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Philosophy of Mitzvot

Intentional Mistakes - I've been enjoying the philosophy articles on Aish.com. The approach to life resonates with me much more than the Western style of consumerism and media hype. Regarding the obligatory nature of mitzvot,... More
Kosher Bacon Bits - I have recently begun keeping kosher, and had a philosophical debate with a friend who does not. I want to use soybean "sausage and bacon" products that have kosher symbols, because as long as they're... More
Learning and not Observing - I am a woman who was a Reform Jew my entire life and have begun Jewish learning over the past few years. Now that I am learning, I am feeling bad about some things I’m not observing. For example, I now... More
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613 Mitzvot

613 Mitzvot - What is the earliest reference to the Torah having 613 mitzvot? Where does this list come from? This is a matter of dispute here in South Africa, where a radio talk show host made some inaccurate... More

Principles

Ba’al Teshuva, Convert – Which Customs to Follow? - My parents are Jewish but I grew up with almost no observance in my home. In fact, I would have to go back several generations to find religious ancestors. I began becoming religious as an adult and I... More
Is Jewish Law Unchanging? - I am writing to take issue with some language in your Ask the Rabbi answers that I personally believe is loaded in a way designed to lend a degree of certitude to one viewpoint that I don't believe... More
Jephthah Sacrificing Daughter - My Bible class is studying the Book of Judges and we recently covered the story of Jephthah (Judges 11). Jephthah promises to God that if the Amonites would be delivered into his hands, then on his return... More
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Punishments

Big 3 Cardinal Sins - I am intrigued by which of the "Big 3 mitzvahs" a Jew is expected to give his life for rather than transgress. What exactly are they, and where do they come from? More
Cruelty of Capital Punishment - I have heard people claim that the death penalty of the Torah was barbaric, and man has progressed since that time, which is why it is no longer done. It doesn’t sound right to me that laws of the Torah... More
Eye for an Eye - I recently heard a talk explaining "an eye for an eye" in the Torah. As society has become less barbaric, the rabbis reinterpreted the verse to mean one pays the damages for the eye, instead of actually... More
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