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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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4answers
159 views

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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0answers
66 views

What does “the tree of life” mean when G-d decides on life solely?

My question is maybe an elaboration on this question "How does the tree of life work?: The Gemmorah says that G-d decides exclusively on a person’s lifespan. But the Torah says that G-d Himself is ...
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6answers
730 views

If Hashem doesn't change, how does prayer work?

If Hashem is perfect and unchanging, how can we pray to Him to have mercy on us? Doesn't that imply a change? I've heard it implied that the way this works is that the prayer itself has the effect ...
2
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2answers
114 views

What was G-d's problem with building the Babel Tower? [duplicate]

In the story of the Babel Tower (Gen 11) people are trying to build a tower to the skies. I assume they followed the assumption that the firmament is real (firm) and it divides between the Heavens and ...
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5answers
302 views

What is the purpose of t'chias hamasim?

Given the following: (note please feel free to argue with any of these premises, but please also cite a source) t'chias hamasim will only occur for the righteous the righteous who are currently dead ...
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0answers
41 views

What's the purpose of the body in/after resurrection?

Following "what-is-the-purpose-of-tchiat-hametim", the Gemmorah says: העולם הבא אין בו לא אכילה ולא שתיה ולא פריה ורביה ולא משא ומתן ולא קנאה ולא שנאה ולא תחרות אלא צדיקים יושבין ועטרותיהם בראשיהם ...
32
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11answers
5k views

Conversion: If G-d really wanted me to be a Jew (and observe mitzvot), why was I not born into a Jewish family

This question pertains to the issue of conversion, and if it makes sense in the Jewish context of some people being Chosen specifically by God. Before beginning, this poster is aware of the long, and ...
3
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1answer
74 views

What Rabbis originally supported and opposed Rambam's 13 principles and why?

I heard the when Rambam presented his 13 principles the opinions divided pretty sharply between the Sefardic Rabbis that openly supported it and the Ashkenazi (Rabaney Tzarfat) that opposed it for ...
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2answers
392 views

How did Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel arrive at the conclusion that it would have been preferable had man not been created?

תנו רבנן: שתי שנים ומחצה נחלקו בית שמאי ובית הלל, הללו אומרים: נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא, והללו אומרים: נוח לו לאדם שנברא יותר משלא נברא. נמנו וגמרו: נוח לו לאדם שלא נברא יותר משנברא, עכשיו ...
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0answers
36 views

Why doesn't Dor Hamabul deserve the World to Come?

The Mishna (Sanhedrin 10) states that Dor Hamabul do not have a part in the world to come: דּוֹר הַמַּבּוּל אֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְאֵין עוֹמְדִין בַּדִּין The generation of the flood ...
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0answers
28 views

What made G-d change His opinion about Humans and how is it possible?

וַיָּ֣רַח ה' אֶת־רֵ֣יחַ הַנִּיחֹחַ֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר ה' אֶל־לִבּ֗וֹ לֹֽא־אֹ֠סִף לְקַלֵּ֨ל ע֤וֹד אֶת־הָֽאֲדָמָה֙ בַּעֲב֣וּר הָֽאָדָ֔ם כִּ֠י יֵ֣צֶר לֵ֧ב הָאָדָ֛ם רַ֖ע מִנְּעֻרָ֑יו וְלֹֽא־אֹסִ֥ף ע֛וֹד ...
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1answer
46 views

What was G-d's plan in having 20 generations before Abraham appears?

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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1answer
88 views

Why does נהמא דכיסופא make sense at all between lovers? [duplicate]

This preliminary question asks about what N"D is. The נהמא דכיסופא is a possible explanation for why should we suffer in this world to receive the reward in the afterworld. I tried to verify that: ...
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1answer
51 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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1answer
75 views

Were G-d's expectations for Dor Hamabul realistic?

Undoubtfully the all-loving G-d was a bit harsh on punishing the whole generation of Noah (probably millions?) by drowning them (and all the animals - what did they do?) in boiling water (He could ...
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3answers
98 views

Why Adam wasn’t explicitly commanded to pass his knowledge on to others?

I'm still trying to grasp the way of transmission of the Torah knowledge from day 1. This question can equally deal with two phenomena: the commandment of eating the forbidden fruit or the commandment ...
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0answers
51 views

Reverse Pascal's wager in the plain Torah

I'm trying to understand the simple "game theory" of the plain text of the Tora. I don't deal with the idea of afterlife/World to Come as it does not appear in the scriptures (maybe remotely hinted). ...
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7answers
257 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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13answers
5k views

How do we know that God exists?

Simple enough question, and very much related to the topic. According to traditional Jewish sources, on what basis should people believe that there's a God?
7
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4answers
2k views

Zeh klal gadol batorah - really?

In the Talmud Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4 ואהבת לרעך כמוך: אמר רבי עקיבא זה כלל גדול בתורה: "You shall love your fellow as yourself. Said Rabbi Akiva: This is a great principle in the Torah." ...
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1answer
91 views

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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1answer
95 views

Agnostic and practicing halacha

If someone is very unsure about Torah, enough to be agnostic, yet accepts the possibility that Torah may be true and chooses to follow Orthodox halacha... then what would you say are some major ...
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1answer
55 views

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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0answers
21 views

Why should G-d look at the parts of His creation?

THis part of the story of the Creation seriously puzzles me: G-d looking at His creation and checking/judging/evaluating it. Examples: וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאוֹר כִּי־טוֹב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים ...
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1answer
39 views

Why are we afraid of death and don't rush to the World to Come?

I agree the question seems stupid, but hear out my logic: We all are promised to get a share in the world to come (WTC), and acc. to Rabbinical interpretation, even Kareth can't take that away. In ...
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1answer
29 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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27 views

How did Adam know what dying is?

וּמֵעֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע לֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ מוֹת תָּמוּת׃ but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for as soon as you eat of ...
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1answer
35 views

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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1answer
71 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 ...
2
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1answer
72 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
77 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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0answers
46 views

Does God waste?

Is there anything in the Sources to the effect that "God does not waste", more or less in so many words? I know there are quotes to the effect that everything God does is for a purpose, but that may ...
3
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0answers
35 views

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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1answer
59 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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1answer
78 views

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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0answers
21 views

Sharing Teffilah time with personal and communal Hishtadlut

Hear me out before you judge: The question of Hishtadlus (personal effort vs relying on G-d) is deeply rooted in our sources, the Torah tells us that when Yaakov anticipated a violent meeting with ...
3
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4answers
260 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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2answers
118 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
71 views

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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2answers
109 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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4answers
5k views

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 ...
3
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1answer
153 views

The truth does not depend on popular opinion?

I have heard multiple Rabbis say, mostly in the name of HaRaMBa"M, that the truth is not dependent on the number of adherents to a particular opinion. I apologize for lack of accuracy. What is the ...
4
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1answer
103 views

The prohibition of Revenge vs the Mitzvah of emulating G-d

G-d takes revenge [1] We are supposed to emulate G-d in our behavior and middos We are prohibited from taking revenge [2] Taken together, the above three statements are inconsistent. Which one of ...
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1answer
131 views

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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1answer
32 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
63 views

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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2answers
65 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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6answers
320 views

Why the Brain (Moach) as the source for thought is not mentioned in Torah?

Wherever the Torah refers to thinking and feelings of Anger, compassion, etc. it always mentions the Heart as the controlling organ (also Kidney) but NEVER the Brain? (Even in the Gemara the Moach is ...
1
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0answers
24 views

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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0answers
14 views

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 ...