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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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Is Ferberization okay?

Is there anything objectionable (in terms of halacha, hashkafa and middos) to using the Ferber method for training an infant to fall asleep on its own? There is an element of cruelty, and the ultimate ...
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335 views

Does every woman have a destined match?

There is a Talmudic statement in Sotah 2a which is commonly used as the source that every person has their destined match (the parameters of "destined" is a separate discussion): והא אמר רב יהודה ...
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What is the purpose of these sorts of discussions? [duplicate]

I've read a number of Mi Yodeya questions because they come up in the sidebar of other Stack Exchange sites. They're often very interesting. I am impressed by the commitment the posters have to (for ...
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How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
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851 views

The greatest prophet after Moses

R. Jacob Emden, in his comments to Eruvin 43a, refers to Elijah the Prophet as the greatest prophet after Moses: אליהו הנביא הגדול בנביאים אחרי משרע"ה That Moses was the greatest prophet is hardly ...
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Why did God do nothing against the Romans that desecrated the Temple?

When good guy made a mistake, like Uzzah trying to fix the ark, God killed him (see II Samuel 6:6). However, Uzzah does not seem that evil. I mean, the ark stumbled and he just tried to help. Then, ...
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“God is Fire”: Trying to Source an Analogy for Prayer

I remember reading once a very clever analogy, which I was sure that I had found in the writings of Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who sourced it, from memory, in the writings of the Rav, R' Yosef Ber ...
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The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
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Why didn't the Tur discuss traditional Jewish philosophy?

Of all classical works of Halacha, only the Rambam has a section dedicated "Hilchos Deos". For example, he begins with the most fundamental Jewish belief, the belief in one G-d, that G-d is the ...
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Eilu V'Eilu - Until Where?

Many times rabbis disagree on things in both hashkafa and Halacha. Usually, even when disagreeing, they will view the others' opinion as valid, even if they themselves would not rely on it. This is ...
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What do you say on a person's 120th birthday?

Normally, most people wish someone "Ad meah ve'esrim" ([May you live] to a hundred and twenty). What do you say on a person's hundred and twentieth birthday. I have seen the answers about why 120 ...
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How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
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What is the need for angels?

Why did G-d create angels to assign them specific tasks (Bava Metzia 86b)? Since G-d is omnipotent, what is the need for angels -- why doesn't He perform these tasks directly?
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Jewish concept of angels

Judaism does not believe in the free will of angels. What is the scriptural evidence for that and since when has such belief been held within the Jewish community?
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Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in the fruit of a tree?

In the story of creation man is forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in a tree specifically?
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Judaism and dementia

Are there any books/articles that discuss dementia from a Jewish perspective? I am looking for a perspective that include coping with, and relevant hashkafa. The intended audience being not the sick ...
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649 views

Why is being religious a duty if God chose to not have a proof to his existence in this world?

According to the answers to the question "How do we know that God exists" it seems some (if not most) Jews on this site believe there is no way to verify whether or not God even exists. If this view ...
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Where is it taught that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome?

I heard various rabbonim say that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome. Where is the source for this?
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Why did Hashem start the Torah with a story?

Why did Hashem start the Torah with a story?
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Why study non-practical tractates of Talmud?

A quick background: I recently sat down with my step-father and brother and learned Masechet Makkot with them for a bit - this was their first time learning Talmud. Given that the masechet starts ...
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7answers
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Beginning a comprehensive study of Moreh N'vuchim

A friend of mine would like to begin learning Moreh N'vuchim seriously and is unsure of exactly where/with what to start. What is the best version out there of the book itself? Are there any ...
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Rainbow as a bad omen

There is a popular idea that seeing a rainbow is a bad sign, as if the world is deserving of a deluge (c"v) and the only reason Hashem does not do so is because of His promise. Is there any source for ...
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Why a human Messiah?

I understand that Mashiach is going to be a human. What is the source for this, and are there any explanations why it must be so? Can't G-d Himself redeem us?
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Hashem is here and there and everywhere?

Is Hashem really in front of us, behind us, next to us, etc?
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Is “Siman Tov u'Mazal Tov” Halachically problematic?

Literally translated, this is what is commonly said in the Jewish community, upon hearing very good news (typically life-cycle events as such as engagement, marriage, birth). "A good sign and a good ...
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Why does the belief in Mashiach require that one be anxious for his coming?

