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Jewish Ethics & Morality

A Collection of Questions and Answers

How does G-d decide what's right and what's wrong? Can one be a "good person" without being religious? What gives us the right to kill animals? What's the difference between a cult and a religion?

There’s so much hypocrisy!
Have you ever done any carpentry or one of those Ikea do-it-yourself jobs? They always tell you not to tighten the bolts until the whole thing’s been put together.
I Had an Abortion and Regret It
Is Guilt Good?
I know that I can't reverse what I have done, but is there some way to alleviate my burden? Or must I resign myself to carrying the guilt with me all my life?
How Do You Fight Evil?
Should we combat it? Ignore it? Is it possible to do both?
How Does G-d Decide What's Right and What's Wrong?
Are good things G-dly or are G-dly things good? What would the Chassidic masters say of the Socrates- Euthyphro debate?
Where Do Ethics Come From?
Should we clone people? Is there such a thing as a life not worth living? When is it correct to go to war? But the real question is: on what biases do we answer these ethical dilemmas?
On the mitzvah to kill innocent Amalekite and Canaanite civilians and children
Did G‑d once not just promote, but command genocide, including women and children, even infants?
Why Is There So Much War and Violence in Torah?
Why do we have to "wipe out" Amalek and the Canaanites? Why administer capital punishment? Shouldn't G‑d's message be one of love?
Does Torah Promote Genocide?
Why does the Torah command us to annihilate the seven Canaanite nations? Why would G‑d put the everlasting guilt of wiping out entire communities upon any group of people, especially those he favors? If there were populations that were so evil, why wouldn't He take care of it Himself?
Should a Jewish State Have an Army?
Isn't it un-Jewish to kill people? How would Judaism apply the law from the Ten Commandments, "You shall not kill" in modern Israel?
Why Aren't We Vegetarians?
If Judaism requires us to be kind to animals, shouldn't we be vegetarians?
Judaism and Vegetarianism
For better or for worse, meat is an undeniable favorite on the kosher menu. Is this good? Let’s have a look . . .
What Gives Us the Right to Kill Animals?
From man I expect good and bad. From G-d I expected only good. Until I learned about the animal sacrifices. Apparently G-d actually wants them. Imagine, a place set aside for slaughter -- in a temple!
Who Wants a Religion of No's?
Don’t eat dairy together with meat. Don’t wear a mixture of wool and linen. Don’t turn on a light on Shabbat. Don’t gossip… Is this what religion is all about?
The Glory of Doing Nothing
What does G-d want with sinners like me? What did He put such a louse of a creature here for? I just want to know: does He appreciate at all the effort I put into trying not to be what I am?
How Does 'Forgiveness' Work?
How can a person be forgiven if the effects of his or her crime still exist?
Getting Forgiven
How do you know when you have been forgiven? Or does the guilt just go on and on?
What is Humility?
"And Moses was exceedingly humble, more than any man on the face of the earth". Very nice compliment, but who wrote this verse? Moses himself! Is that called humility?
Are Religious Jews Narrow-Minded?
"I try to be open-minded spiritually. Why is it that religious Jews are so closed to the wisdom of other religions?"
How Do I Choose a Rabbi?
I've got a few choices here in town of different styles and flavors of rabbis and congregations. How do I choose? Is there a simple test to determine who is fit to be my rabbi?
Why Do Observant Jews Have Such a Tranquil life?
I'm not sure what exposure you have had to observant Jews, but judging by your question, it seems to have been from a distance...