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12

According to at least one major tradition, Yishma'el repented later in his life. Gen. 25:9 says that after Avraham died, "Yitzchak and Yishmael his sons buried him ..." According to Genesis Rabba as quoted by Rashi there, the order indicates that Yishma'el repented, as he recognized the precedence due his younger but covenentally endowed brother. For some ...


10

If only good things happened to good people and bad things to bad people then there would be a big limitation on free will. Also, people aren't pure or evil. A vast majority of people have some good traits and actions and some that are not as good, so it is impossible to say one person is good and another bad. Lastly, ultimate reward and punishment are not ...


8

Welcome to Mi Yodeyah, Frederick. The "average" Jew does not have a symbol for "evil" or the "devil," especially the latter. The "devil" is a Christian innovation shared also by Islam, and which probably owes some of its origins from pagan and other non-Christian sources such as Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, both of which are dualistic religions. ...


7

Talmud Chagiga 15b http://dafyomi.co.il/chagigah/points/cg-ps-015.htm (a) Question: How could R. Meir learn Torah from Acher? The verse (Malachi 2:7) teaches that one should only learn Torah from a Rav who is similar to a Malach of Hash-m! (angel of God) (b) Answer: R. Meir relied on another verse (Mishlei 22:17, or Tehilim (45:11) ...


6

A few points. 1 - Yabia Omer authored by Rabbi Yehuda Leib Grobart questions why does it say the disciples of Avraham and Bilaam and not Avraham and Bilaam themselves. He answers that Bilaam looked to an outsider like a complete Tzadik however he was a fraud. The only way to tell the difference was by their students and that is why it says the disciples of ...


6

Rashi on Numbers 22:5, s.v. "Eretz Benei Amo" ("the land of his people"), says Balaam was a special case: ואם תאמר מפני מה השרה הקב"ה שכינתו על גוי רשע, כדי שלא יהא פתחון פה לאומות לומר אלו היו לנו נביאים חזרנו למוטב, העמיד להם נביאים והם פרצו גדר העולם, שבתחלה היו גדורים בעריות וזה נתן להם עצה להפקיר עצמן לזנות:‏ If you ask, “Why did God bestow ...


5

Yeah, we don't name after bad people, unless the name means something nice. (This is on a Rabbi Frand tape.) There are plenty of "Avshalom"s out there today -- while the Biblical Avshalom who committed treason against his father King David wasn't a nice guy, the name -- "father (cause) of peace" is nice. Contrast with a name like "Do'eg", which is both a ...


4

I think the Chida addresses these issues as well, in (appropriately enough) "Shem haGedolim." It is also interesting that, as far as I know, none of the rabbis in the Mishna/Talmud are named Moshe. In the larger world, of course names go in and out of style, but this is even more so in the Jewish world, where we have strong traditions of naming after ...


4

According to Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, not only are there no exceptions but it's specifically in the case of a rasha where being dan lechaf zechus is essential: "Know that you must judge all people favorably. This applies even to the worst of people. You must search until you find some little bit of good in them. In that good place inside them, they ...


4

First of all, it should be clarified that rasha means wicked person (technically just wicked, but it is a substantive ). And asur (assur) means forbidden. As Rabbi Yochanan says (Megillah 28a), it is forbidden for a man to gaze at the "tzelem demus" of a wicked man... Tzelem means image, and demus means likeness. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korchah said that he ...


4

An explanation from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, according to Chassidus/Kabbalah: נפש הבהמית עיקרו מדות , ואין לו שייכות לשכל (ולכן נקרא... ...(בשם "מלך זקן וכסיל", כיון שאין לו שייכות לשכל אמיתי The animal soul's [the Evil Inclination] essence is emotions, and it has no connection to intellect. (Therefore it is called by the name "king, old, and a fool" ...


4

1) We do find examples of the foolishness of the Yetzer Hora. (This does not answer your philosophic point.) One example is in his confusion with our blowing of the shofar in Elul, not on Erev Rosh HaShonoh and on Rosh HaShonoh itself as this essay shows, page 10 by Rabbi David Myer “However, our Rabbis teach us that on Erev Rosh Hashanah one is not ...


4

The Hagadah of the באר מים here explains that when the Rasha asks “What is this service to you?” he is also asking “and the reward for this service”, because he does not believe that there is a reward for doing mitzvos. Therefore he repudiates one of the fundamental beliefs (עיקרים) of the Torah - that there is reward and punishment for our deeds.


3

The term used for a Tzaddik who suffers is "Tzaddik V'Ra Lo", literally (perhaps) "A Righteous one and bad is his". The Talmud uses the term to describe one who is righteous, but has bad things happen to him, i.e. "the righteous man who suffers". The Zohar reads it as the righteous one who has bad, i.e. one who still has some vestiges of his evil ...


3

I don't have a source for this, but I always assumed the idea was not Bilaams personal performance, but rather how the nations interacted with Bilaam. "I gave you a prophet and you asked him to help win wars and deliver curses. Couldn't you have asked him for some directions on how to live a meaningful life?" G-d's response to the unasked question is ...


