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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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291 views

Is Studying String Theory Permitted According To The Rambam?

Would the Rambam be fine with String Theory, being that String Theory involves what happened before the world was created (the big bang) and beyond our universe?
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2answers
168 views

Are there any Rishonim who believe that God´s existence cannot be proven rationally?

Are there any Rishonim who believe that God´s existence cannot be proven rationally?
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3answers
318 views

Is there any rabbinical precedent, ancient or recent, to tell somebody that they are Jewish?

Is there any rabbinical precedent, ancient or recent, to tell somebody (for any reason) that they are Jewish (if such a person is unaware and does indeed have matrilineal Jewish descent)? Scenarios ...
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1answer
152 views

Explanation of Alter Rebbe's proof of G-d?

I heard recently from a Rabbi's speech (a.k.a., I don't know the actual source) that when the Alter Rebbe was in prison in Russia one of the Russians there asked him to prove the existence of G-d. So ...
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1answer
77 views

Significance of making kiddush specifically before eating

What is the significance of making kiddush in general before we eat? Do the reasons differ between shabbat and chagim?
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3answers
133 views

If something is not explicitly prohibited, is it permitted?

I had this disagreement with someone. I said that everything is 'b'chezkas' heter, and is mutar unless there is a source that assurs it. He said that everything is assur unless you find a source that ...
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82 views

Prohibition of killing a child animal with its mother

In the gemara in avodah zara it states that it is a sin to kill a child animal with its mother on the same day and in turn the seller is obligated to let a buyer know if someone else bought a child or ...
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3answers
121 views

Subjectivity of halacha

My friend who is just getting into judaism asked me a question while learning some gemara: Why should I learn gemara? Obviously it is interesting and etc, but halacha-wise, it is just these people's ...
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4answers
216 views

Why is it neccesary to have an Oral Law?

Why was it necessary to have an oral law? Couldn't we have avoided inaccuracies and machlokot in the mishnah, gemara and etc by writing it down originally?
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1answer
82 views

5 “parts” of the nefesh- What is the Rambam's source?

In his introduction to Avos (Shmomneh P'rakim), the Rambam delineates 5 "parts" of the human nefesh. Is this something that he came to on his own or does he have a source for this? I know that the ...
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2answers
204 views

Who has the right to come up with chiddushei Torah?

I am not at all learned in Torah, and yet I occasionally come up with what I think is a chiddush of Torah. Of course, it frequently turns out that someone else has thought of my "chiddush" before me,...
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47 views

What’s the reason behind having to use specifically animal skin for klaf?

What’s the reasoning behind the need to use animals per se as opposed to any other paperlike material for klaf (to write on)? Is there significance in the need to take the life of an animal for the ...
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1answer
148 views

Overwhelming individualism in Jewish Halachah

(Please follow the idea before finding counterarguments). The dawn of Judaism - Abraham, Itzhok, Yaakov, the Tribes - most fateful decisions were made almost exclusively on personal basis, without ...
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3answers
142 views

How should I understand Rabbeinu Bachya on Numbers 25:13?

ויכפר על בני ישראל, “he obtained atonement for the Children of Israel.” This verse teaches that he who spills the blood of the wicked is considered as if he had offered a sacrifice. The idea is ...
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196 views

Social Action/Responsibility in Judaism towards gentiles

Non-orthodox organisations place immense significance on social responsibility calling it "Tikkun Olam". Orthodoxy less so... Are there any relevant rabbinic teachings on the topic of social action (...
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1answer
78 views

Understanding G-d's unity [duplicate]

I recently learned according to the Torah ("Shema Isroel, Hashem is our God, Hashem is one"), that G-D is one and single. Please help me understand this unity.
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65 views

passive bal tashchis

is passive bal tashchis wrong? i see jews eat things (sometimes even to the detriment of their health, (because of the amount or quality) so that they will not go to waste is this a Jewish thing to ...
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0answers
55 views

What is the reason that the world will end after 6/7 thousand years?

Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin [97a]: “Rav Kattina said: 'The world will exist for 6000 years and one (thousand) of destruction' What is the hashkafic reason to only have a finite world? Wouldn't an ...
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0answers
96 views

Purpose of non-Jews

I was having a conversation with a friend about the purpose of life. I remember learning somewhere that the purpose of non-Jews is to build up the physical world, while the purpose of Jews is to ...
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1answer
57 views

Why has God made so many poor people on earth?

What's the point of most people being born poor? Just think about the African countries for example. How would Judaism address why more people are born poor than rich?
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1answer
88 views

women (wife) have a bigger influence regarding shalom bais

the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe writes ועלי' להשתדל לסבב סיבובים שיהי' שלום בית, אשר הוא דבר המסור ע"פ תורה לאשה יותר מלאיש that according to Torah making peace in the house is more on the wife ...
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3answers
151 views

An apparent contradiction in Ralbag's philosophical methodology

This discussion about Ralbag reminded me of an apparent contradiction in Ralbag's Torah/Philosophy methodology. At the end of his introduction to Wars of the Lord ('מלחמות ה) he writes: The reader ...
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2answers
105 views

If God is infinitely good, why did He create finite people to bestow good to?

Assuming God is absolutely good to the furthest extreme possible and there are no other worlds out there like ours (with torah observant creatures), if so, why did He create finite number of worlds to ...
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39 views

Is the Sefer Hachinuch actually about reasons for mitzvos?

(Inspired by the answers given by @רבות מחשבות and @mevaqesh to this question.) When people speak about reasons for mitzvos they generally mean something along the lines of "God commanded us to do ...
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67 views

Resource on reasons/intention for mitzvot

I would like to know if there is a resource, preferably a book, that gives the reason/intention of specific mitzvot. My question stems from a shiur i heard from rabbi akiva tatz. Where he said ...
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195 views

How does Judaism relate to miracle claims by other religions?

Other religions claim that (their) God or other individuals have performed miracles either on behalf of a person(s) or entire nations. Growing up I was taught that the Jewish people are God's special,...
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2answers
242 views

Rambam's View on Attaining Olam Haba with One Mitzvah

The last Mishnah in Maseches Makkos states that God wanted to benefit Israel so He gave them many mitzvos. ר' חנניה בן עקשיה אומר רצה הקב"ה לזכות את ישראל לפיכך הרבה להן תורה ומצות שנ' ה' חפץ ...
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1answer
191 views

Is it correct to trust one's intuition?

Please provide some Torah-based perspectives on the topic of how appropriate and/or advisable it is for a regular Jew in this day and age to listen to his instincts, e.g. about practical matters ...
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92 views

Is Hashem polite? [closed]

This question might be a bit weird, but here's what inspired it. In an internet forum I frequent, someone posted a wall of text (that is, a long post without any line breaks or paragraphs). I pointed ...
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1answer
582 views

Are professor Daniel Boyarin's writings about the messiah supported in traditional Jewish sources?

I bought and read the Italian edition of the book “The Jewish Gospels.The story of the Jewish Christ”, written by Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at the University of Berkeley. I was ...
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2answers
103 views

Who compared “the ox that gores the cow” to “I am Hashem Your G-d”?

I once read a machshava--possibly from chasidus--to the effect that: "'The ox that gores the cow' is as much charged with G-dliness as 'I am H' your G-d.'" I was quite moved by this. What is its ...
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2answers
129 views

Why does the Torah mention the lineage of Yishma'el and Esav?

The first Rash"i in the Torah cites Rav Yitzchak's question as to why the Torah didn't begin with the first mitzvah, because it's assumed that the purpose of the Torah is as a mitzvah guide and not a ...
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45 views

Whose side Rachel and Leah were on?

