Questions tagged [mussar-ethics]

Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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89
votes
3answers
2k views

Does “reputation scoring” make “the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with”?

Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, ...."
26
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2answers
553 views

Is unmasking an anonymous author addressed by Halacha?

If an individual writes a document for public consumption anonymously or pseudonymously and either explicitly or presumably desires to remain anonymous, is there a Halachic issue with publicly ...
25
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20answers
7k views

How can I curb my sexual desire?

I am looking for the best and most practical suggestion as to what a man can do to curb his yetzer hara (evil inclination) for sexual desire. Please provide sources for why your answer should be ...
19
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7answers
3k views

Why is Judaism not Racism?

I am only asking this question to educate myself, not because I am anti-semitic or for any other hidden agenda. I do not want to turn this forum into an ugly place. I realize this question is ...
17
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4answers
887 views

What is a good mussar/personal growth sefer for women?

Most mussar sefarim are very oriented towards men, with lessons on things such as how to treat your wife, the dangers of pursuing women, or the importance of learning. Also, many sefarim I've seen ...
17
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6answers
1k views

Train ticket not collected: destroy?

Assuming a train line where single-ride tickets are normally collected or cancelled manually by train crew circulating among seated passengers, and it is physically possible to use them later if they ...
14
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2answers
347 views

Do our sources address “strategic loan defaults”?

In the most recent episode of NPR's Planet Money Podcast, they interviewed a real estate lawyer in Arizona who talked about the large numbers of her clients who have been asking for advice about doing ...
13
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6answers
2k views

Do Jews believe in Heaven and Hell?

In yeshiva I was always told about gan eden and gehinnom, and how the good go to the former place while the bad go to the latter. However, in popular culture, Jews are always said to not believe in ...
12
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2answers
595 views

Would halacha permit bombing Auschwitz?

I know there's a lot of talk about whether Allied forces during World War II could have / should have taken military action directly against the Holocaust. I'm not opening that can of worms here. ...
11
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5answers
563 views

Need a Torah-based quote for “reaching new levels”

Can someone please recommend an appropriate biblical quote or passage that illustrates (or somehow relates to) the ethic "reaching new levels" (spiritual, emotional, educational)?
11
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5answers
2k views

Why does the Torah forbid interest only on loans to Jews?

Why aren't we allowed to charge a Jew interest but we're allowed to charge a non-Jew?
11
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5answers
618 views

How to maintain devotion to Hashem in a low period in one's life?

It seems that when things in a person's life are going well, it's easy to pray with concentration and be devoted to the service of the creator. However, when things turn sour these items are more ...
11
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3answers
533 views

Receiving Too Much Change

Do I have an obligation to give back extra change I receive? Would it matter if the store owner or person giving it to me was a Jew?
11
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2answers
325 views

El Al Airfare error and Halachah

What are the Halachic implications of yesterday's El Al airfare snafu? In brief, El Al's air tickets were being sold online very cheap for a while; the price was later corrected, and El Al claimed the ...
11
votes
1answer
495 views

Parameters of Yuhara - When should someone be concerned that he's overdoing it?

There are many cases in halakha where one is discouraged from adopting a stringency because it appears to be an expression of 'religious haughtiness' (יוהרא). When should someone be concerned about ...
10
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4answers
988 views

Why is the Mesillas Yesharim so popular and accepted?

To overgeneralize, I bet there is a copy of the mesillas yesharim in almost every orthodox home, shul and beis medrash. I'm wondering why this work is so popular and accepted. My wondering is ...
10
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4answers
477 views

Is Ferberization okay?

Is there anything objectionable (in terms of halacha, hashkafa and middos) to using the Ferber method for training an infant to fall asleep on its own? There is an element of cruelty, and the ultimate ...
10
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3answers
159 views

Do our sources address the question of intellectual property vs the public good?

The NYTimes recently ran a piece about a malnourishment treatment that could save lives in Africa, but one company owns the recipe and controls it tightly. (See the article, I apologize if I'm not ...
9
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3answers
212 views

How to attain patience

Are there any Sifre Musar that give advice on how to become more patient? If so, can you bring a few points on how to do so? Please cite sources.
9
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0answers
251 views

May one ride in a utilitarian car?

A new study has confirmed the obvious: people want to survive: even though participants approve of autonomous vehicles that might sacrifice passengers to save others, respondents would prefer not ...
8
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1answer
257 views

Riches found in a purchased item. Return or keep it?

A young rabbi reportedly found nearly $100,000 in a desk he'd purchased second-hand on Craigslist, and subsequently returned the money. Is this story about a Kiddush HaShem, or a Hassid Shoteh (...
8
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1answer
3k views

Jewish saying: “To be lenient when you should be firm is to be cruel when you could be kind.”?

I heard today there is an old Jewish saying that goes something like this: “To be lenient when you should be firm is to be cruel when you could be kind.” This, as so many Jewish ...
7
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6answers
354 views

Dealing with anger

What is a good sefer or even book that helps people with a problem with getting angry?
7
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2answers
372 views

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

I'm looking for examples of Rabbis who had a serious disagreement and were nevertheless very kind and thoughtful towards each other. The main reason I'm asking for examples is to illustrate what a ...
7
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2answers
771 views

Chovos Halevavos vs. Mesilas Yesharim [closed]

The three basic texts that R' Yisroel Salanter wanted people to learn were Chovos HaLevavos, Mesilas Yesharim and Cheshbon HaNefesh. (source: here) what is the difference between Chovos Halevavos and ...
7
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2answers
329 views

What is an overview of Judaism's arguments against the “unconscious violinist” analogy used to support abortion in the case of rape?

