14 votes

Rambam's responsum about treating depression with music

In the introduction to his commentary on Masekhet Avot (Shemonah Peraqim), chapter five, the Rambam says (in Shmuel ibn Tibbon's translation): והוא הדין מי שהתרגשה עליו מרה שחורה, ועמד והסירה ...
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  • 2,365
9 votes

Does Judaism adjudicate cases involving mental anguish?

The Talmud in Bava Kama 91a talks about inducing panic in someone -- "our courts can't charge the person, but Heaven will take him to task." I would assume the same would apply here, at first glance. (...
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  • 127k
8 votes

On Shabbat, if one can't sleep, may one consume valerian tea? Valerian root powder? Other non-prescription remedies?

Rabbi Bodner (Halachos of Refuah on Shabbos) writes (page 242) that insomnia is classified as a מיחוש בעלמא, an "ailment" that isn't serious. (though if someone suspects that they suffer from chronic ...
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  • 18.7k
8 votes

"Gay" people in the Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah?

In general, the Torah is not so concerned and doesn't judge how people feel or what their desires are. It is mainly concerned in how we act. Nowhere does the Torah consider feelings for same-sex ...
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  • 43.5k
7 votes

How can you quit a habit of visiting inappropriate websites?

Marry a wife Pele Yoetz (here) says it helps with sin Seifer Hachinuch (mitzva 582.2) explains that the reason of the Mitvzah that after the first year of marriage you need to be happy with your ...
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  • 7,144
7 votes

"Gay" people in the Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah?

In terms of actual prohibitions: 1- Male homosexual sex is prohibited to both Jew, and under the covenant G-d made with Noah, to non-Jews as well. 2- Male homosexual intimacy that is not prohibited ...
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  • 8,690
7 votes

May someone say the prayer for the ill for someone who is emotionally "ill"?

One is exempt (from punishment) by extinguishing a flame on Sabbath for the sake of an emotionally ill person (cf. Rambam's commentary to Mishnah Shab. 2:5). Emotional instability/numbness also ...
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  • 11.8k
7 votes
Accepted

Did Maimonides really refer to Muhammad (the Islamic prophet) as a false prophet and a madman?

Maimonides did call him a madman. See the translation of his Epistle to Yemen here (3rd paragraph) or here on Sefaria (search for "madman"). To summarize the historical background (brought ...
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  • 43.5k
6 votes

On Shabbat, if one can't sleep, may one consume valerian tea? Valerian root powder? Other non-prescription remedies?

Shmirat Shabbat K'hilchatah 33:16 writes: מי שמצטער הרבה מחוסר שינה, מותר לו לקחת כדורי-שינה. Someone who suffers greatly from lack of sleep (insomnia) is allowed to take sleeping pills. (my ...
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  • 22.8k
6 votes

Naming a baby boy before a deferred bris

Sefer Asia - page 244 and page 245 brings different stories quoted by Rabbi Chaim Miller of such situations. Amongst those quoted that urged giving a name prior to a Bris in order to be able to have a ...
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6 votes

Loshon hara to a therapist

The Chofetz Chaim writes in a note to the fifth detail of permissible Lashon Hara in Hilchos Lashon Hara 10:14 אפשר דהוא הדין אם כוונתו בסיפורו להפיג את דאגתו מלבו - הוי כמכוון לתועלת על להבא, [ולפי ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Demon Possession in Judaism

Like many other beliefs, Judaism doesn't have a clear opinion on the matter, but individual Jews do. Rashi, for example, believed in demons and gives that explanation of ruah raah in Eruvin 45b s.v. ...
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  • 34.8k
6 votes

Can a bully be forced to pay for psychologist visits?

A very relevant passage is Nidda (47a) which relates that Sh'muel, examined the body of his slave, to better understand the maturity process and at which point bagrut is achieved. He then paid her 400 ...
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  • 34.8k
5 votes

Does Down Syndrome make one a Shoteh?

