Turk Hill
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Is it heresy to read the Bible literally?
7 votes

I wrote to Rabbi Sacks and he said that he believes the story of Adam and Eve to be true, but that he did not have the time to explain it to Richard Dawkins in the debate. He, therefore, suggested ...

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What is in greater violation of the prohibition of blasphemy: Atheism vs Avoda Zara?
5 votes

Rabbi Tovia Singer seems to say that idolatry is worst than atheism. Saying that should not be mistaken as saying atheism is the preferred path. I am an Orthodox Jew. Nevertheless, atheism can ...

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What's a good quote from Chazal to use as a constant reminder?
4 votes

Here is a quote I like: "Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot." Ben Zoma — Pirkei Avos 4:1.

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Why does Judaism believe in דולפנין Mermaids?
Accepted answer
4 votes

Contrary to popular belief, mermaids do not exist. The Gemara describes dolphins, which Rashi mistook as mermaids or read it that way in Worms. Similarly, what Christopher Columbus and the Spanish ...

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Have Jews believed that Ezra was the son of God?
2 votes

Rabbi Tovia Singer, in response to this claim, said that some Jews in Egypt probably did believe Ezra was the son of G-d but that everyone has their “crazies,” and that this should not be attributed ...

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Who is Onkelos?
2 votes

Who Was Onkelos? Scholars have dated Onkelos to the late fourth century. The talmudic rabbis placed it about 130 C.E. The word Targum means “translation,” Onkelos' transaction. It is an Aramaic ...

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Cain feared death, married and had children with a woman because there were already other people in the world?
2 votes

It is possible that Adam and Eve had dozens of other humans to populate the world soon after creation. Although there is no proof that there were other humans during the time of Cain and Abel, the ...

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Are there Orthodox Jews who do not consider the Zohar’s validity?
Accepted answer
2 votes

Yes. Rabbis' Israel Chait & Moshe Ben-Chaim reject the Zohar as a divine book from G-d. Many orthodox Jews reject mysticism as a whole. Must a Jew believe in anything outside of the Torah and ...

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Why G-d didn't reveal the Israelis a recipe for gunpowder?
2 votes

A simple answer to this question is that Maimonides felt that G-d never instructed Israel which was contrary to our state of development at that time. This could be applied to gunpowder and is applied ...

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How to deal with internal inconsistency concerning vegetarianism in time of Noah
1 votes

Cain sinned when he killed his brother. If he can kill a man he can kill an animal. Note that Cain brought vegetation as a sacrifice while Able brought sheep. The people in the time of Noah were ...

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Could Moses Have Failed?
1 votes

I would answer "yes." Rambam wrote somewhere that people have free will and can decide to use it for good or for evil as they choose. Understood this way, it is possible that Moses decides ...

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Why did Nisan change to the beginning of months after the exodus
1 votes

I think you have it backwards. Passover occurred on the fourteenth day of the first month, Nisan, the first month of the year. However, when the Jews were exiled to Babylon in 586 BCE, they discovered ...

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Responding to Christians
1 votes

If done in a friendly manner, I don’t see any reason to refrain. Christians should know the truth that there is only one G-d. We can respect their beliefs but do not worship idols.

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Are we required to defend the omniscience of Hashem?
1 votes

Not necessarily, although it would be good to do so. I say this because Ralbag felt that G-d does not know the future. ibn Ezra wrote that G-d only knows generalities but not the details. Rambam might ...

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How are we to understand the usages of "morning" and "evening" in the Genesis narrative?
1 votes

Genesis 1:1–4 says that G-d created light on Day 1. The light was called "day" and the dark was called "night." Verse 5 follows: And there was evening and there was morning, one ...

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Is Mishlei 16:4 saying that Man does not have free-will / freedom of choice?
1 votes

Rambam writes that we have free will. He writes: “Humans are given free will. If a person wants to take the good path and be righteous, he is free to do so; and if he desires to take the evil one and ...

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What is meant by the 974 "worlds" that were "created and destroyed"?
1 votes

Yes, there are many Jewish legends that say other worlds ended and were followed. Rabbi Kaplan felt that there were other worlds before Adam and Eve.[1] As it turns out, there are many midrashim with ...

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Meaning of "You alone are YHWH"
1 votes

In Exodus 6:3, Moses learns that G-d appeared to the patriarchs “as El Shaddai, but I did not make myself known to them by my name y-h-v-h.” In the Bible G-d is called Y-h-v-h, “the Tetragrammaton,” a ...

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How can G-d without form produce sound (voice)?
1 votes

The philosopher Philo (20 BCE-50 CE) wrote that G-d did not "speak" because G-d does not have vocal cords. G-d is not anthropomorphic. Thereby, G-d created a miraculous sound that pronounced ...

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Did Esav do Teshuva?
1 votes

When Jacob met Esau he provided him with gifts. According to Abarbanel (Gen. 33: 1-17), these gifts served as Jacob's blessings. Although Jacob took Esau's blessing from Isaac, he was now bestowing ...

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Did 'Rationalist' Rishonim naturalize miracles? If so, why?
1 votes

Ralbag is a good example that comes to mind. For example, Gersonides writes that Joshua did not perform this miracle since to perform this miracle would be greater than Moses, and Moses never performs ...

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G-d doesn't have emotions? Why?
1 votes

Good question. After the flood, Genesis recounts G-d in a state of regret, “His heart was saddened.” Radak explains that: “When it says that He ‘regretted,’ this is the Torah speaking in human terms (...

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When can you disregard a Jewish court's ruling?
1 votes

Yes, halachikally. The Jerusalem Talmud, Horayot 1,1 explains: “You would think that if they [the rabbis] said to you concerning right that it is left and concerning left that it is right you should ...

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Why Is What God Thinks Different from What God Says to Noah?
1 votes

The Akivian methodology suggests that what G-d "says" and "thinks" are two different things. Whenever the Bible repeats or adds a word, it must be there to teach a lesson. Rabbi ...

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Creation before using the waters?
1 votes

Genesis 1:2 reads: “Now the earth was tohu vavohu and darkness was upon the face of the tehom and the ruach elohim hovered over the face of the waters.” We usually translate tohu vavohu to means ...

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What are the sources that the soul possesses the knowledge of a language?
1 votes

Genesis 2:7: “The L-rd G-d formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a nefesh chayah.” Onkelos translates ruach m’mal’la to mean “one with ...

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Does Judaism insult the gentiles?
1 votes

It seems rather strange that the Torah lists a huge genealogical tree from Adam to Noah. Why does it seemingly waste so much time doing this? How is this at all relevant? Perhaps the answer lies in ...

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What do we make of the witch of Endor?
1 votes

The story of the witch of En-dor in I Samuel 28 is obscure and seems rather strange. The Torah prohibits communication with the dead and yet Saul does just that. “So Saul disguised himself, dressed ...

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Is there a midrash that says all of the water in the world split at the time of the splitting of the reed sea?
1 votes

You are thinking of the tannaitic Midrash Mekhilta, which says, in the first account, that during the parting of Sea of Reeds, all of the waters in heaven and earth – including waters in pots, ...

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Can I become Jewish just by saying “I am a Jew”?
1 votes

No. It is not sufficient to simply call yourself a Jew without certain procedures. You must undergo a conversion practice as explained by the rabbis. However, you can remain a non-Jew by being a ...

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