12 votes
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Bish'vili nivra ha'olam/Anochi afar Papers

This practice was advocated (possibly first suggested) by R. Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, as brought in his name in the collection of Hassidic Torah and lore entitled 'Siach Sarfe Kodesh' (n. 233): ...
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11 votes

Discriminatory charity

I have a guess with no source (yet): The "own town" rule is a mechanism for making sure that no one falls through the cracks. If people donated based on some other criterion, let's say urgency of ...
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11 votes
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Learning Alei Shur Part I or II first?

Ultimately it boils down to what subject matter you find most interesting. The first cheilek is largely instructive in how best to achieve self growth whilst the second cheiliek goes into more detail ...
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10 votes
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Jewish saying: "To be lenient when you should be firm is to be cruel when you could be kind."?

This is a midrash from Kohelet Rabbah 7:16, Tanhuma, Parashat Mezora,1; Yalkut Shimoni, I Samuel, Chapter 121 and the Rambam in Guide for the Perplexed Part 3, Chapter 39. See also Me’am Loez ...
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9 votes
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Exact text from Rav Eliyahu Lopian's "Lev Eliyahu" citing a story about the Chofetz Chaim

לב אליהו חכמה ומוסר עמ' רסב בשם החפץ חיים ז"ל: "נודע בשערים בעלה בשבתו עם זקני ארץ". התורה נקראת "אשת חיל", א"כ מי הוא הבעל של "אשת חיל? - הת"ח העוסק בתורה! והנה יש לך ת"ח כשמדברים אתו בד"ת מביא ...
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  • 6,069
9 votes

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

You ask this question on the Friday of parasha Tzav. In a dvar Torah on that parasha, the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichot vol I, pp. 217-219, cited in R Sachs' Torah studies p. 159) comments on the ...
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9 votes
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How should the 23rd judge vote?

As noted in this question, Ohr HaChaim to Shemot 23:2 writes that the 23rd judge must vote guilty, as he believes, even though that will result in the accused going free. He explains the reason ...
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8 votes

Examples of Rabbis who had strong disagreements and were amicable

Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook and Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld were practically polar opposites in terms of hashkafa (for example, in response to Rabbi Kook setting up the Eretz Yisrael Chief Rabbinate, ...
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8 votes

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

Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488 - 1575)states in Shulchan Aruch, (The Code of Jewish Law) that if a physician is able to heal a patient and refrains from doing so, this is considered murder. Yoreh Deah, 336:1 ...
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8 votes

What exactly is the Mussar movement and how does it differ from mainstream Judaism?

The musar movement is mostly associated with Rabbi Yisra'el Salanter and his students. There is a lot that could be said about it, but I will write mostly about the more controversial aspects and ...
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7 votes
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Aside from the Mitzvah "to be fruitful and multiply" why else should a Jewish person want to get married?

The Gmara in Yebamot (63a) says that an unmarried man is not a man:> א"ר אלעזר כל אדם שאין לו אשה אינו אדם שנאמר(בראשית ה, ב) זכר ונקבה בראם ויקרא את שמם אדם  And that a man without a woman is unhappy,...
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7 votes

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

Shabbat 156a האי מאן דבמאדים יהי גבר אשיד דמא אמר רבי אשי אי אומנא אי גנבא אי טבחא אי מוהלא אמר רבה אנא במאדים הורי אמר אביי מר נמי עניש וקטיל ‘He who is born under Mars will be a shedder of ...
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7 votes
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Is there a master list(s) of Middot?

The Sefer Orchos Tzaddikim speaks about the following character traits: גאוה - Pride/Arrogance ענוה - Humility בושה - Shame עזות - Brazenness אהבה - Love שנאה - Hate רחמים - Mercy אכזריות - Cruelty ...
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6 votes

Source for Rambam on Habit and Character

What you are quoting is an English translation of part of a testament that has been attributed to the Rambam (-some details). It is called שערי המוסר. A more literal translation is "Accustom ...
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6 votes

How does Jewish Law look upon the concept of Abgefeimt?