3

The Maskil LeDavid quotes the answer of the Mizrachi (brought by @GershonGold). However, he feels this answer is not so good since (In his version of Rashi 25:27) Rashi says that at age 13 Eisav went to houses of idol worship (unlike the version in our Chumashim, that says "Eisav went to worship idols"). If so, it would be hard to say it wasn't public. He ...


2

Here's an excerpt from the Shaar Bitachon which addresses this: http://dafyomireview.com/article.php?docid=380 If one asks: Behold we see some tzadikim which must work very hard to earn a livelihood while many people who rebel against G-d live a good life in comfort? The answer to this was already addressed by the prophets and the chasidim (extremely ...


2

Why do good things happen to bad people, so that they can be rewarded in this world for any good they might have done, leaving only punishment in the world to come. As Kind David says (Psalms 92:7-8): ז אִישׁ-בַּעַר, לֹא יֵדָע; וּכְסִיל, לֹא-יָבִין אֶת-זֹאת. 7 A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this. ח ...


2

See Sanhedrin 47a with Rishonim, especially Ramban. Exhaustive treatment of the subject may be found in these two issues of דף קשר הר עציון. A detailed overview of the prohibition by Rabbi Avihud Schwartz In summary: The gemara applies the rule of אין קוברים צדיק אצל רשע only to people executed by beis din. There is a machloket RaMBaM and RaMBaN which is ...


2

Being righteous or not, is up to the individual person. G-d can give a person (i.e. Bilam) the gift of prophecy, but then it is up to him how he uses these gifts. Itro is an example of a gentile that searched very hard, and found the truth. When a person chooses a certain path, and has a strong will to go in that path, he/she get help and assistance ...


2

The Rambam, in his Commentary on the Mishna, says that both Avraham and Bilaam's characteristics are explicit in the Torah. This could explain why they were chosen. The Tiferet Yisroel, in his commentary on the Mishna, says that the mishna is saying that this applies even to a non-Jew. That's why it chooses Avraham, because the students of Moshe have to ...


2

The Alter Rebbe Rabbi Shneur Zalman zt'l explains in ch. 12 of Likuttei Amarim that http://www.chabad.org/dailystudy/tanya.htm that The brain rules over the heart (as it is written in Ra‘aya Mehemna, Parshat Pinchas1) by virtue of its innately created nature. And that is why is it also writting in Koheles(2:13) “Then I saw that wisdom surpasses ...


2

Maimonides explains the scope rule in his commentary to Avot 1:6 as follows: והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות - עניינו, שאם יהיה אדם שאינו ידוע לך, לא תדע האם צדיק הוא או רשע, ותראהו עושה מעשה או אומר דבר, שאם יפורש באופן מה הריהו טוב, ואם תפרשהו באופן אחר הרי הוא רע - פרשהו כטוב, ואל תחשוב בו רע. אבל אם היה איש ידוע שהוא צדיק, ומפורסם במעשי הטוב, ונראה לו ...


2

It's a complicated question, but realize that the Bible focuses on flaws so we understand how to avoid -- and fix -- them. But the Italian rabbi Ovadiah Sforno pointed out about 500 years ago that a theme in the beginning of Genesis is that man keeps messing up, and G-d keeps bailing him out. It's not so much "we're messed up" as it is "G-d is kind."


2

There's a famous story about Rabbi Meir (from the Talmud) who was bothered by some people in his neighborhood and wanted to pray for them to die. His wife Bruria talked him out of it with the following argument: "What do you think, that it is better to pray that the wicked die, because it is said, 'May sins cease from the earth' (Psalms 104:35)? But ...


2

Rav Dessler in Michtav M'Eliyahu vol. 1 pg. 164 addresses exactly this question - How could G-d continue speaking to Cain after he sinned (Bereishis 4:9)?. I can't find the text online to link, but his basic idea is the following: We generally have a broad intellectual awareness of Hashem and His greatness, which should lead us to righteousness, but does ...


1

Tehillim Chapter 109. According to the summary (of unknown authorship) printed in front of it in many versions of Tehillim (I'm looking at a Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchak, but there are many others that print it as well), it was said by Dovid when he was running away from Shaul, directed at many enemies who feigned friendship with him, but only spoke bad ...


1

There are certainly explanations of how the answer to the wicked son is not dismissive, such as the explanation from the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe that the message is that he wouldn't have been redeemed from there, but in the final redemption all will be included even him. And the Arizal says that each cup in the Seder corresponds to each of the sons, in ...


1

Rabbi Orlofsky was also troubled by the question. (His bio is here). Here are some extracts from his answer: To understand the question of the rasha and the response, we have to understand that there is a fifth son. The fifth son is the one who doesn’t even come to the Seder. The rasha, for some reason, wants to be at the Seder – he just doesn’t ...


1

Two thoughts come to mind. First, the Pesukim come directly from the Torah. They instruct us how to answer when we are confronted with a particular question, and these relate to the Mitzvoth of Pesah. The rabbis, however, teach us that the person asking this question is identifiably wicked, which they interpret from the language used, both in the question ...



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