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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140 views

Why are there such few observant Jews? [closed]

There are only around 20 million Jews out of a population of 7.6 billion. Of those 20 million maybe 10% (2 million) are Torah observant. According to the Torah one of the purposes of the Jewish People ...
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Hashem's Ontology and the Sefirot

My question is, Hashem ontologically speaking, His Being, is a singular, yichud in all respects. So does this conception stop at Ein Sof, or even before Ein Sof? And once the ohr proceeds forth from ...
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What Happens to People Who Don't Have a Portion in Olam Haba?

The last perek of Sanhedrin lists some people who have no share in Olam Haba. Other people who forfeit their share are discussed in the answers to this question: No Olam Habah for these? My question ...
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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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What is the proof that Judaism is true? [duplicate]

People are for some reason skeptical that Moshe wrote the Torah as word of G-d, that Tanach is divinely inspired, etc. What is the proof that we have to affirm these points of our faith?
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Was any prophet given a practical advice on making the life better?

Prophecy is a special moment of G-d revealing His secrets to the masses. But as far as I know, those revelations were very one-sided - "do what I demand or I will make you suffer", with lots of small ...
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How can the Sanhedrin ever err?

On the one hand we know that if a Sanhedrin issued an erroneous decision (which was acted upon) they must bring a sacrifice (Vayikra 4:13). On the other, we have the concept of "lo bashamayim hi" (...
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Is Judaism Fascism?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, fascism is a regime that exalts nation above the individual. Many associate Nazism, for example, with fascism. And yet, considering the morning ...
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Is it a sin to read a book arguing for the existence of G-d written by a Catholic? [closed]

So I bought this book written by a philosopher by the name of Edward Feser. His book is called "Five Proofs for the Existence of God". It can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/Five-Proofs-...
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6answers
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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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11answers
779 views

Any primary sources that all Jewish males should l'chatchila stay in learning forever?

Does anyone know of any specific sources in Chazal or Rishonim (or even earlier achronim) that indicate that l'chatchila all Jewish males should learn full time forever? I know that this is the ...
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1answer
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Learning Torah of Rav Soloveitchik

I heard that the Be'er Moshe (Debreciner Rav) wrote that one should not read the Torah of the Rav since it can bring one into the wrong haskafos. Does anyone know where this can be found in his ...
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1answer
436 views

Why do some Jewish groups wear a uniform?

My impression of male Chareidi Jews is that they only ever wear a white shirt with a black suit shoes and hat, no tie. I also get the impression that particular other (possibly Chassidic) groups have ...
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2answers
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Is there a source for a man not addressing his wife by her first name?

I know a man who when addressing his wife calls her [for example] Mrs Doe as opposed to 'Jane' or 'Honey' [he does this when he is home too]. This person is very religious and what some might call '...
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2answers
295 views

What is the source for Rambam's thirteen principles?

What is the Rambam source for the thirteen principles, brought in his interpretation of the Mishna Sanhedrin 10:1? By that I mean what is his source that without these principles one does not go to ...
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1answer
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Can eilu veilu apply to historical/factual reality or not?

This answer by @Alex says Rashi (כתובות נז. ד"ה הא) already notes that "eilu v'eilu" is only applicable in a machlokes in sevarah, where sometimes one sevarah can be correct while at other times ...
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Does Judaism consider women inferior?

According to Orthodox Judaism, women may not be rabbis, be counted as part of a minyan, leyn from the Torah, or study the Talmud. It even says that to teach a woman Torah is to teach her obscenity! (...
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1answer
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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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Forefathers and consumerism - why they had more that they can eat?

Yaakov said (Gen 33.11): ... כִּי־חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹל ...׃ ... for God has favored me and I have everything... Rashi: יש לי כל: כָּל סִפּוּקִי; וְעֵשָׂו דִּבֵּר בִּלְשׁוֹן ...
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Angels saying Shirah before Hashem - “daily” rituals?

Rashi on Gen 32.27 כי עלה השחר. וְצָרִיךְ אֲנִי לוֹמַר שִׁירָה בַּיּוֹם (חולין צ"א): כי עלה השחר FOR THE DAY BREAKETH, and I have to sing God’s praise at day (Chullin 91b; Genesis Rabbah 78:1). ...
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What does it mean to be judged by the good or evil inclination?

Berachos 61b: תניא רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר צדיקים יצר טוב שופטן שנאמר ולבי חלל בקרבי רשעים יצר רע שופטן שנאמר נאם פשע לרשע בקרב לבי אין פחד אלהים לנגד עיניו Rabbi Yose HaG'lili said: The righteous are ...
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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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Killing of the nations of Canaan

I always understood Judaism as being the most peaceful religion, the one that doesn't go on crusades or various campaigns of forced conversions. However, how do I approach the fact that we killed the ...
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2answers
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What is in greater violation of the prohibition of blasphemy: Atheism vs Avoda Zara?

In the eyes of halacha, who is in greater violation of the prohibition of blasphemy, an idolator or an atheist? Whichever is worse, is that the case by both Jew and Non-Jew?
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Empirical evidence of Sages' intellectual superiority

Throughout ages, our Sages engaged in Halachic, scientific and philosophical arguments between themselves and with other nations' philosophers. We hold that the truthfulness of Talmudic discussions ...
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1answer
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Why should a hedonistic teenager care about Judaism? [duplicate]

I recently had a conversation with a self-centered hedonistic American teenager who was not interested in hearing proofs that the Torah is the word of God and said he could serve God any way he wanted....
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Can a person still be an Orthodox Jew and believe that the Torah contains narratives that are not scientifically correct?

I am taking the position that perhaps the Torah does contain narratives that are not scientifically correct, such as the creation and early human history narratives found in the first 11 chapters of ...
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Seeking uplifting vort for Thanksgiving day table

I am looking for suggestions for one or more short discussion topics or teachings for the Thanksgiving day table, with kids from 10 years of age and up. Topics alone are fine, but topics fleshed out ...
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Sources that G-d miraculously and deceptively conceal His deeds

In the debate on veracity and historicity of the Biblical stories and claims many assert that after an event in discussion G-d miraculously wiped all evidence or replaced it to look natural. For ...
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1answer
129 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 ...
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Why Torah never mentions any type of conversion for our foremothers?

As we know, all our foremothers came from homes of [famous] idolaters - Betuel and Lavan (well, Sarah also). Once Avraham started the dynasty with Itzhak it seems reasonable that all newcomers will ...
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807 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 ...
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What is the reason the religious adherence is currently inversely proportional to the standard of living? [closed]

It is a well-established fact that the most religious modern societies are the poorest, having the least life expectancy, most infant mortality, hunger, wars, wild animals and everything that's on the ...
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How did Gdoley Israel react to the landing on the Moon?

IMHO, landing on the Moon did/could seriously undermine the bases of the Jewish religious view about the nature of the celestial bodies. How did Gdoley Israel react/deal with the landing on Moon (and ...
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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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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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2answers
140 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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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411 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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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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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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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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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
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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
113 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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58 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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298 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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