heard that you cant get bored of these places since there's no time there. Also heard midrash that Yitchak Aviinu went to Gan Eden for 2 years ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

What is a non-Jew's purpose in life?

What does a non-Jew have to do in life? Why did God create non-Jews? A Jews purpose in life is to learn Torah and do Mitzvos. What should a non-jew be spending his time doing?
2
votes
3answers
424 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.
3
votes
1answer
175 views

Is free will limited to humans?

Do other beings besides humans have free will? Perhaps animals have free will? What about angels? Does the status of other types of beings' freedom of will affect us in any way?
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Does the mitzvah of Tzedek require poverty and inequality in society?

If we accept that giving to the poor and an emphasis on Tzedek are Mitzvot that is repeatedly noted within Tanakh - for example some Midrashic commentary suggests that the sin of Sodom was actually a ...
3
votes
2answers
588 views

Does Judaism permit sexual relationships outside of marriage?

I am eager to know more about different religions from Islam to Judaism. Furthermore, how different religions look at women and comparing their kinds of approaches to the matter of gender and ...
1
vote
1answer
62 views

What is the spiritual value of counting the omer?

I understand that it is a mitzvah to count the 49 days of the omer from the second night of Pesach through erev Shavuos. But what is the spiritual value of counting s'fira? I.e. what does G-d want ...
2
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
111 views

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?
2
votes
2answers
161 views

How did Chazal know they were right about “who is a Jew”?

My question is predicated on the assumption that Jews were created by God as fundamentally different from non-Jews. (I am referring, for example, to the idea that Jews have a special type of soul. And ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Updating of holy books

I am curious if such thing is possible, e.g. if some new evidence is found (archeological or other scientific or other). So the next generation will have more accurate interpretation, because we all ...
6
votes
1answer
299 views

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew?

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew? I understand that idolatry, or embracing the mainstream Christian perception of Jesus as divine, is absolutely out of the question. Furthermore, ...
-1
votes
6answers
468 views

Can God destroy Himself?

I was thinking about it lately. If God can do everything, can He destroy Himself? Is there something about this possibility in any of the holy books?
1
vote
0answers
66 views

Attending networking events under false pretenses

I've recently seen some events advertised for specific groups or for people who fit a certain description, and it got me wondering, would it be alright, from a Jewish perspective (Halachic, Hashkafic, ...
7
votes
5answers
396 views

Why is there no description of Olam Haba in the Torah?

According to the beginning of the Mesilas Yesharim, the entire purpose of creation is for man to merit Olam Haba (the bliss of the next world). If so, why is there no mention nor description of Olam ...
11
votes
2answers
8k views

Are the Jews today still waiting for the Messiah to come?

Are the Jews still today waiting for the promised Messiah to come? If so, then what kind of Messiah are they expecting right now? When do they expect him to come?
21
votes
9answers
617 views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...
-5
votes
1answer
93 views

What's the word Avraham used for his religion?

What was the biblical name of the religion or faith Avraham belonged to? the word he used to distinguish his faith from other, pagan belief systems?
-1
votes
1answer
51 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
226 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
4
votes
1answer
204 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
260 views

May we genetically engineer stuff?

The possibilities of genetic engineering continue to grow. May a Jewish scientist genetically engineer things?