Questions tagged [hashkafah-philosophy]

Jewish philosophy as well as Jewish perspectives - i.e. not only formal philosophy. NOT for questions about Jewish practice unless there's a philosophical component.

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Suppose you hear a commandment how do you know it’s God and not your own mind, or Satan? [duplicate]

Considering God asked Abraham to kill his son, it seems difficult to differentiate the word of God from that of Satan, how is one to know from whom a commandment is given? Is there a way to ...
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How MiYodea and other knowledge-sharing sites influence the future of Judaism?

The previously unknown availability and abundance of knowledge, both religious, and scientific surely impose a serious challenge to the existing structure of Torah study. I hear many Rabbis, Ram"im, ...
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Whose spirit and whose lips are referred to in Psalms 106:33?

32וַיַּקְצִיפוּ עַל־מֵי מְרִיבָה וַיֵּרַע לְמֹשֶׁה בַּעֲבוּרָם ׃ 33: כִּי־הִמְרוּ אֶת־רוּחוֹ וַיְבַטֵּא בִּשְׂפָתָיו׃ 32: They provoked wrath at the waters of Meribah and Moses suffered on ...
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Can we know the absolute truth?

I've encountered Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers suggest that we, as finite creatures, cannot know the absolute, objective truth. All we can do (in This World), I've heard suggested, is to approach (in ...
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Are there examples of Tanaim, Amoraim,Rishonim, Achronim using secular sources for Limud Torah?

For instance, although I cannot find the source-I do believe the Vilna Gaon told a Talmid of his to translate the Elements of Euclid (Geometric proofs, inter Alia) to Hebrew in order to augment ...
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Is it possible to pray to Hashem for a specific person as your prospective spouse?

I understand in the first Amud of Masechet Sotah, an individual’s future [first] spouse is predestined. Is there a possibility of praying to Hashem, such that one may change the decree and designate a ...
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How G-d can be distinguished from AI?

One day, after the Moshiach comes, the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of G-d". On the other hand, technologically, one day the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of AI". I'm trying to prepare ...
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Relation between brain damage and the soul

Physical damage to the brain can lead to various psychological and cognitive phenomena, like drastic changes in character, selective memory loss (like forgetting faces but remembering names or vice ...
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Why Moses didn't send spies to the wilderness as preparation for Exodus?

This might seem a silly question, but at second sight, why not? Following the necessity of preparing the way, researching the resources, finding a better way, learning the enemies, drawing maps, etc. ...
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Does “Ein Ye'ush” apply to everything or just spiritual related things?

I have recently heard about a concept called "Ein Ye'ush Baolam Clal" ("אין יאוש בעולם כלל") which translates as "There is never a time of despair". I was wondering if this is referring to all ...
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What is the Jewish view of “work”?

What is the mainline Jewish view of "work"? (1) Work is an just an option for those who have enough money to live on. The Torah may say "Six days shall you labor and do all your work", but none of ...
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When does a person transcend to status “Tzadik sets his bar”?

Background: we had a motivational lecture in our Kollel today, with a Rabbi praising virtues of studying Torah (towards Shavuos). He brought a couple of stories about prominent Rabbis dedicating their ...
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Sources for Greek philosophy being influenced by Judaism [closed]

I'm aware of multiple sources describing exactly the opposite - the sheer influence of the Greek culture, language, economy, science and general worldview on the Sages and Judaism. The Greek culture ...
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Motivation for Miztvot

According to Bava Kamma 79b, the penalty difference between a ganav and a gazlan is that the robber does not disrespect Hashem -- he commits his crime in full view of anyone, man or God but the thief ...
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How the crown of a good name (כתר שם טוב) was Halachicly left out?

רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה כְתָרִים הֵם, כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת, :וְכֶתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב עוֹלֶה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן Rabbi Shimon said: There are three crowns: the ...
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Belief in the resurrection of the dead

I am puzzled by this line in the Mishna [Sanhedrin 10:1]: וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, הָאוֹמֵר אֵין תְּחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים מִן הַתּוֹרָה And these are the ones who have no ...
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In the interest of being mekarev somebody is it permitted to minimize the spiritual & focus on the practical?