According to Ariz"l and his followers, the sequence of Yaacov's marriages (Rachel first and then Leah) was of a great importance, dealing with the Seider of the Geulah, Moshiachs etc. Lavan planned to ...
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1answer
147 views

Is AGI possible according to Judaism?

Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic right now, and AGI "General Intelligence" has always just been a couple of decades away. So I've been wondering: We believe that a human differs from an animal ...
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1answer
101 views

Why did not our forefathers consult Hashem in conflict situations?

I found it a bit strange, the fact that although our forefathers - Abraham, Itzhok, Yaacov, and down to Moyshe Rabeynu were all prophets, as Hashem explicitly spoke to them, they did not consult, or ...
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3answers
419 views

Can one reach the point where he can no longer do teshuvah?

If someone caused pain to multiple people or caused irreversible damage, can he possibly be in a situation where he can no longer do teshuvah? If so, what does hashem want from him at this juncture?
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1answer
153 views

Rogaine or hair loss medications

Are there any Halachik or Hashkafic issues with using rogaine or some other hair loss prevention medicine?
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1answer
68 views

Vegetarianism versus Bal Tashchis?

According to those that hold vegetarianism is the higher & more exalted path (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Rav Kook, The Nazir of Yerushalayim, Rav Shlomo Goren) what should be done if a piece of ...
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0answers
128 views

What status (if any) does a person suffering from depression have?

If someone is suffering from severe clinical & chronic depression & Is suffering so severely that he no longer has any capacity to experiences joy, how can he be expected to perform even ...
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1answer
76 views

Is one who maintains an agnostic belief called a min (heretic) [duplicate]

Agnosticism, based on various definitions that I have seen, is defined as one who is beliefs that G-d or supernatural powers cannot be proved or disproved. Other definitions I have seen explain it ...
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2answers
627 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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2answers
275 views

Yesh Me'Ayin - A transformation from a state of ‘nothing’ to ‘something’

Recently I came across this teaching from Chassidic or Kabalistic works which apparently has something to do with our 'task' in this world: Hayom Yom: Tackling Life's Tasks; Translated from the ...
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3answers
160 views

Jewish equivalent of Occam's razor

Is the principle of Occam's razor (that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected) discussed or used in any Jewish sources (ideally chazal or rishonim)? Is it ...
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1answer
123 views

Virtual Avodah Zara [duplicate]

My nephew showed me a new video game of his, Zelda: Breadth of the Wild. It's a massive action adventure game. The relevance of this game to MY is as follows. Part of the game involves collecting ...
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2answers
150 views

Consistent philosophy in the Shulchan Aruch

If the Shulchan Aruch primarily rules based on a majority based on the Rif, Rambam and the Rosh, who each (I'm assuming) are usually philosophically internally consistent, then wouldn't the Shulchan ...
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27 views

Why does the letter Hei stands for Shechinah

Why is it the letter ה which represents or is connected with the Shechinah? What is the explanation behind this idea?
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1answer
136 views

Is perpetual virginity or remaining unmarried superior to marriage? [duplicate]

In Judaism, is perpetual virginity or remaining unmarried a higher state of life than marriage?
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2answers
125 views

What are some fundamental chasidic works of philosophy / theology?

Which books are fundamental in terms of presenting the philosophy / theology of mainstream chasidut? I know Chabad has Tanya, and Breslov has Likkutei Moharan. Which sefarim are philosophically ...
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0answers
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Teshuvah: How to return or going back to one's true nature?

In the 5th bracha of the Amidah, we request from HaShem "our father" (אבינו), to return us (השיבנו) we mention three kinds of Teshuvah – 1. returning to HaShem, 2.returning to the Torah, and 3. ...
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3answers
188 views

Does G-d control all things all the time?

I want to share some thoughts: I believe HaShem can do whatever he wants to, and He can do it whenever He wants to. The entire existence is a creation of G-ds consciousness; everything that can be ...