The question of why belief in Mashiach should be a fundamental belief (an ikkar/yesod of Judaism of the Rambam's 13) is asked here, and I answered it myself here. However, when it comes to this ...
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Rosh HaShanah for Under 20

As mentioned in this question, Shabbos 89b states that the heavenly Beis Din does not punish people under 20. Why is to be discussed there. My question is regarding Elul and the Yamim Noraim. Is ...
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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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Earliest source for “Zos Chanuka”

What is the earliest source/authority to ascribe special significance to the eighth day of Chanuka?
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293 views

Stipulations based on “correct” halacha vs. “לא בשמים היא”

It is my understanding that halacha is determined by individual p'sak. That is, there is no divine body of halacha which we are trying to determine with poskim issuing their p'sak based on what they ...
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1answer
387 views

Is it forbidden for a Jew to read the writings of Baruch Spinoza?

The cherem against Spinoza says the following: The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Espinoza... We order that no one should communicate with him ...
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Is there any difference between Jewish G-d and Muslim G-d? [closed]

Do Jews and Muslims worship the same G-d? If so, do they understand G-d the same way? As a related point, is there any linguistic or theological connection between "Allah" and "Eloha" (or "Elohim")? ...
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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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1answer
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Why is chillul Shabbat considered so wicked?

There is a mitzvah deoraita (Biblical commandment) to bury a person executed by bet din (Jewish court of law). Similarly, there is the law that a righteous person should not be buried next to a wicked ...
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1answer
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Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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May one ride in a utilitarian car?

A new study has confirmed the obvious: people want to survive: even though participants approve of autonomous vehicles that might sacrifice passengers to save others, respondents would prefer not ...
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Can someone have a soul of the opposite gender?

Inspired by this question: Prayer for changing name for transgender reasons? While the subject of transgender individuals has been discussed, I was wondering if it is possible, from a hashkafic sense,...
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Resources for learning about the foundations of Judaism

I recently met an intelligent Soviet immigrant interested in learning more about Judaism. He would like to start with understanding the basics. Such as: How do we understand G-d? What are the ...
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213 views

How to define success in life?

What defines success in life (in a Jewish outlook)?
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Why did Hashem create the world in such a way that a leap year is needed?

I understand why we have a leap year; to keep the sun and moon cycles in sync, so that Pessach is always in the spring. That's all technical, as a result of the moon orbiting too slowly - or the sun ...
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Hyperbole in the Gemara?

There are many times where the Gemara says that someone who does something is equivalent to one who is "kofer b'kol" or killing someone (for example regarding lashon harah in Erchin 15b I have always ...
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How can people effectively bless when blessing is God's domain?

How do people have the power to bless? Yitzchak's blessings for his sons pretty much came true, and similarly later when Yaakov blesses his children and earlier (in the inverse) Noach curses Canaan. ...
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Moreh Nevuchim: To learn or not to learn?

I have come across many people who believe that it is inappropriate to learn Moreh Nevuchim especially at a younger inexperienced age. However, it seems that many important issues are discussed in the ...
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119 views

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

Are there any aggadic, kabbalistic, halachic or other theological teachings related to the grammar or morphology of Hebrew? I am not referring to the orthography (or anything at all related to ...
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2answers
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Does Judaism permit sexual relationships outside of marriage?

I am eager to know more about different religions from Islam to Judaism. Furthermore, how different religions look at women and comparing their kinds of approaches to the matter of gender and ...
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Why does evil exist?

I realize this is a very common question, but the problem of evil is an important one, and as far as I can tell, has not been asked here. In short, why does G-d allow evil to exist?
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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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Why does the 5th verse of “Yigdal”, not mention prayer as does the 5th principle of faith of the Rambam?

The piyyut, “Yigdal”, seems to put the 13 principles of faith of the Rambam in poetic form. With number 5, the author of Yigdal seems to have made a slightly different point to the Rambam by leaving ...
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Why does God allow slavery?

How could a kind G-D allow his people to use slavery on their weaker contemporaries and neighbors and yet be so strict with other requirements?
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Why bother with n'vi'im?

I was asked the following question recently and, incapable of doing it justice on my own, am seeking a cogent printed answer to give the questioner. If God wishes to express an unequivocal directive ...