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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7
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4answers
266 views

Is Ferberization okay?

Is there anything objectionable (in terms of halacha, hashkafa and middos) to using the Ferber method for training an infant to fall asleep on its own? There is an element of cruelty, and the ultimate ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

What is the connection between joy and divine love in Rambam's mitzva #3?

Ramba"m lists love of God as the third positive commandment in his Book of Commandments. It includes the following line, which somehow relates the comprehension of God with joy and the ultimate ...
1
vote
3answers
244 views

Did G-d create evil? [closed]

Did G-d create evil? Scripture says that G-d created everything, right? So then if G-d indeed created everything, does that mean He created evil? Is there Old Testament evidence for why He did or ...
10
votes
7answers
515 views

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust?

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust? Is there anything written to explain why He would not have stopped it? or why He would have allowed it?
13
votes
6answers
597 views

Being a light to the nations - what does it mean?

I'm working on this as my project for a yeshiva program, and I'd like some input What does the concept actually mean? It's only mentioned briefly in most of our scripture and commentary. Are there ...
5
votes
4answers
371 views

Why is the foreskin removed?

Why is the foreskin removed? God gave it men, did God also tell them to have it removed?
12
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8answers
681 views

Answering Atheist about Torah miracles

How do we explain our belief in the story of Yonah living in a Fish, the Splitting of a sea, and all the other fantastic Miracles described in the Torah to a person who was not brought up religious; ...
6
votes
3answers
221 views

What is the Yetzer Harah?

What is the meaning of the "Yetzer Harah" - יצר הרע? How does it compare to the סטן?
8
votes
3answers
189 views

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום?

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום? Why must it been done in that form of twice reading the verse and once reading the תרגום? The Gemara in ברכות דף ח states that one who does שנים מקרא ...
5
votes
3answers
181 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 ...
1
vote
7answers
125 views

Books on the significance of the months in the Jewish calendar

I am looking for books/sefarim (Hebrew or English) that discuss the different months of the Jewish year, and their overall significance in relation to: Zodiac Signs Tribes Chagim Animals ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

Why do we Daven for יראת שמים / fear of Heaven?

The Gemara in Nidah 16: mentions the following in the name of Rabbi Chanina: דאמר רבי חנינא הכל בידי שמים חוץ מיראת שמים שנאמר (דברים י) ועתה ישראל מה ה' אלהיך שואל מעמך כי אם ליראה וגו'. - ...
11
votes
5answers
467 views

Existence of Heaven and Hell

I heard from a Jewish colleague that the concept of Heaven and Hell were not originally part of Judaism. I couldn't find references to these concepts in the Old Testament. So Were these part of ...
10
votes
4answers
312 views

Difference between jewish and zionist?

I was in Israel last summer (Rehovot) visiting a close friend and his wife. In one of our very long conversations with them she said, "I would say I am not jewish, but I am a zionist". ...
10
votes
4answers
230 views

Reconciling Nature with Continuous Creation

I have always understood that when God created the universe, he subjected it to a natural order and process under which the universe can function. The laws of nature are those that govern the ...
6
votes
1answer
305 views

Following 'the spirit of the law' vs 'the letter of the law'

My question has several parts, and I'd love to hear your thoughts for all parts: What are the responsibilities of a Jew regarding the following of laws in general? Is it permissable to follow the ...
8
votes
2answers
357 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Is there “Torah Inerrancy”?

Is there Torah inerrancy? In other words, does the Torah contain no factual errors: the Noah flood did occur, Garden of Eden did exist, Adam and Eve did live there and were subsequently expelled, etc ...
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Why are angelic icons not prominent in Judaism?

I learned that the song Shalom Aleichem is all about welcoming the Shabbat angels, and clearly angels are celebrated in Judaism. However I've noticed that images of angels are not very widespread in ...
6
votes
4answers
175 views

Commemorating Death

What are some sources about when it is appropriate - if ever - to celebrate the death of an enemy? My question is inspired by last night's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, naturally, as well as ...
4
votes
1answer
173 views

Maimonides and the Allegory of the Cave

Does Maimonides ever refer to the Allegory of the Cave from Plato's The Republic?
4
votes
1answer
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
103 views

Why bother with n'vi'im?

I was asked the following question recently and, incapable of doing it justice on my own, am seeking a cogent printed answer to give the questioner. If God wishes to express an unequivocal directive ...
6
votes
2answers
301 views

No Olam Habah for these?

