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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What Came First, the Torah or the Jew?

This is apparently an age old debate, and really is a question about what is primary; more important. The midrash (Tanna D'Bei Eliyahu Rabbah, ch. 14. See also Bereshit Rabbah 1:4) asks this question: ...
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Not inquiring about pre-creation - why?

ואמר רב אחא בר יעקב עוד רקיע אחד יש למעלה מראשי החיות דכתיב (יחזקאל א, כב) ודמות על ראשי החיה רקיע כעין הקרח הנורא עד כאן יש לך רשות לדבר מכאן ואילך אין לך רשות לדבר שכן כתוב בספר בן סירא (בן סירא ג, ...
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Are people inherently good or bad according to Judaism

Question is pretty straightforward in the title
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Credit for mitzvot in vacuous situations

A man fulfills the negative mitzvah of not having relations with his sister perfectly - he never even thinks about doing it. This is because he has no sister. Does he get credit for this? I would ...
Craig Feinstein's user avatar
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Why does the word "tzaddik" and the "righteousness hierarchy" mean different things or have different terms depending on author and context?

The word "tzaddik", typically translated as "righteous", comes up quite a lot in different Jewish texts. Someone who is righteous would be called a "tzaddik", as a noun. ...
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Is it permissible to teach Kabbalah to the public?

Is it permissible to teach Kabbalah to the general public (as opposed to only a select few sages - asking if one can do so in public would be a different question)? If so, what are the limits, rules ...
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Are there any traditional Jewish sources that indicate one should investigate the truth of Judaism and follow his conclusions?

As noted here, the evidence for Judaism is subject to dispute. The most intellectually honest approach to this question would seem to require one to thoroughly investigate the matter and follow his ...
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What about Hashem are we emulating by battling our yeitzer hara?

Derech Hashem and mussar state that Divine service is emulating Hashem, becoming His partner, and similar to Him so we can attach to Him. Ramchal states that we should come to earn and therefore own ...
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Halachot relevant to dealing with people with extreme views

This question is assuming that there is a prevalence of extreme views, especially since the age of the internet, and particularly in the last 10-15 years. It is not a blanket statement against all ...
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Mitzvot that regulate undesirable practices and behaviour, designed to bring a gradual end to them - sources for this general idea?

Slavery is bad, but Hashem didn't ban it, He regulated it (see start of Parshat Mishpatim). Killing our own children is bad, but Hashem didn't ban it, He regulated it (Ben Sorer Umoreh, Ki Tetze). ...
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Do the non-traditional branches of Judaism claim to be rejecting the original foundations and replacing it with something superior?

R Dovid Gottlieb made the following claim to me: "The non-traditional branches (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist) of Judaism claim to be rejecting the original foundations and replacing ...
Tzvi K's user avatar
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Theological issues to certain brachot

According to Rambam in Mishneh Torah but especially in Moreh Nevuchim, and many other Jewish Philosophers, when the Torah uses any words to describe Hashem, they are just a mashal, i.e. it is just ...
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Which Jewish theologians won't cite Jewish survival as evidence of miracles?

Which Jewish theologians (defined below) disagree with the following conclusion: "Jewish survival can't be [reasonably] explained in a natural way (and instead needs to be explained as a miracle)...
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Are there sources for G-d granting non-Jews miracles?

A friend of mine told me that he once saw in Meam Loez (he thought Yisro) a story about how a group of people on an island had a custom where they walked up a person to a volcano and he jumped in. He ...
Eliyahu770's user avatar
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Constantly misplacing and losing things

In general, but especially lately, I tend to misplace and lose things. I can have a kippa on my head, and then it's gone. In our house, there are at least 15 missing kippot and 5 pairs of tzitzit at ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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Looking for sources that support needing a mechitzah in shul for activities other than davening

What are sources that support having a mechitzah or for gatherings in shul outside of davening such as kiddush, adult education, or other seudas mitzvah? Also helpful are sources that are against not ...
Dude's user avatar
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Why is the Exodus from Egypt so fundamental to Judaism?

The Exodus from Egypt serves as a basis for a number of Mitzvos and is a hugely fundamental concept to Judaism, to the extent that the Rosh states: כִּי מִי שֶּׁאֵינוֹ מַאֲמִין ''אֲשֶּׁר הוֹצֵאתִיךָ ...
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In prayer and glorifying Hashem: Is thanks an expression of praise? Is praise an expression of thanks?

