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18

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 ...


15

Welcome to Mi Yodeya, 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. ...


13

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 ...


9

The Babylonian Talmud (M'gila, page 3 column 1) relates in the name of Ravina: One who is afraid [for no apparent reason] — although he doesn't see [anything], his mazal sees [something]. The commentary of Rashi explains that "mazal" here refers to the person's angel. And the commentary Ben Y'hoyada explains that what his mazal sees (and he's afraid of)...


9

I don't know or care about the Kabbala or red string business. I will also add that Jews absolutely do honorably serve on jury duty in the United States, and believe that because all humans are expected to have systems of justice, it is absolutely allowed -- and required -- to apply whatever judgement (e.g. beyond reasonable doubt) is necessary for that ...


8

The short answer to this question is that the midrashim read history backwards. That is, since we know, for example, that Yishmael is not chosen over Yitzchak to be the "carrier" of God's blessing and promise to Avraham, the author of the midrash assumes that there must have been something undeserving in him or he must have done something wrong. Therefore, ...


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) ...


7

I collected a few links that discuss this question, with several different suggestions for an answer. For example: The Rosh says that only those who did not believe in the Exodus died in the plague of darkness. The Chatam Sofer says that they were kept alive so that the miracle of the ground opening up will be done especially for them. See more in the links ...


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

They don't. We just don't see the big picture. It's like someone who comes in in the middle of surgery and sees this man wearing a mask with a knife in his hand cutting someone open. If you would see the big picture, you would realize that person is really saving his life.


6

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 ...


6

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 don'...


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 ...


6

The Jewish view is that everything that has been created is under the control of G0d and cannot be considered an independent being in the sense that non-Jewish religions regard "Satan" (as a "rebellious" angel). One of the translations of the word is "prosecutor". Only human beings have free will and the associated "desires" that can cause them to rebel ...


5

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 ...


5

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 ...


5

The הגדה שלמה - (one of Rav M. M. Kasher's 3 Hagadot) says: From [Machzor?] Vitri ולפי שהוציא את עצמו מן הכלל של עבודת הקב"ה כפר בעיקר: שכל ככופר במצוותיו כאלו כפר בו כדכתיב ועשיתם את כל מצותי וסמיך ליה אני ה' א-לקיכם


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

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 בִּפְרֹחַ ...


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

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 ...


4

The Ramban to Shemos 32:7 explains that there were multiple tiers of sinners in the golden calf episode, all of whom had different intentions of varying degrees of infraction, but that it was the majority of the nation that sinned: אמר השם למשה כי עשו שתים רעות האחת כי שחת עמך וענין ההשחתה הריסת בנין... השני כי עשו עגל מסכה והשתחוו לו ויזבחו לו והנה ...


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 ...


3

Both Daas Zekeinim Baalei Tosfiyos and Sifsei Chachomim ask this question and they both say that he sinned at 13 yet it was hidden, however at 15 he did it publicly.


3

TL;DR Regarding using a wicked person's name, the Ri seems to hold that it is permissible to give someone the same name as a wicked person, so long as that name historically did not uniquely belong to wicked people or to a single wicked person. The gemara (Shabbos 12b) cites a teaching in the name of Shevna Ish Yerushalayim. Tosafos (ad loc.) write: ...


3

Evil exists because Gd desires for it to exist. Just as gravity exists, planets, entropy, time, space, animals etc. Everything in the world has it's purpose and one can find positive reasons for all things, and negative consequences of all things. For example, if gravity didn't exist, people would not be able to stay on the planet, however because of ...


3

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 pious)....



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