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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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 to you &...
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How does Judaism solve the Euthyphro dilemma?

In short: Socrates asks whether God loves the pious because it is the pious, or whether the pious is pious only because it is loved by God. How does Judaism solve this dilemma?
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Is “Understanding God half-way” a true understanding?

If I try to summarize answers to various theological questions, it goes like this: we understand that God is/acts/feels/desires X (good, just, etc) in the literal sense, or in this world, e.g. caring,...
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9answers
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Sheidim: are they fact, or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
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Why don't newborns speak, why do we need to learn a language?

In our dualistic approach, the soul is one that possesses the knowledge of a/the language (not clear to me if all souls speak Hebrew or just 70, like the angels or just any language) AFAIC, the soul ...
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1answer
244 views

Did Rambam reflect on non-Jewish sources that shaped his views?

Many commentators and researchers point to the great influence that the Greek, Christian, and Islamic thinkers had on Rambam's theological, philosophical and scientific views, for example, in Hilchos ...
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Is it correct to say now “Moshiach must come in this generation”?

Is it correct to say “Moshiach must come in this generation”? Related How do we understand Talmudic predictions of Moshiach? The statement was made in a shiur I attended. I asked the maggid shiur ...
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1answer
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What are the sources that the soul possesses the knowledge of a language?

@AvrohomYitzchok asked me this question to support the assertions for another question: "why-dont-newborns-speak-outright. What are the sources that the knowledge of a language is a quality of ...
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1answer
70 views

Does a soul develop over a lifetime?

@AvrohomYitzchok asked me this question to support the assertions for another question: "why-dont-newborns-speak-outright. In my understanding, in Judaism, a soul is a complete entity having only ...
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Rambam's 9th principle - “the Torah will not change/be changed”, sources and interpretations

Did Rambam himself elaborate on: His sources for this principle? Did he derive it from somewhere or it was his own thought? The principle itself, what it covers, what kind of changes he's talking ...
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Does the plain text of the Torah support the view that “It would have been preferable had man not been created”?

תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן: שְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים וּמֶחֱצָה נֶחְלְקוּ בֵּית שַׁמַּאי וּבֵית הִלֵּל. הַלָּלוּ אוֹמְרִים: נוֹחַ לוֹ לְאָדָם שֶׁלֹּא נִבְרָא יוֹתֵר מִשֶּׁנִּבְרָא, וְהַלָּלוּ אוֹמְרִים: נוֹחַ לוֹ לְאָדָם ...
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How the experience of G-d can be distinguished from experiencing AI? [closed]

This is a thought experiment aimed to aid me to prepare for the Messianic times: We know, that the European colonizers of America were seen by the natives as "sons of gods" because of the ...
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1answer
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Eruvin 51a: Using Deception to Assert an Opinion?

The Gemara in Eruvin 51a relates the following: (Source(s) from Sefaria) רַבָּה וְרַב יוֹסֵף הֲווֹ קָא אָזְלִי בְּאוֹרְחָא. אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבָּה לְרַב יוֹסֵף: תְּהֵא שְׁבִיתָתֵנוּ תּוּתֵי דִּיקְלָא ...
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1answer
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What was G-d's plan in having 20 wicked generations before Abraham?

I'm trying to understand G-d's plan for creating wicked and sinful humans, waiting for 1600 years/10 generations for them to sin, wiping them out completely, then waiting for another 400 years for the ...
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What keeps the immaterial soul inside the physical body?

By what methods the immaterial soul is contained within the material body during our lifetime?
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191 views

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 and fruit specifically?
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1answer
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How can there be hidur by mitzvos dirabanan?

We find the concept of hidur by rabbinic mitzvos. For example menorah. I saw some paper qoute the rema that one should get new aravos for the 7 days of sukkos because of hiddur. The 7 days are also ...
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Should I donate money to non-jewish organizations that I've benefited from, or is it better to give that money to Jewish institutions?

I was thinking that on the one hand there may be an ענין to give to a non-Jewish organization that you've benefitted from (e.g. Wikipedia) as a way to train yourself in the middah of הכרת הטוב (...
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God created both the written law and the oral before the world was created. Why didn't he make all of it 'written'?

If He wanted to us to follow all of it and the oral law was most of what we received at Mount Sinai why didn't He tell us to write it all down?
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858 views

Why is the foreskin removed?

Why is the foreskin removed? God gave it men, did God also tell them to have it removed?
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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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6answers
499 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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4answers
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What was the attitude of Chazal towards abstinence (asceticism, stoicism)?

