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

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Question No. 1186
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 15 Feb 2006
The Question Kavod HaRav, I have been returning to Yiddishkeit for a number of years and would term myself "Yeshivish." I have a Yeshivishe rav and my kids are in a Torah school. As my father's family have lost any family minhagim long ago, I have been following the minhagim of my Rav. But as I continue to grow, this increasingly becomes to ring a little hollow. It's one thing to follow his halachic rulings, but his on personal minhagim come from his father, not mine. I have learned the town in Hungary where my father's great, great grandparents came from. What does the Rav think of researching the minhagim of the Jews of that town in order to "retrieve" family minhagim? My deepest appreciation for your tireless support for Klal Yisrael - May Ha Kadosh Baruch Hu continue to bless the Rav with joy and strength. —Anonymous, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1183
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 6 Jan 2006
The Question A certain Rabbi (a contemporary Rav) wrote that when Tosfot in Kiddushin on 26A says that the way to make a kinyan on an elephant is to make it jump by holding food in the air is wrong. He says that becuase he researched and found out taht its physically impossible for elephants to jump. so he says that Tosfot who never saw an elephant was just assuming it jumped becuase every other animal jumps. what does the rav hold of saying this becuase after all Tosfot were very smart people and got their knowledge from the torah so how could they not know a technical aspect of the Breiah? also there are stories with thwe chazon ish telling doctors how to do a complicated brain surgery eventhough he never went to medical school and he said that he was able to do it becuase of his knowledge in torah? thank you very much —Anonymous, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1175
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 2 Jan 2006
The Question i am baruch hasem 19 years old and i have been learning in eyshiva all my life but i still feel compelled to know what exactly are the proofs of jusiasim that its real —Anonymous, brooklyn
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1169
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 1 Jan 2006
The Question Kavod HaRav. What is the main stream opinion regarding the age of the universe? - specifically with regards to the case of the wide scale ban by many gedolim of Rabbi Slifkin's books ("science and Torah", "the camel the hare and the hyrax" etc). In my experience at Ohr Somayach and various other kiruv organisations i have heard many approaches to the question. Quite a number included the idea that the world is infact 'older' than 5766 years. Also, with regards to the R.Slifkin ban, do we hold that Amoraim could have been wrong conerning scientific matters? (R.Slifkin on his website sites Rambam, Ramban, Rav Yitzchok Lampronti, Maharam Shick, and Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch as holding that way). Do we hold that science as perceived today, is to be trusted? I appreciate the Rav's time and thank him for answering this question. —Adam, London
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1167
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 30 Dec 2005
The Question Dear Rav Leff, I have been influenced by different degrees of "Modern Orthodoxy" and "Chareidi/Black Hat" environments. Personnaly I see these groups as somewhat rediculous idealy we should simply all be striving to follow Halacha and anything else pertaining to Hashem's will. I am very confused however on what is right whom to follow and most importantly what spectrum of "Orthodoxy" is an option. Being that many of my influences have biased me against a) modern orthodoxy which inturn has biased me against other "identities and paths" leads me to an extreme ambivelance towards leadership and opinion in general. The Rav is always stressing the multiple paths in Judaism what are those multiple paths in your opinion? —Anonymous, NY, NY
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1164
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 21 Dec 2005
The Question L’Kovud HaRav. To what degree do we need to listen to Gedolim? I had thought that certain Rabbonim were considered the greatest in the world and their words were to be always heeded. In recent time it has bothered me (I prefer things that are clear cut) that it seems that it is only necessary to follow the Gedolim as far as we personally undersand or a regular Rav understands the issue being dealt with. This would indicate that the Godolim’s authority is only held in regard as far as whoever it is agrees with them. Aside from that it gives me the impression that there is no kovud haTorah with regards to the Gedolim beyond lip service when they are agreed with. It certainly seems easier to honor an inanimate object in an aron than a live person who can say things you don’t like. I am hoping the Rav will explain how I have this wrong and give me the correct outlook on all of this. Regards and chodesh tov. —Anonymous, Baltimore, MD
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1163
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 20 Dec 2005
The Question Does the Rav think that Hashem expects some of us to realize that he is about to bring terrible calamity upon Israel in light of the political situation and dominance of the left wing? Would it be wise to keep away from such areas as Beitar? —boruch, jerusalem
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1156
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 19 Dec 2005
The Question What is the Torah view on black magic, sorcery, evil spirits, etc. Do they really exist and if so why? Kol Tuv —Aron, Merion, Philadelphia
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1144
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 30 Nov 2005
The Question Kevod Harav, could you please explain what is chasidus and the difference between lubavitch chasidus. lubavitch say that their chasidus is also part of the oral law only revealed a lot later and say it is essential to learn to get a real understanding of Judaism, so much so that they spend 3/4 hrs in yeshiva learning chasidus. why is it that it is not learnt by mainstream yeshivas? do the gedolei hador study chasidus?what is the Charedi approach to lubavitch chasidus? Many many Thanks —Mans, London, UK
