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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2answers
89 views

Belief in the resurrection of the dead

I am puzzled by this line in the Mishna [Sanhedrin 10:1]: וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, הָאוֹמֵר אֵין תְּחִיַּת הַמֵּתִים מִן הַתּוֹרָה And these are the ones who have no ...
11
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3answers
691 views

Is it wrong to be racist?

Is there anything wrong about being a racist? By racist I mean believing that certain groups of people are objectively worse in any qualitative way based on their race.
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9answers
5k views

Why don't Jews think Jesus is the messiah?

Christians say that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament; Jews disagree. Why couldn't Jesus be the Messiah spoken of? Or could he possibly have been?
5
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2answers
410 views

Vilna Gaon's Criticism of the Rambam

As mentioned in this answer, the Vilna Gaon once criticised the Rambam for having been led astray by his own philosophy. I have seen this statement referenced also in this article on Seforim Blog and ...
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2answers
229 views

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?
22
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2answers
3k views

Why does the Hebrew alphabet not have letters representing vowels?

The Hebrew alphabet is actually an abjad rather than a "true" Western-style alphabet, in that every letter represents a consonant, and vowels, if they're indicated at all, require diacritics. This ...
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11answers
1k views

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?
2
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1answer
62 views

In the interest of being mekarev somebody is it permitted to minimize the spiritual & focus on the practical?

Are you allowed to convince an agnostic Jew to start keeping parts of the Torah for purely practical purposes like: prayer & faith have a calming effect, learning Torah sharpens the mind, Shabbos ...
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1answer
120 views

Why human procreation is not voluntary?

Physiologically, the process of procreation is all "out of our control", whether on the side of men or women. For example, women don't have a choice of deciding whether to get pregnant or not (think ...
5
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3answers
96 views

Why does there have to be a written Torah?

I’d like to ask the opposite of this question. There, the OP asked why we have a distinct Torah SheBa’al Peh; wouldn’t it help to disseminate the Torah better if everything were written? Answers ...
2
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0answers
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A question of theodicy

A lot of people are bothered by the fact that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Chazal answers by saying that it all averages out in the World to Come. But I don'...
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4answers
2k views

What is the Orthodox Jewish view of the afterlife?

What is the nature of life after death, according to Orthodox Judaism as it exists today? I have tried to read up on this, but I often hear very conflicted views... I mean I once read that Sheol is ...
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2answers
667 views

Deviations of Ralbag from normative Jewish theology

In an article about the Rashba's views on science, Rabbi Dr. David Horwitz throws in the following sentence (p. 53): No less than a radical thinker than R. Levi ben Gershom (Ralbag), who had no ...
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6answers
1k views

What has the Holocaust taught us as a people?

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific and important events in our history. What have rabbis said are lessons we should take from it? I am looking for lessons that should apply to all Jews, ...
35
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13answers
3k views

Bereishit vs. science

How does Judaism deal with the differences between scientific evidence of the beginning of the world and the account(s) in Bereishit?
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1answer
117 views

Age of Universe [duplicate]

What is the most plausible way to reconcile the traditional dating of the universe (now 5779) with science's understanding that the universe is billions of years old?
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1answer
72 views

Authenticity of Zohar--Bitul Torah?

As indicated in a prior thread on this site, there is good reason to doubt the authenticity of the Zohar, i.e., that it is attributable to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Question: if that is the case, ...
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2answers
53 views

Why is it called Zman Cheiruseinu (Time of Our Freedom), if we are still slaves of Hashem?

Pesach is called Zman Cheiruseinu (Time of our Freedom) presumably because we were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh. But, the Jewish nation is NOT halachically free to do whatever it pleases. We are ...
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4answers
301 views

What is the reason for שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום?

The gemara in Berachos 8a-b states: אמר רב הונא בר יהודה אמר רבי אמי לעולם ישלים אדם פרשיותיו עם הצבור שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום [...] שכל המשלים פרשיותיו עם הצבור מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו Rav ...
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2answers
72 views

If dew is automatic why do we have Tefillas Tal?

I heard in a dvar Torah that Tal, dew, is automatic (or much more so than rain). This is connected to the view that Pesach represents אתערותא דלעילא that is that HaShem helps us even though we are not ...
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0answers
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Are “Luck” and “Personal Providence” the same thing?

First, I need to set a "reference frame" for this comparison, to eliminate unneeded quarrels: I follow the approach (presented here as "The idea commonly espoused in the Jewish world today" thanks to ...
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2answers
125 views

Meaning of “Not holding on that level of emuna/bitachon”

(Hi newbie here :) I hope I'm writing this post correctly.) What does it mean when people say "I'm not holding on that level of emuna/bitachon"? I've seen and heard countless times when people say ...
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1answer
179 views

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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3answers
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When does hatred “make sense”?

The Talmud says that the Second Temple was destroyed because "senseless hatred" [sin'at chinam] prevailed. Yoma 9b אבל מקדש שני שהיו עוסקין בתורה ובמצות וגמילות חסדים מפני מה חרב מפני שהיתה בו שנאת ...
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2answers
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The mishnah of four things not to look at

There is a Mishnah in Hagigah 11b which says: כל המסתכל בארבעה דברים ראוי לו כאילו לא בא לעולם מה למעלה מה למטה מה לפנים ומה לאחור ...: Whoever looks at four matters, it would have been better ...
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3answers
56 views

If there were people before/during Avraham's life that recognised Hashem, why was Avraham chosen specifically?