Do Chazal have a positive or a negative attitude towards the person who abstains from worldly pleasures (pleasures that weren't prohibited by the Torah)?
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Psychedelic drugs [duplicate]

What does the Torah say about psychedelic drugs? It has been proven to treat PTSD and helped with treating addictions. Also, it can help spiritually because it has inspired many people to throw away ...
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0answers
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Health blessing

where does it say in Gemara (I remember it was in the gemara) that the main blessing we get from HaShem is health, because w/o it we can't enjoy the other blessings?
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802 views

Is believing that God, Israel, and Torah are one Avodah Zarah?

The Zohar said that God, Israel, and Torah are one. I thought Judaism is strictly monotheistic. When Jesus said, "I and the father is one", he was being a heretic. So how come the Zohar includes even ...
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3answers
140 views

Can God do bad?

Man has free will. He can choose to do good or bad. Does God have free will? Can God choose to do bad things? If we say that god does only good, isn't that putting a limitation on him?
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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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4answers
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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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8answers
902 views

Why is there so much space and matter,etc. in the universe?

If the point of all of creation is for the Jewish people to accept and carry out the torah [I realize this is not axiomatic and may be a point of contention - see Shabbat 88a] what is the need for the ...
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1answer
50 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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2answers
318 views

What is the halacha about lying to a Non-Jew?

Can one lie to a non Jewish person? If the answer is Yes, are there certain cases where you can't?
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2answers
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Is T'zaar Ba'alei Chaim a Mitzvah Bein Adam L'makom, L'chaveiro, or L'atzmo?

Building upon the concept that Mitzvos can be between a person and Hashem, or a person and their friend (Source for "Ben Adam Lemakom" and "Ben Adam Lechavero"), where would T'zaar ...
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1answer
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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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What is the purpose of life on this earth

We know that hashem created the whole world only for the purpose of human's on earth. Everything else is there for his benefit to obtain his purpose. So the question is, what real purpose does he ...
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1answer
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Source for Ralbag on G-d's knowledge

Does the Ralbag ever say that G-d does not know the future? I am aware that Ralbag writes that G-d only knows the generality of things but not the particular. Abraham ibn Ezra is of the same opinion. ...
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Do we really have free choice?

I was told Hashem created us with free will; so we can make a choice to do good or evil, right? Well, Hashem knows what we are going to do in 10 minutes. So do we really have free will? Hashem can see ...
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1answer
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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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Source for difference between free will and freedom of choice

Based on a question over on Philosophy.SE: The Wikipedia article on "secondary causation" notes the following without footnote: According to the Jewish Torah which brought down the ...
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Epicurus in Rishonim's writings

I saw a couple of essays yesterday arguing that some teachings in Avot may have been directed specifically against the Greek philosopher Epicurus* and his teachings. I was wondering whether any of the ...
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What seforim or books were written on the Torah approach to modern-day philosophy such as humanism or classical liberalism?

Although I have seen paragraphs here and there in various books explaining the torah hashkafa on specific values (i.e. Rav Kook, Rav Illowy, Lord Sacks on slavery), I have yet to seen a book that ...
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407 views

Where can I get Aryeh Kaplan’s מורה אור?

The author Aryeh Kaplan was well known for writing many scholarly English books about Judaism. After his death, several of his unpublished manuscripts were eventually published. One of them was a ...
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10 types of angels

In Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 2:7 Rambam says: שִׁנּוּי שְׁמוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים עַל שֵׁם מַעֲלָתָם הוּא. וּלְפִיכָךְ נִקְרָאִים חַיּוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִן הַכּל וְאוֹפַנִּים וְאֶרְאֶלִּים ...
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1answer
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Anthropology, Structuralism, Halacha

Halacha is a typological ideal which we desire to manifest in our actual behavior. Inasmuch as life itself has a structure, halacha is contoured exactly to life in its entirety and beyond. Halachic ...
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What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew?

What attitudes toward Jesus are acceptable for a Jew? I understand that idolatry, or embracing the mainstream Christian perception of Jesus as divine, is absolutely out of the question. Furthermore, ...
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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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How can we be sure that Judaism is true/the truth?

I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han, which is: People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that ...
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Why did G-d not stop the holocaust?

Why did G-d not stop the holocaust? Is there anything written to explain why He would not have stopped it? or why He would have allowed it?
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Destined how many shidduch proposals?

Rabbi Dr. Wikler (p. 142) quotes a story of a Chassidic Rebbe looking for a shidduch for his daughter who would pay shadchanim for proposing a potential match even though the Rebbe declined the offer. ...
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2answers
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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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