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1142
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 29 Nov 2005
The Question Dear Rabbi Leff, Shlita, I originally emailed this question to you approximately six months ago, and you replied via email that I should call you for the answer. I have tried several times to get a hold of the Rav, but without success. Would it be possible for him to email me the answer, or record the answer here so I can hear the reply? In the sefer “The History of Jewish People from Nehemia to the Present,” by Rabbi Chaim Dov Rabinowitz, it states on page 102 (in the question and answer section): “In questions of practical Jewish law one may certainly not forgo a majority opinion in favor of a minority ruling; and the same goes for questions of Jewish belief.” This statement also contains a note which references Rabbeinu Channel on the Gemara in Sanhedrin 22 (which I have not looked up). My question is, this statement seems to run counter to something I heard personally from the Rav approximately 15 years (in an Ohr L’Gola shiur), in which (if memory serves) the Rav said that in matters of hashkafa, as long as a person has a Rishon to back up what he is saying, he may continue to hold this view (regardless of whether the Rishon’s position is a minority opinion). I would be grateful to the Rav if he would be so kind as to clarify this matter. B’kvod rav, —Gedalia, Chicago
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1135
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 26 Nov 2005
The Question Is the agadatah in the gemarah and midrashim meant to be taken literally? —Jeremy, Sydney, Australia
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1100
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 23 Oct 2005
The Question If, as the Rav answered in question 1063, a person is made drunk before he is executed, why is skila considered the worst form of execution? If he is made to not feel it, aren't all forms of onesh mavet the same in terms of pain? —Anonymous, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1089
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 16 Oct 2005
The Question Is there an issue of "ayin hara" when saying something such as, "Thank Goodness I haven't gotten a traffic ticket in years" or "Our baby has been sleeping through the night for weeks now" that might lead, in these examples respectively, for the person to get a ticket soon thereafter or for the baby to start waking during the night? Does adding the statement, "bli ayin hara" eliminate this danger? —Anonymous, Israel
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1087
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 15 Oct 2005
The Question What does the Gemara in Eruvin 13 mean when it says that "Nemnu v'gamro noach l'adam shelo nevra yossar m'shenivra..." I thought that the biggest chessed Hashem did was to create us? And since we know "Aiyn tzaddik ba'aretz asher lo yechta" (Mishlai) everyone will do sins - so what was this big chessed? —Anonymous, Toronto, Canada
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1084
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 13 Oct 2005
The Question I read in a Jewish history book that when the Zohar was revealed, it was not accepted by many rabbanim. Now that the Zohar is now accpeted by all and was varified by the Vilna Goan and other such rabbanim, if a person were to hold the former position nowadays, would he be considered an apikores? —David, London
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1076
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 10 Oct 2005
The Question Dear Rabbi Leff: Thank you so much for your wonderful website. I am a single 23 year old Bais Yaakov girl who wants to get married. B'h I am a "great" girl but when my mother calls up shadchanim - nothing gets redt. I've gone out very few times. My family is very down to earth and we are just looking for a compatible boy. I know that this is from Hashem and I daven to Him. What is my hashkafa supposed to be in this situation? —Anonymous, Brooklyn, NY, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1074
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 8 Oct 2005
The Question I have heard that one of the rishonim writes (I think it was the Chovas Havlvovos) that if someone is truly nosei be'ol im chaveiroh, he can be spared yesurim that would r"l be required for certain types of aveiros that even Yom Kippur is not mechaper for. Is the Rav aware of such a statement, and, if so, where is it? —Anonymous, Denver, CO, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1073
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 6 Oct 2005
The Question Re: question #997 the Rav suggested it was doresh m'hamaisim when writing requests at the kever of the rebbe. We see that that davening at kivrei tzadikim was always practiced. We see Rashi commenting on Kaleb in parshas Shelach. In Eretz Yisrael at the Kotel and at other gravesites the practice is done. Why would the rav have a problem when one writes in a questiion or asks for a bracha? G'mar Tov. —Anonymous, Thornhill
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1055
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 26 Sep 2005
The Question Does a Nazi fall into the category of a Tzelem Elokim (image of G-d) or has he lost that part of his being that would allow that category to apply to him? —Gershy Rapp, Thornhill, Ontario
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


Question No. 1053
Category Hashkafa (Jewish Thought/Philosophy)
Date Posted 23 Sep 2005
The Question I did not grow up observant. When I went to college, for some unknown reason, I decided to become observant. I therfore severely lack any formal Jewish education. Due to this lack of formal education, I have chosen to lay my efforts at mastering kashrus, Shabbos and Tuntov laws, and taharas mishpuche laws. I want to take my knowledge to the next level and have tried learning Gemara, but find it very difficult. Does the Rav have any suggestions on what I should learn to deepen my understanding. I feel like I am half way between frum and non-frum and lost when speaking with my FFB friend in NY. Furthermore, I have adopted Ashkenazi minhag. My dad's family is from Russia and Mom's is from Turkey and Romania. The Turkish side was very religous in the past, but no longer and the other 3 components of my past have no religous history. Have I done the right thing? —Anonymous, USA
The Answer Click here to listen to Rabbi Leff's answer.


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