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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
40 views

Why did some prominent prophets initially refuse to comply with G-d's commands?

Rambam in Yesodey Hatorah 7 writes that Prophets are very special people that prepare themselves thoroughly to detach themselves from this physical world and serve Hashem. However, we can clearly see ...
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19 views

Sharing Teffilah time with personal and communal Hishtadlut

Hear me out before you judge: The question of Hishtadlus (personal effort vs relying on G-d) is deeply rooted in our sources, the Torah tells us that when Yaakov anticipated a violent meeting with ...
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4answers
258 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 ...
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2answers
93 views

Judging whether a rabbi resembles an angel

THe previous question "How should a rabbi resemble an angel" asked for the qualities a Rabbi should possess in order to be worthy of learning Torah from him. The Gemmarah prescribes that a rabbi must ...
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92 views

How should a Rabbi resemble an angel?

The Gemmorah in Moed Katan 17 says: א"ר יוחנן... אם דומה הרב למלאך ה' יבקשו תורה מפיו ואם לאו אל יבקשו תורה מפיו Rabbi Yoḥanan said as follows: ... If the teacher is similar to an angel [...
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The Battle of Gog and Magog

Very little is known about The Battle of Gog and Magog, it is shroud in mystery and countless debates. The prophet Ezekiel (chapters 38-39) describes the battle and the prophet Zachariya (chapter 14) ...
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2answers
104 views

Can Etrog and Lulav be too cheap?

In the last years, in Israel, on Erev Chag Succot, about 4 hours before the Chag begins, we witness an interesting phenomenon - incredible price drop for the 4 Minim, especially the expensive Etrog ...
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4answers
5k views

Do Rabbis get punished in Heaven for wrong interpretations or claims?

I had a Zchus of serving a great Rabbi Z"l here in Jerusalem who wrote lots of books on Torah as well as on Halacha and Shu"t. I helped him publishing his books for a decade and for his last years I ...
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1answer
151 views

The truth does not depend on popular opinion?

I have heard multiple Rabbis say, mostly in the name of HaRaMBa"M, that the truth is not dependent on the number of adherents to a particular opinion. I apologize for lack of accuracy. What is the ...
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1answer
103 views

The prohibition of Revenge vs the Mitzvah of emulating G-d

G-d takes revenge [1] We are supposed to emulate G-d in our behavior and middos We are prohibited from taking revenge [2] Taken together, the above three statements are inconsistent. Which one of ...
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How can Yom Kippur be used for personal growth and development?

Following Danf's question on "not-to-ask-for-forgiveness-on-yom-kippur", Besides physical suffering for all, for some, Yom Kippur presents also spiritual suffering in the form of countless hours of ...
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Did the Sadducees get anything right?

The Sadducee-Pharisee split probably began around 150 B.C.E and disappeared after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. As a result, the Karaites (9th-century) adopted many Sadducee-ideas ...
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1answer
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What does it mean “נצחוני בני” after “לא בשמים היא” and “אחרי רבים להטות”?

There's something seemingly erratic in Heaven's behavior as reflected in the Gemmorah. If "לא בשמים היא" and "אחרי רבים להטות" were established Heavenly Halachot why would G-d smile and state "My ...
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Is the Tanuro Machloket the ultimate proof that there are two sorts of Halochos? [closed]

From R"E's claims "אם הלכה כמותי..." it is clear that by the word "הלכה" he meant "the truth" From Heavenly Voice "מה לכם אצל ר"א שהלכה כמותו בכ"מ" it is clear that by הלכה it means "truth" However, ...
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Why a Machloket ended so badly and unpeacefully?

Back to Tanuro Shel Akhnai (BM 59b). A short recap: R' Eliezer and Chachamim are having a Machlokes over a minor matter in ritual impurity, clearly for the sake of Heaven. R' Gamliel, the Nassi, ...
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2answers
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Why didn't the Heavenly Voice testify for Elu Ve'Elu in Tanuro Shel Achnai argument?

