Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
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I used to be a Christian but converted to Orthodox Judaism more than 32 years ago. I have a website called: "A Primer: Why Jews Can't Believe in Jesus" that should more than adequately answer your question (although I actually designed it for Jewish education and not to combat missionaries). But let me just touch on the basics: Not only isn't Jesus the ...


43

I do not think it is a problem for a few reasons. Kin'as sofrim tarbeh chochmah (jealousy among scholars will increase wisdom - Baba Basra 21a). A certain extent of competition in Torah is a good thing. Having people compete for even something as minor as points helps increase Torah and wisdom. There is an issue of a person becoming haughty or seeking honor ...


35

The way I see reputation points on stack exchange is that they are useful for the people asking questions, not for the person getting the points. That is, when someone comes to the site and asks a question, seeing the points next to a person's name gives that name 'recognition status'. If there is a debate between two people, one has 1 point, and the other ...


33

According to the Rambam in the Guide of the Perplexed "Whenever it is possible to interpret the words of an individual in such a manner that they confirm to a being whose existence has been demonstrated, this is the conduct that is more fitting and most suitable for an equitable man of excellent nature." Even though I'm certain this will be controversial, ...


32

This is a fair question. You are far from the only person who feels this way. As an Orthodox woman who respects the traditional prohibition on Talmud study for women, as well as the many other Jewish laws which appear to limit women, I see it like this. Deuteronomy 33:18 And of Zebulun he said, Rejoyce, Zebulun, in thy going out; and Issachar, in ...


30

There is dispute among the commentators as to whether or not Ramban meant that seriously or just said it for the debate. R. Yaakov Kamanetzky z"l writes (Emet L'yaakov Genesis 44:18) that Ramban just said it for the sake of the debate. The Chattam Sofer (Orach Chaim 1:16) understands that Ramban was expressing a serious belief, but limited his view to extra-...


30

Either what was posted on that forum is about half-correct, or your understanding of what was said was about half-correct. Traditional Judaism does believe that "[H]oly texts are the revealed word of the divine and thus cannot ever be contradicted by modern research, philosophy or belief systems." It is not true "[t]hat it is understood that the scripture ...


29

Questions relating to God's omnipotence were discussed at length by the Rishonim in the Middle Ages in such great works as Saadia Gaon's "Emunos V'deos", Rambam's "Moreh Nevuchim", Ralbag's "Milchemes Hashem", and others. The consensus among them (in opposition to the authorities cited in @HodofHod's answer) is that God cannot violate the rules of logic. ...


29

In addition, women are exempt and even discouraged from a large number of mitzvas that are central to Jewish practice, such as praying three times a day and laying tefillin. This is close to completely false and at least dramatically overstated. Women are obligated in the vast, vast majority of Mitzvot (somewhere around 585/613=95% of the biblical ones), ...


28

Assuming we all exist, think, know and interact with our actual surroundings etc. The Ontological Proof The first class of Divine Proof is the Ontological proof. It goes basically like this: God as a concept is perfect. Perfect things must have the quality of existing, else they wouldn't be perfect. Hence, God exists. Problems This doesn't really ...


28

To my knowledge, the only "argument" for the existence of God given in the Torah itself is that He directly revealed Himself to us at Sinai: Deut. 4:35 "Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the LORD, He is God; there is none else beside Him." Deut. 5:4, "The LORD spoke with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire." ...


28

Ralbag held of a number of views which might be considered problematic, or against normative theology. The first three listed below, are more deviant than the subsequent two. The former would be considered a theological anomaly (and perhaps even heretical) even in Ralbag's own milieu. The latter would probably not have caused a stir for many of the rishonim, ...


25

Rabbi Haim Vital Sefer Sha'arei Kedusha 1:5 writes that one should love gentiles.


25

I agree with the answer Daniel gave, but I would clarify things slightly differently. 1) Orthodox Judaism believes that the Torah is the literal Word of G-d. This is one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith as brought down by Maimonides: "We do not know exactly how the Torah was transmitted to Moses. But when it was transmitted, Moses merely wrote it ...


24

Tosefos addresses a similar line of thought in Bava Kamma 85a: שנתנה רשות לרפאות - א"ת והא מרפא לחודיה שמעינן ליה וי"ל דה"א ה"מ מכה בידי אדם אבל חולי הבא בידי שמים כשמרפא נראה כסותר גזירת המלך קמ"ל דשרי (Rough translation) - One may have thought that there is no right to seek healing from a sickness that comes from Heaven, as it seems like ...


