Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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4
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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 ...
1
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4answers
166 views

Could a religious man be an anarchist?

Could a religious man be an anarchist? Because by praying you becoming a slave to whatever you pray to. But anarchism (except of some small branches) do not support master-slave relationships. ...
2
votes
1answer
190 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
72 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
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
2
votes
1answer
67 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
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
83 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
105 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
63 views

How to implement the Mesilas Yesharim

The book Mesilas Yesharim prescribes a ladder of stages to master. Must one master each lower stage before moving on to the next one, or can he work on two or more simultaneously?
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vote
0answers
70 views

Exact text from Rav Eliyahu Lopian's “Lev Eliyahu” citing a maase from the Chofetz Chaim

I read some time ago in Rav Eliyahu Lopian's "Lev Eliyahu" an amazing idea. However, I don't have the book and I'm looking for it online but cannot find it. He brought a story on the Chofetz Chaim ...
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
70 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
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 ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
83 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
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
27 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
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
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
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0answers
55 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 ...
0
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0answers
88 views

Gentile Biography which Inspires

What is the jewish view on reading biographies of remarkable gentiles which one finds inspirational provided there is no apikorsus in the content. Have come across a website about a certain person ...
2
votes
3answers
190 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?
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 ...
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.
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Gneivas daas with fake social media accounts

Many companies (and the US government) create fake social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) accounts in order to make it look like people are talking about their product. I personally know several frum ...
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 ...
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?
2
votes
5answers
193 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
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 -- ...
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 ...
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 ...
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?
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 ...
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.
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
191 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
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 ...