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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Has a gadol be'Torah ever drastically changed his type of avodas Hashem?

I know that my question is a bit broad and maybe abstract but I'm not sure how to phrase it better. I'm looking for any change in avodah. It can be a change in which group of Jews he associated with ...
8
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4answers
472 views

Why a human Messiah?

I understand that Mashiach is going to be a human. What is the source for this, and are there any explanations why it must be so? Can't G-d Himself redeem us?
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2answers
137 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 ...
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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 ...
8
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1answer
232 views

Does the president of the USA have free will?

I don't remember where but I saw a chazal that states something to the effect of "the (non-Jewish) leaders of the world do not have free will". I would appreciate someone editing to source this. So I ...
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1answer
61 views

Is הפעולה בשמות or “theurgy” similar to prayer in the Ramchal’s Derekh HaShem?

Ramchal in Derekh HaShem III 2 (7) speaks about using the names of G-d to achieve effects not achievable using physical agencies. He says, א׳ הוא הזכרת שמו ית׳ כמי שקורא אותו שיענהו, וימשיך על ידי ...
7
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1answer
107 views

What is the correct kavanah when going to war?

I am specifically talking about going to war that is a mitzvah such as the wars fought while conquering Eretz Yisroel in the beginning of the Neviim and the mitzvah we have and will fulfill of ...
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0answers
129 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 -- ...
3
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3answers
107 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?
3
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2answers
448 views

Is it true that Jews believed in sheol before the belief in hereafter entered into Judaism?

I have heard claimed that Jews first believed in Sheol which was considered as a place below the ground and it meant to be a place of eternal rest, free of any reward and punishment. However in later ...
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2answers
173 views

Guaranteed olam haba?

Certain practices such as learning halachot daily or reciting ashrei three times a day are supposed to guarantee a person a place in olam haba. How exactly does this work? Can a person be an evil ...
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2answers
87 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 ...
3
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2answers
95 views

Why do Teshuvah for an accidental חטא (sin)?

Why am I obligated to do Teshuvah if I do a חטא (sin) accidentally, according to Rambam (Hilchot Teshuva 1:1)? What am I doing Teshuvah for?
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2answers
282 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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1answer
75 views

The purpose of Rosh Hashana

What should a person try to accomplish on Rosh hashana? I know yom kipur is about teshuva. but what is the goal of Rosh hashana? They say that it is the "Head" of the year, which means the root of ...
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2answers
67 views

How did the Gedolim achieve fear of Yom HaDin when the Gemoro says daya letzarah beshatah?

The Gemoro says (Brachot 9b) dayah letzarah beshaatah. The way I understand this and I think Rashi learns like this as well, is that there is no point worrying about an upcoming Tzarah. If you can do ...
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5answers
182 views

What is the benefit to praying with a Minyan?

What is the benefit(s) of Praying with a Minyan? Besides for all the additional things you can now do with a Minyan (Kaddish, Kriah etc). By prayer, I mean the Shmoneh Esreh. What is different in ...
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2answers
124 views

Why is Aseret Yemei Teshuva a time when Teshuvah will be accepted immediately?

The Rambam in the Laws of Teshuvah, Chapter 2 Law 6 states: אע"פ שהתשובה והצעקה יפה לעולם, בעשרה הימים שבין ראש השנה ויום הכפורים היא יפה ביותר ומתקבלת היא מיד שנאמר (ישעיהו נה:ו) דרשו ה' ...
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2answers
204 views

Doomsday scenario, what would Hashem do?

Lets say John is about to end all mankind by releasing a deadly virus that can never be reversed, cured, or stopped. Will Hashem step in and stop the act? This is a contradiction because Hashem gave ...
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1answer
163 views

Why Wait for Moshiach

The Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah says God has no joy or sadness. If so, why do we wait for moshiach? For G-d's glory? G-d does not need anything from us. How are we supposed to have intent to ...
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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
244 views

Does G-d approve or merely permit human consumption of meat?