I am pursuing a line of thought. According to this, they seem to be linked (yet still separate): א֘וֹדֶ֤ה ה' מְאֹ֣ד בְּפִ֑י וּבְת֖וֹךְ רַבִּ֣ים אֲהַלְלֶֽנּוּ׃ My mouth shall sing much thanks to ...
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Bones and Essence

I believe the root of עֶצֶם/bone, and of עַצמוּת/essence, is the same. Is there any discussion about metaphorical connections between bones and essence?
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Rebbe Nachman of Breslov - "science tells you how, Torah tells you why". Anyone have a source for this?

Heard here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gag_myt1hWw Is this quotation correct? If so, where is the source? Thank you.
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Hashem and the Platonic World

2 + 2 = 4, right? If I have 2 things, and you have 2 things, we have 4 things between us. This is a logical reality that is inescapable. If we want a coherent, consistent set of rules for counting, ...
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Details of the Baal Shem Tov and Baal HaTanya debate with misnagdim

It’s pretty well known that the Baal Hatanya had a debate with misnagdim and the Baal Shem Tov once agreed to be farhered by them.(both sides agree that it happened) Does anyone have the actual ...
Schmerel's user avatar
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What is the meaning of the story of demon doubles?

Every man and woman that is born has a demonic double also born in the world of hell ruled by Samael, the Evil One. The world of hell is in all respects identical to the world of humanity. If you were ...
Orionixe's user avatar
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Why did Hashem wait 2000+ years to give the Torah?

I think the question is self explanatory: Why wait so long?
TORAHistheikur's user avatar
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Determining if one sinned in the past

If you might have inadvertently done something wrong but are not sure, is there value in finding out for sure, or is it water under the bridge? For example, say you're throwing out a suit and realize ...
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Is Seeing Pretzus ( inappropriate image of immodest women) Yehorog vaal yavor

I saw on YWN someone said that the rama and shulchan aruch rule it is yeharog vaal favor any “toldos” of the 3 aveiros chamuros. However in this day in age it is very common for billboards, ads, news ...
Baruch's user avatar
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Referring to Hashem with feminine pronouns

Are there any halachic sources, or is there universal advice about speaking about Hashem in terms of gender? Classical Torah sources almost exclusively speak about Him in neutral or masculine terms. ...
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Accepting blame for someone else?

This is connected to my other question about malicious compliance, but a bit different. Imagine something goes wrong, and for whatever reason the blame falls on you even though it wasn't you, but you ...
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What is the significance of demanding that a Jew write on the horn of an ox that they have no portion in the G-d of Israel?

In reflecting over the concepts of Hanukkah there seem, at first glance, to be many contradictory and conflicting messages. In the blessing related to Hanukkah we acknowledge, thank and praise G-d for ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
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Are the sefirot created?

The sefirot are said to be attributes / emanations by which the Ein Sof reveals Himself to his creation. G-d is said to be the eternal one. But are His sefirot also eternal or are they created?
Bob's user avatar
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Why is finding a Sealed Pach Hashemen a miracle?

This is one of the 3 miracles of Chanukah and the one memorialized by decreeing the holiday on the 25th of Kislev as opposed to the 24th when the miracle of the military victory happened or the 26th ...
Gamliel Beyderman's user avatar
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1 answer
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What is the position of each of these Non-Orthodox groups regarding the Oral Torah presented by Orthodox Judaism?

From my vague general knowledge (without studying this in depth), there are 6 general “mathematical” (potential) positions available for groups regarding the Orthodox Oral Torah; G-d never Gave ANY ...
Tzvi K's user avatar
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Can Orthodoxy allow for random chance as a cause of suffering?

To what extent is an Orthodox Jew permitted to believe that the suffering of the righteous is caused by random chance? Could the oft-cited idea of "olam k'minhago noheg" provided cover for ...
user3140521's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
128 views

What is the difference between mida k'negged mida and nekama

Not a kasha, a sincere question. What is the exact reason that mida k'negged mida is not considered revenge? Issues that may or may not be relevant: Is it just because it is Hashem doing it? Does ...
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How to handle situations where your superior has insisted you do something that you know is bad for them

There is a concept called malicious compliance in the secular world. A typical example would be when your boss is in a bad mood, and has a go at you for a mistake and says you are no longer allowed to ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
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3 answers
201 views

How can all explanations of the Torah be True when they contradict each other (eilu v'eilu)?