We know that Shem lived during the life of Avraham Avinu, described as Malki Tzedek. Why is Avraham considered the first to spread ethical monotheism (concluding in G-d choosing him) if it's known ...
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2answers
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If the Torah is compared to water how come we drown in water?

I admit I didn't expect it - a kid in our shul asked me that when I mentioned that the Torah is compared to water (B"K 82a): "דורשי רשומות אמרו: אין מים אלא תורה, שנאמר: הוֹי כָּל צָמֵא לְכוּ ...
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1answer
105 views

Gan Eden vs. Olam Haba

Please correct me if I'm wrong: The purpose of creation is to create a בית בתחתונים for G-d. The more mitzvos Jews engage in, the more they are guided by their soul's desire to give as opposed to ...
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3answers
435 views

What are the three impure klippot?

Kabbalah and Chassidus discuss the "three impure klippot" and Klippos Noga. What is the difference between each of these three klippos?
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1answer
112 views

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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0answers
71 views

Mechanisms of protecting Judaism from misuse

As we can see with Nazi Germany, democracy can be a dangerous thing. Many countries try to override democracy with a special status of the supreme court, able to invalidate the parliamentary laws (to ...
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6answers
6k views

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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3answers
730 views

Bad Jew or Good Gentile?

Whom does Hashem love more: Gentiles who love Jewish people and Israel or Jews who are against Jewish people and Israel?
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of psak?

I have asked many people this question, and not yet got a comprehensive answer: What is psak? Like, let's say I have a certain piece of food of uncertain status. If I ask my 6 year old kid if it's ...
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1answer
61 views

Why is Hashem being separate from his creation a more acceptable belief than His creation being within Him?

I've read and been told that Hashem is separate from his creation because he is infinite and therefore he can't have the finite objects of the universe be a part of him. He must be uniform. I've ...
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3answers
142 views

What is the theological basis for changes in the practices of Judaism over the centuries?

There are many events or practices in the Old Testament which might seem brutal to a modern Western person; for example, I remember reading a passage about a man who was stoned to death for collecting ...
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3answers
579 views

What does the Rambam mean when he says that the planets have souls?

Rambam states in Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, Chapter 3, Section 9 that each of the planets have a soul, knowledge, and intellect. כל הכוכבים והגלגלים כולן בעלי נפש ודעה והשכל הם והם חיים ועומדים ...
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0answers
82 views

How does Rav Saadia Gaon account for the suffering of children?

I came across this excerpt from Rav Saadia Gaon on reincarnation (on mesora.org, where they cite it as Saadia Gaon: “The Book of Beliefs and Opinions” “Refutation of Reincarnation” Yale Judaica Series,...
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6answers
667 views

Is there any reason to deny aliens according to Judaism?

Is there any reason that we couldn't believe in life on another planet somewhere? Is there any source that indicates to the contrary?
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1answer
62 views

Does God care about things that don't affect the Jews?

There is a trope in Judaism that God smites even the greatest Empires when they oppress the Jews. Does God ever smite nations that are wicked to other non-Jews? We do have the example of Sodom, but ...
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2answers
65 views

What was God's original plan regarding Adam?

I would like to research the common ground for our understanding of G-d's original plan of the creation if Adam didn't sin. According to Sanhedrin 38, he was fully developed at noon, having 6 hours ...
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3answers
336 views

Can a Non-Jew attain the highest levels of connectedness to G-d?

Can a Non-Jew who performs the Noahide laws attain the highest levels of connectedness to G-d as a Jew who performs mitzvot?
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3answers
84 views

Purposes of Marriage in Judaism [duplicate]

Why do we get married according to Judaism? What is the point behind us working so hard to get married? Presumably it is not just to bear children! I have heard of a concept of two halves coming ...
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0answers
87 views

A widow using her deceased husbands semen to conceive?

If a husband has some of his semen frozen/saved and then dies, what halachic and hashkafic issues have to be addressed when deciding if his widow is allowed to/can/should use that semen to become ...
5
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2answers
48 views

Why was it specifically Gavriel who is Hashem’s messenger to guide events?

Among all of the Malachim, Gavriel seems disproportionately involved in human events: He was responsible for saving Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace (Berachos 4b, Pesachim 118a-...
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2answers
96 views

Spiritual Boredom

Because of all the routines, standard prayers, repeating cycles etc, someone told me that going to the synagogue became quite boring for him. He still saw the value of those things, but he didn’t ...
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2answers
78 views

Incorporeal Resurrection

I was under the impression that, in contrast to Maimonides' distinction between techiyath hameithim (resurrection of the dead) and olam haba (the world to come), those Medieval/Renaissance period ...
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4answers
305 views

“Law of Attraction”? [closed]

Are there any Jewish responses to the "Law of Attraction" or analyses of this idea in the context of Jewish thought?
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2answers
105 views

Meaning of Zekher Livracha (ז"ל - Of blessed memory)

The literal translation of ז"ל is "of blessed memory" What does it mean to bless memory? How does it help the soul?
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1answer
67 views

Is everyone who dies in his 50s Chayav Kares?

I've come across a bunch of great Rabbanim: Poskim, Mekubalim and Tzadikim who passed away within their 50s. The Gemara in Moed Katan 28a says: אמר רבה: [מיתה] מחמשים ועד ששים שנה זו היא מיתת כרת....