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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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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1answer
150 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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149 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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126 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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209 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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120 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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106 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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109 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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204 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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113 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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1answer
317 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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479 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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154 views

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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127 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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76 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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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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86 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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416 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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247 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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103 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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61 views

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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115 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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71 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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239 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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152 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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111 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?
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217 views

All ramifications of “Lo BaShamayim Hi” [closed]

What are all the ramifications of "Lo BaShamayim Hi"?
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173 views

Maimonides and the Allegory of the Cave

Does Maimonides ever refer to the Allegory of the Cave from Plato's The Republic?
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103 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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1answer
102 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 ...
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348 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 ...
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158 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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What is the correct emotion to feel upon hearing about enemy civilian casualties?

Recent missiles sent by Hamas landed in Hebron. When my neighbor told me about this, it was unclear whether they had hurt any Arab civilians. I said that I hoped not, while my neighbor basically said ...
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55 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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71 views

What are the implications of karet?

Does karet mean the soul will not ever enter the olam haba? Can teshuvah rectify the transgression which lead to the karet? Can that soul in another re-incarnation rectify the blemish of karet? By ...
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87 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, ...
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104 views

Is “You Shall Choose Life” ever interpreted literally?

Inspired by Did people ever place actual physical stumbling blocks before the blind? In Devarim 30:19, we are told by G-d to "choose life": This day, I call upon the heaven and the earth as ...
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103 views

“Think about love for fellow Jews before praying” - source?

At the risk of being a guessing-game, I thought I'd read that before starting prayers (the beginning? The Amida?), one should take a minute to think about love for fellow Jews. Any source for this?
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277 views

How does Silence lead to wisdom

In pirkei avot it says that silence is an ingredient to becoming wise. (ch.6 "Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities....minimizing talk") how does keeping silent make a person wiser? It also ...
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208 views

Since G-d is Omnipotent Why Does He Need Our Prayers?

What are some good answers to the Question if God is all powerfull what does he need our Prayers for? I would appreciate as many answers as possibile
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223 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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221 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

Does Hashem benefit from mankind doing the commandments of the Torah?
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116 views

Holiness in Intimacy

My understanding of one functionality of blessings is that they help one to take a moment and focus one's intent on the Creator and on one's higher purpose. This idea is especially poignant when one ...
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2answers
253 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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277 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 ...
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472 views

Bad Jew or Good Gentile?

Whom does Hashem love more: Gentiles who love Jewish people and Israel or Jews who are against Jewish people and Israel?
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515 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 ...
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1answer
98 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 ...