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

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Question No. 1312
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 23 Feb 2007
The Question What happens to a person’s neshama after he dies if he hasn't fulfilled his tafkid? I always thought that another person is then born with the same tafkid as the previous neshama so that he is now responsible to fulfil this tafkid, so that in this way we will one day reach the point where all tafkidim will be reached, and the world will reach completion. (1) Is this correct? (2) Is this new neshama called a gilgul? (3) When the above happens, will this bring Moshiach? Or Techiyas Hameisim? (4) What happens to that person who didn’t fulfil his tafkid? Does he go to Gehinnom? What exactly is Gehinnom, and how does it "cleanse" a person? Doesn't this sound like Christian thought, where a person could be a rosho all his life, and then just get "cleansed" free of charge after 120? How does his portion in Olam Haba differ from a tzaddik if they are both now clean? One more point… Can the world really ever reach completion? How can it be that all neshamas are gonna fulfil their tafkidim? How many tzaddikim were there in the world who really did fulfil their tafkid? (I believe in it all, but I just want to understand it.) Thank you so much. —Anonymous, London
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1300
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 8 Feb 2007
The Question Somebody told me that Rav Karo wrote somewhere that if he knew the Arizal before he wrote the Shulchan Aruch he never would have written it and instead said to do everything in accordance with the Ari. So my question is 1) is this true? 2) if it is true in what context was it said? 3) does this have any ramifications to Halacha today? —David, London
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1295
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 5 Feb 2007
The Question Does the concept of hirhurei aveira apply to stealing, and (if even if not,- I'd like to apply it to aveiros which do have an issue of hirhurim) what would it include (1.to think about someone else stealing, 2. to think about one stealing themself, 3. to plan to steal, etc. etc.(i.e. any other types of stealing)) thank you —Anonymous
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1294
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 5 Feb 2007
The Question Lichvod haRav, There’s a rule in the gemara (specifically in Makkot), “Ein Onshin min HaDin”, meaning punishments are not meted out based on a svara/logic or on a kal va’chomer; rather, there must be a pasuk that expressly instructs beit din to carry out a punishment. I asked myself, why did Chazal choose this lashon to express this rule, is there a deeper idea they wanted to convey? And it occurred to me that, as we know, punishments, in the Torah context, are at their root an expression of chessed & love for us, so that we could benefit in the long run. And therefore, it’s davka “min haDin” that we are *not* punished – it’s as if it reads “ein onshin min haDin, but rather, me-ahava, from Love”. I was wondering if the Rav could comment on this and if this is a legitimate dvar Torah. Thank you! —Stephan, Brooklyn, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1285
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 17 Nov 2006
The Question First of all, thanks so much for this wonderful site which has become a key source of Torah learning for me. I heard the Rav say in a shiur concerning the recent demonstrations in Jerusalem against an immodest parade, that it is not our tradition to make violent protests. In the course of a conversation with a Talmid Chochom whom I respect, I mentioned the Rav's comments. He said he strongly disagrees. He said I should ask the Rav about what happened when the non-religious King Yanai, who was also Cohen Godol, changed the order of service in the Temple. This was on Succos and the people in the Temple were so angry they threw etrogs and stones at him. The edge of the altar was actually broken off because it was hit by a stone. Therefoe, the Talmid Chochom claims, there is a Jewish tradition to respond very forcefully when our beliefs are offended. I was convinced by the Rav's words, but now this Talmid Chochom has put doubt into my mind how we should view violent protests by observant Jews. —Shimon Frais, Beit Shemesh
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1281
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 7 Nov 2006
The Question Kavod HaRav, What does the Rav think about the new rabbinic "seminary" Chovevei Torah and its aims of "Open Orthodoxy"? —Yosef Dov, New York
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1276
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 23 Aug 2006
The Question Dear Rabbi Leff; I understand that in Israel, where you are constantly being attacked by your neighbors, you have need of a different headspace then a liberal New Yorker or Los Angelino like myself... granted... However, or -yet.. and... because I try and be a righteous person as much as my failings allow. Do unto others etc... When I look at the Orthodox position that the words/actions of the Torah are the word/actions of the Lord of the Universe ...I start getting nervous when I read about what this Lord of the Universe says is proper conduct: Example: first citing in the Breslov Torah approved English translation, and then showing the Annotated Skeptic's version, just to ensure that the text is exactly the same words: To look at the first link, you'd say hey -cool- torah! http://www.breslov.com/ref/Numbers31.htm Then look at the next link: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/num/31.html Basically: Under God's direction, Moses' army defeats the Midianites. They kill all the adult males, but take the women and children captive. When Moses learns that they left some live, he angrily says: "Have you saved all the women alive? Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." So they went back and did as Moses (and presumably God) instructed, killing everyone except for the virgins. In this way they got 32,000 virgins -- Wow! (Even God gets some of the booty -- including the virgins. They aren't wrong on many of these point they bring up. And I never understood the "Let's argue it out Talmud style." The unpopular Karaite position that the truth of the Oral Law given to Moses should logically only be in one opinion not many contradictory opinions makes more sense to me. Because otherwise it wasn't Moses who received the Oral Law at Sinai or why doesn’t the Mishnah... —Anonymous, Los Angeles
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1262
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 16 Jul 2006
The Question We Say "Chesed be Amim Chatos." What are we to say when we see how much money and support America gives to other nations, Mother Theresa, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, et al, who are giving away untold billions to help the nations as well as a number of other people. So you see we are not the only people who give charity in a big way —Anonymous, Golders Green London England
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1252
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 29 May 2006
