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21

Rav Moshe Feinstein, in a t'shuva about allowing children to say a generic prayer in public school (Orach Chayim II #24), refers to the Ramba"m's statement in Mishne Torah that Adam Harishon was given 6 commandments, including belief in God. No'ach and his descendants later got one more, adding up to 7. They both conclude that not only the negative aspect of ...


17

In Shu"t Mei'ein Omer pg 274 (not sure what volume, but it isn't volume 6, 7 or 8), a close student of Rav Ovadiah Yosef reports that a man once asked him if he needs to destroy a building he bought because it used to contain a synagogue of Dor De'im, a sect of Temani Jews who stick to strict Maimonidian philosophy and practice, and reject most if not all of ...


16

See the sefer Pardes Yosef on parshat Teruma chapter 25 sub ubb"b d"y [= ubibava batra daf yod] where it is described how the Besh"t was asked about a Talmudic source which says that every Torah prohibition has a permitted aspect to it, so where is heresy permitted? His answer was that in performing the mitzvah of charity, one should help the poor man as if ...


16

Let me break this down by question: 1. Are there any documented halachik authorities that rule that the belief in a dead Messiah is beyond the pale of permitted Jewish belief and therefore would qualify as Kfira? Short Answer: Yes -- and we do consideer it kfira in the case of Jews who adopt Christianity. Rabbi Gil Student, in his book Can The Rebbe ...


15

The discrepancy has been raised repeatedly over the centuries, by scholars Jew and non-Jew, Orthodox or not, alike. Rabbi Shimon Schwab penned an essay on it whereby he very much raised the possibility that the non-Seder-Olam chronology may be correct, though later referring to it as a "thought experiment." In his taped lectures on the history of the ...


15

TL;DR Judaism believes that non-Jews must follow the 7 Noahide Laws. This is irrelevant of which religion they follow. However, if they follow a religion that teaches ideas that are in conflict with the 7 Noahide Laws, then they are also in conflict with these laws. If you mean "Does Judaism recognize that other religions exist?" then obviously the answer ...


15

R' Yaakov Weinberg, in an audio recording, addressed this issue (as an issue with the ani maamin, which R' Weinberg, like you, rejected), and he explained that the point of the Rambam is not to say that the specific texts which we have now are identical to the one transmitted to Moshe. Rather, the point of the Rambam is to say that Moshe was a faithful ...


15

Edits in italics: Balashon blog discusses it at length here, and provides many sources, as well as a look at one example of it by various Rishonim. I have added some content from there during this edit. K-P-R is used throughout the Bible to mean wiped away or covered up, which are similar to what a denial does; it wipes away or covers up a fact. This ...


14

Given the Rambam's statement: Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the ...


12

No, you are not supposed to ignore most non-religious Jews. Rambam Hilchos Mamrim 3:3: אבל בני אותן הטועים ובני בניהם, שהדיחו אותם אבותם ונולדו במינות, וגידלו אותן עליו--הרי הן כתינוק שנשבה לבין הגויים וגידלוהו הגויים על דתם, שהוא אנוס; ואף על פי ששמע אחר כך שהיה יהודי, וראה היהודיים ודתם--הרי הוא כאנוס, שהרי גידלוהו על טעותם. כך אלו האוחזים בדרכי ...


12

Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) neither desired nor intended to overthrow the Talmud; he was in fact an observant Jew. Rav Hirsch (1808 – 1888) "praised Mendelssohn as ‘a most brilliant and respected personality whose commanding influence has dominated developments to this day." In his article "Mendelssohn in Nineteenth Century Rabbinic Literature," Meir ...


11

This blessing was instituted in the days of Raban Gamliel when the Jewish heretics (saducees, etc.) of the time posed a direct threat to the nation, the blessing was instituted as an anti-missionary move. http://www.ou.org/torah/taryag/shemoneh_esrei_12


10

This story, sounds like an adaptation of the writings of Rav Kook. Rav Kook wrote extensively on the spiritual good that came from many of the "troubles" of his time. The rise of Atheism was one of those topics. He writes in many places that Atheism helps cleanse religion of Man's false beliefs, and Heresy helps shine light on the darkness of falsehood. ...


10

My Rebbe Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl Shlit"a told me that his Rebbe ybcl'c Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l when serving as mesader kiddushin at a wedding, upon hearing that one of the witnesses under the chuppa did not believe in Kabbalah or that Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai authored the Zohar, had him replaced as a witness. The explanation I was given was that ...


10

From "Were Our Mouths Filled with Song": Studies in Liberal Jewish Liturgy by Eric L. Friedland. Jastrow's Reform principles- the degree and definition of his Reform- are precisely defined in Antwort an Herrn I. M. Wise (1867) in the form of a syllabus errorum...: I am for any reform that is able to influence the moral enhancement of the Jews....


