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15

Rav Moshe Feinstein, in a t'shuva about allowing children to say a generic prayer in public school (Orach Chayim II #24), refers to the Ramba"m's statement in Mishne Torah that Adam Harishon was given 6 commandments, including belief in God. No'ach and his descendants later got one more, adding up to 7. They both conclude that not only the negative aspect of ...


13

Let me break this down by question: 1. Are there any documented halachik authorities that rule that the belief in a dead Messiah is beyond the pale of permitted Jewish belief and therefore would qualify as Kfira? Short Answer: Yes -- and we do consideer it kfira in the case of Jews who adopt Christianity. Rabbi Gil Student, in his book Can The Rebbe ...


12

Rema (Even Haezer 4:37, citing Beis Yosef) says of the Karaites "they are all possible mamzerim, and they should not be accepted if they want to return [to Rabbanite Judaism]." (Interestingly, Rambam, Hil. Mamrim 3:3, seems to disagree: he advocates trying to help them do teshuvah.) It seems that there is some dispute about this nowadays, though. This ...


11

Given the Rambam's statement: Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the ...


11

The discrepancy has been raised repeatedly over the centuries, by scholars Jew and non-Jew, Orthodox or not, alike. Rabbi Shimon Schwab penned an essay on it whereby he very much raised the possibility that the non-Seder-Olam chronology may be correct, though later referring to it as a "thought experiment." In his taped lectures on the history of the ...


11

See the sefer Pardes Yosef on parshat Teruma chapter 25 sub ubb"b d"y [= ubibava batra daf yod] where it is described how the Besh"t was asked about a Talmudic source which says that every Torah prohibition has a permitted aspect to it, so where is heresy permitted? His answer was that in performing the mitzvah of charity, one should help the poor man as if ...


11

This blessing was instituted in the days of Raban Gamliel when the Jewish heretics (saducees, etc.) of the time posed a direct threat to the nation, the blessing was instituted as an anti-missionary move. http://www.ou.org/torah/taryag/shemoneh_esrei_12


10

I don't know about heresy per se. But since Pirkei Avos (4:12) says that "your awe for your teacher should be like your awe towards G-d," the following would seem to be relevant. There is a well-known story (this article, in Hebrew, collects over a dozen versions of it) where a yeshivah student, in his role as a Purim Rav, says something insulting about the ...


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 ...


9

This story, sounds like an adaptation of the writings of Rav Kook. Rav Kook wrote extensively on the spiritual good that came from many of the "troubles" of his time. The rise of Atheism was one of those topics. He writes in many places that Atheism helps cleanse religion of Man's false beliefs, and Heresy helps shine light on the darkness of falsehood. ...


9

I haven't seen it inside, but: "One may not count one who denies the truth of Torah Sh'baal Peh - aka The Oral Torah (and certainly one who denies The Written Torah received at Sinai via Moshe Rabbeinu) towards a minyan. [One may not count Conservative or Reform Jews towards a minyan.] Shulchan Aruch w/Mishnah Berurah 55:11, Piskei Tshuvos 55:21" See ...


9

No one is exempt from Halacha. However one that was raised without knowledge is considered a Tinuk Shenishba and is not punished for what he did not know. Regarding Olam Haba - the Mishna says Kol Yisroel Yesh Lohem Chelek L'Olam Haba - although the commentaries do limit it somewhat - even an educated Jew that breaks Jewish laws - in most instances will ...


9

In Shu"t Mei'ein Omer pg 274 (not sure what volume, but it isn't volume 6, 7 or 8), a close student of Rav Ovadiah Yosef reports that a man once asked him if he needs to destroy a building he bought because it used to contain a synagogue of Dor De'im, a sect of Temani Jews who stick to strict Maimonidian philosophy and practice, and reject most if not all of ...


8

The only question that I'm going to answer directly is number 2, since I heard directly from my Rebbi that it is 100% permissible (unfortunately, I can't quote it in his name since I didn't get his permission to use his name on this site, but I'll say that he's a well respected Musmach from Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim). He said that given the limited number of ...


7

"Am Haaretz" just means "ignoramus" colloquially but the rest are defined by Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvah Chapter 3. Rambam identifies four kinds of heretics (this is a subset of those who "have no share in the world to come"). Three kinds of kofer: One who denies the divine origin of any portion of the written Torah; one who denies the validity of the oral ...


