Questions tagged [mussar-ethics]

Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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Difference in attitudes between the Tanya and Mesilat Yesharim

As far as I understand both Sefer Ha'Tanya and Mesilat Yesharim consult the man how to improve his characteristics and to be a better person. They instruct the man step by step. What are the ...
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47 views

Would talking to a friend about someone who is annoying to you be considered lashon hara? [duplicate]

I’ll expand the question in the title. Suppose someone is being annoyed by somebody else or has certain doubts about how to proceed regarding somebody else’s behavior and is looking for advice. Not ...
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161 views

By what standards does Judaism hold infants accountable for sin?

In Samuel 15:3 Samuel relays God's instruction to Saul of obliterating the nation of Amalek. Included in this instruction is also the command to slay infants and sucklings. Samuel 15:3 "Now, go, and ...
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Source of a story about Rav Salanter and limited time to learn Torah

Is there an authentic source for the below story? The story is told of a man who asked Rabbi Yisroel Salanter a question. "Rebbi, I have only 15 minutes a day to learn Torah. What should I study?" ...
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The Heinz Dilemma in Halacha [duplicate]

A famous Kohlberg dilemma goes something like this: Heinz’s wife is dying and there’s a drug that may be able to save her. Jack cannot afford the drug. Can Heinz steal the drug to treat his wife? ...
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How should the 23rd judge vote?

Capital cases go to a court of 23 judges. A majority is required to convict, except that if all 23 vote to convict, the defendent goes scot-free. If 22 judges have already voted to convict, and the ...
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377 views

Is it good to engage in exceptional cases where it is permissible to do a typically forbidden action to which one has a taivah for

Billy is a violent and angry person and has a desire to kill and injure people to feel good. He has no outlet in polite society. A Ben Soreh (rebellious son) case actually occurs in his town and as ...
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Is ethical hacking a Halakhikly permissible profession?

Is ethical (white hat) hacking a Halakhikly permissible profession? What are the halachot which apply to hacking and in particular ethical hacking? What stance would Jewish ethics take on ethical ...
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118 views

Book on changing habits and middot (character traits) improvement?

There is now an increasing body of secular literature on how changing habits can help change character (e.g., The Power of Habit, Atomic Habits) but this is not new to us (see Rambam's Hilchot Deot 1:...
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674 views

What defines a person who is circumcised “of the heart”?

Circumcisions of the heart are a topic which I've seen mentioned a couple of times but never really delved into. While the word circumcision is used to describe it, the mark cannot be equated to true ...
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55 views

Mussar work by Chacham Ovadia

Did, Maran HaRav HaGaon Ovadia Yosef Ztk"l write any Ethical(mussar) work during his lifetime? And if he did, do we have it online in english?
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When is anonymous negative speech lashon hara'?

When you speak negatively about someone, and your audience has no way of knowing what individual you are referring to, is it still considered lashon hara'? Source please.
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What exactly is the Mussar movement and how does it differ from mainstream Judaism?

I've been hearing the term "Mussar Movement" being used a lot more often as of late and I even saw some advertisements for it on other Jewish forums. I'm speaking to a specific movement, not just the ...
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1answer
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Can a donation request be added to a death notice?

When a member or loved one dies, a congregation sends its members a death notice. Without asking the survivors, they add at the end: "Click here to make a donation to the congregation in memory of the ...
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Is the profession of selling interview recordings, as depicted on Shtisel, ethical?

A man makes a living videotaping extensive interviews with nursing home residents, then selling them to the survivors for a high sum of money when the subject dies. If the survivors balk, he tells ...
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Is “holding memories” considered “Bearing a Grudge”?

We are commanded in Vayikra (19:18) "You shall neither take revenge nor bear a grudge against the members of your people". Some people say, “I don’t hold grudges. I just hold memories that keep me ...
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Rebbe Nachman and learning Mussar

At the end of the Noam Elimelech, R' Elimelech has "Hanhagos Ha'adam". In it, he writes that one should spend spend time every day learning sifrei mussar: ד. ויעסוק באימה וביראה באיזה ספרי מוסר ...
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157 views

Alei Shur Online

Does anyone know if there is a copy of Rav Wolbe's Alei Shur anywhere online? Free versions preferred, but if it is behind a paywall that can work too. Thanks!
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What is a source for this idea in Sefer HaYashar?

