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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132 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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121 views

How much room is there for personal influence given the existence of “free will” and “God's will” and “God's plan”?

Today's interesting question delves deeper into the concept of free will. I understand that Judaism views free will as the freedom to choose between life and death (i.e. choose life and live), but ...
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95 views

Is a Jew allowed to be annoyed about a minhag?

I heard that Minhag Yisroel is Torah, and that some Jews get annoyed about the minhag of Kitniyot. Should they try to stay away from that feeling? I understand the Rambam in hilchot daiot that a Jew ...
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264 views

Why go to the doctor?

According to Jewish belief, God gives you sicknesses and god gives you cures. If you are sick it's because God wants you to be sick. Once he deems that you no longer need the disease you are then ...
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62 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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65 views

Why do we fear saying G-d's name today?

I notice that many of my fellow Jewish friends prefer to say "Hashem". I understand that it is sin to say G-d's name in vain, but what about in a sacred way of awe and worship?
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86 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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209 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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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 ...
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3answers
51 views

Path of the Just - what does שיתברר ויתאמת mean?

The Mesilat Yesharim starts off: יסוד החסידות ושרש העבודה התמימה הוא שיתברר ויתאמת אצל האדם מה חובתו (Translation: The foundation of saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of ...
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21 views

“Jewish Philosophy” defined by halacha

I have heard the idea that the halacha (and the boundaries it creates) provide the basic premises with which our worldview and basic (philosophical/conceptual) understanding of the Torah is created. ...
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54 views

How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
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48 views

Disproving Samaritan practices/beliefs?

Are there any Counter-Samaritan proofs or essays that anyone out there knows of, i.e. Torah based proof as to the fallacy of their practices/beliefs? Thank you
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26 views

Trying to be good [closed]

When browsing on my computer, I have had about three times that i wandered to the inappropriate videos from youtube. B"H I have never gone to an inappropriate site and don't plan on. After each time I ...
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10 views

Using 'zechus avos' in this world

On the one hand zechus avos has an affect in this world. On the other hand schar mitzvah be'hay almah leika (the reward of a mitzvah is not given in this world.) How do these two idea's work? They ...
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44 views

Should Jews be environmentalists? [duplicate]

Do we have a religious obligation to take care of the environment, and if so how far does it extend? Should I spend money to decrease my carbon footprint?
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50 views

What's the point of an oath?

There's an argument whether annulling an oath needs an excuse. Even if there needs to be an excuse, the excuse could be something weak like "I didn't know I shouldn't take oaths". What's the point of ...
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3answers
151 views

The Meaning behind the Kaf

Searching for the root for Kipah (כפה) I found the word Kaphaph (כפף) from the root Kaph or Kaf כף. Kaf (as a word) means (hand)palm, while yod refers to yad (the hand). Kaf (as a letter כ) has a ...
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37 views

How is the idea of free will viewed by Judaism? [duplicate]

A few things come to mind when asking this question. One is where the Torah enumerates the blessings curses and Hashem says to chose life. Here it seems we are given two paths in life. That of torah ...
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66 views

How do we define the word 'עולם'?

In the standard beracha 'formula' we use the phrase 'מלך העולם'. But what does the word עולם refer to in this context: Earth/world or universe? It may seem obvious that מלך העולם is referring to ...
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28 views

Halachic Approaches to Utilitarianism vs. Deontology [duplicate]

Are there halachic sources that are relevant to the philosophical debate between utilitarianism (ends justify means) and deontology (ends DON'T justify means)? Al regel achas, the principle of Mitzvah ...
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44 views

If there is only one oral Torah how do we reconcile different interpretations of a written verse? [duplicate]

Many times when you read a confusing verse in the scriptures, several commentators offer their own interpretation. For example, Rashi can say X, Sforno says Y, and Ramban says something completely ...
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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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67 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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38 views

infallible reasoning for believing in a god that created and runs the world [duplicate]

In the Torah it is written that we should serve God, love him, have trust in him, believe that he runs the show and in return we are promised a share in the world to come - a world of eternal bliss. ...
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5answers
715 views

Do Jewish people tend to be rude?

From what I've seen many non-Jews have a stereotype of Jewish people as being rude and greedy. Is there a Jewish source (from the bible,talmud, midrash, zohar, or classic torah commentators) that ...
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58 views

What class of entity are Wisdom and Death?

