Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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51
votes
2answers
757 views

Does “reputation scoring” make “the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with”?

I apologise in advance if this is not the place to ask this question. Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: Do not make the Torah a crown to ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is Judaism not Racism?

I am only asking this question to educate myself, not because I am anti-semitic or for any other hidden agenda. I do not what to turn this forum into an ugly place. I realize this question is ...
16
votes
1answer
250 views

Is unmasking an anonymous author addressed by Halacha?

If an individual writes a document for public consumption anonymously or pseudonymously and either explicitly or presumably desires to remain anonymous, is there a Halachic issue with publicly ...
15
votes
4answers
362 views

Train ticket not collected: destroy?

Assuming a train line where single-ride tickets are normally collected or cancelled manually by train crew circulating among seated passengers, and it is physically possible to use them later if they ...
13
votes
15answers
2k views

How can I curb my sexual desire?

I am looking for the best and most practical suggestion as to what a man can do to curb his yetzer hara (evil inclination) for sexual desire. Please provide sources for why your answer should be ...
12
votes
3answers
212 views

Do our sources address “strategic loan defaults”?

In the most recent episode of NPR's Planet Money Podcast, they interviewed a real estate lawyer in Arizona who talked about the large numbers of her clients who have been asking for advice about doing ...
11
votes
4answers
400 views

What is a good mussar/personal growth sefer for women?

Most mussar sefarim are very oriented towards men, with lessons on things such as how to treat your wife, the dangers of pursuing women, or the importance of learning. Also, many sefarim I've seen ...
11
votes
2answers
224 views

Receiving Too Much Change

Do I have an obligation to give back extra change I receive? Would it matter if the store owner or person giving it to me was a Jew?
10
votes
5answers
296 views

Need a Torah-based quote for “reaching new levels”

Can someone please recommend an appropriate biblical quote or passage that illustrates (or somehow relates to) the ethic "reaching new levels" (spiritual, emotional, educational)?
9
votes
1answer
223 views

El Al Airfare error and Halachah

What are the Halachic implications of yesterday's El Al airfare snafu? In brief, El Al's air tickets were being sold online very cheap for a while; the price was later corrected, and El Al claimed the ...
9
votes
3answers
261 views

Would halacha permit bombing Auschwitz?

I know there's a lot of talk about whether Allied forces during World War II could have / should have taken military action directly against the Holocaust. I'm not opening that can of worms here. ...
9
votes
3answers
103 views

Do our sources address the question of intellectual property vs the public good?

The NYTimes recently ran a piece about a malnourishment treatment that could save lives in Africa, but one company owns the recipe and controls it tightly. (See the article, I apologize if I'm not ...
8
votes
5answers
459 views

Do we believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to one place while the bad go to the other. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in Hell (and ...
8
votes
1answer
133 views

How to attain patience

Are there any Sifre Musar that give advice on how to become more patient? If so, can you bring a few points on how to do so? Please cite sources.
7
votes
1answer
209 views

Riches found in a purchased item. Return or keep it?

A young rabbi reportedly found nearly $100,000 in a desk he'd purchased second-hand on Craigslist, and subsequently returned the money. Is this story about a Kiddush HaShem, or a Hassid Shoteh ...
7
votes
4answers
256 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
628 views

Hakaras hatov vs. hoda'a

It seems that there are two terms that could be broadly translated as "gratitude", which each express different aspects of the concept. הכרת הטוב denotes recognition, while הודאה has strong echoes of ...
7
votes
1answer
54 views

What is Sha'arei HaAnavah?

Rabbeinu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuvah 1:24) mentions "Sha'arei HaAnavah". What is this? I have never seen a book by that name attributed to him.
7
votes
1answer
66 views

Do you have to judge dead people favorably?

In Avot we learn that one should judge all people favorably ("והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות"). I would like to know if that includes the deceased. Meaning, can I look back on the life of a person who is ...
6
votes
4answers
413 views

Why is the Mesillas Yesharim so popular and accepted?

To overgeneralize, I bet there is a copy of the mesillas yesharim in almost every orthodox home, shul and beis medrash. I'm wondering why this work is so popular and accepted. My wondering is ...
6
votes
1answer
452 views

Why does the Torah forbid interest only on loans to Jews?

Why aren't we allowed to charge a Jew interest but we're allowed to charge a non-Jew?
6
votes
2answers
145 views

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

I'm looking for examples of Rabbis who had a serious disagreement and were nevertheless very kind and thoughtful towards each other. The main reason I'm asking for examples is to illustrate what a ...
6
votes
2answers
284 views

Does the end justify the means

Is the phrase "The ends justify the means" a concept favored in Judaism? For instance, can one lie in order to get others to perform a Mitzvah?
6
votes
1answer
137 views

Source for Dubno Maggid's rebuke of the Vilna Gaon?

In a shiur I heard that the Vilna Gaon begged the Dubno Maggid to give him mussar (rebuke) after repeatedly declining the Maggid responded that It is not so difficult to be a Gaon, cloistered in ...
6
votes
2answers
133 views

The original Mesilas Yesharim

Mesilas Yesharim is a digest version of a previous work by the Ramchal. This work is an ongoing conversation between a wise man and a pious man (Thank you chanoch for the correction). I don't recall ...
5
votes
4answers
222 views

Dealing with anger

What is a good sefer or even book that helps people with a problem with getting angry?
5
votes
5answers
368 views

Why do some people oppose Tav haYosher?

