We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.

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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
10
votes
1answer
408 views

Should a Jew who doesn't believe in G-d observe the commandments?

In an earlier question, I asked if it was a commandment to believe in G-d. As with so many areas, there were differing opinions. Some of the respondents claimed that there would be no point in being ...
10
votes
3answers
322 views

Can our deceased relatives observe us?

People often say (e.g. at s'machot and other such events) things like "Grandpa Chaim would have loved to be here today, but we know he is smiling down on us from shamayim" Is this really a ...
10
votes
2answers
208 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,...
10
votes
5answers
516 views

Why is resurection of the dead a fundamental of faith according to the Rambam?

The Rambam defines the resurrection of the dead as a fundamental of Judaism. However, unlike the Ramban, the Rambam holds that first there is Moshiach, then resurrection, and then the final result of ...
10
votes
4answers
467 views

Is Ferberization okay?

Is there anything objectionable (in terms of halacha, hashkafa and middos) to using the Ferber method for training an infant to fall asleep on its own? There is an element of cruelty, and the ultimate ...
10
votes
3answers
252 views

What is the purpose of these sorts of discussions? [duplicate]

I've read a number of Mi Yodeya questions because they come up in the sidebar of other Stack Exchange sites. They're often very interesting. I am impressed by the commitment the posters have to (for ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
10
votes
2answers
867 views

The greatest prophet after Moses

R. Jacob Emden, in his comments to Eruvin 43a, refers to Elijah the Prophet as the greatest prophet after Moses: אליהו הנביא הגדול בנביאים אחרי משרע"ה That Moses was the greatest prophet is hardly ...
10
votes
1answer
211 views

Rosh HaShanah for Under 20

As mentioned in this question, Shabbos 89b states that the heavenly Beis Din does not punish people under 20. Why is to be discussed there. My question is regarding Elul and the Yamim Noraim. Is ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Why did God do nothing against the Romans that desecrated the Temple?

When good guy made a mistake, like Uzzah trying to fix the ark, God killed him (see II Samuel 6:6). However, Uzzah does not seem that evil. I mean, the ark stumbled and he just tried to help. Then, ...
10
votes
2answers
600 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
281 views

The silence of the Rabbis — Should they have defended Bar Kamtza?

In Gittin 55b-56a, we read that a fellow named Bar Kamtza was humiliated by a host of a party in public view of all, including the rabbis. Bar Kamtza received an invitation to the party by mistake, ...
10
votes
2answers
193 views

Why didn't the Tur discuss traditional Jewish philosophy?

Of all classical works of Halacha, only the Rambam has a section dedicated "Hilchos Deos". For example, he begins with the most fundamental Jewish belief, the belief in one G-d, that G-d is the ...
10
votes
1answer
251 views

Eilu V'Eilu - Until Where?

Many times rabbis disagree on things in both hashkafa and Halacha. Usually, even when disagreeing, they will view the others' opinion as valid, even if they themselves would not rely on it. This is ...
10
votes
2answers
244 views

What do you say on a person's 120th birthday?

Normally, most people wish someone "Ad meah ve'esrim" ([May you live] to a hundred and twenty). What do you say on a person's hundred and twentieth birthday. I have seen the answers about why 120 ...
10
votes
2answers
270 views

How to go about finding a personal Rav

The mishna in Avot (1:6) tells us: יהושוע בן פרחיה וניתאי הארבלי קיבלו מהם. יהושוע בן פרחיה אומר, עשה לך רב, וקנה לך חבר; והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות When living in different areas I have gone ...
10
votes
3answers
194 views

What is the need for angels?

Why did G-d create angels to assign them specific tasks (Bava Metzia 86b)? Since G-d is omnipotent, what is the need for angels -- why doesn't He perform these tasks directly?
10
votes
1answer
391 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
736 views

Jewish concept of angels

Judaism does not believe in the free will of angels. What is the scriptural evidence for that and since when has such belief been held within the Jewish community?
10
votes
1answer
163 views

Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in the fruit of a tree?

