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
1k views

Is there a concept of “peer review” in Rabbinical Judaism?

"Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competences as the producers of the work (peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a ...
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1answer
53 views

Elu Ve'Elu - can half truth be called truth? [duplicate]

Many Talmudic sources themselves, interpreters and commentators seek to reconcile contradicting opinions by steering each opinion off to a different scope/topic. Someone gave an example of a cylinder,...
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1answer
555 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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2answers
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Who opposes saying the Piyut מכניסי רחמים?

There is a long standing debate surrounding the piyut "מכניסי רחמים" which is said during selichot (words found here). The piyut is addressed to angels and the text aims to elicit the attributes of ...
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The treatment of Jewish unbelievers in Halacha

There is a man, not an am ha'aretz by any means nor a Tinok Shenishba who has become an Apikores by any definition. He is not evangelical about his unbelief and is observant. He does not publicly ...
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1answer
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Contesting the line between Torah and secular knowledge [closed]

Isn't it the case that the Rambam, for one, thought that astronomy, medicine, mathematics, for examples, were a part of Torah knowledge? At least the line for him is not simple and clear cut (eg see ...
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1answer
69 views

Why are some sins counted twice?

I am looking to understand the theology behind a negative commandment being repeated in the Torah in order to make whomever transgresses it punishable for 2 sins. See for example Rashi on Vayikra 25:...
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Understanding the teaching of a person who says “I have labored in Torah study and haven't found success- don't believe him”

Megillah 6b states: ואמר ר' יצחק אם יאמר לך אדם יגעתי ולא מצאתי אל תאמן לא יגעתי ומצאתי אל תאמן יגעתי ומצאתי תאמן הני מילי בדברי תורה אבל במשא ומתן סייעתא Rabbi Yitzḥak said: If a person says to you &...
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8answers
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Sinning and G-d's will, what's wrong with this logic?

Nothing happens against Hashem's will. Ergo, when one sins, that's also Hashem's will. Yet we know that Hashem wants us not to sin, so it's against His will. Contradiction?
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Tamim tihye and predicting the future

On the pasuk "Tamim tihye im Hashem Elokecha" (Devarim 18:13), Rashi says : Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not inquire of the future; rather, accept whatever ...
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28 views

Why no positive feedback from Moses in his reproof for everything Israel did good?

I'm a big fan of Positive Psychology approach to education, reinforcing positive behaviors instead of discouraging negative ones. When Moses is scolding the nations for the sins [of the previous ...
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0answers
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Why the fact that the Earth is spherical is a deep secret according to Zohar?

Following "zohars-knowledge-about-earths-shape" and related to my other question "why-did-G-d-create-the-earth-spherical": Zohar (Vayikra 10a) states the following, seemingly pointing to the fact ...
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2answers
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Are people rational?

Does it say anywhere in the Sources that people are not rational? By that I mean: A certain course of action may be the most logical and common-sensical from all angles, and people do something else. ...
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Can anyone explain R. Nissim of Marseilles's seemingly problematic opinion on longevity in Genesis?

Recently, I have been looking into the idea of longevity in Genesis. Today, I stumbled upon R. Nissim of Marseilles's opinion of it, but no matter how many times I read over the article that mentioned ...
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4answers
333 views

Egalitarian references in Chazal

I'm trying to find references in Chazal to the principle that people are judged/rewarded based on the choices they make, regardless of their specific role in society. For example, I believe I have ...
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1answer
91 views

Does Judaism advise us to do one thing at a time?

After reading this article in Aish by a Professor of Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, sadly and surprisingly bereft of Jewish sources, I asked myself: Is there a general Jewish teaching that says:...
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4answers
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If it is not mentioned in the Torah as a miracle - can it be interpreted as one?

Many events in the Torah were explicit miracles - meaning that G-d's super-natural intervention was mentioned, e.g. Sarah giving birth at 100 or splitting the sea or Mannah. For many other events, no ...
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Does G-d have expiration on His tolerance?

וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל־מֹשֶׁה עַד־אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם הַזֶּה וְעַד־אָנָה לֹא־יַאֲמִינוּ בִי בְּכֹל הָאֹתוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ׃ And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people ...
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Was the sin of the Spies more severe than the Golden Calf? [duplicate]

IIRC, in the story of the Golden Calf, people not only actually MADE the idol but worshipped it, while in the story of Meraglim people only BELIEVED in what the Spies said. Nevertheless, after the G"...
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1answer
92 views

Legal status of one sentenced to death until execution?

What's the legal status of one who's sentenced to death by a court (say smoked on Shabbos) from the moment of the verdict till the actual death: What're his economical rights (his property, estate, ...
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Weren't Dor Hamidbar exempt from all Mitzvos as “already sentenced to death”? [duplicate]

IIRC, one who was sentenced to death is considered already dead (גברא קטילא)(San 85a, but exact source needed) (or is it only about losing his property?). When G-d sentenced all 20-60 y.o. Jews to die ...
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1answer
58 views

Why Dor Hamidbar weren't given a chance to repent?

This probably echoes "why-G-d-didnt-give-adam-chance-to-repent". I'm trying to empathize Dor Hamidbar and try to imagine how would they feel, doomed by G-d Himself to die pointlessly in the ...
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46 views

Sefarim about how to respond or debate an apikores?