7

No, you are not supposed to ignore most non-religious Jews. Rambam Hilchos Mamrim 3:3: אבל בני אותן הטועים ובני בניהם, שהדיחו אותם אבותם ונולדו במינות, וגידלו אותן עליו--הרי הן כתינוק שנשבה לבין הגויים וגידלוהו הגויים על דתם, שהוא אנוס; ואף על פי ששמע אחר כך שהיה יהודי, וראה היהודיים ודתם--הרי הוא כאנוס, שהרי גידלוהו על טעותם. כך אלו האוחזים בדרכי ...


6

The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 124:8 says that a yisrael mumar traifs up the wine when he touches it, but he's considered trustworthy when he says he's done teshuvah.


6

Rambam Laws of Tefilin, Mezuzah, and Sefer Torah 1:13: יג ספר תורה תפילין ומזוזות שכתבן מין, יישרפו. כתבן גוי, או ישראל משומד, או מוסר, או עבד, או אישה, או קטן--הרי אלו פסולין וייגנזו: שנאמר "וקשרתם . . . וכתבתם" (דברים ו,ח-ט; דברים יא,יח-כ)--כל שמוזהר על הקשירה ומאמין בה, הוא שכותב. נמצאו ביד מין ואין ידוע מי כתבן, ייגנזו; נמצאו ביד גוי, כשרים. ...


6

From "Were Our Mouths Filled with Song": Studies in Liberal Jewish Liturgy by Eric L. Friedland. Jastrow's Reform principles- the degree and definition of his Reform- are precisely defined in Antwort an Herrn I. M. Wise (1867) in the form of a syllabus errorum...: I am for any reform that is able to influence the moral enhancement of the ...


6

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 ...


5

A medrash Tehillim on perek 118 cites the explanation of Beruria that the verse says "yitamu chataim min ha'aretz" - not that the sinners should be destroyed, but sin should be destroyed - we do not pray for the destruction of the evildoers. The wording of this blessing echoes that sentiment - kol harisha means the evil, not the evildoers. We never pray ...


4

A Jew does not convert when allegiances are switched within the various Jewish movements. A Karaite Jew with a Karaite Jewish mother will have no problems becoming an Orthodox Jew if he seeks to observe as a Sephardic Orthodox Jew. This statement is made on the basis of a statement by the Orthodox Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Netanya, Rabbi David Chelouche, who ...


4

They are largely intermarried, so I think they would likely need to convert. However, everything they do for lifecycle events is invalid in Halachah. Therefore, it is just as easy to speculate that the vast majority of those from an uninterrupted Jewish line (without conversion) are Mamzerim, as it is that the vast majority of those who come from anyone ...


4

Nechama Leibowitz, in this letter, outlines her approach to this question. I think a basic level of intellectual honesty demands that if someone says a good pshat, that we use it. If they got it right, they got it right. To the sources regarding kisvei hakodesh written by an apikores, I think one must distinguish between the ideas and the physical books. The ...


4

As I understand it: DeRossi takes a series of statements from the Gemara (generally Aggadic, i.e. non-Halachic ones) and applied the scientific and/or historic knowledge of his time to them; some of the statements worked, and some of them didn't. And some Gemaras "just didn't make sense." (Now hundreds of years earlier, R' Sharira Gaon of Pumbedisa had ...


4

I heard similar stories about the disciple asking the Rabbi about kindness and epikoros was by the Chofetz Chaim! That said, just because it's in a book of collected things people said he said, doesn't mean he really said it. A Rabbi from that same area in Eastern Europe once said a little bit of everything under the sun was attributed to the Choftez ...


4

The Rambam in his commentary on the mishneh in Avos (2:14) writes that the idea of answering the apikoros applies only to non-Jewish apikoros, but a Jewish apikoros is so much worse in terms of disparaging and disgracing (the Torah), that it is not appropriate to argue with him at all, since he is beyond repair and beyond healing. [יג] אמר: למד דברים שתשיב ...


4

"Apikorus" derives from the Greek Eπικουρος (epikouros) - the name of a philosopher ("Epicurus" in Latin) who believed, among other things, that the gods had abandoned this world after having created it. An epicurean, in this context, is one who rejects any belief in divine providence, God's involvement in human history and in revelation. According to the ...


3

YU Torah online has an extensive document on death and mourning. In Section 12, 36 קבורת משומד it quotes a. Iggros Moshe – he deals with a woman who converted to Christian Science. The question is if she can be buried in a Jewish cemetery. i. We can’t say that she was “crazy” because even though all forms of Avodah Zarah are crazy they are ...


3

Rabbi Kenneth Brander from the CJF (at YU) once delivered a shiur regarding the positive values of atheism. Here is a link to some of the mekorot presented, which source Rav Kook among other key rabbinic figures.



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