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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3answers
367 views

Did G-d create evil? [closed]

Did G-d create evil? Scripture says that G-d created everything, right? So then if G-d indeed created everything, does that mean He created evil? Is there Old Testament evidence for why He did or ...
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5answers
466 views

What is one's purpose in life and how does one find it?

How does one know or determine one's tafkid in life? And can a person have more than one tafkid? Please include sources. Thank you.
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2answers
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Why is it important that God created the first pair of tongs?

It says in Pirkei Avot 5:6 that God made the first pair of tongs immediately before creation. Could not one have made tongs out of bone or wood wrapped in leather or made with a metal, such as gold, ...
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6answers
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Where is it taught that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome?

I heard various rabbonim say that Hashem doesn't give a person test that he can't overcome. Where is the source for this?
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3answers
387 views

Hyperbole in the Gemara?

There are many times where the Gemara says that someone who does something is equivalent to one who is "kofer b'kol" or killing someone (for example regarding lashon harah in Erchin 15b I have always ...
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0answers
172 views

Which Rishonim viewed maaseh bereishit as an allegory?

I have often heard that many rishonim were comfortable with the idea that at least the first week of creation could be read allegorically, not literally. What are the specific sources that support ...
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2answers
178 views

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?
3
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5answers
995 views

Why do we count years from the date of Creation?

Why do we count years from the date of Creation? I intend two sub-questions here, of which the second is far more interesting, so please answer it: Whence did this tradition originate? Why do we ...
3
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2answers
109 views

How do we exercise free will when influenced on so many levels?

In Judaism, there is a concept of free will; but, from many sciences and probably our own experiences we know for a fact that many factors influence our decision-making process, and many of them ...
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0answers
162 views

Do the Rishonim that hold G-d can have physical form (e.g Rav Moshe Taku, etc.) also hold he can incarnate?

Among the various Rishonim that hold that G-d can take physical form (e.g Rav Moshe Taku, etc.), do they also hold he can "incarnate" into physical form (i.e come down to Earth and be born to a woman ...
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2answers
201 views

Who has the right to come up with chiddushei Torah?

I am not at all learned in Torah, and yet I occasionally come up with what I think is a chiddush of Torah. Of course, it frequently turns out that someone else has thought of my "chiddush" before me,...
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0answers
239 views

May one ride in a utilitarian car?

A new study has confirmed the obvious: people want to survive: even though participants approve of autonomous vehicles that might sacrifice passengers to save others, respondents would prefer not ...
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3answers
337 views

Why did God created physical impulse towards the “wrong” women

When I was young and had struggles with my "yetzer hara" - sexual impulse, I was fascinated by the Jewish attitude towards that impulse. God created this impulse for a purpose. It is meant to push ...
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2answers
779 views

Why does God tolerate demons? What is their purpose?

The Bavli records in many places the existence of demons, and answers to this question cite rishonim and acharonim who take this seriously. Pesachim 112b relates a story in which demons are (...
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3answers
185 views

Amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah

What's the source for amailut (trying hard/ toiling) to learn Torah? Is there any benefit to try learning Torah on your own without help, when you can learn Torah through asking others and looking ...
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4answers
348 views

Astrology in the Torah

The Torah seems to have many examples where astrology is deemed real. (such as the astrology predictions that Moshe would be struck by water which made Paraoh throw the Jewish males in the Nile river. ...
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4answers
637 views

What is the source of hatred perceived by Jews in different parts of the world?

I don't know if this is off topic but a similar question is here at Christianity SE and I thought it would be interesting to ask the corresponding one here. It intrigues me how people from other ...
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2answers
272 views

Why Wait for Moshiach according to the Rambam

The Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah says God has no joy or sadness. If so, why do we wait for moshiach? For G-d's glory? G-d does not need anything from us.
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2answers
243 views

How does Judaism views Secularism?

In present day world, most of the democratic countries follow Secularism, i.e. separating state and religion. What is the opinion of Judaism on Secularism: Should a state following Halacha endorse ...
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3answers
241 views

What are some of the more 'controversial' statements that are found in Moreh Nevuchim (Rambam)? [closed]

and is it clear that he wrote it. I'm simply curious.
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10answers
665 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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11answers
898 views

Reconciling the evidence for the Uncertainty Principle with belief in an omniscient G-d

One of the foundations of modern quantum mechanics is the Uncertainty Principle. This principle is not an assumption, but rather is derived from assumptions made with regard to the structure of nature....
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4answers
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How can I respond to challenges to the Kuzari argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai?

The Kuzari's argument for the transmission of Torah from Sinai was extremely convincing when I heard it, and I've read different summaries of it by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb and Rabbi Leib Keleman (I must ...
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3answers
342 views

Does the Torah 'know' about 'quantum mechanics' and 'DNA synthesis'?

There are many articles and books available on the interplay between science and Judaism. Very often they come in the form of a halachic discussion of applying science to be able to resolve a halachic ...
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1answer
388 views

Is it forbidden for a Jew to read the writings of Baruch Spinoza?

The cherem against Spinoza says the following: The Lords of the ma'amad, having long known of the evil opinions and acts of Baruch de Espinoza... We order that no one should communicate with him ...
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2answers
670 views

Moreh Nevuchim: To learn or not to learn?