The Question Dear Rabbi Leff: I recently received a wonderful Rosh Hashanah prayer book, "T'filah L'ani," written by the Kabbalist Rav S.P. Berg Shlita. However, there was one part in the book that bothers me where he says, "We will become the Light, the Creator, the Master of our universe. Is the concept of becoming G-d extraordinay? Yes." He goes on to say, "Kabbalah revealed this little-known universal truth more than 4,000 years ago." He also mentions that this concept is "controversial and provocative." I was not sure what to think after I read this because it seems so similiar to New Age philosophy; furthermore, isn't this concept of "becoming G-d" in direct violation to the teachings of Torah? Or, am I somehow misinterupting his message? Thanks Rabbi Leff for being there to answer our questions. —chana, Chico, CA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1249
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 29 May 2006
The Question Lchvod Harav, Shalom Uvracha, Chassidus in general places great emphasis on serving G-d with the help of a Rebbe. Sometimes I question how far one may take this when I hear chassidim (usually of a particular sect) emphasising their rebbe to such an extreme that they almost never mention the ultimate goal, The Master of the Universe. I become very uneasy while speaking to them and I question whether they have gone overboard. Recently however, I was rethinking my stance and considered that perhaps my feelings may just be because I am not accustomed to that sort of "worship". Am I misguided or incorrect in being uncomfortable with this phenomenom? Where does one draw the line? Have a wonderful Yom Tov —Anonymous, merion, PA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1246
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 28 May 2006
The Question Is it better to learn full time in kollel or get a job? In general, should it be a goal to learn in kollel for life? —Mordechai, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1240
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 9 May 2006
The Question Dear Rabbi Leff, Thank you for offering your valuable time to help us and may you have many years of health and mazel till 120. On to my question, What bothers me is when Rabbis of sects or communities, say Satmar or Rabbanim of communities, say Zurich or Belgium, when the Rabbi passes away he leaves no designated successor. This leads to arguments and fights that can escalate to embarassment and many people getting hurt. In terms of a rabbi of a small community where it's imperitve that the community respects him it is nearly impossible to find someone to meet the community's high expectations. The voting can go on for years and years and the community is without a leader to guide them further. The same goes for a sect that relies on the Rebbe so much and the fighting is against all jewish values. Also a chasidus sect requires a central Rabbinical figure to guide the community to continue - like Lubavitch etc. Why don't the Rabbanim of today designate a successor before they pass away to avoid any kind of deliberations/fighting/hurt etc. —Michal, New York City
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1239
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 8 May 2006
The Question Shalom Rabbi Leff, how does a person build "gevura". I don't mean self-confidence, rather courage of heart. To not be afraid of other people. It seems that this is in the realm of the subconscious and cannot be changed. Thank you. —Anonymous, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1236
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 6 May 2006
The Question Rabbi Leff, could you please explain how the current scientific evidence that advocates evolution/natural selection (in particular fossil evidence) can be understood through the Torah point of view? For example, how can "intermediate fossils" - fossils that are believed to be intermediate between an evolved animal we see today and what it used to be - like a bird fossil with reptile features - be explained since we know Hashem created all animals as they are now? Thank you very much. —Anonymous, canada
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1229
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 1 May 2006
The Question The mesilas yesharim brings a contradiction in chazal that they seem to say that prishus is chassidus, and yet also say the world was created for us to use it's luxuries for spiritual growth. Can the rav explain his answer? Is the ideal to seperate from the physical world, or to use it in all it's glory? —Yaakov M, milwaukee
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1217
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 11 Mar 2006
The Question L'kovud HaRav. I am probably totally off base here, but I noticed that the Mechaber of the Shulchan Oruch frequently recites the din and then the Ramo follows up with a stringency even though he agrees with the Mechaber. I was wondering if this could relate to what I perceive as sefardim having more emunas chachomim than ashkenazim (I am ashkenaz btw). The Ramo seems to need to drum in to us ashkenazim some respect even for Rabonim who are not the iker din, while maybe sefardim already have the necessary respect so don't have as much of an a need for th stringecy. What does the Rav think about this theory? —Anonymous, United States
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1216
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 11 Mar 2006
The Question What is the Rav's opinion on the validity of anti-ayin-hora jewelry, such as bracelets with glass eyes and the red strings? The red string I understand if it is from kever rochel, but the jewelry with eyes seems suspicious to me. If they are valid, are any particular colors preferable? —Rivka, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1199
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 16 Feb 2006
The Question Hello. What is the situation regarding Satmar and Neturei Kata and the like. Are they valid Torah way or are they totally off the deep end? Also I have heard different ideas regarding whether the Satmar Rav was considered one of the Gedolim or not. I would really appreciate if the Rav could clarify this for me. With thanks… —Anonymous, United States
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1196
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 16 Feb 2006
The Question I heard that Rav Shach put the Lubavitcher Rebbe in cherem. Is this true? If yes, why was he put in cherem? —Anonymous, Australia
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1194
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 16 Feb 2006
The Question Shalom Rabbi Leff, if i understand correctly, Judaism teaches that everything that happens is predetermined from G-d except fear of G-d. if i have a problem, i should think, "G-d sent me this problem". it's all from Him. it's for the best. but isn't what He sends you determined in great part on your own actions. we're taught that a person is led in the direction he chooses to go. for example, if i choose to live in the usa, i'll have certain problems there that i wouldn't have if i chose to live in israel and vice versa. so everything is not pre-determined by G-d, but depends on your free will. G-d acts with you according to your choices in life. so how can we say everything comes from G-d? —Anonymous, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


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