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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113 views

Why no Torah or wisdom or knowledge is mentioned presented by G-d to Adam?

IIRC, the passing of the Tora/wisdom/divine knowledge in our tradition didn't start with Moses or even Abraham. Allegedly, the 19 generations of Tzadikim from Adam to Abraham studied/dealt with it ...
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Why was the purpose of the creation of Man was so dull?

On the 6th day of the Creation, G-d consults angels (see my other question) and presents them with what looks like His vision of Man's goal on Earth: וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹקים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ ...
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31 views

Why was G-d's only direct interaction with the Jewish nation be limited to two commandments?

Following "what-went-wrong-at-matan-torah: We claim that Matan Torah was/is the ultimate proof of the veracity of the Torah, because unlike what we observe in other religions, where G-d never makes ...
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118 views

Did Rambam explain why and how he got so influenced by Aristotle?

It is widely known that Rambam was greatly influenced by Aristotle, and his Guide and Hilchot Yesodey Hatorah practically repeat Aristotle's view and adopt them into Judaism (see also WIKI): Moses ...
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What went wrong at Matan Torah - adjusting G-d's presentation to the Jewish people?

וְכָל־הָעָם רֹאִים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִם וְאֵת קוֹל הַשֹּׁפָר וְאֶת־הָהָר עָשֵׁן וַיַּרְא הָעָם וַיָּנֻעוּ וַיַּעַמְדוּ מֵרָחֹק׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה דַּבֵּר־אַתָּה עִמָּנוּ וְנִשְׁמָעָה ...
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159 views

What defines a human in Judaism?

As a follow up to "creation-of-super-humans", The Gene-modification technologies promise interesting developments in human evolution/changes, both physical and intellectual. On the physical side - ...
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How does creation of a new species of super humans align with Judaism?

One of the most promising scientific fields of the nearest future is bio-technologies especially genetic modifications, starting with gene-therapy, genetic enhancements, and, as the process is ...
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Frequency of Heavenly judgment

@Maurice has asked a series of interesting questions on how our reward and punishment system works. We generally hold that Yom Kippur is the time of the final verdict for a year, but I'd like to know ...
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Why did some prominent prophets initially refuse to comply with G-d's commands? [duplicate]

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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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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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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112 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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50 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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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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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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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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85 views

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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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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1k views

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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52 views

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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491 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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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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Tamim tihye and predicting the future

On the pasuk "Tamim tihye im Hashem Elokecha" (Devarim 18:13), Rashi says : Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not inquire of the future; rather, accept whatever ...
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Why no positive feedback from Moses in his reproof for everything Israel did good?

I'm a big fan of Positive Psychology approach to education, reinforcing positive behaviors instead of discouraging negative ones. When Moses is scolding the nations for the sins [of the previous ...
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Why the fact that the Earth is spherical is a deep secret according to Zohar?

Following "zohars-knowledge-about-earths-shape" and related to my other question "why-did-G-d-create-the-earth-spherical": Zohar (Vayikra 10a) states the following, seemingly pointing to the fact ...
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115 views

Are people rational?

Does it say anywhere in the Sources that people are not rational? By that I mean: A certain course of action may be the most logical and common-sensical from all angles, and people do something else. ...
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Can anyone explain R. Nissim of Marseilles's seemingly problematic opinion on longevity in Genesis?

Recently, I have been looking into the idea of longevity in Genesis. Today, I stumbled upon R. Nissim of Marseilles's opinion of it, but no matter how many times I read over the article that mentioned ...
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322 views

Egalitarian references in Chazal

I'm trying to find references in Chazal to the principle that people are judged/rewarded based on the choices they make, regardless of their specific role in society. For example, I believe I have ...
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1answer
87 views

Does Judaism advise us to do one thing at a time?

After reading this article in Aish by a Professor of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, sadly and surprisingly bereft of Jewish sources, I asked myself: Is there a general Jewish teaching that ...
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118 views

If it is not mentioned in the Torah as a miracle - can it be interpreted as one?

Many events in the Torah were explicit miracles - meaning that G-d's super-natural intervention was mentioned, e.g. Sarah giving birth at 100 or splitting the sea or Mannah. For many other events, no ...
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27 views

Does G-d have expiration on His tolerance?

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עַד־אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם הַזֶּה וְעַד־אָנָה לֹא־יַאֲמִינוּ בִי בְּכֹל הָאֹתוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ׃ And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people ...
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28 views

Was the sin of the Spies more severe than the Golden Calf? [duplicate]

IIRC, in the story of the Golden Calf, people not only actually MADE the idol but worshipped it, while in the story of Meraglim people only BELIEVED in what the Spies said. Nevertheless, after the G"...
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90 views

Legal status of one sentenced to death until execution?

What's the legal status of one who's sentenced to death by a court (say smoked on Shabbos) from the moment of the verdict till the actual death: What're his economical rights (his property, estate, ...
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47 views

Weren't Dor Hamidbar exempt from all Mitzvos as “already sentenced to death”? [duplicate]

IIRC, one who was sentenced to death is considered already dead (גברא קטילא)(San 85a, but exact source needed) (or is it only about losing his property?). When G-d sentenced all 20-60 y.o. Jews to ...
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55 views

Why Dor Hamidbar weren't given a chance to repent?

This probably echoes "why-G-d-didnt-give-adam-chance-to-repent". I'm trying to empathize Dor Hamidbar and try to imagine how would they feel, doomed by G-d Himself to die pointlessly in the ...
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43 views

Sefarim about how to respond or debate an apikores?

A friend of mine told me either the Steipler (or another gadol, my friend was not certain but recalled) wrote a Sefer concerning responding to an apikores. My main question inquires if any Sefer ...
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233 views

What did G-d do before Creation?

Is it possible to know what G-d was doing before this creation? While, as Maimonides states, that we cannot know anything about G-d except for what G-d is not (G-d has no body and is one), ...

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