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

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Question No. 1948
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 26 Jan 2012
The Question In #521, the Rav said that Kabbalah is not for the unlearned; there are strong restrictions put on who can learn it. But aren't there sources (see below) that before the coming of Moshiach, kabbala will be spread to the masses? (Keser Shem Tov- 1 - Letter from Ba'al Shem Tov to his brother-in-law, R' Gershon Kitover.) (Tanya, Igeres Hakodesh 26 - quoting from Arizal "only in these latter generations, it is permitted and obligatory to reveal this wisdom, but not in the earlier generations.") —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1947
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 26 Jan 2012
The Question Dear Rabbi Leff Shlita, What are the origins and reasons for a kiddush in shul? Wouldn't it be a better way to thank Hashem to give tzedaka or sponsor some learning? Thank you for this wonderful website, and thank you to Rafi as well. —Zvi Nulman, Monsey
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1946
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 26 Jan 2012
The Question I live in a Charedi community in Israel which is basicly Lita-ee. A number of us have found that the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslav are the most appropriate for our Avodas HaShem, We are being persecuted for these beliefs, and the establishment(the Rabbis) are trying to get rid of us,i.e., that we should leave this place. How can I understand such persecution against people who are yirei shomayim and very sincere? Are Breslavers really considered so despicable that they deserve this treatment? —Anonymous, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1944
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 10 Nov 2011
The Question Regarding #486 and #1745, the SHU"T Mishneh Halachos (6:108) and Be'er Moshe (chelek 6-kuntrus electric-siman 74) argue on that Igros Moshe. Does the Rav feel that R' Moshe's arguments are more convincing? Also, what about reading the teachings/Torah of Carlebach - is that permitted? Also, is having an event "in memory of R' Shlomo" allowed? Should one say "ZT"L" when saying his name? —Anonymous, New York
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1922
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 30 Aug 2011
The Question After hearing answers 1089 and 483, I'm a little unclear on ayin haras, sheidim, and segulas. 1) Do we say by all of them that if you believe in it then it's true for you, or was that just ayin hara? 2) Is Pesachim 110b the source that Rav Leff was using or is there a different source? 3) Why isn't it objective whether these things are true, like with everything else? 4) Are negative segulas understood in the same way, such as the things that cause a person to forget his learning, or the minhag not to sleep during the daytime hours of Rosh Hashana, or not to count people for a minyan with numbers or by pointing. I'm sincerely open to accepting all of these things, but I'm unclear what is mainstream. —Anonymous, New Jersey
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1904
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 22 Aug 2011
The Question Regarding the "Making of a Godol" in Question #1902, the Rav said it depends on the message that you take away from the book. But I saw a cherem was issued (on the revised edition) from Rabbis Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, Nissim Karelitz, Tzvi Markovitz, Chaim Kanievsky, Shmuel Auerbach (chareidi.org/archives5766/vayakhel/VYK66amakgodl.htm), and they did not put any qualifiers (that it depends on the message you take away). So is the Rav arguing with these Rabbonim? —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1902
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 25 Jul 2011
The Question Are gedolim biographies by academic authors (e.g. Immanuel Etkes's books on Vilna Gaon and R' Yisrael Salanter, Benjamin Brown's books on Chazon Ish,R' Elyashiv, and R' Shach, Marc Shapiro's book on the Sridei Aish, Samuel Heilman's book on Lubavitcher Rebbe) allowed to be read? Is "The Making of a Gadol" by R' Nosson Kamenetsky allowed to be read? —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1899
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 20 Jul 2011
The Question Rav Leff, why do we no longer have prophecy and miracles? None of the sources that I've seen give a reason. Thank you. —Anonymous, New York
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1892
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 17 Jul 2011
The Question Regarding the way the Rav explained the concept of "Emunas Chachamim" in Question #1872, doesn't R' Chaim Volozhiner write (Ruach Chaim on Pirkei Avos 1:4) that it is assur for a talmid to accept the words of his Rebbe if he has questions on it? —Yoni, Queens
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1888
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 14 Jul 2011
The Question I have heard different opinions on what a tinok shenishba is. I believe I heard that one gadol said that anyone who is not raised frum is a tinok shenishba & conversely, I think another gadol said that these days, it is really rare to be a true tinok shenishba b/c there are so many Torah outreach organizations. I have also heard it said that in these days, everyone gets a tap on their shoulder with an opportunity to choose Torah. I have also heard that a big gadol had said that a tinok shenishba is one who if Torah was presented in a correct fashion would embrace it but one would have to have ruach hakodesh to know who is truly a tinok shenishba. May I please ask the Rav what he thinks about this? —Anonymous, Atlanta
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1876
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 27 Jun 2011
The Question Is there any Inyan to master one specific Masechta, in other words aside from the general obligation to learn, is there a concept of taking a Gemara and making yours so to speak? —Anonymous, Lakewood, NJ
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1872
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 22 Jun 2011