Most Jews and Christians will only recognize the angels as being the only other spirits made by G0d, but angels are not omnipresent nor omnipotent and it seems to me that the Spirit of Wisdom in ...
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2answers
129 views

Why is the world round? [closed]

Why does shabbat start at different times at different places? Crossing a time zone does not conjure up a time warp, so how can it be Friday in one place, and Shabbat in another? It just doesn't ...
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3answers
110 views

Why isn't it considered idol worship to give respect to the torah?

When the Sefer Torah is brought out of the ark, everyone stands up and kisses it. On occasions such as simchat torah and hoshana rabbah people dance around the Torah. To an outsider these actions can ...
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96 views

Are Rabbinic decrees binding forever, or can they be rescinded?

Regarding the rabbinic decrees instructed in the Talmud, how can one know that a particular rabbinic commandment is binding to all future generations and may not be rescinded or amended ever? . ...
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36 views

Ruach haKodesh and Shekinah?

What is the difference between Ruach haKodesh and Shekinah? Is there a difference between the two concepts or are they exactly the same?
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5answers
194 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
79 views

many traditions are deep rooted, and thusly fought over (why?) …but don't we have bigger fish to fry? [closed]

why are so many of these traditions, if not really based in halacha, or real traditions (eg halacha/kabbalah) considered so important? like who really cares how we cut our fingernails and in what ...
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130 views

Refuting claims that everything before Shmuel was made up? [duplicate]

There is a recent movement amongst Bible Scholars suggesting, almost as undeniable fact, that everything we have from Tanach pre-Shmuel times was made up, and not recorded as it was actually ...
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145 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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80 views

Poems on Atticism by Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal)

Can anyone find poems on Atticism for me by Samuel David Luzzatto (Shadal)?
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60 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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72 views

Should observant Jews travel to areas that are centres for Avodah Zarah (Idol worship)? [closed]

In the light of the recent tragic event in Nepal, the question arose in my mind whether observant Jews ought specifically to travel to the far east where avodah zarah is intrinsic to the society?
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57 views

source that purpose of this is world is as an arena for human free will

In a lecture on science, Rabbi David Gotlieb states that the purpose of nature is to provide a misleading appearance that the world carries itself, and the purpose of that is to provide an arena for ...
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2answers
132 views

Do Amalekians not have souls?

I remember reading once (in Sender Zeyv's novel Ten Lost), that some Jewish sources say that Amalekians don't have souls. Obviously, this might not be so reliable, coming from a work of fiction, so ...
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73 views

What does it mean that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?

Typically God does not interfere with a person's free choice. {provide source} If this is so, what is the idea of Hardening Pharaoh's heart? Was that a removal of Pharaoh's free choice?
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128 views

Ladies first or men first?

Bereshit 31:17 reads: וַיָּקָם יַעֲקֹב וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת נָשָׁיו עַל הַגְּמַלִּים׃ So Jacob rose, and he lifted up his sons and his wives upon the camels. Rashi: את בניו ...
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166 views

How does Judaism prove the existence of the life of the world to come?

I have three questions: What is the basis for the Jewish belief in the World to Come? What human traits does Judaism consider reflect the possession of an eternal soul? What purpose(s) is/are served ...
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64 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 ...
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166 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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23 views

Why did God make such a vast, expansive universe? [duplicate]

The title pretty much says it all — but it certainly seems unnecessary and plays very well into the theories of people such as Richard Dawkins. How are we best to respond to this challenge of theirs?
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40 views

Jewish Soul vs Gentile Soul [duplicate]

Will someone please tell me how a Jewish soul differs from a Gentile soul. My brief readings on the subject seem to suggest an attitude of spiritual racism on the part of Jews.
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37 views

How is it possible to have machlokot in very basic issues of the halacha [duplicate]

The orthodox world view assumes that the whole torah came from the mountain of sinai and is transferred from generation to generation. When there is a machloket this is because either: The ...
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24 views

Why do we believe that God is all powerful? [duplicate]

The only way we could know that God is all powerful is if we knew that He created the universe — then, logically, He would be all-powerful within it. (And, to the best of our knowledge, nothing exists ...