Questions tagged [mussar-ethics]

Questions relating to how a Jewish life should be led.

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1answer
69 views

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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1answer
103 views

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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30 views

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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107 views

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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133 views

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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4answers
102 views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
102 views

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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45 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
136 views

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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2answers
118 views

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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1answer
61 views

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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1answer
145 views

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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2answers
92 views

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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2answers
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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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81 views

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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48 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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1answer
198 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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170 views

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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3answers
380 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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70 views

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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6answers
182 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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730 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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1answer
64 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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2answers
803 views

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
46 views

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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1answer
166 views

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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1answer
83 views

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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212 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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243 views

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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144 views

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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1answer
65 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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1answer
1k views

English translation of Reshit Chochmah

Is there an English translation of the book Reshit Chochmah By Rabbi Eliyahu DaVidas?
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46 views

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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85 views

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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84 views

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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1answer
139 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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2answers
866 views

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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74 views

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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3answers
82 views

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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1answer
180 views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
107 views

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 ...