The Question In #1775, the Rav said, "Just as much as you have to have Emunas Chachamim that when they do what we think is right, you have to have Emunas Chachamim that when they do what we think is wrong they obviously know better then us." But where do you draw the line? If a gadol ate chazir, would we say that it must be the chazir was really kosher? If R' Yaakov Emden, who was one of the gedolim of his time, was wrong about R' Yonoson Eybeschutz in regards to belief in Shabsai Tzvi, then why isn't this a possibility for gedolim of our time? If any type of "bizui talmid chacham" can be justified as l'toeles, then when do all the halachos of bizui talmid chacham ever apply - are they just theoretical but never actually applicable? —Yoni, Queens
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1865
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 22 Mar 2011
The Question When we see Hashem's wrath and tragedy strikes in the world (non-Jewish nations)just as the recent events in Japan, what should our mindset be? I know that tragedy is a message to we the Jewish people- a wake up a call. But after we realize we must strengthen ourselves and serve Hashem better, how to process such devastation and suffering. The images we are presented with and the articles are horrific. Is okay to feel heartache for this human suffering or is it non aligned with Torah. I just get confused emotionally when events like this happen and would appreciate some guidance from the Rav. Thank you for your time. —CM, Jerusalem
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1863
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 19 Mar 2011
The Question I have a rebbi in yeshiva whose shiur i enjoy, however, i am having a very hard time giving him respect in my mind, because he is a racist, and said so explicitly. he makes such comments often; examples: "blacks are monkeys" and "im not a racist, i just hate shvartzas," and he also tells us anti-black jokes,which usually involve killing. should i ignore this? should i react? (one time he got in trouble with the hanhala for using the n-word repeatedly during shiur) —Anonymous, Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1858
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 9 Mar 2011
The Question Why do the (so called) 'ultra orthodox' community adopt such a rejectionist approach to modernity? Is there no way to embrace modernity in a kosher manner? As a university graduate in physics I am particularly disturbed by some of the (often) primitive and non-intellectual approaches that some rabbeim adopt. Is it correct to continuously avert our eyes from the issues and live in fear? Is scaremongering the correct approach and is it not dangerous to do so? Couldn’t leading such a sheltered life cause problems in later life? Why do you think this approach is so appealing; the charedi community is growing at a very rapid rate? —Anonymous, London
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1845
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 30 Jan 2011
The Question Recently I came across some interesting statements from R' Avraham Yitchak HaCohen Kook Z”L: 1. "Hatzadikkim hatehorim ainam kovlim al harisha – elah mosifim tzedek, ainam kovlim al hakefira – elah mosifim emunah" (Igros HaGRAI"H 79- Arpilei Tohar: pages 27–28). 2. In the time of Moshiach we will be vegetarians and there won't be animal sacrifices. (Commentary to the siddur, Olat ha-Reiyah, vol. 1, p. 292.) Are these acceptable Torah statements? —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1839
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 22 Jan 2011
The Question Lkavod HaRov shlita, I read recently (pg. 63 in the book "Women at prayer: a halakhic analysis of women's prayer groups" by Rabbi Avraham Weiss) that R. Aron Lichtenstein allows teaching Talmud to women. Does the Rav agree with this heter? —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1838
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 22 Jan 2011
The Question In Yeshiva University there are many that subscribe to the "Torah Umadda" philosophy. (Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm describes it in depth in his book "Torah Umadda: The Encounter of Religious Learning and Worldly Knowledge in the Jewish Tradition.) Is this an acceptable Torah hashkafah, and if not, why not? —Anonymous, Mo
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1837
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 19 Jan 2011
The Question Regarding question #1687, the Rav’s answer only works for Torah Shebiksav, but regarding Torah Shebaal Peh I recently saw a book ("Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Traditional Jewish Objections Vol 5" by Dr. Michael L. Brown) which calls into question the whole idea that an oral law was given at Sinai. The author refutes many of the proofs from the pesukim to the existence of an oral law (e.g. the words "as I have commanded you" by shechita, definition of "melachah" for Shabbos, etc.). I started reading the book, but then threw it out because I realized that it's really apikorsus. But now I feel I'm not being intellectually honest regarding my belief in Judaism. What should I do? —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1818
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 18 Dec 2010
The Question Regarding the answer to #1746, [the Rav distinguishes between random miracles (e.g. apparitions) and foundations of religion], the Chumash itself is not clear what exactly happened at Sinai. A verse in Devarim (5:19) implies that 10 commandments were told to the Jews by God, but the Talmud says only the first 2. Although the Rishonim (Rambam, Ibn Ezra) deal with this issue, at the most they only heard 10 directly from God but not 613. So how does the Sinai experience prove the entire Torah? Maybe Moses made up the rest of the Torah? Regarding Yetzias Mitzrayim, if it's indeed a basic foundation of Judaism, how come first century Josephus("The Antiquities of the Jews") has a very different version of the Ten Plagues then what's in the Torah? —Anonymous, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


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