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HASHKOFO-----vs halacha

Hashkofos are not “opinions.”

Hashkofos are how you look at the world. As in “vayashkef” (and he looked), or the modern Hebrew “mishkafayim”, meaning eyeglasses, which allow you to have a hashkafa (“sight”).

Just as the Torah has clear-cut Halachos, the Torah has clear-cut hashkafos. Gam zu l’tovah, for instance, is a hashkafa. It is not a matter of opinion of everything that happens to a person is for the good; it is a fact of life. When something painful happens, you can see it with clearly, with eyeglasses, the way it is – the proper hashkafa, that it is for the good – or you can see it the wrong way, and think it is essentially bad. A wrong hashkafa.

Your Hashkofos are the way you perceive reality. It is what you “recognize” in the world.

Both correct Halachah and hashkofo are necessary components for healthy Jewish living. If a person has the wrong hashkafos he is out of touch with reality. Someone who walks down the street thinking that every policeman is a closet KGB agent, has a wrong Hashkafa. Colloquially, you may call someone with the wrong hashkofos “messed up in the head.”

Those who don’t believe in the authority of Hashkofo should have no objection, for instance, to someone who objectifies women. Such an attitude is indeed only an attitude – a Hashkofo – and you can maintain it while treating them in full accordance with the demands of halachah.

There are people who will tell you that someone’s Hashkafa “doesn’t matter”, as long as they follow the Halachah. But then when they see Jews in Williamsburg burn the Israeli flag they go nuts. Even though there is no violation of Halachah involved, but merely a hashkafic dispute. Only when it’s convenient for them will people tell you that it Hashkafa doesn’t matter.

The way you look at your fellow Jew, the way you relate to Hashem, the way you perceive Torah, what you value in this world, all of those are Hashkofos. Hashkofos are your attitudes toward the world and toward Judaism.

Proper Hashkofos are compulsory in and of themselves, but besides that, your attitudes have a great effect on your actions.

Therefore, Hashkofoh and Halachah are unalterably connected. If you try to follow one without the other, you will be living a broken, unbalanced Jewish life. With bad Hashkofos, you will probably not be able to maintain integrity to Halachah, and at the very least, your efforts to be frum will feel so much more difficult, restrictive and burdensome.

Proper Hashkofos not only earn you Olam Habbah, but they also allow you to live a Torah life committed to Halachah smoothly, happily, and enthusiastically.

I started two more topics in this forum, "Hashkafa: An Halachic Obligation", and "Hashkofo Effects Halachic Practice", where these concepts are explained.

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