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Showing Questions in 'Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)'

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Question No. 269
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question I am hareidi and I have heard by many speakers about how the hareidi world knows how to listen to Gadolim and adhere to all they teach. I lately entered the business world and have heard all kinds of horror stories about the honesty of hareidim. I always took it as just a generalization. As time goes on I am seeing it more and more for myself and feel that this may not just be a generalization. The people that are looked down upon by the hareidim like the kipa saruga, have shown much higher standards in business. I feel uncomfortable with the hareidi business people and am very upset at them. HELP Confused, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 243
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question After returning from an inspiring year in Eretz Yisrael, what can i do to hold onto all the inspirations I had. Also, how do I hold onto the special Kedusha and connection to Hashem and spirituality that i felt now back in America where everything is so materialistic and imoral? i already feel that that I am beginning to fall back into the quicksand and that i have lost certain sensitivities I had there. What can I do? Anonymous, Chicago I just came back from a year in Israel where I learnt a lot. How do I keep this up? Also I davened twice a day in Israel as the seminary provided us time. I now find myself always in a rush, how do I overcome this? I want to daven twice a day. Thank you Anonymous, London
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 234
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question Chabad Chassidim claim that each Jew has two souls - the animal soul and the G-dly soul. The non-Jews, on the other hand, only have animal souls which come from impure source and "contain no good whatsoever" (Tanya, end of chapter 1). Accordingly, "all the charity and kindness done by the nations of the world is only for their self-glorification". What is the opinion of mainstream orthodoxy regarding such a statement? Do souls of Jews and non-Jews differ? Anonymous, New York
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 227
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question We are supposed to eagerly await the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash and bringing sacrifices. But to me, it all seems so bloody and gory. How can I get into the right frame of mind to look forward to the day when we can finally bring animals to the Temple to sacrifice? Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 226
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question I was thinking of joining a class that teaches Kabbala (mysticism) and was all excited about it. But a friend of mine who I told about it said to me that one shouldn't learn Kabbala until they learn other things as well. Could you please tell me why this is so, and what other things I need to learn before I learn Kabbala? Thank you. Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 224
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question Does Eliyahu HaNavi still visit people in this world? Noach Eliezer Strassberg, Monsey, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 213
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question In his drasha for parshas Kedoshim/Rosh Chodesh, the Rav quoted the Michtav MiEliahuRav saying that Hashem takes away the chachamim because we keep the mitzvos by rote, relying on the chachamim; "They know. They'll tell me what to do and I'll just do it", and when the chachamim aren't here, we have to think about what we're doing. We can't just say, "they said to do it, so I'll do it.". We have to learn it ourselves, as well. I realize that our lives goal is to learn d'var Hashem, that the only way we will know how to live is to learn Torah. However, speaking for myself, I know I'll never reach the level of a gadol B'Torah. I know that I don't have what it takes to be able to learn Shas and poskim and learn how to posken shylas for myself and for my family. I personally lack self-confidence, not only because I haven't learned alot of Torah, but even in the things that I do "know". I would feel much safer relying on someone endowed with greater chochma and that has spent his life learning to tell me what to do than to "figure it out" myself and hope I got it right. Even when I learn a relatively simple sefer like "Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilchasa", my mind reels, and I can't seem to figure out what the halacha is, because whatever it says, there's always something more ("...but we hold differently", "...our minhag is not like that..." halachas I learned in yeshiva directly contradict halachas I've learned from the Rav). One of the many things I've learned and hopefully internalized from the Rav is emunas chachamim. So where does this come in? On the one hand, we are taught to listen to the gedolim, and follow their direction. But on the other hand, the Rav seems to be saying here that we should rather learn ourselves so we can poskin our own shylas and not have to rely on the chachamim. How am I supposed to view this situation? Thank you. Anonymous, Eretz Yisrael Leff's response
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 209
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Mid 2003
The Question There are some Jews (including Rabbis)going around and saying that every (Jewish only?) soul ('neshomo') is a 'cheilek Elokah mimaal' - which they claim means literally 'a piece of G-d from above'. May one believe such a thing ? It seems like Christianity or some other non-Jewish way to believe that. From what I know, according to Judaism, a man cannot be G-d and G-d is one (echad yochid umeyuchad), with no 'pieces'. Rather, the neshomo is something created by Hashem (as we say in 'Elokai Neshomo...' - ata viroso - You Hashem created it)- chatzuva mitachas kisei hakovod perhaps - from a lofty place - but not a 'piece of Hashem' (chas vesholom). They also claim that the Zohar says that 'man dinafach, midilei nafach'- but I think that doesn't support them, because someone who blows (think of a glass or balloon blower) blows just air from within his lungs - and not his actual body / essence. How is such a dangerous idea allowed to pass without any opposition - especially from Rabbanim? Anonymous, U.S.A.
