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25

Either what was posted on that forum is about half-correct, or your understanding of what was said was about half-correct. Traditional Judaism does believe that "[H]oly texts are the revealed word of the divine and thus cannot ever be contradicted by modern research, philosophy or belief systems." It is not true "[t]hat it is understood that the scripture ...


21

I agree with the answer Daniel gave, but I would clarify things slightly differently. 1) Orthodox Judaism believes that the Torah is the literal Word of G-d. This is one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith as brought down by Maimonides: "We do not know exactly how the Torah was transmitted to Moses. But when it was transmitted, Moses merely wrote it ...


15

You might just be asking the wrong Rabbis. However, to give you a sort-of answer to why this is the case regarding specific details of the religion (such as the food question, and similar questions), belief that the Torah in all its details as it's been passed down to us as the will of God is a rational belief. Therefore, even if certain aspects of it ...


13

God created within all animals an urge to procreate. Without it, we would just end. (Sanhedrin 64a)


13

See also this letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on this subject, in which he states: It is my firm belief that the sun revolves around the earth, as I have also declared publicly on various occasions and in discussion with professors specializing in this field of science. He also explains why he believed this way based on the Theory of Relativity.


12

Rav Hirsch writes in his commentary to the Bible, on Gen. 4:4, the first time that animal sacrifice is mentioned: First, idolatry did not yet exist. It follows, then, that the offering are not a mere concession to polytheism. The offerings antedate polytheism. They are as old as mankind itself, and they are a natural expression of human thoughts ...


11

This question really touches on what the purpose of the Tree of Knowledge was. Why would G-d not want them to eat from a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Isn't that the most important knowledge to have? In Moreh Nevuchim 1:1 Rambam develops an approach to understanding this (in which he alludes to your question). As I understand his answer, it is ...


10

R' Yaakov Weinberg, in an audio recording, addressed this issue (as an issue with the ani maamin, which R' Weinberg, like you, rejected), and he explained that the point of the Rambam is not to say that the specific texts which we have now are identical to the one transmitted to Moshe. Rather, the point of the Rambam is to say that Moshe was a faithful ...


10

Yalkut Shimoni Shemos 168 does indeed record the story of Moshe being appointed the King of Kush (Kush = modern Ethiopia) and leading them in war, and that he married the Kushite princess. However, the Yalkut Shimoni says explicitly that Moshe did not cohabit with her because she was a descendant of Cham, and Moshe remembered the vow that Avraham had ...


9

This is pretty explicit in Rambam Laws of Teshuva Ch. 3: ‏ [יד] כל אחד ואחד מארבעה ועשרים אנשים אלו שמנינו--אף על פי שהן ישראל, אין להן חלק לעולם הבא. ויש עבירות קלות מאלו, ואף על פי כן אמרו חכמים שהרגיל בהן אין לו חלק לעולם הבא, כדי להתרחק מהן ולהיזהר מהן.‏ כה ואלו הן: המכנה את חברו, והקורא לחברו בכינוי, והמלבין פני חברו ברבים, והמתכבד ...


9

This is adressed in the Tiferes Yisroel on Avos, ch. 4 mishna 3, oisios 20 & 21. The mishna says ואל תהי מפליג מכל דבר, don't be seperated from anything. The T.Y. explains this to mean not to question any of Hashems creations and to assume there is a good reason for them, even if we don't know the reason. He singles out the fly the gnat and snakes and ...


9

In Mishnah Makkot 1:10 there is a famous passage where, after discussing the laws of witnesses, the Rabbis debate how often the Sanhedrin should order the capital punishment. A Sanhedrin that would execute somebody once every seven years would be considered a violent Beit Din. Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah says: "Once every 70 years." Rabbi Tarfon and ...


9

According to this article at Chabad.org, based on the teachings of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe zy"a, each generation builds on the achievements of the previous generation. So that even though we may be on a lower spiritual level, we are still furthering the cause of creation and bringing it closer to its ultimate goal. I think that this is similar to the ...


8

the Talmud in Beitza 25b says: "Why was the Torah given to the Jewish People? Because they are the most brazen of all nations."


8

I wanted to address the general question without getting into your specific examples of which beliefs require accepting irrationality. G-d is infinite and we are finite. The most basic thing that we can understand about G-d is that He is beyond our understanding. The Rambam writes in several places (Hilchos Teshuva, Moreh Nevochim part 3) that G-d's ...