I've read multiple questions/answers that discuss Eilu V'eilu. However, the seem to always come back to the discussion of how it applies to Halacha. My question is stemming from somewhere else. If ...
yalow's user avatar
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Did ALL the Jews at the time of the closing of the Talmud accept the Talmud as binding?

The Rambam states in his introduction to Mishna Torah that the Talmud Bavli is binding because; כל אותם הדברים שבתלמוד הסכימו עליהם כל ישראל. What is the definition of the word "ישראל" in ...
Tzvi K's user avatar
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Sources regarding the Mesorah of the explanations/details of the Torah

It's difficult for me to accept that laws that I see written in a modern day Halacha sefer really originate from what G-d Told Moshe thousands of years ago. This is because there is so much time in ...
Tzvi K's user avatar
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What is the SOURCE of the rules/protocols [for dealing with machlokes] within the Oral Law?

As far as I am aware, there are 3 major categories of Torah She’baal peh; a) Known via direct Mesorah. b) Known via interpretation (following the RULES of interpretation [eg hermeneutic laws and s’...
Tzvi K's user avatar
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1 answer
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Did Nachmanides believe the Shechinah is God, and uncreated?

I heard couple claims that Nachmanides had the belief that the Shechinah is not a caused and distinct emanation but rather God himself or even a person (hypostasis) according to some Christians, the ...
Kaijix Papa's user avatar
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52 views

Is one permitted to face another direction besides towards eretz yisroel when praying?

Assuming one isn't davening in a minyan so as not to disrespect the minyan but if someone is already praying on their own is it permissible to face another direction? "Rebbe Yitzhak said: one who ...
Dude's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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Are Jewish souls eternal? [duplicate]

Rabbi Kaplan in Moreh Ohr 3:4 (p. 43), brings a quotation from the introduction of Shefa Tal: “The souls of the Jewish nation are a part of God, which is hinted to in Dev. 32:9 ‘כי חלק ה׳ עמו, For ...
Turk Hill's user avatar
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What were the 10 instances when the Torah reports that God descended?

What were the 10 instances when the Torah reports that God descended? This question is inspired from reading this statement from the Wikepedia entry on parashat Noach: Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai taught ...
ninamag's user avatar
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2 answers
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If the ENTIRE Egyptian army drowned, why didn't the Babylonians/Hittites invade Egypt?

The following is an excerpt of a critique on "Reason to Believe": Critic: Under these conditions, were the Ten Plagues and a total crush of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea waters to happen,...
Tzvi K's user avatar
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2 answers
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How to reconcile two approaches to worldly pleasures found in Torah - avoidance and obligation?

I am looking for a detailed, comprehensive answer (if possible) to this. As one studies Torah one comes across a seeming contradictory set of values. On the one hand, it seems that our greatest heroes ...
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Why does the yeshiva system focus mainly on the study of the talmud? [duplicate]

It seems, almost across the board, that most yeshivas spent the majority of their time studying the talmud while allocating very little (if any) time towards the study of other critical judaic texts ...
Ani Yodea's user avatar
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Is it wrong (or at least off) to refer to Judaism as a "faith"?

I teach Jewish Studies to primarily non-Jewish college students. One of my students referred to Judaism as a "faith." I associate the term "faith" with Christianity since it is ...
Noa 's user avatar
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1 answer
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The Gemara (Sukkah 25b) mentions "taking your mind off your worries." Do any commentators elaborate on exactly how to do that?

The Gemara (Sukkah 25b) mentions that an avel (mourner) is obligated in the mitzvah of Sukkah. One might have thought that since someone who is mitzta'er (in pain) is exempt from the mitzvah, that an ...
Elyah's user avatar
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2 answers
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Concept of sinner?

In Judaism is there a concept of being a sinner. What I mean by that is in the xhristian religion, most everyone considers themselves a sinner. Would not the point be to consider yourself righteous ...
Raul Valdez Jr.'s user avatar
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4 answers
238 views

Is it possible to use free will to avoid getting married?

In the context of zivugim, it seems that it's not possible to marry someone who is not your zivug. See this answer for some sources, as well as this gemara in Moed Katan 18b for example. What I have ...
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