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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47 views

Health blessing

where does it say in Gemara (I remember it was in the gemara) that the main blessing we get from HaShem is health, because w/o it we can't enjoy the other blessings?
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A name adding to our development into who we are/become?

In Bereshit 2:19 Adam gets the honorable task to name the animals. The Midrash Genesis/Bereshit Raba 17:4 tells us that the first man, Adam, looked into the essence and nature of every creature and ...
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Rambam and Torah Lishma

the Rambam (Teshuva 10:2) defines the ideal motivation of performing mitzvot as (lishma) one "who does the truth because it is the truth" On the other hand, the Mesilat Yesharim defines the ideal ...
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Putnam on Jewish philosophy

Hillary Putnam, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, wrote at least one book on Jewish philosophy: Jewish Philosophy as a Guide to Life: Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas, Wittgenstein. I was ...
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134 views

Source for ability to speak before Neshama

I've always understand conventional Jewish belief is that there are different aspects to the soul, and each one provides different abilities. The נפש is common to all living creatures and it is the ...
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118 views

Does God Compensate Animals For Their Pain During Shechita?

Rav Sa'adia Gaon states the following regarding ritual slaughter of animals: I will make this matter understandable and say: the Creator has decreed that every animal will die, and has given ...
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151 views

Picking and choosing Hashkafa

Can one decide to follow for example the Rambam's more rational Hashkafic approach and then the Ramban for other Hashkafic ideas even though they clearly disagree? I've heard that by practical ...
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101 views

Is it permissible to bring back extinct species?

Is it allowed according to halacha to bring back extinct species? The technology is on its way, and i have seen some discussion in non-Jewish contexts about the ethics of it, and how we might be "...
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42 views

A prayer not accompanied with personal efforts to solve the problem – how is it viewed?

This article by Rabbi Berel Wein reminds us that that our father Yaakov prepared for his encounter with Eisav by adopting three possible strategies and not relying on prayer alone. He says There ...
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98 views

Disproving Samaritan practices/beliefs?

Are there any Counter-Samaritan proofs or essays that anyone out there knows of, i.e. Torah based proof as to the fallacy of their practices/beliefs? Thank you
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116 views

Did Akeidat Yitzchak dedicate Yitzchak and his future offspring to Hashem?

In the case of an animal that is intended to be brought as a korban, but the animal has offspring before being sacrificed, the offspring retains a special status. Depending on the type of Korban, the ...
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181 views

Are Jews allowed to pray on their knees?

If someone finds it a good way to have a concentration in pray while on his knees, can it be done? (Not talking about Amida/Sidur prayers, but talking with the creator.)
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86 views

Does a soul develop over a lifetime?

@AvrohomYitzchok asked me this question to support the assertions for another question: "why-dont-newborns-speak-outright. In my understanding, in Judaism, a soul is a complete entity having only ...
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175 views

10 types of angels

In Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 2:7 Rambam says: שִׁנּוּי שְׁמוֹת הַמַּלְאָכִים עַל שֵׁם מַעֲלָתָם הוּא. וּלְפִיכָךְ נִקְרָאִים חַיּוֹת הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהֵם לְמַעְלָה מִן הַכּל וְאוֹפַנִּים וְאֶרְאֶלִּים ...
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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 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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71 views

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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Why should G-d look at the parts of His creation?

THis part of the story of the Creation seriously puzzles me: G-d looking at His creation and checking/judging/evaluating it. Examples: וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאוֹר כִּי־טוֹב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים ...
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144 views

Why no Torah or wisdom or knowledge is mentioned presented by G-d to Adam?

IIRC, the passing of the Tora/wisdom/divine knowledge in our tradition didn't start with Moses or even Abraham. Allegedly, the 19 generations of Tzadikim from Adam to Abraham studied/dealt with it ...
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Considerations for impeachment of the Nassi of Sanhedrin

While cynically coincidental, my business is exclusively with the Sugya of the [temporary] impeachment of Rabban Gamliel in his Maariv Chova argument with R' Yahoshua (Brochos 27b). אמרי עד כמה ...
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Is there an approach that cuts the Teffilot on Rosh Hashanah in favor of Torah study?

It is clear from the Sugiyot Gemmorah (Brochos and Shabbos 10, here) that the lengthening the Teffilah at the expense of Torah learning was perceived negatively through many generations till late ...
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Can external criteria be considered when setting the Halacha?

וכי מאחר שאלו ואלו דברי אלהים חיים מפני מה זכו בית הלל לקבוע הלכה כמותן? מפני שנוחין ועלובין היו ושונין דבריהן ודברי בית שמאי ולא עוד אלא שמקדימין דברי בית שמאי לדבריהן The Gemara asks: Since both ...
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In reward-and-punishment system, what is the meaning of curses?

