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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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. ...
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4answers
391 views

Jewish concept of angels

Judaism does not believe in the free will of angels. What is the scriptural evidence for that and since when has such belief been held within the Jewish community?
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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 ...
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2answers
276 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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1answer
161 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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1answer
192 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 ...
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1answer
53 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 ...
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3answers
797 views

How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
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0answers
90 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 ...
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1answer
166 views

Importance of learning grammar

What are the traditional Jewish opinions about the importance of learning and speaking Hebrew with proper grammar (dikduk)?
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1answer
237 views

Do not separate yourself from the community: what exactly is the community?

Hillel teaches in Pirke Avot (2:4): do not separate yourself from the community. I'm not a historian, but I have the impression that at the time he was writing, towns tended to have one (Jewish) ...
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1answer
173 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?
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3answers
393 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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4answers
245 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 ...
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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, ...
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1answer
81 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.
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1answer
183 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 ...
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8answers
2k views

If Christianity is avodah zarah and Islam is not, why has the Christian world triumphed over the non-Christian, and why do Jews prefer to live among Christians and not Muslims?

The Rambam quite clearly considered Christianity to be avodah zarah. He did not feel the same way about Islam, however, going so far as to condone praying within a mosque, and many Orthodox Jewish ...
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2answers
406 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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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 ...
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2answers
254 views

What is “emunas chachomim”?

My daughter came home from school with a textbook response for what "emunas chachomim" is. I disagreed strongly with what was written in the book, so I'm not even going to say what they said. ...
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2answers
230 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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0answers
97 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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3answers
183 views

Why do we say God will be one when we also say He already is?

Aleinu ends with the phrase "on that day God will be one and His name will be one". While we could interpret this to mean that "on that day everybody else will agree with us on this", the plain ...
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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 ...
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2answers
217 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 ...
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1answer
110 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?
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1answer
260 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?
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2answers
497 views

Which 20th-century Rosh Yeshiva studied under the mysterious Monsieur Chouchani?

Monsieur Chouchani was a mysterious figure who travelled around post-World War II and taught several great Jewish thinkers, including Emmanuel Levinas z"l and [yibadel l'chayim] Elie Wiesel. ...
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0answers
52 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 ...
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1answer
61 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 ...
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3answers
129 views

How can we strengthen belief in the coming of Moshiach and the end of our exile?

We believe that Moshiach will come and our exile will end soon. How can we strengthen this belief? Answers supported by sources are preferred.
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3answers
252 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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1answer
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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7answers
324 views

“I never saw a tzaddik be abandoned…” - how do we understand this?

At the end of bentching we say that "I was young, and I also became old, and I never saw a righteous person be abandoned, and his children asking for bread". How do we reconcile that with the ...
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1answer
183 views

why did avraham pray for sodom

Sodom was one of the most morally corrupted societies that ever existed. wouldn't their disappearance be good for everyone (including themselves). keeping those who are thoroughly wicked alive is ...
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2answers
153 views

Geihinom and Gan Eden

What are Gohenom and Gan Eden? Is it common to go to Gohenom before Gan Eden?
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2answers
377 views

What are the characteristics of Sheol?

The Wikipedia article on Sheol is very unclear as to what it is and combined with the Christian understanding: quoting the New Testament in several places. Who goes to Sheol once they die (Jews ...
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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 ...
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6answers
464 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?
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1answer
291 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, ...
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0answers
65 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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
87 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?
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0answers
216 views

Why does God care so much about Details [duplicate]

Kizayis, Kebeitzah, Toich Kedai Achilas Pras, Zman Kriyas Shemah Why is god so into details what are their significance(e.x why does god care if I daven after Zman Kriyas Shemah)?
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1answer
50 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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1answer
158 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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2answers
303 views

Is it heresy to follow secular dating on the destruction of the first Temple?

There is a discrepancy between rabbinic and secular sources regarding when the first Temple was destroyed -- a difference of some 165 years or so, which are called the "Missing Years." My question is ...
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2answers
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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3answers
225 views

Does God benefit from our keeping of the Mitzvos?

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