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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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1answer
60 views

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 ...
3
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5answers
987 views

Why do we count years from the date of Creation?

Why do we count years from the date of Creation? I intend two sub-questions here, of which the second is far more interesting, so please answer it: Whence did this tradition originate? Why do we ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

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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2answers
102 views

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 ...
5
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3answers
124 views

Does Techiyat Hameisim, resurrection, apply to Non-Jews as well?

Will righteous non-jews also partake in Techiyat Hameisim, resurrection? Will they be brought back to life in the time of the Mashiach? Will Noach? Abraham? Malki-Tzedek? Shem? etc.
6
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1answer
130 views

G-d's Divine Presence vs Omnipresence?

In Shabbat 12b, G-d is called the Omnipresent several times, implying to me that G-d is present everywhere. But then it says this: אין מלאכי השרת מכירין בלשון ארמי שאני חולה דשכינה עמו "...
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2answers
143 views

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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0answers
53 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
379 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
74 views

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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1answer
42 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
82 views

Looking for a Chazon Ish about developement of Minhagim

It has stuck in my head for a while now - roughly quoted as saying that one shouldn't mock minhagim that have developed in klal yisroel even if the origin seems dubious - as Hashem wouldn't allow ...
3
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2answers
95 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
259 views

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 ...
1
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1answer
31 views

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, ...
2
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2answers
73 views

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 ...
11
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3answers
675 views

Is it wrong to be racist?

Is there anything wrong about being a racist? By racist I mean believing that certain groups of people are objectively worse in any qualitative way based on their race.
4
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1answer
51 views

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!
30
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9answers
4k views

Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?

Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?
5
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2answers
357 views

Vilna Gaon's Criticism of the Rambam

As mentioned in this answer, the Vilna Gaon once criticised the Rambam for having been led astray by his own philosophy. I have seen this statement referenced also in this article on Seforim Blog and ...
9
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2answers
227 views

Does a dog know that it's a dog?

According to Jewish thought, do animals have the self-awareness to know that they exist? Do they know that they are animals? Does an animal differentiate itself from other animals?
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2answers
3k views

Why does the Hebrew alphabet not have letters representing vowels?

The Hebrew alphabet is actually an abjad rather than a "true" Western-style alphabet, in that every letter represents a consonant, and vowels, if they're indicated at all, require diacritics. This ...
20
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11answers
1k views

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust?

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust? Is there anything written to explain why He would not have stopped it? or why He would have allowed it?
2
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1answer
58 views

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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1answer
118 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

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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0answers
57 views

Height and holiness - why inconsistent?

This might seem a bit weird, but I see some logic: The Gemmorah in Kiddushin 69a discusses the facts that: מלמד שבית המקדש גבוה מכל ארץ ישראל וארץ ישראל גבוה מכל הארצות‏ This teaches that ...
2
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3answers
136 views

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 ...
5
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3answers
90 views

Why does there have to be a written Torah?

I’d like to ask the opposite of this question. There, the OP asked why we have a distinct Torah SheBa’al Peh; wouldn’t it help to disseminate the Torah better if everything were written? Answers ...
2
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0answers
63 views

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'...
4
votes
1answer
207 views

What is the source for Rambam's thirteen principles?

What is the Rambam source for the thirteen principles, brought in his interpretation of the Mishna Sanhedrin 10:1? By that I mean what is his source that without these principles one does not go to ...
6
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4answers
2k views

What is the Orthodox Jewish view of the afterlife?

What is the nature of life after death, according to Orthodox Judaism as it exists today? I have tried to read up on this, but I often hear very conflicted views... I mean I once read that Sheol is ...
12
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2answers
579 views

Deviations of Ralbag from normative Jewish theology

In an article about the Rashba's views on science, Rabbi Dr. David Horwitz throws in the following sentence (p. 53): No less than a radical thinker than R. Levi ben Gershom (Ralbag), who had no ...
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6answers
1k views

What has the Holocaust taught us as a people?

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific and important events in our history. What have rabbis said are lessons we should take from it? I am looking for lessons that should apply to all Jews, ...
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13answers
3k views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
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1answer
96 views

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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1answer
53 views

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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2answers
51 views

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 ...
10
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4answers
297 views

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום?

The gemara in Berachos 8a-b states: אמר רב הונא בר יהודה אמר רבי אמי לעולם ישלים אדם פרשיותיו עם הצבור שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום [...] שכל המשלים פרשיותיו עם הצבור מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו Rav ...
2
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2answers
68 views

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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0answers
27 views

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 ...
3
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2answers
114 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
167 views

Do sociopaths/psychopaths lack “דעת” of Good and Evil?

As YeZ points out in this answer, "daat" is the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do sociopaths and/or psychopaths lack the דעת of the distinction between good and evil?
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3answers
91 views

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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2answers
87 views

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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3answers
49 views

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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2answers
53 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
130 views

Does God need to find out what happened? – Ralbag's seemingly contradictory comments

(Quick summary if you don't want to read the whole question: In Parshas Noach Ralbag seems to claim that God already knew what happened, while in Parshas Vayeira he seems to claim that God did not ...
1
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1answer
81 views

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 ...
4
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3answers
392 views

What are the three impure klippot?

Kabbalah and Chassidus discuss the "three impure klippot" and Klippos Noga. What is the difference between each of these three klippos?