Are you allowed to convince an agnostic Jew to start keeping parts of the Torah for purely practical purposes like: prayer & faith have a calming effect, learning Torah sharpens the mind, Shabbos ...
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Rem"a on Socrates being Achitophel's disciple

Rama mentions that Achitophel was a teacher of Socrates, as per the Moses Isserles, Torat ha-Olah 1:11): "Socrates was said to have been his disciple" I'm not lucidly fluent in Hebrew, but here's ...
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119 views

Why human procreation is not voluntary?

Physiologically, the process of procreation is all "out of our control", whether on the side of men or women. For example, women don't have a choice of deciding whether to get pregnant or not (think ...
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Can a person still be an Orthodox Jew and believe that the Torah contains narratives that are not scientifically correct?

I am taking the position that perhaps the Torah does contain narratives that are not scientifically correct, such as the creation and early human history narratives found in the first 11 chapters of ...
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Why is Abraham considered the “Founder of Judaism”?

Why is Abraham called 'the founder of Judaism' given that he didn't write its founding legislation, which is what 'founders' of other religions did (for example, Paul and Muhammed)? What place does ...
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A question of theodicy

A lot of people are bothered by the fact that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Chazal answers by saying that it all averages out in the World to Come. But I don'...
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What גילוי פנים (G-d's closeness) looks like unlike הסתר פנים?

Besides some formal signs of "גילוי פנים" like the Temple or the prophecy that Am Israel enjoyed for about 1000 years from Matan Torah to the destruction of the first Temple. What are some general, ...
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Authenticity of Zohar--Bitul Torah?

As indicated in a prior thread on this site, there is good reason to doubt the authenticity of the Zohar, i.e., that it is attributable to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Question: if that is the case, ...
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Age of Universe [duplicate]

What is the most plausible way to reconcile the traditional dating of the universe (now 5779) with science's understanding that the universe is billions of years old?
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Why is it called Zman Cheiruseinu (Time of Our Freedom), if we are still slaves of Hashem?

Pesach is called Zman Cheiruseinu (Time of our Freedom) presumably because we were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh. But, the Jewish nation is NOT halachically free to do whatever it pleases. We are ...
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Should one pray for something to happen or for the strength to do it oneself?

I was wondering if it is better to pray for a solution to a problem or pray for the strength to do it oneself. I would also be happy for a link to a passing prayer or discussion. Thank you!
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Are “Luck” and “Personal Providence” the same thing?

First, I need to set a "reference frame" for this comparison, to eliminate unneeded quarrels: I follow the approach (presented here as "The idea commonly espoused in the Jewish world today" thanks to ...
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Meaning of “Not holding on that level of emuna/bitachon”

(Hi newbie here :) I hope I'm writing this post correctly.) What does it mean when people say "I'm not holding on that level of emuna/bitachon"? I've seen and heard countless times when people say ...
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If dew is automatic why do we have Tefillas Tal?

I heard in a dvar Torah that Tal, dew, is automatic (or much more so than rain). This is connected to the view that Pesach represents אתערותא דלעילא that is that HaShem helps us even though we are not ...
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When does hatred “make sense”?

The Talmud says that the Second Temple was destroyed because "senseless hatred" [sin'at chinam] prevailed. Yoma 9b אבל מקדש שני שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים מפני מה חרב מפני שהיתה בו שנאת ...
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If the Torah is compared to water how come we drown in water?

I admit I didn't expect it - a kid in our shul asked me that when I mentioned that the Torah is compared to water (B"K 82a): "דורשי רשומות אמרו: אין מים אלא תורה, שנאמר: הוֹי כָּל צָמֵא לְכוּ ...
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If there were people before/during Avraham's life that recognised Hashem, why was Avraham chosen specifically?