In Sefer Dvorim the Torah does not spare curses for general misbehaving or misbelieving, etc. In my understanding, the Torah presents a clear system of reward and punishment (Rambam's principles) - do ...
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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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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 “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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Interpretations of (pseudo)hallucinations vis a vis the Talmud’s interpretations of dreams

The Talmud (last chapter of Berachot, 55a ff.) contains a long treatment interpreting various visions one may experience “בחלום” (in a dream). If when under the influence of a psychoactive drug an ...
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Importance of the Prophecy and Moses' Prophecy in the 13 Principles

Rambam's 13 Principles (as a part of his Interpretation of the 10th Chapter of the Mishnah in Sanhedrin) brings #6 - Existence of the Prophecy (see the link for the English translation): היסוד הששי:...
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passive bal tashchis

is passive bal tashchis wrong? i see jews eat things (sometimes even to the detriment of their health, (because of the amount or quality) so that they will not go to waste is this a Jewish thing to do ...
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Whose side Rachel and Leah were on?

According to Ariz"l and his followers, the sequence of Yaacov's marriages (Rachel first and then Leah) was of a great importance, dealing with the Seider of the Geulah, Moshiachs etc. Lavan planned to ...
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Teshuvah: How to return or going back to one's true nature?

In the 5th bracha of the Amidah, we request from HaShem "our father" (אבינו), to return us (השיבנו) we mention three kinds of Teshuvah – 1. returning to HaShem, 2.returning to the Torah, and ...
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What creates more dveikus, tefillah or learning?

I have heard that learning Torah is what makes a person "closer" to God, so to speak. I have also heard that Tefillah does this. I am using the word dveikus very loosely as I am sure there are very ...
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On the Study of Philosophy

Is the study of philosophy (particularly Greek philosophy including physics and metaphysics) forbidden, permitted, encouraged, or discouraged? Specifically what are the views of Geonim and Rishonim on ...
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Sources for Rav Pinkus's ideas on Shabbos

We are learning נפש שמשון - שבת קודש from הרב שמשון דויד פינקוס. Rav Pinkus typically gives concepts without giving sources. I would like to know what sources there are for the ideas that: on ...
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How to find a chavrusa for a difficult topic

How would one go about finding a rabbi/rav with whom to have a chavrusa if one is picky and has specific needs -- i.e., for someone with particular qualities, or who is highly learned in a niche area? ...
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101 views

Jewish (Lubavich) view on only halochik marriage (no government documentation)

Some one told me the chabad Rebbe was against marriage that was only halachakli (and not recognized by the government) Is this true? Source? What of the opinions of other rabbis on this matter? (...
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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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How should a shul determine its hashkafa?

How should a shul determine its hashkafa? Is it the hashkafa of the community at large, or the rabbinate - even if they do not always seem to be identical?
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Using 'zechus avos' in this world

On the one hand zechus avos has an affect in this world. On the other hand schar mitzvah be'hay almah leika (the reward of a mitzvah is not given in this world.) How do these two idea's work? They ...
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Did the ancient Rabbanim believe that the spirits of the dead walked the Earth?

In the Midrashim I noticed that Rabbanim keep mentioning events in which the Rabbi would be walking along and come across a man doing some task and it would turn out to be the spirit of a dead man who ...
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92 views

How do we define the word 'עולם'?

In the standard beracha 'formula' we use the phrase 'מלך העולם'. But what does the word עולם refer to in this context: Earth/world or universe? It may seem obvious that מלך העולם is referring to ...
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105 views

Attending networking events under false pretenses

I've recently seen some events advertised for specific groups or for people who fit a certain description, and it got me wondering, would it be alright, from a Jewish perspective (Halachic, Hashkafic, ...
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121 views

Do Hillel & R Akiva contradict Mamrim 3 & Y"D 158:2?

How do you reconcile Hillel (1) and Rabi Akiva (2) with the Mishnah Torah (3) and Shulchan Aruch (4)? "What is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. That is the whole Torah, all the rest is ...
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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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264 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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204 views

What defines a human in Judaism?

As a follow up to "creation-of-super-humans", The Gene-modification technologies promise interesting developments in human evolution/changes, both physical and intellectual. On the physical side - ...
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Why would God need to introduce Himself when revealing to forefathers?

וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו ה' בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא וַיֹּאמֶר אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ ...׃ - That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. ...” Genesis.26.24 This is ...
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89 views

Source for difference between free will and freedom of choice

Based on a question over on Philosophy.SE: The Wikipedia article on "secondary causation" notes the following without footnote: According to the Jewish Torah which brought down the ...
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60 views

Emunah and failures?

Rav Arush in the Garden of Emunah apparently has a concept that failures are from Hashem see here : Before making a mistake, a person has apparent free choice not to make a mistake. But, after the ...
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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 ...