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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Is there any precedent to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as metaphorical?

I believe this will be related to a similar question about a statement by Rabbi Sacks. Rabbi Jeremy Wieder said in a lecture titled Non Literal Interpretation of Scripture in Jewish Tradition (and ...
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2answers
57 views

How are there arguments over how God works?

How can there be arguments over basic, major points in Jewish machshavah? How do we not all agree (and by "all", I mean all major primary sources) over how God works? How did this not come through in ...
6
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2answers
91 views

Kill a no-longer-profitable horse?

My understanding is that a horse is killed when its profit no longer matches its expense. Is this something Jews should/may do? I can think of some pros and cons, but wonder what authorities have ...
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0answers
61 views

why do we greatly honor the Davidic line of kings?

I have trouble understanding why we greatly honor the Davidic line of kings, why we pray for the restoration of the dynasty. Taking as examples the last six major kings of the Davidic line, they ...
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0answers
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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5answers
481 views

Why study non-practical tractates of Talmud?

A quick background: I recently sat down with my step-father and brother and learned Masechet Makkot with them for a bit - this was their first time learning Talmud. Given that the masechet starts ...
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2answers
67 views

Where do Jews believe The Quran came from?

The "prophet" Muhammad stated that the angel Gabriel visited him with revelation and he put great importance upon Gabriel. So my question is, where do Jews believe Muhammad's revelation came from and ...
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1answer
37 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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1answer
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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2answers
107 views

The disappearance of וסת קבוע and הרגשות

At some point in history, Jewish women used to have very regularly scheduled Monthly cycles, and used to have some sensation that accompanied the onset of menstruation. Both of these play important ...
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3answers
109 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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6answers
441 views

Can G-d ever take on a physical form?

There are 3 religions that says so. The obvious one is Christianity with that being it's central term. The second one is Hindu. Khrisna is said to be a God incarnate. But in torah I often see stories ...
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1answer
38 views

Adam and the tree of life?

I have been considering Adam and what G-d said about Adam pertaining to the tree of life directly after the fall. After Adam had transgressed, G-d commanded that the tree of life be withheld from him ...
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0answers
27 views

The importance of having a Rebbe for non-halachic subjects

It's easily understandable why a person must have a Rabbi to ask questions to in matters of halacha (a posek). If I remember correctly, many mefarshim explain one of the 2 statements of "asei le'cha ...
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2answers
333 views

Is there really a distinct “Jewish soul”?

I have heard many times about Jews having a "special soul" or a "Jewish soul" - a soul which is either lacking and/or fundamentally different than that of non-Jews. However, the sources which are ...
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39 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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50 views

A Perfect World and the Gentile Soul

In the beginning God created Gan Eden. It was an ideal world. In it he placed two beings possessing so called Gentile souls since they were not Jewish.Why did God omit Jewish souls in His creation of ...
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1answer
39 views

Jewish Souls and Gentile Souls [duplicate]

Were Adam and Eve and Noah Jewish? Are we to consider them Gentiles? If they are Gentiles, are we to consider their souls different from Jewish souls?
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1answer
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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2answers
59 views

Punishment for thoughts

I was wondering: 1a) Does halacha ever allow for someone to be punished by people (be'yedei adam) for a thought the person had? (I'm not sure how beis din or whoever would know about the person's ...
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3answers
150 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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2answers
126 views

Lubavitch and Geocentricism

I read here in an article by Rabbi Gil Student that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe zy"a believed in the geocentric model despite the modern scientific evidence to the contrary. What is the source for this ...
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2answers
56 views

Avodah Zarah 2b - about gold and silver

So I was recently studying Gemore Avoda Zara 2b with my friend. This part gave us some trouble: אמר להם הקב"ה במאי עסקתם אומרים לפניו רבש"ע הרבה שווקים תקנינו הרבה מרחצאות עשינו הרבה כסף וזהב ...
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0answers
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“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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62 views

Would a righteous child who dies before bar mitzvah go to Gan Eden, if his father is held culpable for his sins?

I heard when we are younger than 13 (before Bar Mitzva) most of your averis (sins) go to your father, so let's say there is a great person (younger than bar mitzva) who does lots of mitzvos but some ...
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5answers
332 views

What are Rambam's “עיקרים”?

Rambam, in his Commentary to the Mishna (Sanhedrin 10), enumerates 13 "עיקרים" or "יסודות", which he holds are the core "principles" that every Jew is expected to believe. (Summary in English.) But ...
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4answers
291 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
97 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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0answers
39 views

May one complain to G-d?

