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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

2
votes
1answer
80 views

Why believe in the revelation at Sinai other than the “Kuzari mesora” argument?

I was reading this post the other day, and came across a comment by user DoubleAA who stated in the comments something to the effect of "if the only reason you believe is because of the Kuzari ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

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

In the light of the recent tragic event in Nepal, the question arose in my mind whether it is correct for observant Jews to travel to the far east where avodah zarah is intrinsic to the society?
0
votes
0answers
49 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?
2
votes
1answer
35 views

How do we learn “Taamei HaMitzvos”?

The Rambam famously believed that sacrifices were given to ween people off idolatry. Therefore, it can be assumed that when Mashiach comes, there won't be a need for sacrifices. Yet, the Rambam ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does belief in Judaism require irrationality?

In conversations with Rabbis, and in watching debates between Rabbis and atheists, I have often found that the response to questions which attack Judaism either on the basis of some of its perceived ...
0
votes
0answers
23 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
38 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
1
vote
0answers
45 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
1
vote
0answers
25 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
3
votes
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 ...
4
votes
4answers
875 views

What is the purpose of the mosquito?

Everything created was created for the purpose of serving G-d's ultimate plan for his creation which is to acknowledge G-d. What lesson or use can we make from mosquitos?
3
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
75 views

The lack of “ch” sound in Hebrew

As far as I know, there is no tradition of Lashon HaKodesh pronunciation in which there is a sound that matches the "ch" (IPA: t​͡​ʃ) of English. Is there any significance to this ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
8
votes
0answers
73 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
40 views

What does Judaism say about pets in the World to Come?

What does Judaism teach about animals in the World to Come? Pets hold such a beloved place in the now and appear, more than other animals, to have there own will in their actions. Is there hope that ...
2
votes
3answers
32 views

Is free will something that the Torah has to tell me I have? Is it a chiddush?

The most oft quoted proof from the Torah that humans have free will is a pasuk in Devarim 30:19. הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, ...
1
vote
2answers
90 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
49 views

Did the ancient Rabbanim believe that the spirits of the dead walked the Earth?

In the Midrashim I noticed that Rabbanim keep mentioning events in which the Rabbi would be walking along and come across a man doing some task and it would turn out to be the spirit of a dead man who ...
7
votes
2answers
266 views

Hyperbole in the Gemara?

There are many times where the Gemara says that someone who does something is equivalent to one who is "kofer b'kol" or killing someone (for example regarding lashon harah in Erchin 15b I have always ...
-2
votes
3answers
103 views

Is getting a blessing from a rabbi considered heresy?

The situation a person is in, is the best situation God wants you to be in. By going to a rabbi to get a blessing to change your situation, you might be neglecting this fact. With that being the ...
2
votes
2answers
450 views

Did Moshe have a son with Ethiopian Queen prior to Exodus

According to Josephus, Moshe was a great military leader who lead in battle for Egypt when Egypt and Ethiopia was at war and Moshe married the Ethiopian Queen and had a child with her who became the ...
9
votes
3answers
67 views

How does my having someone in mind when I learn help them?

Many times, as a merit for a recovery for someone sick or someone in need, I have been asked to have that person in mind when I learn. In some places, they will put up a sign asking to have a certain ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

What were the nine points of the pesak din of Michalowitz?

"Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein was the architect of the ultra-Orthodox manifesto, the famous nine-point pesak din of Michalowitz (Michalovce, Nagymihály) issued by 24 rabbis from northeastern Hungarian ...
6
votes
2answers
122 views

Does a dog know that it's a dog?

According to Jewish thought, do animals have the self-awareness to know that they exist? Do they know that they are animals? Does an animal differentiate itself from other animals?
0
votes
2answers
55 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
233 views

Could the world be destroyed due to environmental causes?

Some Environmentalists claim that our irresponsibility may/will result in, eventually, the destruction of life as we know it, due to global flooding and superstorms, or any other number of doomsday ...
1
vote
0answers
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?
6
votes
1answer
163 views

Does Orthodox Judaism have a generally held position on American politics? [closed]

The Pew Research Study on Jewish Americans says in part: On these measures (partisanship and ideology), the only other U.S. religious groups that are as conservative and Republican as Orthodox ...
2
votes
2answers
68 views

How does punishment in the World to Come make sense?

If a person is able to make choices in this world, and especially if a person is able to disbelieve that there is a Divine order of any type, how does it make sense for a person's soul to be punished ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

Is Gematria accepted by all?

It is widely accepted that each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a Gematria (numerical value) attached to it. These numerical values often provide insight when comparing one Gematria to either ...
5
votes
3answers
79 views

Why did God create us in such a way that we enjoy things most if we work hard to attain them?

In the Book Mesilat Yesharim, the Ramhal, states that the reason we were put on this world is to work hard, fight the yetzer hara, and accept the reward in the World To Come. He goes on to say that if ...
1
vote
2answers
261 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
220 views

Is is wrong to be racist?

Is there anything wrong about being a racist? By racist I mean believing that certain groups of people are objectively worse in any qualitative way based on their race.
14
votes
3answers
608 views

How can the Rambam's Eighth Principle of Jewish Faith be believed in light of Hazal?

The Rambam's eighth Principle of Jewish Faith states that the entire Torah in our possession - every verse - was dictated to Mosheh Rabbenu and that it has not changed. However, we have explicit ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Who was the serpent? [duplicate]

I have heard that the Serpent in the garden was satans attempt to mimic G-d's creation of man, that the serpent was satins's version of man. Is there any evidence for this opinion
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Hashem testing a person

The Chofetz Chaim al Torah says, Chazal teach in bereishis rabbah, "Hashem does not elevate a person to greatness until He first tests him." Where in bereishis rabbah do chazal say this?
3
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
-3
votes
3answers
106 views

Does adhering to Torah make one a Jew?

I have heard Rabbi Asher Meza say that if one "adheres to Torah," this makes one a Jew; is this true at all?
7
votes
1answer
119 views

Is it correct to say now “Moshiach must come in this generation”?

Is it correct to say “Moshiach must come in this generation”? Related How do we understand Talmudic predictions of Moshiach? The statement was made in a shiur I attended. I asked the maggid shiur ...
2
votes
4answers
142 views

What precisely is meant by “G-d can do anything”?

There's a general concept in Judaism that G-d can do "anything". I've seen How does Judaism deal with God and paradoxes? and this answer, so I understand that it is limited to the possible. However, ...
2
votes
3answers
68 views

Studying mussar and philosophy on tisha b'av

Can one learn mussar on tisha b'av, or how about Kuzari or Moreh Nevuchim? Is it considered to be the study of Torah, which gladdens, or is it, since it is mussar, okay?
4
votes
2answers
70 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

Is there any reason to deny aliens?

Is there any reason that we couldn't believe in life on another planet somewhere? Is there any source that indicates to the contrary?
2
votes
0answers
42 views

What is the importance of the tallit during prayer?

What is the difference whether one wears a tallit or not during תפילה (prayer/worship, sacred service)?
1
vote
1answer
62 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?
1
vote
1answer
38 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 week like "I didn't know I shouldn't take oaths". What's the point of ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Using the flatware of the wicked

This link goes to a page which sells silverware used by the leaders of the Third Reich. Hashkafically and Halachically, would it be inappropriate to kasher such utensils and use them at a kosher meal? ...
7
votes
1answer
134 views

What is the correct emotion to feel upon hearing about enemy civilian casualties?

Recent missiles sent by Hamas landed in Hebron. When my neighbor told me about this, it was unclear whether they had hurt any Arab civilians. I said that I hoped not, while my neighbor basically said ...