In the story of creation man is forbidden from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why was the knowledge of good and evil embodied in a tree specifically?
10
votes
2answers
191 views

Judaism and dementia

Are there any books/articles that discuss dementia from a Jewish perspective? I am looking for a perspective that include coping with, and relevant hashkafa. The intended audience being not the sick ...
10
votes
8answers
671 views

Why is being religious a duty if God chose to not have a proof to his existence in this world?

According to the answers to the question "How do we know that God exists" it seems some (if not most) Jews on this site believe there is no way to verify whether or not God even exists. If this view ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

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?
9
votes
7answers
369 views

Resources for learning about the foundations of Judaism

I recently met an intelligent Soviet immigrant interested in learning more about Judaism. He would like to start with understanding the basics. Such as: How do we understand G-d? What are the ...
9
votes
3answers
238 views

Why did Hashem start the Torah with a story?

Why did Hashem start the Torah with a story?
9
votes
5answers
302 views

What is the purpose of t'chias hamasim?

Given the following: (note please feel free to argue with any of these premises, but please also cite a source) t'chias hamasim will only occur for the righteous the righteous who are currently dead ...
9
votes
5answers
660 views

Why study non-practical tractates of Talmud?

A quick background: I recently sat down with my step-father and brother and learned Masechet Makkot with them for a bit - this was their first time learning Talmud. Given that the masechet starts ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Rainbow as a bad omen

There is a popular idea that seeing a rainbow is a bad sign, as if the world is deserving of a deluge (c"v) and the only reason Hashem does not do so is because of His promise. Is there any source for ...
9
votes
4answers
279 views

Why did Hashem create the world in such a way that a leap year is needed?

I understand why we have a leap year; to keep the sun and moon cycles in sync, so that Pessach is always in the spring. That's all technical, as a result of the moon orbiting too slowly - or the sun ...
9
votes
4answers
805 views

Why a human Messiah?

I understand that Mashiach is going to be a human. What is the source for this, and are there any explanations why it must be so? Can't G-d Himself redeem us?
9
votes
5answers
662 views

Hashem is here and there and everywhere?

Is Hashem really in front of us, behind us, next to us, etc?
9
votes
4answers
637 views

Source that we don't know how God judges people

I wrote in this answer, "We can't possibly know how God judges people after they die." I was making the point that the way we live our lives should be according to halacha but we can't possibly know ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Is “Siman Tov u'Mazal Tov” Halachically problematic?

Literally translated, this is what is commonly said in the Jewish community, upon hearing very good news (typically life-cycle events as such as engagement, marriage, birth). "A good sign and a good ...
9
votes
5answers
398 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 ...
9
votes
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?
9
votes
1answer
138 views

Earliest source for “Zos Chanuka”

What is the earliest source/authority to ascribe special significance to the eighth day of Chanuka?
9
votes
2answers
299 views

Stipulations based on “correct” halacha vs. “לא בשמים היא”

It is my understanding that halacha is determined by individual p'sak. That is, there is no divine body of halacha which we are trying to determine with poskim issuing their p'sak based on what they ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there any difference between Jewish G-d and Muslim G-d? [closed]

Do Jews and Muslims worship the same G-d? If so, do they understand G-d the same way? As a related point, is there any linguistic or theological connection between "Allah" and "Eloha" (or "Elohim")? ...
9
votes
1answer
178 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?
9
votes
1answer
354 views

Why is chillul Shabbat considered so wicked?

There is a mitzvah deoraita (Biblical commandment) to bury a person executed by bet din (Jewish court of law). Similarly, there is the law that a righteous person should not be buried next to a wicked ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
9
votes
0answers
248 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 ...
8
votes
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,...
8
votes
6answers
606 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
219 views

How to define success in life?

What defines success in life (in a Jewish outlook)?
8
votes
3answers
390 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
197 views

How can people effectively bless when blessing is God's domain?

How do people have the power to bless? Yitzchak's blessings for his sons pretty much came true, and similarly later when Yaakov blesses his children and earlier (in the inverse) Noach curses Canaan. ...
8
votes
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?
8
votes
2answers
689 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
121 views

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

Are there any aggadic, kabbalistic, halachic or other theological teachings related to the grammar or morphology of Hebrew? I am not referring to the orthography (or anything at all related to ...