Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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62
votes
2answers
1k views

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

Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: <snip> Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, ...."
24
votes
2answers
388 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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
19answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
596 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
3answers
237 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
5answers
749 views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
11
votes
2answers
283 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
535 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
273 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?
11
votes
3answers
368 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. ...
10
votes
5answers
394 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
3answers
117 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
1answer
150 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
690 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?
7
votes
4answers
550 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
226 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
286 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
880 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
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.
7
votes
2answers
58 views

How to not believe slander

I once heard lashon hara (slander) from someone whom I generally admire, about someone towards whom I had less respect. I was naturally tempted to believe the statement, even though it is forbidden to ...
7
votes
1answer
152 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
88 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
2answers
255 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
383 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
184 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
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. ...
6
votes
2answers
182 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
208 views

Exact text from Rav Eliyahu Lopian's “Lev Eliyahu” citing a story about 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; I'm looking for it online but cannot find it. He brought a story about the Chofetz Chaim: ...
6
votes
1answer
126 views

Parameters of Yuhara - When should someone be concerned that he's overdoing it?

There are many cases in halakha where one is discouraged from adopting a stringency because it appears to be an expression of 'religious haughtiness' (יוהרא). When should someone be concerned about ...
6
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
124 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?
5
votes
4answers
245 views

Dealing with anger

What is a good sefer or even book that helps people with a problem with getting angry?
5
votes
2answers
460 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
154 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
96 views

How does Jewish Law look upon the concept of Abgefeimt?

Abgefeimt, trying to find a good example, would be like a person who legally engages in something that really sort of underhanded and fraudulent. How does Jewish Law look upon the concept of ...
5
votes
1answer
68 views

What's a musar vaad and why is it called that?

I'm familiar with the term "ועד" (vaad) as meaning something like "congress" or "council" or "board": a legislative or similar body like the Vaad Arba Aratzos, the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, or the ...
5
votes
1answer
39 views

Comprehensive treatments of the prohibition of bribery

I would like to educate myself about the nature and scope of the Biblical prohibition of "bribery" ("Shochad") and any associated Rabbinic prohibitions, as well as any derived ethical principles. I am ...
5
votes
1answer
120 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
40 views

Is judging others unfavorably a prohibition?

Is judging others unfavorably a prohibition? If so, what is the source for it? Also, do any of the sages offer any advice for overcoming judging other unfavorably?
5
votes
0answers
137 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 -- ...
4
votes
5answers
291 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
65 views

Discriminatory charity

The Talmud Bavli (Bava Metzia' 71A; Original, English) teaches that "the poor of thine own town have prior rights" (עניי עירך קודמין). How does the Torah justify discriminatory charity? Why must "the ...
4
votes
1answer
80 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
1answer
188 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?
4
votes
3answers
185 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
351 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)? ...
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 ...