At the end of Gemorah (Tractate) Sanhedrin, there is discussion of people who are not Zocheh to get into Olam Haba (Gan Eden). Is there a comprehensive list somewhere of people mentioned throughout ...
8
votes
2answers
488 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. ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Poems on Atticism by Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal)

Can anyone find poems on Atticism for me by Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal)?
4
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1answer
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.
4
votes
2answers
495 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
320 views

Is the brain the seat of the soul?

There are disturbing ideas in the Feb 21, 2011 Time magazine cover article 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal. The article attributes to Raymond Kurzweil the prediction that within the next 25 years ...
8
votes
2answers
299 views

Moreh Nevuchim: To learn or not to learn?

I have come across many people who believe that it is inappropriate to learn Moreh Nevuchim especially at a younger inexperienced age. However, it seems that many important issues are discussed in the ...
14
votes
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 ...
7
votes
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)?
3
votes
4answers
209 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
1
vote
1answer
47 views

Ma'ase avos siman l'banim - prescriptive or descriptive?

The concept of the actions of the forebears being an indication of their descendants' actions is referred to by many commentators and midrashim, including the famous Ramba"n on B'reshis 12. What is ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Why is an oppressor's wife/children punished?

In parashas mishpatim (22:21-23) the pesukim read כא כָּל-אַלְמָנָה וְיָתוֹם, לֹא תְעַנּוּן. כב אִם-עַנֵּה תְעַנֶּה אֹתוֹ--כִּי אִם-צָעֹק יִצְעַק אֵלַי, שָׁמֹעַ אֶשְׁמַע צַעֲקָתוֹ. כג וְחָרָה ...
5
votes
2answers
153 views

Modern Traditionalist Scholars Combatting Critical Approaches to the Tanach

I know that Shadal, David Hoffman, and many others tried very hard to combat the claims of scholars that criticized the Torah (both in terms of Higher and Lower Criticism). Can anyone help me find ...
16
votes
4answers
503 views

Why is Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos so “controversial”?

I have heard that Sha'ar Ha'Yichud of Chovos Ha'Levavos is controversial, and that one needs a rebbe in order to learn it. What does the author say that is so difficult to understand?
2
votes
4answers
186 views

“Law of Attraction”?

Are there any Jewish responses to the "Law of Attraction" or analyses of this idea in the context of Jewish thought?
10
votes
5answers
535 views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
2
votes
2answers
64 views

When can we daven for a neis? [closed]

Riddle version of the question: When can we daven for a neis Hashkafic version of the question: Why does it seem that we can daven for a neis, when this is explicitly forbidden in masechet Brachot?
3
votes
3answers
476 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?
14
votes
6answers
741 views

does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?

Does one have to take a Midrash/Aggadah literally?
14
votes
7answers
323 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
316 views

Voting for a person that will not uphold Torah values

It is well known that Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zatzal strongly condemned those that voted for candidates that would not uphold Torah values. Yet there were many Gedolim that had no problem voting for such ...
7
votes
4answers
178 views

If the odds are against you in life (Bais Shammai's opinion), why did G-d bother?

I'm asking this question only because I recall hearing an answer, but unfortunately I don't remember the answer, or from which rabbi. Help me please? Mesilas Yesharim says G-d made creation out of ...
4
votes
1answer
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. ...
3
votes
2answers
251 views

How do you understand the Rambam on Free choice in Teshuvah 5:5?

What is the Rambam really bothered by in Teshuvah 5:5? רמב"ם הלכות תשובה פרק ה הלכה ה שמא תאמר והלא הקב"ה יודע כל מה שיהיה וקודם שיהיה ידע שזה יהיה צדיק או רשע או לא ידע, אם ידע שהוא יהיה צדיק אי ...
13
votes
5answers
9k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
9
votes
2answers
165 views

Yearning for Moshiach while the Temples stood

Did we (the Jewish people) yearn for the complete Redemption (with the Techias HaMasim, etc) like we do today, at the time the either Temple was standing? It can't be that we just assumed "This is ...
9
votes
2answers
331 views

Different types of Nevuah

What are the differences between the "typical" navi's prophecy, Moshe Rabbeinu's prophecy, and Bil'am HaRasha's prophecy? (Answers with sources [and preferably links to sources] only please!)