Many vegetarians and vegans argue that G-d gave humans permission to eat meat only because of a human failing in abstaining anyway. My takeaway from that argument is that, in light of a more ...
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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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0answers
83 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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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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5answers
752 views

How can we be sure that Judaism is the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
3
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5answers
434 views

What is the source of hatred perceived by Jews in different parts of the world?

I don't know if this is off topic but a similar question is here at Christianity SE and I thought it would be interesting to ask the corresponding one here. It intrigues me how people from other ...
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1answer
203 views

Is animal sacrifice practised among modern Jews? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why don't Jews sacrifice animals anymore? From my reading of the Bible I understand that animal sacrifice was used to atone for one's sins. Is this still practiced ...
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2answers
139 views

Why have great rabbis written of their hard times?

Rambam: And that was a most terrible event as my brother drowned in the Indian Ocean, he had taken such care of me and now I was left alone and bewildered in a strange land. Rabbi Moshe ...
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2answers
162 views

How much of this world is really ordained by Heaven?

On another website, someone quoted the Rambam: I do not believe that it is through the interference of Divine Providence that a certain leaf drops [from a tree], nor do I hold that when a certain ...
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1answer
155 views

Da' Mah LeHashiv vs. teaching Torah to non-Jews

Is the paradigm of Da' Mah LeHashiv limited to heretical Jews, and that of the restriction on teaching Torah to non-Jews limited only to non-Jews (excluding heretical Jews), such that there is never ...
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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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1answer
106 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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2answers
132 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 ...
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2answers
212 views

Is it permitted to be upset after your favourite soccer team lost an important match?

I have a friend who is extremely into international sports games. When the team that he supports loses an important game, he gets really upset. When his team recently got kicked out of the ...
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1answer
101 views

Animal rights vs other considerations in halacha and hashkafa

On a boat, Reuven owns five ostriches and one of them eats a diamond off of Shimon's hat which is on his head. Though we are not sure which one ate it we know with certainty that one of them did. ...
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2answers
2k views

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?
7
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2answers
163 views

Why do different people have different levels of mitzvah obligation?

If the point of giving us mitzvot is to allow us to earn a reward in olam haba and to perfect creation (there's all of Jewish philosophy boiled down into 102 characters), why wouldn't all Jewish ...
9
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2answers
191 views

Free will a prerequisite for punishment?

I read that the angel Metat was subjected to 60 pulsei de-nura (Aramaic: פולסא דנורא "lashes of fire"). I have been taught that angels do not have free will. Did this angel act from free will or did ...
6
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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
75 views

Reconciling the Torah and history regarding the Jews' response to reward and punishment

How do we reconcile the Torah's viewpoint that punishments make Jews better with what we see that punishments push Jews away (and rewards make Jews better)? The Gemara says that Mashiach will come ...
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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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3answers
298 views

Why in judaism - when discussing the Torah - do I see a lot of answers referring to writings of different Rabbis?

Sorry for the simpleness of this question. I've been trying to study the Torah as much as possible. I do not know Hebrew (though I'd truly like to and would appreciate any advice on how to get ...
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1answer
90 views

Was divrei kabalah practiced before the nevi'im?

The Nevi'im sometimes got prophecies and wrote them down in Nevi'im or Kesuvim, and from those prophecies, we learn divrei kabalah. We learn things like oneg, mimtzo cheftzecha, and daber davar on ...
7
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1answer
181 views

Fasting for non Religious Reasons?

I was recently asked to fast as a part of a multi-faith community fast as spiritual preparation for doing voter engagement work (I work for a multi-faith, multi-ethnic community organization.) Here ...
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6answers
478 views

Why is there so much space and matter,etc. in the universe?

If the point of all of creation is for the Jewish people to accept and carry out the torah [I realize this is not axiomatic and may be a point of contention - see Shabbat 88a] what is the need for the ...
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1answer
181 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 ...
5
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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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1answer
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?
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4answers
514 views

Why do we count years from the date of Creation?

Why do we count years from the date of Creation? I intend two sub-questions here, of which the second is far more interesting, so please answer it: Whence did this tradition originate? Why do we ...