The following passage settled with me in an interesting way. Although the statements recorded are themselves quite eye opening, I am unfamiliar with such an idea at large. In that sense was the ...
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Need to cite sources

What is the need to have a source for any teaching of Torah? Can you please give me sources for the answer based on mussar and halacha also.
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63 views

Does Orthodox Judaism endorse or prescribe exercises and acts to help counteract negative influences or inner spiritual issues and conflicts?

I know this question sounds kind of "New Age" in terms of theme but I was genuinely curious if Orthodox Judaism has any figures who endorsed such topics or books which discussed the topic (either in ...
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571 views

English translation of Reshit Chochmah

Is there an English translation of the book Reshit Chochmah By Rabbi Eliyahu DaVidas?
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Book recommendation for Jewish mindfulness

My Yom Kippur "cheshbon hanefesh" taught me that I should train myself to be conscious of the purpose of each activity, however trivial, as I engage in it through the day. (I think that this might be ...
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How is love created? Is giving sufficient or must there be Hakoras Hatov?

Related: Where does Rav Dessler mention that root word of אהבה is הב? Rav Wolbe in Alei Shur vol 2, in the first va'ad on Hakaras Hatov (page רעט) says that Hakaras Hatov is a foundation of love. ...
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May I tell someone that I've figured out his online screen name?

Without publicly revealing his identity, would merely telling someone that he "outed himself" constitute אונאת דברים?
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119 views

Can one publicize a poor experience with a service provider to discourage others from using him?

Trigger situation for this question: someone asked for a doctor recommendation on a WhatsApp group with 200+ members. When a particular doctor was mentioned, one of the members wrote he had a bad ...
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Bish'vili nivra ha'olam/Anochi afar Papers

Who was the person who would walk around with 2 papers in his pocket, one of which said "bishvili nivra ha'olam" ("the world was created for me") and the other "anochi afar va'eifer" ("I am dirt and ...
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Does learning / teaching Mussar, (Jewish ethics) without quoting Torah texts, require Birchas Hatorah? [duplicate]

Does learning or teaching Mussar (Jewish ethics) without quoting Torah texts, require Birchas Hatorah? There are many types of Mussar, like someone telling another person what the Jewish ideology is ...
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How to approach teaching Jewish ethics morality for a 12 year old?

How to describe and teach Jewish ethics/morality to 12 year old? Seeking topic lists, curricula, books, etc. on the topic of Jewish ethics/morality appropriate for a 12 year old. These might be case ...
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Which Seforim is Rav Chaim of Volozhin speaking of?

In the beginning of Sha'ar Daled of Nefesh HaChaim, Rav Chaim of Volozhin criticises those people who do not engage in classical learning, but instead spend time studying "Sifrei Yirah U'Mussar." ...
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The Orchos Tzaddikim in Shaar HaSimcha: What does Purim have to do with remembering the Exodus?

The Orchos Tzaddikim in the end of Shaar HaSimcha writes: (Source from Sefaria.org) גם צריך לשמוח בשבתות וימים טובים ופורים, כי כולם לזכר יציאת מצרים ולזכר הנסים שהפליא עם בחיריו It is also necessary ...
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Who originally speculated that the Orchos Tzaddikim's author was a woman?

I recall hearing (as well as saw from this link) that it has been speculated that the author of the Orchos Tzaddikim was a woman. Did someone originally posit this idea, or is it a rumor that has ...
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A case of business ethics - pricing a matchable antique

A certain piece of art is worth $10,000 for a matched pair. A single is only worth $100. You own an antique shop and have a single in the back. A poor widow with ten children walks in and offers to ...
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Help finding a chazal, could be עין יעקב

I was asked to find a maamar Chazal that contrasts the Gaava (haughtiness) a woman can have with that of a male talmid chochom. I am unclear which way they differentiate, i was told there's something ...
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Source that people are judged based on their inclinations

Where does the Orchos Tzaddikim say that everyone is judged according to their inclinations, meaning that you could have one person who acts better than a second person but the second person is better ...
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What does בנחת mean in the Igeres HaRamban?