There are a couple of iconic arguments in our Gemmorah and Tanuro Shel Achnai (BM 59)is surely one of them. Here's a short recap: R' Eliezer had an argument with some Chachamim, and R' Yehoshua was ...
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6answers
320 views

Why the Brain (Moach) as the source for thought is not mentioned in Torah?

Wherever the Torah refers to thinking and feelings of Anger, compassion, etc. it always mentions the Heart as the controlling organ (also Kidney) but NEVER the Brain? (Even in the Gemara the Moach is ...
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23 views

Considerations for impeachment of the Nassi of Sanhedrin

While cynically coincidental, my business is exclusively with the Sugya of the [temporary] impeachment of Rabban Gamliel in his Maariv Chova argument with R' Yahoshua (Brochos 27b). אמרי עד כמה ...
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Considerations for electing the Nassi - theoretical vs practical?

In theory Rambam Hilchot Sanhedrin 1.3 teaches us: הַגָּדוֹל בְּחָכְמָה שֶׁבְּכֻלָּן מוֹשִׁיבִין אוֹתוֹ רֹאשׁ עֲלֵיהֶן וְהוּא רֹאשׁ הַיְשִׁיבָה וְהוּא שֶׁקּוֹרִין אוֹתוֹ הַחֲכָמִים נָשִׂיא בְּכָל ...
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Why during the two days of Rosh Hashana we don't maximize our merits?

Similar to why-dont-we-maximize-our-merits-on-yom-kippur-, My logic says that to symbolize the beginning of the 10 days merit-race we'd engage in as many Mitzvos and especially Torah learning on the ...
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Is there an approach that cuts the Teffilot on Rosh Hashanah in favor of Torah study?

It is clear from the Sugiyot Gemmorah (Brochos and Shabbos 10, here) that the lengthening the Teffilah at the expense of Torah learning was perceived negatively through many generations till late ...
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2answers
120 views

Why don't we maximize our merits on Yom Kippur day through Mitzvos and Torah study?

This question deals with the procedures on YK itself, not the 10 days of repentance. Rambam (Hichot Teshuva 3) says that YK is dedicated for Beynonim, i.g. those whose merits equal to sins. Further ...
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18 views

Why does G-d carry out all the curses by Himself?

In Parashat Ki Tavo (28:15-on) Moses threatens the Nation with very descriptive curses. It starts from a distance: 'וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל־הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ׃ אָרוּר אַתָּה וכו One ...
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30 views

How does translation help understand Torah for native Hebrew speakers?

Following "why-translate-torah-to-70-languages, I don't address the part of writing on the 12 stones for other nations. I imagine Moses talking to the Nation that spoke Hebrew originally for hundreds ...
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1answer
224 views

Hashgachah pratis according to Rambam/n

Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim 3:18 and Ramban in his commentary to Iyov (do not remember exactly where) as well as on Parashas Vayeiroh (Bereishis 18:19) say that for the majority of humanity, including ...
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1answer
75 views

How G-d can be cursing His sons (and spouse)?

To continue "what-is-the-meaning-of-curses, Traditionally we compare our relations with Hashem to three types/levels: servants, sons (אם כבנים ואם כעבדים), and spouse (שה"ש). While I can imagine ...
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Can external criteria be considered when setting the Halacha?

וכי מאחר שאלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן? מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי ולא עוד אלא שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן The Gemara asks: Since ...
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2answers
105 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 ...
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(How) can a prophet sit in Sanhedrin?

Please help me to understand the principle of "Not in Heaven" better. As I (we) clearly imagine that many leading prophets participated and even headed the High courts, like Yehoshua and David. As ...
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1answer
36 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, ...
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1answer
49 views

If “not in Heaven” how could Nac"h be the source of Halacha?

As the Gemmorah states (Temura 16a), the idea of "Not in Heaven" traces back to Moses' death and Yehoshua was the first asked to use it and he refused, referring to that verse. Nevertheless, from ...
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32 views

If not Halacha what a prophet is worth for?

If the rule of "not in Heaven" is set and valid, and no prophecy can rule "How to live", what purpose is there for prophecy and prophets (besides Moses)? Vaguely and mysteriously painting the distant ...
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28 views

Why let the Sages stay anonymous in arguments?