Is there a halachic reason to be opposed to Uri L'Tzedek and Tav haYosher? Why do some frum Jews oppose it? Really the only things that I can find is that Uri L'Tzedek is left-wing and led by YCT ...
5
votes
1answer
53 views

What is the source for Mesirath Nefesh being a virtue?

Mesirath Nefesh is widely considered a virtue. It is treated by Musar-givers throughout the world as though it is the most important virtue after fear of Heaven. But what is it based on? There are ...
5
votes
2answers
115 views

How do I remove spiritual chametz along with the physical?

I've heard the idea many times that as we approach Pesach we should be worried not only about the physical chametz in our houses but also the spiritual chametz (hubris etc) that we carry in our souls. ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

False portrayal on an anonymous Q&A site

If one posts a question on an anonymous Q&A website there is an assumption that other users either do not, should not, or need not know the identity of the person. Thus all interactions between ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

Sitting in on classes

Is it stealing, or in any way unethical, to sit in on lectures at university that you aren't enrolled in (therefore aren't paying fees)? A lot of people do this and it's considered normal even for ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Is it permissible to embarrass a thief?

Here's a story I witnessed: Someone trying to get his car out of the public parking lot next to his building found his way out blocked by two cars parked right on the ramp out, whose owners went into ...
5
votes
0answers
114 views

Which rabbi said “if a horse had the mind of Kant …”?

I recall hearing in yeshiva that one great rabbi -- I think one of the baalei mussar? once said: If a horse had the mind of Kant, it would author volume after volume of great philosphical works -- ...
5
votes
1answer
103 views

All Sifre HaRamhal? (Rabbi Moshe Chayim Lutzato)

Is there a set that has "Kol Sifre HaRamhal"? The have "Kol Sifre HaHida" and other Rabanim, so maybe they'll also have all Sefarim of the Ramhal?
4
votes
2answers
281 views

Chovos Halevavos vs. Mesilas Yesharim

The three basic texts that R' Yisroel Salanter wanted people to learn were Chovos HaLevavos, Mesilas Yesharim and Cheshbon HaNefesh. (source: here) what is the difference between Chovos Halevavos and ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Toch'cha and Mussar-Character improvment

There is a requirement to set people on the right path when you see them straying. This is called giving Tochacha. What are the requirements for giving Tochacha? Are there any limitations on who can ...
4
votes
3answers
96 views

Is the sefer אור הצפון available?

Does anyone know where to get the sefer ohr hatzfon, containing mussar of the Alter of Slabadka, either online for free or by buying an actual copy?
4
votes
2answers
67 views

May I publish correspendence received from a corporation?

I understand that there are ethical and possibly halachic issues with publishing a letter or piece of email that I receive from another person without explicit permission. What are the considerations ...
3
votes
4answers
222 views

Is it written anywhere that one must stand up for what he believes is right?

This may sound like a weird question, but I was wondering if it is written anywhere (Gemarah, Commentators, etc) that one has an obligation to stand up for something he believes is right, continuing ...
3
votes
4answers
168 views

Sefarim specifically made for “Daily Hizuk”

Are there any books/articles/websites/email programs that can help provide a daily Hizuk? By Hizuk, I mean something gives one more of a mood to be Oved Hashem.
3
votes
2answers
152 views

Origin of the Escalator analogy

What is the origin of the escalator analogy of always striving for growth? I'm referring to the analogy that, in life, like a person climbing a downward escalator, if one is not constantly striving ...
3
votes
1answer
204 views

Is it permissible for a single woman to have a baby through artificial insemination by an anonymous sperm donor? Is it moral?

Single women, approaching or past 40, hear their biological clock alarm ringing with tremendous volume. One that I know has decided that her love life is not going to come around soon enough for her ...
3
votes
1answer
145 views

English Translation of Rabbi Y. Salanter's Igeret ha-Musar?

Where can I find a decent-quality (but preferably good) and free English translation of Igeret Hamusar on the Internet?
3
votes
2answers
295 views

Intentional Shilu'ach Hakan

Can one fairly be judged as a "bad person" or a naval bir'shus haTorah (see bottom) if he actively seeks out opportunities for shilu'ach hakan gratuitously (i.e. does not make use of the young birds)? ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Exercises in *yiras shamaim* (awe of the Lord)

I have, it seems, no problem relating to Hashem with ahava - one of my main motivations in avoda is to try to make him benachas (happy), like I would my parents. Relating to yirah is another story. I ...
3
votes
0answers
41 views

What lesson do we learn from Abraham paying money for the Cave of Machpelah?

In Genesis, we see that Abraham makes Ephron accept money for the Cave of Machpelah in order to bury Sarah. He is offered the cave for free, but insists on paying the full price. This sort of story ...
3
votes
0answers
41 views

Ethical business dealings [closed]

A synagogue (shul) employee who is not empowered to obligate the shul financially, convinced a member to get a loan against her house to lend the synagogue money to put on a concert of Jewish music. ...
3
votes
0answers
127 views

Elul Cheshbon HaNefesh

How does one make a Cheshbon HaNefesh during Elul. I'm aware of the technique given in Sefer Cheshbon HaNefesh, but that is intended (and set up as) as a year round exercise. To do something more ...
2
votes
5answers
192 views

Sifrei Mussar/Machshava/Avodah from the Rishonim

I'm looking for a list of some of the Seforim written by Rishonim that are in the category of either Mussar, Machshava, or Avodah (or anything else that fit into these categories.) For this question ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

Ulterior motives on a Q&A site

Is there anything dishonest about asking a question on a Q&A site to which one is not actually interested in learning the answer? Possible ulterior motives could be wishing to pump up one's ...