The beginning of the Igeres HaRamban says: תִּתְנַהֵג תָּמִיד לְדַבֵּר כָּל דְּבָרֶיךָ בְּנַחַת, לְכָל אָדָם וּבְכָל עֵת, וּבַזֶּה תִּנָּצֵל מִן הַכַּעַס, שֶׁהִיא מִדָּה רָעָה לְהַחְטִיא בְּנֵי ...
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Mesillat Yesharim Melody (Niggun)

Years ago I ran across a recording online of a niggun for reciting the opening paragraphs of Mesillat Yesharim. I can't relocate it, but I slightly remember reading that it was a well known learning ...
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102 views

it is for forbidden to do something good for someone who does not acknowledge the good

"it is for forbidden to do something good for someone who does not acknowledge the good" is this true? what is the source of this? who else holds like this? at this site it says: Maharal explains ...
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Sanhedrin Redefining the simple translation of a Passuk

The Sanhedrin are empowered with the capability of defining a certain word or verse in the Torah through a Drasha exegesis (cf. Hilkhot Mamrim 1:3). Firstly, does this mean that before the Sanhedrin ...
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Why did God sanction killing everything that breathes against the 7 nations?

Why did God sanction killing everything that breathes against the 7 nations? Why did God sanction such a thing? How is every single person of these nations to blame? Deuteronomy 20:16 "However, of ...
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Is there work on oneself or service of Hashem which is specific to older age, say over 70?

Do the sources specify the sort of work on oneself or service of Hashem which is specific to older age, say over 70? I might have thought that the differences that are brought on by age as expressed ...
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A good maggid shiur who goes through an entire sefer of hashkafa

I have gone through the Mesilas Yesharim superficially once, I am now learning Likutei Amarim (Tanya) and The Kuzari. I have listened to shiurim on Chovos Halevavos, and Alei Shur. I have dipped my ...
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168 views

Morality before Sinai

If Torah is the source of morality, defining what is right and wrong, then Pre-Matan Torah, pre-Sinai, what form of moral objectivity existed?
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Source of idea of “no spiritual stasis” [duplicate]

What is the origin of the Mussar old adage that there is no such thing as spiritual stasis; one is always either ascending or descending spiritually?
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209 views

Source for skipping the first Shaar of Chovos HaLevavos

I heard today in Shul that there is a custom to "skip" the first Shaar of Chovos HaLevavos and substitute it by the Kuzari or the Mesilas Yesharim instead. Does anyone know what is the source for this?...
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How does one develop a Lev Tov

In Pirkei Avot 2:9 it's Rabbi Elazar Ben Arach who states that a Lev Tov (good heart) is the greatest good - the best "acquisition" - or best trait for a person to acquire, or which should be the goal ...
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345 views

Mussar seforim written by gentiles

Are there any mussar seforim learned in the Yeshivas that were originally written by a gentile and then translated into lashon kodesh, and have now become part of the Jewish mussar library. I had ...
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105 views

Is the Magen Tzedek for workers' living conditions?

Recently I chanced across websites that describe the pitiful living conditions of (largely migrant) agricultural workers in various countries worldwide (e.g., China, Africa, Europe, Asia, North ...
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Rambam and Torah Lishma

the Rambam (Teshuva 10:2) defines the ideal motivation of performing mitzvot as (lishma) one "who does the truth because it is the truth" On the other hand, the Mesilat Yesharim defines the ideal ...
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104 views

In what sense is fear of God alone wisdom?

In the Mesilat Yesharim, the Ramchal brings the talmud in Shabbat 31b: "Hen fear of God - this is wisdom" (Job 28:28). Our Sages of blessed memory commented (Shab 31b), "'Hen' [hints to] 'one', ...