23

This is really the most fundamental and important question on this site. But in my opinion, the other answers here have not done this justice by any stretch. They make it seem simple, and they may make us feel good, that we're really right, but in reality it's not so easy to show why Judaism is true, let alone prove it with certainty to "be sure" Judaism is ...


23

The fact that conversion exists as part of halachah means that it is within the framework of options that G-d is giving you. If you felt that really you were supposed to be a woman, then the correct response is to say "If G-d had wanted me to be a woman he would have made me one," because sex change operations etc. are not halachik options. We can't know ...


21

Emunat Chachamim צomes from Avot 6:6 where a list of 48 ways of achieving Torah wisdom are mentioned. There are many commentatries on Avot in general and this mishna in particular, all saying slightly different things. However.. Traditionally, this phrase is meant to mean that you must trust those people who are wiser than you to give over the tradition ...


20

It is clear to the Jewish people that the Messiah has not yet come. For the Messiah to have come there would have to be, also a Messianic Era. The sure signs of the Messianic Era, among other things, are: With the coming of the Messiah will be the physical ingathering of Judah from the four corners of the earth ( Isa. 11:12, 27:12-13); That ingathering ...


20

This kind of question is addressed by Maimonides in his Guide for the Perplexed (3:15), in which he states that we cannot ascribe to God the ability to do that which is impossible, thus, "it is impossible that God should produce a being like Himself, or annihilate, corporify, or change Himself. The power of God is not assumed to extend to any of these ...


20

You might just be asking the wrong Rabbis. However, to give you a sort-of answer to why this is the case regarding specific details of the religion (such as the food question, and similar questions), belief that the Torah in all its details as it's been passed down to us as the will of God is a rational belief. Therefore, even if certain aspects of it (...


19

The No'am Elimelech on parshas Vayishlach writes: והצדיק גם כן אוהב את השם ואת כל אדם בעולם, ועל דרך שאמר רבי יוחנן (ברכות יז): מעולם לא הקדימני אדם שלום בשוק, אפילו נכרי A tzadik also loves Hashem and every person in the whole world, as is said about Rabbi Yochanan that he would great every person in the market with Shalom..even non Jews. Undoubtedly ...


18

In a word, yes. The Midrash (Eichah Rabbah, intro. 2), paraphrasing Jer. 9:12, states: הלואי אותי עזבו ותורתי שמרו, מתוך שהיו מתעסקין בה, המאור שבה היה מחזירן למוטב "Would that, even if the Jewish people abandoned Me, they had kept My Torah! By being involved with it, the illumination in it would bring them back to the right path." Or as the Talmud (...


18

The Wikipedia passage you quoted is accurate but could do with some elaboration. Their use of the word "virtue" may have misled you because other religions see sex more negatively. While not encouraging promiscuity, Judaism also doesn't call for asceticism. Procreation is an outcome of sex but not the only motivation. Within marriage, a certain level of ...


18

That reminds me of the anecdote from Rabbi Emanuel Feldman's book, Tales Out of Shul. A woman once told him, "Rabbi, I'm really not enjoying this week of mourning." Not everything in life (or Judaism) has to be enjoyable. Nor is it meant to be. At least not in the immediate gratification, self-centered sense of the word. Sometimes your enjoyment should not ...


18

In an apparently-open letter dated October 3, 1984, R' Moshe Feinstein urged Jews in the United States to vote as a means of expressing hakaras hatov (appreciation) for the democratic system in the United States, which allows for a safe haven in which Jews can live and practice Judaism. The letter did not say anything about influencing government policy.


17

In the Moreh Nevuchim, Rambam explains how God's attributes should be understood without compromising God's unchangingness. He compares God's mood to a fire. If you put ice in a fire, it melts, then evaporates. If you put clay in a fire, it hardens. If you put wood in a fire it burns... The fire causes many different and contrasting effects without changing ...


17

According to some Jewish authorities, especially Kabbalists and Chassidic Rebbes, G-d does not have to obey the rules of logic, since they are just another creation of His. As I wrote to a similar question: As the Creator of all things, including, but not limited to, time, the "laws" of physics, logic, and existence itself, G-d is not bound by any of them....


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