8

In an apparently-open letter dated October 3, 1984, R' Moshe Feinstein urged Jews in the United States to vote as a means of expressing hakaras hatov (appreciation) for the democratic system in the United States, which allows for a safe haven in which Jews can live and practice Judaism. The letter did not say anything about influencing government policy.


7

In the beginning of the first chapter of Mesillas Yesharim (see also here), Ramchal writes ויתאמת אצל האדם מה חובתו בעולמו....שהאדם לא נברא אלא להתענג על השם ולהנות מזיו שכינתו A person should realize what his purpose is in this world....that a person was not created except to have joy from Hashem, and to benefit from his Shechinah (Divine ...


7

There is discussion in Kabbalistic thought (as well as other sources) about the letter used to make a word feminine being a ה, that the ה is the feminine letter, and is also often related to birth - for example, Avraham and Sarah each had a ה added to their names at the time when they were given the promise that they would have a child. ה is also the letter ...


7

I've asked this question to several talmidei chachamim, and all of them have given me the same general response: the Rambam shouldn't be taken too literally, as after all, he certainly knew the passages in Chazal which you've quoted. What he means is that, for all intents and purposes, we have the same Torah. The very slight differences of a plene spelling ...


7

From Wikipedia, the 9 proscribed items are: Sermonizing in the vernacular or listening to a sermon in the vernacular Praying in a synagogue that doesn't have the platform for reading the Torah in the middle Making a synagogue in [the shape of] a tower1 Reserving a special uniform for the sh'li'ach tzibur or singing like other religions do Using a ...


7

I'd like to answer along two dimensions, one about capital punishment and one more broad. First, it is possible for the conditions to be met under which capital punishment can apply. Tractate Sanhedrin in the talmud discusses in great detail the relevant laws. We know that sentences of capital punishment were carried out in the past. They were rare, with ...


7

As the Rambam codifies in Hilchos Avoda Zara 3:5, only four activities are "objectively" idolatry when done in honor of something other than G-d, and forbidden to do to any idol. 1) Prostration, 2) Animal Sacrifice, 3) Incense burning, 4) Libations. Outside of those four things, it is only idolatry if done as part of the normal service of the idol. So an ...


7

From a skeptical standpoint it would probably be easiest to presume that the ancient Israelites merely adopted and or adapted the methods of worship common at the time their religion emerged but I see no reason that those of us that do not share such presuppositions would find such an assumption that compelling. Our tradition teaches that although animal ...


7

A proof that one should divorce is Ezra ch. 10 where he tries to encourage everybody to leave their non-Jewish wives, he does not tell them to stay together to avoid the mizbeach shedding tears. Furthermore he makes no distinction between any cases.


7

The Rambam referenced in the question actually deals with the many times in Tanach in which we ascribe emotions to Hashem. In chapter 55 in Moreh Nevuchim, the Rambam discusses Hashem's "emotion" as a literary device used to convey meaning to us an audience. Emotions and moods are transient in nature, and are impossible for the unchanging perfection of ...


6

Shalom’s answer is pretty clear, but in case anyone needs more evidence, here are two unambiguous passages from common parts of the liturgy that make clear that Hashem is not corporeal and has no body, and that all descriptions of Hashem in those terms are allegorical. From Yigdal, sung at the beginnings and ends of many services (ArtScroll translation): ...


6

Rabbi Hirsch says a "proof is in the pudding" type of argument, namely if you keep the mitzvos it will become clear to you through your experiences that you are involved in something higher. It need not be explained - you will feel it, if you are keeping the mitzvos properly. This experience is an experience of G-dliness, and is the best "proof" of His ...


6

This is a rather famous issue, so much so that Rabbeinu Bachya (1100's) already lists five answers to this question. Later, Abarbanel lists 7 (in his book Tzedek Olamim), and the Kli Yakar (to Vayikra 26:12) collects 9 answers. There are even more floating around Jewish literature (especially in kabbalah and chassidus), but I think that these will suffice ...


6

I'm going to assume that this 'inability to believe in God' comes from a conviction that God doesn't exist. The question is, should a person be faulted for disbelieving, if he thinks that believing in God is philosophically unjustified? First off, I should mention the Rashash to Shabbos 31a, who writes that a person is only considered a heretic after fully ...


6

This would seem to be comparable to hunting, minus the sport and danger aspect of it. Namely, killing an animal for reasons other than food or self-preservation. The Nodeh B'yehuda discusses hunting in Mahadura Tinyana Yoreh Deah Siman 10. He writes that there is no prohibition of tza'ar baalei chaim when you are not leaving the animal alive to suffer. He ...



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