I have come across many people who believe that it is inappropriate to learn Moreh Nevuchim especially at a younger inexperienced age. However, it seems that many important issues are discussed in the ...
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4answers
2k views

Can someone have a soul of the opposite gender?

Inspired by this question: Prayer for changing name for transgender reasons? While the subject of transgender individuals has been discussed, I was wondering if it is possible, from a hashkafic sense,...
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3answers
2k views

Why did God create the mentally ill/ severely handicapped?

Why did God create people who are mentally ill or severely handicapped? They are not able to serve him in the same capacity and their lives seem to be full of difficulty and anguish. Why would God do ...
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2answers
134 views

Do traditional sources address how time “works”?

I’m sorry for such a convoluted question, but this has been bothering me for some time now. While the title isn’t quite accurate, I couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it - feel free to edit if ...
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3answers
181 views

How to choose 'your' rebbi?

When a person is choosing who they will learn from as their rebbi, are there any guidelines or rules that govern the decision making process? First a definition of what a rebbi is (for the purposes ...
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4answers
668 views

Lubavitch and Geocentricism

I read here in an article by Rabbi Gil Student that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe zy"a believed in the geocentric model despite the modern scientific evidence to the contrary. What is the source for this ...
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6answers
209 views

what is good and what does it mean that God is good?

what does the term "tov" (good) mean. I am asking especially in how it relates to God. i.e. what does "tov" mean and what does it mean that God is "tov". an example where God is ascribed "tov" is in ...
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4answers
281 views

Where does the sense of morality come from?

Where does our sense of morality which impels us to right conduct come from? Is it something internal to us, or perhaps it is external to us? Is it physical or spiritual, etc. For example, does our ...
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3answers
243 views

What caused God?

I recently came across this webpage, in which I read the following: You say everything needs a cause, right? So what caused the 1st cause? Why is the 1st cause the exception to the rule? Maybe the ...
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5answers
246 views

If voting doesn't do anything, should one vote?

All translations below are my own. Lev Melech B'Yad Hashem Shlomo HaMelech tells us (Mishlei 21:1): פלגי מים לב מלך ביד יהוה על כל אשר יחפץ יטנו [Like] streams of water is the heart of a king ...
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2answers
202 views

Why create lust?

Why did G-d create lust (i.e. boys and girls)?
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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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1answer
6k views

Why does the Jewish calendar HAVE to end?

It seems to be common knowledge that on or around the year 6,000 of the Jewish calendar "everything" (left intentionally vague) will come to an end and there will be a 1,000 year 'Shabbos'. I'm ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Where did the “a cat will always be a cat” story about the Rambam come from?

I've seen and heard a story about the Rambam told multiple times along the lines of this particularly concise retelling: There is a beautiful story of a disagreement that Maimonides had with a ...
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2answers
598 views

“God is Fire”: Trying to Source an Analogy for Prayer

I remember reading once a very clever analogy, which I was sure that I had found in the writings of Yeshayahu Leibowitz (who sourced it, from memory, in the writings of the Rav, R' Yosef Ber ...
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7answers
396 views

Beginning a comprehensive study of Moreh N'vuchim

A friend of mine would like to begin learning Moreh N'vuchim seriously and is unsure of exactly where/with what to start. What is the best version out there of the book itself? Are there any ...
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5answers
396 views

Why does the belief in Mashiach require that one be anxious for his coming?

The question of why belief in Mashiach should be a fundamental belief (an ikkar/yesod of Judaism of the Rambam's 13) is asked here, and I answered it myself here. However, when it comes to this ...
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4answers
5k views

English translation of Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim (Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed) on the Internet?

Is there an English translation on the Internet of Rambam's philosophic treatise on Jewish philosophy, Moreh Nevuchim?
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6answers
602 views

Tikkun Olam source

What is the source for the concept that Jews have to practice Tikkun Olam, and where in the classical Jewish sources is this concept defined? It seems people throw this term around a lot in the ...
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2answers
1k views

No Olam Habah for these?

At the end of Gemorah (Tractate) Sanhedrin, there is discussion of people who are not Zocheh to get into Olam Haba (Gan Eden). Is there a comprehensive list somewhere of people mentioned throughout ...
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1answer
573 views

Why did Rabbis stay away from Amei Haaretz?

The Gemara tells Torah scholars that they should not mix with Amei Haaretz, and shouldn't be around them, eat with them, etc. The reason is that the Torah Scholars would learn from their bad ways. ...
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4answers
760 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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3answers
480 views

Mashiach in year 6000?

I have heard in various discussions that we have an idea that mashiach will come at the latest by year 6000. Is this a normative belief? Furthermore, is this a belief that is understood literally by ...
6
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3answers
723 views

Is it greater to refrain from doing an aveirah than to perform a mitzvah?

Given the opportunity to do a mitzvah or to refrain from doing an aveirah - which would place you in a better situation on the scale of heaven with regards to a person's level of righteousness?
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2answers
458 views

What are the implications of karet?

Does karet mean the soul will not ever enter the olam haba? Can teshuvah rectify the transgression which lead to the karet? Can that soul in another re-incarnation rectify the blemish of karet? By "...