I am looking for the response of any denomination that is against abortion in the case of rape that has also responded to the scenario below or something similar to it. "A Defense of Abortion" (...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Hakaras hatov vs. hoda'a

It seems that there are two terms that could be broadly translated as "gratitude", which each express different aspects of the concept. הכרת הטוב denotes recognition, while הודאה has strong echoes of ...
7
votes
1answer
94 views

Downloading a book when you've already bought a physical copy

I'm starting college this semester, and my friends and I are discovering that some of the required books for our courses are seriously expensive. We've had some discussion about the ethics of ...
7
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2answers
214 views

What lesson do we learn from Abraham paying money for the Cave of Machpelah?

In Genesis, we see that Abraham makes Ephron accept money for the Cave of Machpelah in order to bury Sarah. He is offered the cave for free, but insists on paying the full price. This sort of story ...
7
votes
1answer
76 views

What is Sha'arei HaAnavah?

Rabbeinu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuvah 1:24) mentions "Sha'arei HaAnavah". What is this? I have never seen a book by that name attributed to him.
7
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2answers
99 views

How to not believe slander

I once heard lashon hara (slander) from someone whom I generally admire, about someone towards whom I had less respect. I was naturally tempted to believe the statement, even though it is forbidden to ...
7
votes
1answer
139 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
64 views

Ethics of survey studies with a false premise

This morning I received a blast email in a group of which I'm a member, offering for free to the first taker a set of items I have never had, nor do I think I will ever have, interest in owning. I ...
7
votes
2answers
202 views

What is the correct emotion to feel upon hearing about enemy civilian casualties?

Recent missiles sent by Hamas landed in Hebron. When my neighbor told me about this, it was unclear whether they had hurt any Arab civilians. I said that I hoped not, while my neighbor basically said ...
7
votes
2answers
130 views

Do you have to judge dead people favorably?

In Avot we learn that one should judge all people favorably ("והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות"). I would like to know if that includes the deceased. Meaning, can I look back on the life of a person who is ...
7
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0answers
187 views

All Sifre HaRamhal? (Rabbi Moshe Chayim Lutzato)

Is there a set that has "Kol Sifre HaRamhal"? The have "Kol Sifre HaHida" and other Rabanim, so maybe they'll also have all Sefarim of the Ramhal?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
5answers
612 views

Aside from the Mitzvah “to be fruitful and multiply” why else should a Jewish person want to get married?

What does the Torah say regarding the reasons that one should get married? I am looking for sources such as "ein simcha beli isha" and other philosophical intrinsic reasons for finding a mate.
6
votes
1answer
493 views

Source for Dubno Maggid's rebuke of the Vilna Gaon?

In a shiur I heard that the Vilna Gaon begged the Dubno Maggid to give him mussar (rebuke) after repeatedly declining the Maggid responded that It is not so difficult to be a Gaon, cloistered in ...
6
votes
2answers
794 views

Does the end justify the means

Is the phrase "The ends justify the means" a concept favored in Judaism? For instance, can one lie in order to get others to perform a Mitzvah?
6
votes
2answers
139 views

How do I remove spiritual chametz along with the physical?

I've heard the idea many times that as we approach Pesach we should be worried not only about the physical chametz in our houses but also the spiritual chametz (hubris etc) that we carry in our souls. ...
6
votes
1answer
234 views

False portrayal on an anonymous Q&A site

If one posts a question on an anonymous Q&A website there is an assumption that other users either do not, should not, or need not know the identity of the person. Thus all interactions between ...
6
votes
1answer
470 views

Exact text from Rav Eliyahu Lopian's “Lev Eliyahu” citing a story about the Chofetz Chaim

I read some time ago in Rav Eliyahu Lopian's "Lev Eliyahu" an amazing idea. However, I don't have the book; I'm looking for it online but cannot find it. He brought a story about the Chofetz Chaim: ...
6
votes
2answers
331 views

The original Mesilas Yesharim

Mesilas Yesharim is a digest version of a previous work by the Ramchal. This work is an ongoing conversation between a wise man and a pious man (Thank you chanoch for the correction). I don't recall ...
6
votes
2answers
101 views

Is deception by omission ever allowed?

Background Assume the following facts: One person (A) is aware another person (B) believes something is true that is not true. A did not cause B's misplaced belief. Questions Does A have any ...
6
votes
2answers
193 views

Parameters of “kalus rosh”

What is the definition of kalus rosh? What are the halachos of kalus rosh and where do they apply?
6
votes
1answer
132 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
123 views

Is judging others unfavorably a prohibition?

Is judging others unfavorably a prohibition? If so, what is the source for it? Also, do any of the sages offer any advice for overcoming judging other unfavorably?
6
votes
2answers
254 views

Gentile Biography which Inspires

What is the jewish view on reading biographies of remarkable gentiles which one finds inspirational provided there is no apikorsus in the content. Have come across a website about a certain person ...
6
votes
1answer
176 views

Sitting in on classes

Is it stealing, or in any way unethical, to sit in on lectures at university that you aren't enrolled in (therefore aren't paying fees)? A lot of people do this and it's considered normal even for ...