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 207
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question I have friends to went to a well known Mekubal, who told them, without knowing anything about us, that he should not make Aliyah right now as, his family would collapse without him. My questions are as follow: I was under the impression that a navi who was less then the at the level of the avot could not communicate with H'K'B outside of E.Y.? if this is true then how does someone in Brooklyn get a divine vibe that is strong enough to direct someone's life? Also, what happens when a mekubal who does not know a person gives advice that contradicts that person's Rav that does know him and therefore can give him a proper p'sak? Michael, Monsey, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 195
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question How many gods did the Jews believe in before during and after Jesus. Does the Torah contain evidence of a trinity of gods. Anonymous, Holden, MO
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 174
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question There is some controversy here in the states as to how the Torah Community should view Illan Ramon Z'L. Some say that since he was mekadesh shem shamayim berabim, and also saved countless lives, he should be viewed as a hero and we can learn from his actions. Others argue that to call him a hero sends a bad message since he was not a Shomer Torah Umitsvos. How should a Torah Jew approach this issue? Thank you anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 169
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question I am writing an essay and would like help on this question: "What is it that Jews of all degrees of religious observance have in common that binds us together?" Thank you Sarah Donowitz, Atlanta, Georgia
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 167
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question Shalom Rabbi, I write in order to make some questions to you. I excuse for the trouble. I am an Orthodox Jew. I am from Italy. I do not speak English well... Hebrew is better (I prefer to speak Hebrew)! I am making a research on Chassidut. But, I need some information about Abraham Joshua Heschel. I have read the greater works written from Heschel ("Man is not Alone", "The Shabbath", "God in Search of Man", "Man's quest for God", "The Earth Is the Lord's: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe - A Hasidism", "The Circle of the Baal Shem Tov: Studies in Hasidism") and I am not successful to understand where Heschel goes outside from the Orthodox Judaism. Heschel explain the Orthodox Judaism and especially the Chassidut with the words of the "philosophy". All the great Chassidim Rabbis are the ancestors of Heschel and in his family there are great Orthodox Rabbis. In Heschel life he has maintained the observance of the Mitzvot and Halachah. I do not understand in order which reason Heschel has gone to teach at the Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative). and not (for example) at the Yeshiva University (Orthodox)? The question is: Which is the opinion of the most important Orthodox Rabbis about Abraham Joshua Heschel? Thank you Mordechay Sciunnach, Italy
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 156
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question In your answer about the elections (134, 110) you wrote that a person needs to vote for a party that is supported by the Gedolim. However, isn't it possible that the Gedolim are making a mistake? After all the torah has a parsha of Par Helem Davar shel Tzibur and in fact the gemara relates that the later Chachamim thought the R' Yochanan Ben Zacai had made a mistake when he just asked for Yavne, and they quoted a Pasuk "meishiv chachamim achor". In fact, just about all the gedolim in pre-WWII Europe were against people leaving and moving to America. Yet, in hindsight, it is clear that their opinion was wrong, those people who left (like my grandparents) survived and most of those who stayed perished. In short, could we not say that maybe today as well, the Gedolim are making a mistake in their view and a party like Herut, etc. is correct? Thank you Martin Bluke, Raanana
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 155
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question In Israel today, the Hareidi education system teaches no secular studies after elementary school and in general does not prepare students to work, rather EVERY student is assumed to be someone who will sit and learn and toraso umnaso. Isn't this attitude against the halacha? The mishna in Kiddushin clearly states that "chayav adam llamed es bno umnus". Also, the gemara in Brachos (35b) states that "harbei asu k'R' Shimon Ben Yochai v'lo alsa byadam". The gemara clearly states that "toraso umnaso" is NOT for the masses and that the masses SHOULD go out and make a living (of course they need to learn whenever they are not working). In fact, the Brisker Rav (parshas Chayei Sara) uses this idea to explain the contradiction between R' N'horai in the last mishna in Kiddushin where he writes that he would teach his son only torah. The Brisker Rav comments that R' N'Horai's son was one of the elite who could do it but for the masses there certainly is a chiyuv to teach them a trade, R' Elchanan also makes these points in his teshuva about going to college, where he clearly states that most people should work. Thank you Martin Bluke, Raanana
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 154
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question In the Mishpatim Dvar Torah you described a person that is spiritually stagnated and has developed a spiritual inferiority complex.i have a good friend with this problem. Is there any way to make him aware of the problem without alienating him. Thank you anonymous, N.Y.C.
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 144
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question Where does one draw the line between bitachon (trust in H')and not relying on a miracle? Thank you. David
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 141
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Early 2003
The Question The Mesilas Yesharim, in the Chapter, "Factors which detract from watchfullness" (Mafsidei Hazehirus) talks in very harsh terms of people who are immersed in laughter and levity. Does this mean that we shouldn't be happy and laugh and make others laugh? Does it mean we shouldn't go overboard and make a joke of everything? What can we use as a measuring stick to know if and when we are being too lightheaded. I'm generally a happy, congenial person who likes to make people smile and laugh, but I'm also a relgious Jew who takes life and the Torah seriously. How do I reconcile these two seemingly contradictory things? Thank you. Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 120
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question The Gemara in Eiruvin which relates the famous debate between the sages Hillel and Shamai about whether or not it would have been better if man was not created at all, is resolved that after 2 years. They concluded that indeed, it would have been better that man was not created - that our neshamas (souls) would have been better off staying up in the spiritual world of neshamas rather than being dragged down into a physical world. My question is: how can we understand chazal's debating whether or not something Hashem does is good or not? And even more, concluding that He did the wrong thing? Isn't there an element of chutzpa in our (or even Chazal's) judging Hashem's actions? Thank you. R' Aryeh Varon & R.C.S, Matityahu
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 119
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted Late 2002
The Question After listening to the Rav's answer about question 112 I was a little disturbed. Being someone on the "journey" myself I can saythat it isn't easy to focus on other things. month after month I wait and wait. After each treatment I hold my breathe for 2 weeks hoping and davening. Treatments rule my schedule. Not focusing on on it isn't realistic-Wanting children is a strong feeling that can't be subdued. Feeling "davened out" is part of our meltdowns. My question is how do we get up when we feel we have reached the end of the rope all the money is gone all the will power is gone? Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


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