Someone with Downs who cannot understand the mitzvah in question would be a pesi. A shoteh is someone incapable of choosing right over wrong. The Rambam may have blamed that on an inability to ...
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  • 8,690
5 votes

OCD and Netilat Yadayim

Anyone discussing OCD and halacha needs to find a qualified, competent rabbi in-person, as well as a mental-health professional. Reviewing the laws of what actually poses a halachic problem for ...
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  • 127k
5 votes
Accepted

What is meant by the ‘madness’ mentioned in Devarim 28:28?

The Ibn Ezra groups all three as afflictions of the heart. The Netziv in his Ha'amek Davar writes: בשגעון. קלקול הדעת שלא תתבונן להיות נשמר מאוה״ע Madness - The ruining of the mind such that it does ...
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  • 20.2k
4 votes

Is it permitted to have an abortion if divorce if imminent?

Getting divorced would NOT serve as any halachic basis for an abortion. This is evident from the a Teshuvah in Choshen Mishpat (Siman 69) (Volume 7, page 300) of "Igros Moshe", where Rav Moshe ...
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4 votes

Jewish alternative to a Christian self-help book

Rabbi Abraham Twerski has written many books that might be of the type that you need. Check out the list of books and videos at his web site to see if they are what you need. GuardUrEyes A website ...
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  • 41.9k
4 votes

May we intervene with Religious OCD sufferers?

BSD Firstly I would like to preface that anything I say should be taken on case by case basis. As one who is an Orthdox Jew and has a history of dealing with medium to mild OCD, I can only provide ...
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  • 1,477
4 votes

Does Down Syndrome make one a Shoteh?

Rabbi Shmuel Singer in his book "A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot: A Halakhic Guide" with the Haskama of Rav Hershel Schechter writes: (on page 143) Modern poskim agree that if a ...
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  • 7,144
4 votes

Why the Brain (Moach) as the source for thought is not mentioned in Torah?

There is actually an argument in the Midrash with relevant psukim where a person's חכמה resides. See ילקוט שמעוני right at the begining of משלי. Siman תתקכט. There is an argument there between Rabi ...
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  • 32.3k
4 votes

Mental Disability and Exemption from Mitzvot

See Does Down Syndrome make one a Shoteh? . Generally, they are obligated in whatever mitzvot their consciousness can support. If someone's actions indicate they're completely disconnected from ...
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  • 127k
4 votes

Online shiurim on the topic of religious OCD

Searching YUTorah for "OCD" produces this list of 11 shiurim on the topic. The one of those shiurim that I've listened to was carefully researched from both the Torah and medical perspectives, at ...
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  • 910
4 votes

Can a bully be forced to pay for psychologist visits?

The halacha in C.M. 420'32' states that a person who scares and alarms his friend who in turn is damaged emotionally is not liable in beit din as the Gemara in Baba Kama 91'a' explains that it was he ...
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4 votes

Do insane people have free choice?

When a person did lose his free choice, we say that he became Shote, loosely linked to the inaccurate term of "crazy" or insane. He is categorized as a child regarding responsibility and this state is ...
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  • 22.2k
4 votes

Kavanah, Prayer and OCD

Firstly, I wish you strength to get through this ordeal. I am certain that Hashem knows your intentions are good and He only gives tests to those who He knows can pass them. There is quite a dearth of ...
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  • 20.2k
3 votes

May we intervene with Religious OCD sufferers?

I would like to exhort the questioner not to approach an acquaintance who he feels may have a problem, with one caveat. If he is a medical professional with significant training in psychiatric ...
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  • 19.3k
3 votes

Taking ADHD medicine on Shabbos (ex: Adderall/ Ritalin)

R David Sperling (here) writes it seems to him that taking these medicines is permitted because Firstly, someone who has started on a course of pills before Shabbat may continue to take them ...
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  • 43.5k
3 votes

Kavanah, Prayer and OCD

As far as how to maintain kavanah, that is tricky to answer. It would be easy to throw out some cliches and sources as advice but OCD is not an easy thing and to downplay it is not right. What might ...
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  • 1,394
3 votes

What is meant by the ‘madness’ mentioned in Devarim 28:28?

The only real "definition" I could find (and my understanding of it) is that the term refers to a lacking of mental faculties, when someone is missing the (self)awareness that makes someone ...
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  • 36.6k

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