Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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2
votes
1answer
203 views

A client of yours finally pays a bill — seven months late. Should you thank him?

You're a freelancer. A client of yours finally pays a bill — seven months late! — via email money transfer. Should you send him a thank-you email? Or should you simply be silent? And ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

what induces a person to become more devoted in his religious pursuits?

Looking for some sources as to what induces a person to become more devoted in his service of God. I have read about certain big tzadikim who devoted themselves with extreme mesirut nefesh (efforts) ...
7
votes
4answers
289 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
238 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
119 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
193 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?
2
votes
1answer
119 views

Seforim of Ramchal

I have heard (and don't remember where) that the seforim of the Ramchal, Mesilas Yesharim, Derech Hashem, and Klash Pischei Chochma are meant to be as steps in a ladder (no pun intended) of learning. ...
6
votes
2answers
263 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Mesilat Yesharim - how much time per day for zehirut/watchfulness

The Mesilat Yesharim brings down zehirut (watchfulness) as one of the first steps to master. Zehirut in essence means working on cleaning oneself up from all bad behavior through analyzing one's ...
7
votes
1answer
228 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
578 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
122 views

Does the Reishis Chachma apply to our generation?

Is the mussar book Reishis Chachma considered still relevant for our generation? Seems to me it has very high demands of the reader. Please cite your source: any authority who says the book is or is ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

Sefaradi Hashkafa of Musar

There are various Hashkafot in regards to Mussar from Rav Yisrael Salanter's Derech to the Hassidic Musar based Sefarim (most Chassidishe Sefarim are Musar). What's an example of Sefaradi Musar ...
3
votes
2answers
170 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Corporations and Jewish ethics

Mitt Romney famously remarked that "corporations are people too." I don't buy that, but I've been wondering about what Jewish ethics says about how we should treat them. Specifically, If we speak ...
5
votes
5answers
398 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Why is it the halocho (law) that persuading others to give is greater than giving?

Chazal say, "Gadol hame’aseh yosair min ha’oseh," "the one causing others to give tzedakah is greater than the person giving the tzedakah" (Bava Basra 9a). The Shulchan Oruch YD 249 (5) brings this ...
3
votes
1answer
421 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
124 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
70 views

Is Sephardi Chief Rabbi Sholomo Amar's recent psak on fiduciary responsibility really “unprecedented”?

HaAretz, last week, reported that Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar issued a halachic decision that "[b]usiness owners whose actions, either intentionally or through negligence, cause the public ...
3
votes
3answers
334 views

Definition of Baal Nefesh

I have seen "Baal Nefesh" used frequently in various contexts: sometimes as one who is scrupulous in halacha, other times as someone who is a quality person. What is its simple translation/meaning?
7
votes
1answer
59 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.
6
votes
1answer
127 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?
2
votes
5answers
295 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
142 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 -- ...
3
votes
0answers
137 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
550 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
248 views

Dealing with anger

What is a good sefer or even book that helps people with a problem with getting angry?
3
votes
4answers
180 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.
4
votes
2answers
78 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
231 views

Is it permitted to be upset after your favourite soccer team lost an important match?

I have a friend who is extremely into international sports games. When the team that he supports loses an important game, he gets really upset. When his team recently got kicked out of the ...
5
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
202 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?
1
vote
2answers
3k views

Why usury or interest on loan is illegal within Jews and legal for non-Jews [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are we allowed to charge interest or not? Any action or deed which is not considered ethical for ourselves, should also apply on others as well. Also throughout the ...
3
votes
0answers
44 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. ...
6
votes
2answers
128 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. ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

No one's ticket collected on the train: destroy?

This is a rolloff of this question: Train ticket not collected: destroy? IF one is on a train that is too packed for any conductor to go on. Or it is a day where there is bad whether and the ...
6
votes
2answers
187 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
910 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
392 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?
10
votes
5answers
402 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)?
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Can't remember the name of a mussar sefer [closed]

I'm trying to remember the name of a sefer that I learnt with someone a couple of times a while ago. It was written by a chasidic rebbe, but isn't just popular amongst chasidim. We were learning a ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

Is the term/idea “inviolate” used in the old testament?

I was discussing the idea of privacy with my ethics professor, and he mentioned the concept of "inviolate personality". When it came up he was pretty sure the word inviolate either comes from or is ...
11
votes
3answers
378 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
82 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
2answers
360 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)? ...