This bothers me a lot - the idea of using anonymous "Chachamim" in arguments. I don't understand why is it important or useful to hide their names. The Mishnah uses it extensively and makes it very ...
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1answer
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Elu Ve'Elu - can half truth be called truth? [duplicate]

Many Talmudic sources themselves, interpreters and commentators seek to reconcile contradicting opinions by steering each opinion off to a different scope/topic. Someone gave an example of a cylinder,...
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4answers
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Is there a concept of “peer review” in Rabbinical Judaism?

"Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competences as the producers of the work (peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a ...
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1answer
29 views

Eilu V'Eilu from Heaven - who said it applies to every Rabbi?

IIRC, the only examples of Elu Ve'elu (אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים) appear in the Talmud in the name of the Heaven (see here): Machlokes B"H and B"S (see for example Eruvin 13b): ...a Divine Voice ...
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Who opposes saying the Piyut מכניסי רחמים?

There is a long standing debate surrounding the piyut "מכניסי רחמים" which is said during selichot (words found here). The piyut is addressed to angels and the text aims to elicit the attributes of ...
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In reward-and-punishment system, what is the meaning of curses?

In Sefer Dvorim the Torah does not spare curses for general misbehaving or misbelieving, etc. In my understanding, the Torah presents a clear system of reward and punishment (Rambam's principles) - do ...
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2answers
165 views

What's the deal with moral relativism?

I have heard and read from kiruv books, outreach speakers, pamphlets etc. that Orthodox Judaism doesn't like "Moral Relativism" (the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect ...
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11answers
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How does “eilu v'eilu” work out with an absolute truth?

I'm under the impression that religious Judaism believes in absolute truths. That being the case, how does the concept of "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chaim" (Eruvin 13b) work out? When two scholars ...
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How Eilu V'Eilu “דברי אלקים חיים” means “those are both TRUE”?

In the famous saying "אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים" (see Eruvin for example), what does "דברי אלוקים חיים" mean? Does it appear as a verse in Nach? Why in the name of אלקים? What does Jיים mean here? ...
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1answer
60 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!
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Is it heresy to follow secular dating on the destruction of the first Temple?

There is a discrepancy between rabbinic and secular sources regarding when the first Temple was destroyed -- a difference of some 165 years or so, which are called the "Missing Years." My question is ...
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1answer
108 views

G-d changing the past

A bit of a childish question. Is it possible for God to change the past? or is it one of those things that are generally possible but in certain occasions will never happen? I'm asking because of ...
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0answers
223 views

The treatment of Jewish unbelievers in Halacha

There is a man, not an am ha'aretz by any means nor a Tinok Shenishba who has become an Apikores by any definition. He is not evangelical about his unbelief and is observant. He does not publicly ...
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8answers
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Sinning and G-d's will, what's wrong with this logic?

Nothing happens against Hashem's will. Ergo, when one sins, that's also Hashem's will. Yet we know that Hashem wants us not to sin, so it's against His will. Contradiction?
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61 views

Contesting the line between Torah and secular knowledge [closed]

Isn't it the case that the Rambam, for one, thought that astronomy, medicine, mathematics, for examples, were a part of Torah knowledge? At least the line for him is not simple and clear cut (eg see ...
5
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1answer
67 views

Why are some sins counted twice?

I am looking to understand the theology behind a negative commandment being repeated in the Torah in order to make whomever transgresses it punishable for 2 sins. See for example Rashi on Vayikra 25:...
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1answer
62 views

Understanding the teaching of a person who says “I have labored in Torah study and haven't found success- don't believe him”

Megillah 6b states: ואמר ר' יצחק אם יאמר לך אדם יגעתי ולא מצאתי אל תאמן לא יגעתי ומצאתי אל תאמן יגעתי ומצאתי תאמן הני מילי בדברי תורה אבל במשא ומתן סייעתא Rabbi Yitzḥak said: If a person says ...
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1answer
2k views

Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...