There is a grest deal of Jewish literature on Business Ethics. But to the point of your question see this article at Jewish Law from where I abstracted this quote under HONESTY IN THE MARKETPLACE....
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6 votes

What the Bal Shem Tov Said

Source in Jewish Literature The Talmud (kiddushin 70b) states that one who stigmatizes another is guilty of the same: ותני: כל הפוסל - פסול, ואינו מדבר בשבחא לעולם, ואמר שמואל: במומו פוסל He who ...
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6 votes
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Mussar seforim written by gentiles

In Benjamin Franklin's diary (see pg 38, 39), there is a discussion of making a weekly chart where each row is one of 13 virtues, and each column is a day of the week. That gives you a box for how you ...
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6 votes
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Mussar work by Chacham Ovadia

The only works actually written by R. Ovadia that contain mussar are: Anaf Etz Avot (anthology of commentaries/stories on Tractate Avot Me’or Israel vol. 3 (collection of sermons and eulogies) ...
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6 votes

How should the 23rd judge vote?

Sanhedrin 17a (translation modified from Sefaria): אמר רב כהנא סנהדרי שראו כולן לחובה פוטרין אותו מ"ט כיון דגמירי הלנת דין למעבד ליה זכותא והני תו לא חזו ליה Rav Kahana says: In a Sanhedrin ...
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6 votes
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Is improving one's middot a mitzvah?

Sefer Hachinuch Mitsva 611 מצוה ללכת ולהדמות בדרכי השם יתברך - שנצטוינו לעשות כל מעשינו בדרך הישר והטוב בכל כחנו, ולהטות כל דברינו אשר בינינו ובין זולתנו, על דרך החסד והרחמים, כאשר ידענו מתורתנו שזהו ...
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5 votes

How can I curb my sexual desire?

Rav Nachum Rabinovitch in his Shu"t Siach Nachum (p.308) suggests not obsessing about it ("v'afilu lo lshem charata uteshuva" - "even not in the interest of regret and repentance") and instead ...
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  • 17.2k
5 votes

How can I curb my sexual desire?

(Brachos Daf 5a) R. Levi bar Chama : A person should always arouse his Yetzer Tov to fight his Yetzer ha'Ra , 1. If he does not overpower his Yetzer ha'Ra, he should learn Torah 2. If he still ...
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  • 1,447
5 votes

How can I curb my sexual desire?

picture how the girl would look like if her skin were peeled off. You would absolutely throw up just looking at her. now consider that the "beauty" is only skin-deep - literally. that ought to cool ...
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5 votes

Source for Rambam on Habit and Character

Hilchot Deot 1:7 How can one train himself to follow these temperaments to the extent that they become a permanent fixture of his [personality]? He should perform - repeat - and perform a ...
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5 votes
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What's a musar vaad and why is it called that?

Generally a Mussar Vaad provides a more intense and personal level of engagement with an eye to self improvement, thus it usually consists of a small group of students. A Mussar Vaad can take many ...
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5 votes

Kibbud Av v'Eim Seforim

ArtScroll has a book titled "The Fifth Commandment" that sounds like it might be what you're looking for.
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5 votes

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

By learning a little bit of Sha'ar HaBitahhon everyday.
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5 votes

The Orchos Tzaddikim in Shaar HaSimcha: What does Purim have to do with remembering the Exodus?

In the commentary of Alei Orach on Orchos Tzadikim, he suggests: 1 - "כולם" is referring to all but Purim. 2 - On Purim we accepted the Torah voluntarily, "קימו וקיבלו היהודים" which was the ultimate ...
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Need to cite sources

(In contrast with MY,) there is no clear requirement to cite sources. However, there are very important reasons to do so. We read in Pirkei Avot 6:6: והתורה נקנית בארבעים ושמונה דברים, ואלו הן: [...] ...
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5 votes
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What defines a person who is circumcised "of the heart"?

This is the subject of the fourth discourse of the the Alter Rebbe in the fourth section of the Tanya called Igeret HaKodesh. He explains that process of circumcising the heart is to remove ones ...
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