A friend of mine told me either the Steipler (or another gadol, my friend was not certain but recalled) wrote a Sefer concerning responding to an apikores. My main question inquires if any Sefer ...
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2answers
250 views

What did G-d do before Creation?

Is it possible to know what G-d was doing before this creation? While, as Maimonides states, that we cannot know anything about G-d except for what G-d is not (G-d has no body and is one), ...
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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 ...
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1answer
138 views

Source for “everyone has a specific area of Torah that they're naturally drawn to”

While we have to learn the entire Torah, I remember once learning that "everyone has a specific area of Torah that they're specifically drawn to/ naturally comes easier to them" (for example: monetary ...
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Do slaves owned by jews observe shabbat (day of rest)?

To my understanding it is a commandment of God that those who live among jews observe Shabbat. Historically, slaves owned by jews must have lived among them. Does Gods commandment apply to slaves, if ...
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Suppose you hear a commandment how do you know it’s God and not your own mind, or Satan? [duplicate]

Considering God asked Abraham to kill his son, it seems difficult to differentiate the word of God from that of Satan, how is one to know from whom a commandment is given? Is there a way to ...
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How MiYodea and other knowledge-sharing sites influence the future of Judaism?

The previously unknown availability and abundance of knowledge, both religious, and scientific surely impose a serious challenge to the existing structure of Torah study. I hear many Rabbis, Ram"im, ...
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Whose spirit and whose lips are referred to in Psalms 106:33?

32וַיַּקְצִיפוּ עַל־מֵי מְרִיבָה וַיֵּרַע לְמֹשֶׁה בַּעֲבוּרָם ׃ 33: כִּי־הִמְרוּ אֶת־רוּחוֹ וַיְבַטֵּא בִּשְׂפָתָיו׃ 32: They provoked wrath at the waters of Meribah and Moses suffered on ...
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Can we know the absolute truth?

I've encountered Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers suggest that we, as finite creatures, cannot know the absolute, objective truth. All we can do (in This World), I've heard suggested, is to approach (in ...
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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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1answer
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Is it possible to pray to Hashem for a specific person as your prospective spouse?

I understand in the first Amud of Masechet Sotah, an individual’s future [first] spouse is predestined. Is there a possibility of praying to Hashem, such that one may change the decree and designate a ...
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How the experience of G-d can be distinguished from experiencing AI? [closed]

This is a thought experiment aimed to aid me to prepare for the Messianic times: We know, that the European colonizers of America were seen by the natives as "sons of gods" because of the ...
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56 views

Relation between brain damage and the soul

Physical damage to the brain can lead to various psychological and cognitive phenomena, like drastic changes in character, selective memory loss (like forgetting faces but remembering names or vice ...
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1answer
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Does “Ein Ye'ush” apply to everything or just spiritual related things?

I have recently heard about a concept called "Ein Ye'ush Baolam Clal" ("אין יאוש בעולם כלל") which translates as "There is never a time of despair". I was wondering if this is referring to all ...
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2answers
144 views

What is the Jewish view of “work”?

What is the mainline Jewish view of "work"? (1) Work is an just an option for those who have enough money to live on. The Torah may say "Six days shall you labor and do all your work&...
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When does a person transcend to status “Tzadik sets his bar”?

Background: we had a motivational lecture in our Kollel today, with a Rabbi praising virtues of studying Torah (towards Shavuos). He brought a couple of stories about prominent Rabbis dedicating their ...
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2answers
510 views

Sources for Greek philosophy being influenced by Judaism [closed]

I'm aware of multiple sources describing exactly the opposite - the sheer influence of the Greek culture, language, economy, science and general worldview on the Sages and Judaism. The Greek culture ...
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1answer
92 views

Motivation for Miztvot

According to Bava Kamma 79b, the penalty difference between a ganav and a gazlan is that the robber does not disrespect Hashem -- he commits his crime in full view of anyone, man or God but the thief ...
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How the crown of a good name (כתר שם טוב) was Halachicly left out?

רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה כְתָרִים הֵם, כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת, :וְכֶתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב עוֹלֶה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן Rabbi Shimon said: There are three crowns: the ...
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2answers
111 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 portion in ...
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1answer
66 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
143 views

Rem"a on Socrates being Achitophel's disciple

Rama mentions that Achitophel was a teacher of Socrates, as per the Moses Isserles, Torat ha-Olah 1:11): "Socrates was said to have been his disciple" I'm not lucidly fluent in Hebrew, but here's ...
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1answer
130 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 ...
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4answers
1k views

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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1answer
308 views

Why is Abraham considered the “Founder of Judaism”?

Why is Abraham called 'the founder of Judaism' given that he didn't write its founding legislation, which is what 'founders' of other religions did (for example, Paul and Muhammed)? What place does ...
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0answers
66 views

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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1answer
64 views

What גילוי פנים (G-d's closeness) looks like unlike הסתר פנים?

Besides some formal signs of "גילוי פנים" like the Temple or the prophecy that Am Israel enjoyed for about 1000 years from Matan Torah to the destruction of the first Temple. What are some general, ...
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119 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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