Is one allowed to be angry with G-d about misfortunes and pray to G-d in a complaining, or even insolent manner? In Brachot 31b, we see that Chana spoke insolently toward G-d. However, I heard from ...
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3answers
210 views

How was the Shaalos Utshuvos Min Hashamayim allowed to do what he did?

The Shut Min Hashamayim was written by a Rishon in the time of Tosfos. He used to ask questions from Shamayim (Heaven) in a Sheilas Chalom (Dream Question) and write the answers down. Many of those ...
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0answers
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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3answers
377 views

Where is it taught that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome?

I heard various rabbonim say that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome. Where is the source for this?
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How can we bring moshiach if no prior generation could?

Considering that we know that each subsequent generation is less righteous than the previous generation — a phenomena known as yeridos ha'doros — how can our generation bring the moshiach if no ...
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2answers
728 views

Does demolition of terrorists' homes have any basis in Judaism?

Israel is currently implementing a policy of demolishing the homes of terrorists, even after they have been 'eliminated', as a deterrent to others. Is this kind of action OK, according to halacha + ...
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3answers
95 views

Is there a source where Emuna and Bitachon are described as separate ideas?

In the sefer Emuna UBitachon, the Chazon Ish popularized the idea that Emuna and Bitachon are really two parts of one idea, one being the belief in the idea, and one being the idea believed in. Is ...
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2answers
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The Chazon Ish's definition of bitachon

The Chazon Ish wrote in the book Emunah U'Bitachon Chapter 2 that the definition of bitachon is NOT the mistaken belief that when faced with 2 possible outcomes one must believe that the better (or ...
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1answer
80 views

Why is chillul Shabbat considered so wicked?

There is a mitzvah deoraita (Biblical commandment) to bury a person executed by bet din (Jewish court of law). Similarly, there is the law that a righteous person should not be buried next to a wicked ...
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Do sociopaths/psychopaths lack “דעת” of Good and Evil?

As YeZ points out in this answer, "daat" is the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do sociopaths and/or psychopaths lack the דעת of the distinction between good and evil?
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What would have happened if Esav hadn't sold the bechora?

If Esav hadn't sold the bechora to Yaakov what, if anything, would have been different? In other words, what consequence was there to the sale? What did it change, how did it make anything different? ...
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2answers
105 views

Is “siman tov u'mazal tov” a halachically problematic phrase?

Literally translated, this is what is commonly said in the Jewish community, upon hearing very good news (typically lifecycle events as such as engagement, marriage, birth). "A good sign and a good ...
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2answers
87 views

Why create lust?

Why did G-d create lust (i.e. boys and girls)?
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3answers
86 views

Truth in a vacuum and Emes

The rules of mathematical logic classify a vacuous truth as being true. Therefore, if I say "All of my answers with score >500 have been accepted," that is a true statement according to the rules of ...
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1answer
93 views

Is it discussed why a baby is born without teeth?

I was wondering if the idea of a baby being born without teeth, and more specifically the painful process of teething, has been discussed by the Torah or addressed by any Rabbis?
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2answers
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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7answers
880 views

May one love a non-Jew?

May one love a non-Jew? Not romantically in the sense of marriage, but rather in the sense that one loves a friend or family. May a Jew love his Gentile father, for example? May a baal teshuvah ...
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1answer
90 views

Not inquiring into heresy?

Is there some sort of injunction against inquiring into heresy? I am pretty sure there is an issur d'oraissa to inquire into Avodah Zarah? Thank you (By "inquire" I mean to investigate their beliefs ...
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1answer
514 views

If Lev Melech B'yad Hashem, why bother voting?

We have a concept in Jewish thought that rulers do not have free will concerning public affairs, based on the verse in Mishlei 21:1 'לב מלך ביד ה, the heart of a king is in the hand of Hashem (See ...
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1answer
77 views

Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in the fruit of a tree?

In the story of creation man is forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in a tree specifically?
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2answers
875 views

Why is it important that God created the first pair of tongs?

It says in Pirkei Avot 5:6 that God made the first pair of tongs immediately before creation. Could not one have made tongs out of bone or wood wrapped in leather or made with a metal, such as gold, ...
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9answers
646 views

How do I get myself to yearn for moshiach if I'm comfortable in the diaspora?

Intellectually I know that we're supposed to yearn for the coming of the mashiach and the in-gathering in Eretz Yisrael. I know that one of the Rambam's 13 principles calls for this. We pray for ...