10

This statement does not appear in R. Chaim's own writings, though it seems to have been popular as an oral tradition. Its meaning is debated even by his closest students. One written source for the comment is from Reb Chaim's son, R. Velvel, quoted in the linked article as well as in Haggadah L'Beis Brisk (pg 175). His interpretation is I believe the most ...


9

No one is exempt from Halacha. However one that was raised without knowledge is considered a Tinuk Shenishba and is not punished for what he did not know. Regarding Olam Haba - the Mishna says Kol Yisroel Yesh Lohem Chelek L'Olam Haba - although the commentaries do limit it somewhat - even an educated Jew that breaks Jewish laws - in most instances will ...


9

As far as I'm aware, just about every posek assumes that all nations are obligated to believe in God in some way or another. This is stated explicitly by Rav Shmuel ben Hofni Gaon (commentary to Beraishis 34:12), Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon (intro to Talmud), probably the opinion of the Sefer Hachinuch (commandment 417, and Minchas Chinuch there), Maharal (Gevuros ...


9

I obviously can't comment about what is "original" or not, because we don't know what the "original" wording was, if there ever was such a thing. Chazal left us nothing of the sort. What we do know is למשומדים is found in just about every surviving manuscript, from Yemen, to Ashkenaz, to Spain. The major article on the subject which you'll want to read is ...


8

Chief Rabbi Sacks writes in his book "Dignity of Difference" "The great faiths must now become an active force for peace and for the justice and compassion on which peace ultimately depends. That will require great courage and perhaps something more than courage: a candid admission that, more than at any time in the past, we need to search – each faith in ...


8

I'm going to assume that this 'inability to believe in God' comes from a conviction that God doesn't exist. The question is, should a person be faulted for disbelieving, if he thinks that believing in God is philosophically unjustified? First off, I should mention the Rashash to Shabbos 31a, who writes that a person is only considered a heretic after fully ...


8

Rambam Laws of Tefilin, Mezuzah, and Sefer Torah 1:13: יג ספר תורה תפילין ומזוזות שכתבן מין, יישרפו. כתבן גוי, או ישראל משומד, או מוסר, או עבד, או אישה, או קטן--הרי אלו פסולין וייגנזו: שנאמר "וקשרתם . . . וכתבתם" (דברים ו,ח-ט; דברים יא,יח-כ)--כל שמוזהר על הקשירה ומאמין בה, הוא שכותב. נמצאו ביד מין ואין ידוע מי כתבן, ייגנזו; נמצאו ביד גוי, כשרים. ואין ...


8

"Am Haaretz" just means "ignoramus" colloquially but the rest are defined by Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvah Chapter 3. Rambam identifies four kinds of heretics (this is a subset of those who "have no share in the world to come"). Three kinds of kofer: One who denies the divine origin of any portion of the written Torah; one who denies the validity of the oral ...


8

The only question that I'm going to answer directly is number 2, since I heard directly from my Rebbi that it is 100% permissible (unfortunately, I can't quote it in his name since I didn't get his permission to use his name on this site, but I'll say that he's a well respected Musmach from Yeshivas Chafetz Chaim). He said that given the limited number of ...


7

A Torah scroll which is written by a heretic should be burned ,like you said. However, if one did not burn it and brought it into the bathroom that's also fine,but once one starts thinking about Torah in the bathroom that becomes a forbidden act (Shulchan Aruch OC 85:2). A Torah written by a heretic is not holy but if it is exactly the same as a kosher ...


7

Nechama Leibowitz, in this letter, outlines her approach to this question. I think a basic level of intellectual honesty demands that if someone says a good pshat, that we use it. If they got it right, they got it right. To the sources regarding kisvei hakodesh written by an apikores, I think one must distinguish between the ideas and the physical books. The ...


7

R. H. Shachter notes in a shiur here (beginning at minute 66)1 that the Baal HaMeor seems to have embraced the secular chronology (to the ire of the Raavad) and added that Chazal's fallibility is affirmed by the Maharshal and Tosafos Rid, concluding that if the Me'or Einayim were published today, he doesn't think it would cause such a storm (over the ...


7

Copied (with slight modification) from another answer of mine: Almost all contemporary poskim, most notably the Chazon Ish, have assumed that at least some, if not all, of those halakhos are no longer applicable today to a person who doesn't believe in God, because we'd attribute it to his upbringing or the inability to be properly philosophically convinced ...


7

I've asked this question to several talmidei chachamim, and all of them have given me the same general response: the Rambam shouldn't be taken too literally, as after all, he certainly knew the passages in Chazal which you've quoted. What he means is that, for all intents and purposes, we have the same Torah. The very slight differences of a plene spelling ...


7

In the Rambam's list of those who have no share in the world to come, in which he lists those groups generally included in the umbrella of "heretic" (מין, אפיקורס, כופרים, וכולי), he has those who deny the Torah, הכופרים בתורה (Hilchos Teshuva 3:8). At the end of the description of those who deny the Torah, he writes: והאומר שהבורא החליף מצוה זו במצוה ...


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