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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24 views

Could angels fall on a different planet and become aliens?

Following my answer here on aliens and Torah: G-d created (there are) extra-terrestrial celestial bodies (astronomical fact) Torah says (and Midrashim/interpreters support) that some angels [can] ...
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4answers
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On what social issues were the rabbis ahead of their times?

On what social issues were the rabbis (Chazal and rishonim) ahead of their times? That is, which social/political matters subject to wide agreement today were shared by Chazal before these views ...
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151 views

Why did Hashem create only one planet (Earth) in the whole entire universe that can support intelligent life

Is there any rabbinic literature explaining why Hashem created only one planet (Earth) in the whole entire universe that can support intelligent life?
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Requirements for a single opinion to become an official Judaism viewpoint [on hold]

Undoubtedly, the Jewish bookcase is enormous with tens of thousands of books and sources. I noticed, that many answers rely on but a single citation of a known Rabbi, presenting it as "the View of ...
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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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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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197 views

What is the status of someone who denies one of the Rambam's 13 Principles?

i.e. are they considered an apikores etc? Or that they just hold an incorrect belief. Previously I had assumed their status was dependent on the principle they denied, so a person who denied the first ...
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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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110 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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685 views

Is there really a distinct “Jewish soul”?

I have heard many times about Jews having a "special soul" or a "Jewish soul" - a soul which is either lacking and/or fundamentally different than that of non-Jews. However, the sources which are ...
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161 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 ...
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How does “everything is from heaven aside from fear of heaven” apply when others are doing the wrong action?

There's an idea in Judaism that says "HaKol BeYedei Shamayim Chutz MiYirat Shamayim," "Everything is in Hashem's hands except fear of Heaven" (Berachot 33b and Megillah 25a) This means that ...
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300 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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81 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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How do we explain how God told jews to treat Egyptian, Amalekites, and Nearby Nations that Simply Refuse to do Labors

Egyptians were pretty bad. They killed Jewish boys. It's as bad as the Chinese one-child policy. But God told Jews not to abhor the Egyptian. The Amalekites are evil too. But they did not have non-...
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108 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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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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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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45 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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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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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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What is “emunas chachomim”?

My daughter came home from school with a textbook response for what "emunas chachomim" is. I disagreed strongly with what was written in the book, so I'm not even going to say what they said. Rather,...
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6answers
323 views

Can Chazal be wrong? [duplicate]

I understand that a later ruling can't contradict an earlier one, but does that mean that Chazal are infallible, the way Catholics believe the Pope is infallible? And if so, where's the line? Who was ...
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118 views

Do insane people have free choice?

We know that Hashem gives everyone free choice. But when examining the traits of an insane person, it is clear that someone can be so mentally ill that it is impossible for them to control what they ...
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191 views

If rishonim/acharonim frequently make mistakes in their zeal to critique others, can we still justify a belief in their singular devotion to truth?

I was always taught that the great Torah scholars were as near-perfect human beings as could possibly be, particularly in their scholarly abilities, but perhaps even more so in their character traits ...
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784 views

How can I know a rav has daas Torah

I have been privileged to know rabbis of great wisdom and knowledge who could address my issues with unique and helpful insights through the prism of Torah. I always understood them to have "daas ...
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Why are observant Jews so reluctant to admit that Chazal could ever make mistakes? [closed]

I have great respect for many of our sages of blessed memory, but there seems to be a tendency among Jews to refuse to admit the possibility that they could have ever made mistakes. I have been ...
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148 views

Do slaves owned by jews observe shabbat (day of rest)?

To my understanding it is a commandment of God that those who live among jews observe Shabbat. Historically, slaves owned by jews must have lived among them. Does Gods commandment apply to slaves, if ...
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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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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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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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What is the traditional/common Haredi “non-Hasidic” response to using the “Three Oaths” as an anti-Zionist argument?

