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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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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2answers
76 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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141 views

Bitahon and Hishtadlut for livelihood

The Sefarim discuss (see Hobot Halevavot, Michtav MeEliyahu etc.) the idea of being Mishtadel (making an effort) for one's livelihood but believing that the Hishtadlut (effort) has absolutely nothing ...
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236 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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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?
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237 views

All ramifications of “Lo BaShamayim Hi” [closed]

What are all the ramifications of "Lo BaShamayim Hi"?
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174 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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113 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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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 ...
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95 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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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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4answers
471 views

How can I respond to challenges to the Kuzari argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai?

The Kuzari's argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai was extremely convincing when I heard it, and I've read different summaries of it by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb and Rabbi Leib Keleman (I must ...
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5answers
687 views

Are Jews racist against non-Jews? [closed]

Are Jews racist against non-Jews?
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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?
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432 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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4answers
298 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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210 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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3answers
225 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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130 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
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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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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487 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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569 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
99 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 ...
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139 views

How can two contradictory ideas exist in Matzah?

מצה embodies two ideas: poor man’s bread (slavery) and free man’s bread (the bread that made in haste when they left Egypt). These ideas seem to contradict one another; how can they both exist in one ...
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292 views

How can we say everything is good?

Considering that we can do things that are against the divine will (like sinning, for instance), how can we say that everything that occurs is for the good? I understand that everything that God does ...
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1answer
150 views

Bride and Groom: King and Queen?

I was at a wedding recently where a Rabbi spoke under the Chuppah and said that a groom is like a king and a bride is like a queen. I have heard these sayings a num er of times in the past. What is ...
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83 views

How should one answer a fool asking about Torah matters?

My question comes from Shabbat 30b (Koren Talmud Bavli). Two contradictory proverbs are mentioned: Proverbs 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Proverbs ...
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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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444 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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81 views

Near Death Experience and Judaism

How does Judaism view Near Death experiences? do we believe they are a figment of the imagination, or do we accept them? and if we do accept them, how do we believe stories of people who claim that ...
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99 views

Tsnius for Women : Talmud Torah for Men

I have heard the idea that the concept of tsnius, or modesty, for women is equivalent to the command of Torah study for men. Once, I overheard this in a conversation between two men, one of whom I ...
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1answer
93 views

Punishment for sins one cannot now be expected to avoid

I recall a high-school rebbe (teacher) of mine quoting a great rabbi as having said that, if someone religious becomes irreligious, then God will punish him for every time he does not wash his hands ...
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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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80 views

Mamzer honoring his father - why wouldn't he?

The Shulhan 'Aruch (240:18) writes that a Mamzer has an obligation to honor his father. Why might I think otherwise?
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What are the three impure klippot?

Kabbalah and Chassidus discuss the "three impure klippot" and Klippos Noga. What is the difference between each of these three klippos?
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1answer
37 views

Why do we thank G--d for taking us out of Egypt?

In many Prayers and weekly Torah readings, we thank G--d for taking us out of Egypt. But since G--d was the one that put us there, why are we thanking him for taking us out? I can even make this ...
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1answer
55 views

The Maharal and his influence on Jewish philosophy

In the Wiki article on the Maharal there is a quote by Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein citing Rabbi Nachman Bulman that the Maharal "prevented the Balkanization of Jewish thought". I understand what he is ...
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136 views

What is the point of Davening/Praying

What is the point of praying? It is for sure not because Hashem needs/wants it. (Hashem is not lacking in any way he is infinite, and thus does not need our tefillos or our mitzvos) And it seems ...
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1answer
59 views

Understanding ones own 'middah k'neged middah'

In order to better understand ones purpose, merits and relationship (etc.) with Hashem is there any merit in trying to figure out the מדה כנגד מדה aspects of one's life? Should one dwell on such ...
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3answers
86 views

How to arrive at total Devekut HaMachshava

The Sefarim (first Rama in Orah Haim) discuss "Shiviti Hashem Lenegdi Tamid" in other words Devekut Hamachshava. Does anyone have an Etza to reach this amazing Maala?
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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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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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1answer
61 views

The Rambam's source for the first Ikkar

The Rambam's first Principle of Faith is that Hashem is the Cause of all other existence and His existence is independent of all other existence. To me it seems the best source for this would have ...
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3answers
124 views

How does one calculate how much time to devote to torah learning and how much time for livelihood?

In Judaism, the study of torah is considered above all else. However, there is also a need to be able to provide for one's family. How does one calculate the amount of time one should devote to torah ...
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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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166 views

Importance of learning grammar

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