We know that Shem lived during the life of Avraham Avinu, described as Malki Tzedek. Why is Avraham considered the first to spread ethical monotheism (concluding in G-d choosing him) if it's known ...
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What happens the second you die?

What do our sources say about what happens the second you die. I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that one’s soul comes out of their body and they float around the room. Are there any fascinating ...
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Views on vast economical inequity between people

While the lack of uniformity of the physical world remains a mystery of the Big Bang (how come that what once was unified and homogeneous shattered into pieces so different in sizes - from photons to ...
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Gan Eden vs. Olam Haba

Please correct me if I'm wrong: The purpose of creation is to create a בית בתחתונים for G-d. The more mitzvos Jews engage in, the more they are guided by their soul's desire to give as opposed to ...
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Mechanisms of protecting Judaism from misuse

As we can see with Nazi Germany, democracy can be a dangerous thing. Many countries try to override democracy with a special status of the supreme court, able to invalidate the parliamentary laws (to ...
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How can the Sanhedrin ever err?

On the one hand we know that if a Sanhedrin issued an erroneous decision (which was acted upon) they must bring a sacrifice (Vayikra 4:13). On the other, we have the concept of "lo bashamayim hi" (...
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Should one refuse torah insights from heaven?

I have heard a story that the Vilna Gaon was offered torah insights by some sort of divine source, either an angel, a maggid or something else. The story goes that he refused those insights because ...
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Why is Hashem being separate from his creation a more acceptable belief than His creation being within Him?

I've read and been told that Hashem is separate from his creation because he is infinite and therefore he can't have the finite objects of the universe be a part of him. He must be uniform. I've ...
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What is the theological basis for changes in the practices of Judaism over the centuries?

There are many events or practices in the Old Testament which might seem brutal to a modern Western person; for example, I remember reading a passage about a man who was stoned to death for collecting ...
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What does the Rambam mean when he says that the planets have souls?

Rambam states in Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, Chapter 3, Section 9 that each of the planets have a soul, knowledge, and intellect. כל הכוכבים והגלגלים כולן בעלי נפש ודעה והשכל הם והם חיים ועומדים ...
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How does Rav Saadia Gaon account for the suffering of children?

I came across this excerpt from Rav Saadia Gaon on reincarnation (on mesora.org, where they cite it as Saadia Gaon: “The Book of Beliefs and Opinions” “Refutation of Reincarnation” Yale Judaica Series,...
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Does God care about things that don't affect the Jews?

There is a trope in Judaism that God smites even the greatest Empires when they oppress the Jews. Does God ever smite nations that are wicked to other non-Jews? We do have the example of Sodom, but ...
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What was God's original plan regarding Adam?

I would like to research the common ground for our understanding of G-d's original plan of the creation if Adam didn't sin. According to Sanhedrin 38, he was fully developed at noon, having 6 hours ...
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Purposes of Marriage in Judaism [duplicate]

Why do we get married according to Judaism? What is the point behind us working so hard to get married? Presumably it is not just to bear children! I have heard of a concept of two halves coming ...
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The mishnah of four things not to look at

There is a Mishnah in Hagigah 11b which says: כל המסתכל בארבעה דברים ראוי לו כאילו לא בא לעולם מה למעלה מה למטה מה לפנים ומה לאחור ...: Whoever looks at four matters, it would have been better ...
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A widow using her deceased husbands semen to conceive?

If a husband has some of his semen frozen/saved and then dies, what halachic and hashkafic issues have to be addressed when deciding if his widow is allowed to/can/should use that semen to become ...
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Why was it specifically Gavriel who is Hashem’s messenger to guide events?

Among all of the Malachim, Gavriel seems disproportionately involved in human events: He was responsible for saving Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace (Berachos 4b, Pesachim 118a-...
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Meaning of Zekher Livracha (ז"ל - Of blessed memory)

The literal translation of ז"ל is "of blessed memory" What does it mean to bless memory? How does it help the soul?