Kesubos 111b lists the "Three Oaths" made incumbent on the Jews and the nations during the Exile. The "Three Oaths" have served as a cornerstone of anti-Zionist literature (http://www.nkusa.org/...
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Source for “everyone has a specific area of Torah that they're naturally drawn to”

While we have to learn the entire Torah, I remember once learning that "everyone has a specific area of Torah that they're specifically drawn to/ naturally comes easier to them" (for example: monetary ...
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113 views

Books on science and Torah in Hebrew

Can anyone recommend books in Hebrew that address the topic of science and Torah? The types of books that I'm looking for are ones that address the interplay between science and Torah including topics ...
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217 views

Are there examples of Tanaim, Amoraim,Rishonim, Achronim using secular sources for Limud Torah?

For instance, although I cannot find the source-I do believe the Vilna Gaon told a Talmid of his to translate the Elements of Euclid (Geometric proofs, inter Alia) to Hebrew in order to augment ...
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Suppose you hear a commandment how do you know it’s God and not your own mind, or Satan? [duplicate]

Considering God asked Abraham to kill his son, it seems difficult to differentiate the word of God from that of Satan, how is one to know from whom a commandment is given? Is there a way to ...
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Can Morality Exist Without Divine Basis?

A common theistic claim is that atheism has no basis for morality, and that a basic morality must be determined by God for it to exist. There are instances in secular fields such as Biological ...
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How MiYodea and other knowledge-sharing sites influence the future of Judaism?

The previously unknown availability and abundance of knowledge, both religious, and scientific surely impose a serious challenge to the existing structure of Torah study. I hear many Rabbis, Ram"im, ...
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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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Whose spirit and whose lips are referred to in Psalms 106:33?

32וַיַּקְצִיפוּ עַל־מֵי מְרִיבָה וַיֵּרַע לְמֹשֶׁה בַּעֲבוּרָם ׃ 33: כִּי־הִמְרוּ אֶת־רוּחוֹ וַיְבַטֵּא בִּשְׂפָתָיו׃ 32: They provoked wrath at the waters of Meribah and Moses suffered on ...
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Is the Tanya only for those that are a Benoni?

What about those that want to get from the level of Rasha to Beinoni, is there a book for that? It is called Sefer shel Beinini and the few things I've read in it seem to be instructions directed for ...
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Can we know the absolute truth?

I've encountered Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers suggest that we, as finite creatures, cannot know the absolute, objective truth. All we can do (in This World), I've heard suggested, is to approach (in ...
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534 views

Sending letters to the deceased

Some Chassidim have the custom to leave letters at the graves of deceased Rebbes. Is it mutar to send a letter to any deceased Rebbe (specifically the Lubavitcher Rebbe), or is this similar to Avodah ...
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1answer
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Do Hillel & R Akiva contradict Mamrim 3 & Y"D 158:2?

How do you reconcile Hillel (1) and Rabi Akiva (2) with the Mishnah Torah (3) and Shulchan Aruch (4)? "What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. That is the whole Torah, all the rest is ...
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Is being vegan “kosher”?

Is being a vegan completely okay according to halacha? Even if a vegan is not eating anything traif (non-kosher), perhaps it's not truly correct because you are not following the commandments to ...
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3answers
2k views

Does “reputation scoring” make “the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with”?

Is "reputation scoring" against the spirit of Pirkei Ovos 4 (5) "Rabbi Tzaddok would say: Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, ...."
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736 views

Is it possible to pray to Hashem for a specific person as your prospective spouse?

I understand in the first Amud of Masechet Sotah, an individual’s future [first] spouse is predestined. Is there a possibility of praying to Hashem, such that one may change the decree and designate a ...
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How G-d can be distinguished from AI?

One day, after the Moshiach comes, the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of G-d". On the other hand, technologically, one day the Earth will be filled with "knowledge of AI". I'm trying to prepare ...
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Relation between brain damage and the soul

Physical damage to the brain can lead to various psychological and cognitive phenomena, like drastic changes in character, selective memory loss (like forgetting faces but remembering names or vice ...
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May one love a non-Jew?

May one love a non-Jew? Not romantically in the sense of marriage, but rather in the sense that one loves a friend or family. May a Jew love his Gentile father, for example? May a baal teshuvah ...