Questions tagged [mussar-ethics]

Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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What does Ramchal refer to, when he says to know “principles”?

In his introduction to Derech HaShem, Ramchal mentions the importance of organized and systematic thinking by breaking things down into general principles. He then details how he broke this Sefer down ...
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Why in the braisa of Pinches ben Yair is piety or humility called "greater than" the other levels that are listed?

In the braisa of Pinchas ben Yair it goes through a number of levels and ends with techiyas hamesim, then says חסידות גדולה מכולן שנאמר (תהלים פט, כ) אז דברת בחזון לחסידיך, and then another opinion ...
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Is it sinful to learn Torah and apply learnings to one’s business and worldly matters instead of for hasidut/holiness?

I’m learning Messilat Yesharim and found that, at least on a pshat level, it can be understood as a self-help book for achieving one’s goals regardless if those goals align with Ramchal’s profound ...
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Is there a master list(s) of Middot?

I am looking to find a master list of Middot. I suspect different texts have different lists: ie Cheshbon Ha Nefesh has one list and maybe other sefarim have other lists. At this stage of my research ...
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Looking for mussar on overcoming recklessness

Shalom. I have a terrible habit of behaving recklessly. I was wondering if anyone had any good mussar - from personal experience or from sources - that would help one overcome this bad character trait....
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Mesillas Yesharim in One Chart?

Years ago, I saw a printed chart hanging in a shul titled "Mesillas Yesharim in One Chart," or something very similar. I have been searching online for this but cannot find anywhere. Is ...
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Hi , what should a man do if he impregnates a woman before wedlock ? should he marry her or opt for co-parenting? [closed]

Lets say the child is already born , you are both not married, you are friends , you used to date but you had broken up. What should these two do ?
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Learning Alei Shur Part I or II first?

Naturally, I would think to learn part I of Alei Shur first, but having read a few (ableit brief) online summaries, it almost seems like perhaps Part II is more relevant to someone who is not ...
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English translation of Alei Shur (Rabbi Wolbe)

I was wondering if anyone knows of an English translation of Alei Shur by Rabbi Wolbe? I have yet to find one.
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What is good mussar one should learn daily?

The MB (1:12) writes: " וצריך האדם לקבוע לו עת ללמוד ספרי מוסר בכל יום ויום, אם מעט ואם הרבה, כי הגדול מחבירו יצרו גדול הימנו." Translation: one should learn mussar each and every day. ...
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Importance of coming on time for davening

I'm looking for sources/inspiration about the importance of coming on time for davening. Not about being in the first ten, but just being there on time time. The more the better. Any help would be ...
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Source for the statement that there's a message in everything a Jew sees or hears?

I heard or read once that, according to Hasidic masters, there was a message one should learn from in everything a Jew sees or hears in a given day. I often think of it when faced with unusual ...
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When one is diagnosed with a terminal disease, is refusing treatment a form of suicide or acceptable considering the circumstances?

People are diagnosed with terminal illnesses on a regular basis. Many times a person refuses to undergo treatment because they don't wish to experience the pain and exhaustion that would entail. While ...
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Is it a mitzvah to refine one's character? [duplicate]

We take it as a given that it's important to refine our character because we'll be a blessing to the people around us, commit fewer transgressions and perform more mitzvos. But do we have a source for ...
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Vaccines using aborted fetal cells

A friend of mine informed me that a few coronavirus vaccines might have used aborted fetal cells during development and/or production. What I have found by so far is that these cells were grown in ...
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Can I edit my photo on a social media post to look better?

Could I edit my photo on a social media post to look better by applying filters to it, or would this be Gneivat Da'at?
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4 answers
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Is improving one's middot a mitzvah?

Is having good middot, such as being mevater, a mitzvah? By that I mean: Is there a Biblical commandment to improve one's middot?
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Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz source of quote

Woe to a man who is unaware of his faults, he is not attentive to what needs repair. But double woe to he who is unaware of his virtues, he is unskilled in the tools of the trade!” Where is this ...
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How has our attitude changed toward the relationship of morality to Torah observance? [closed]

I have often noticed, in my interactions with other Orthodox Jews, that they seem to feel that the correct resolution of every moral question is to ask a prominent rabbi. For example, when I point out ...
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How to understand Yoseph's seemingly cruel actions?

It seems that Yoseph completely changed the system of government from one where citizens had land rights and minimal taxes to one where the right to property was taken away and 20% tax. He basically ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Halachah against dirty looks?

Is there a halachah against giving people side-eyes/dirty looks? If memory serves this is in the Yom Kippur davening. What's the source? If there is a prohibition, what's the exact character? Is one ...
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Seforim addressing numbness of heart?

Shalom, Does anyone know any books / chapters in books that deal specifically with the problem of numbness of heart? I am looking for discussion / teaching on the causes and the remedies for this ...
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What is the difference between a Jewish marriage and a Noahide marriage?

Someone said that a Jewish marriage and a Noahide marriage are 2 different things. Could you give some Halakhic support? Ethical differences? I suppose the 2 have different missions, obviously, but ...
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How does Judaism solve the Euthyphro dilemma?

In short: Socrates asks whether God loves the pious because it is the pious, or whether the pious is pious only because it is loved by God. How does Judaism solve this dilemma?
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Are there sources that discuss the proper role of mood-‎altering substances?‎

I am curious if there are any sources (halachic or hashkafic) that discuss the use of mood or personality altering substances.‎ From Caffeine or Chamomile tea all the way to psychiatric medication,‎ ...
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Does God punish a sinner before the sin is committed?

Follow up to the question "By what standards does Judaism hold infants accountable for sin?". The issue raised was how could God hold infant Amalekites accountable for sins they did not ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Should a doctor use a promising-but-unproven medicine, or handle it via a clinical trial?

Suppose a patient has a life-threatening disease. The doctor can treat with a drug that sounds promising, but more data are needed before it's solidly proven to work. Alternatively, the doctor can use ...
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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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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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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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3 votes
3 answers
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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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6 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
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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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6 votes
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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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1 vote
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
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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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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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2 answers
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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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1 vote
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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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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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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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