Saturday, June 21, 2008
Defining Hashkafah--the Impossible and the Improbable
It doesn't matter where a conversation may start out, but if the people are frum it will eventually lead to hashkafah. We hear the word being used all the time and we use it ourselves. We ascribe our actions, our feelings and our beliefs to hashkafah. Everyone claims to have one. Well then, define the term for me. I know, I know, it means a religious belief system. And that is? Well, it's the system that governs our actions. So far "hashkafah" sounds like something that is quite easy to pinpoint--it's why we do what we do religiously. So, where do you acquire a hashkafah from? "Why, from our parents" I hear coming. Only from your parents? "Well, it can include our schools too." So you follow a school's hashkafah? Well, not just the school's hashkafah, but my rebbi's hashkafah." "Oh, and we also follow our shul rav." "Naw, not only the shul rav's hashkafah. We follow the hashkafah of the gedolim." So all gedolim agree? "Well, not exactly but mostly, sort of, sometimes, maybe." So what do different gedolim disagree about when it comes to hashkafah?" Well, first you'd have to define what you mean by a godol. I mean, not everyone who someone says is a godol is really a godol." Grrrrrrr. "Besides, different people have different hashkafos." Do tell!