Questions concerning our freedom of choice in the presence of an Omnipresent Creator.

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Good vs. Evil (wrong)

My question might be similar to other questions posted on this website; After the creation HaShem says: Bereshit 1:31: 'And Elohim saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was tov me’od ...
9
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1answer
54 views

Did Yitzchak have free will?

G-d promises that his covenant to Avraham will be fulfilled through Yitzchak. Now we know of course that Yitzchak, like Avraham before him and Yaakov after him, was totally righteous (albeit not ...
7
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1answer
514 views

If Lev Melech B'yad Hashem, why bother voting?

We have a concept in Jewish thought that rulers do not have free will concerning public affairs, based on the verse in Mishlei 21:1 'לב מלך ביד ה, the heart of a king is in the hand of Hashem (See ...
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2answers
74 views

Did Cain and Hevel have דעת?

Kayin and Hevel were born before Adam and Chava sinned and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. (See Rashi to 4:1.) Did Kayin and Hevel ever receive the understanding that their parents got from the ...
9
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1answer
97 views

Was there sentient life with free will in the worlds that G-d destroyed before making our world?

The midrash at B'reshis Rabba 3:7 states that G-d created a number of worlds and destroyed them before the creation of our world. Is the Midrash implying that the earlier worlds included sentient ...
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3answers
35 views

Is free will something that the Torah has to tell me I have? Is it a chiddush?

The most oft quoted proof from the Torah that humans have free will is a pasuk in Devarim 30:19. הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, ...
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2answers
57 views

source that purpose of this is world is as an arena for human free will

In a lecture on science, Rabbi David Gotlieb states that the purpose of nature is to provide a misleading appearance that the world carries itself, and the purpose of that is to provide an arena for ...
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3answers
60 views

Lesson from Moshe's Rock

In parsha Chukat, Rashi says if Moshe would have spoken to the rock instead of hitting it, there would have been a big lesson to the Israelites. The people would have made a kal v'chomer -if the rock ...
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2answers
3k views

Is it ok to pray for a non-religious friend that he become religious?

Is it ok to pray for a non-religious friend that he should become religious? In the end, he has to make the decision for himself, so can the prayer influence somehow his free will?
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2answers
116 views

Would whole brain emulation be compatible with Judaism?

Many people theorize that in principle, the brain could be uploaded to a computer which would then contain the person's consciousness. Would a successful demonstration of this be compatible with ...
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2answers
132 views

Do Amalekians not have souls?

I remember reading once (in Sender Zeyv's novel Ten Lost), that some Jewish sources say that Amalekians don't have souls. Obviously, this might not be so reliable, coming from a work of fiction, so ...
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2answers
72 views

What does it mean that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?

Typically God does not interfere with a person's free choice. {provide source} If this is so, what is the idea of Hardening Pharaoh's heart? Was that a removal of Pharaoh's free choice?
7
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1answer
127 views

Application of Lev Melech B'yad Hashem

There is a concept that rulers do not have free will concerning public affairs, based on the verse in Mishlei 21:1 'לב מלך ביד ה, the heart of a king is in the hand of Hashem (See commentary of the ...
1
vote
1answer
99 views

looking for a source that free choice is only prior to our decission

I have heard in the name of the chazon ish "לפני מעשה - בידי אדם, לאחר מעשה - בידי שמים". would be grateful if someone can tell me the most reliable source for this.
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4answers
108 views

Is shogeg beyond my control?

In havdalla in chonein hada'as of motzai shabbos maariv, we say "חשוכים מכל חטא [ופשע] ומנוקים מכל עון" חשוכים means to be prevented from, as in ואחשוך גם אנכי אותך מחטוא לי (Bereishis 20:6). The ...
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3answers
121 views

Does the existence of punishment remove the possibility of free will?

I understand the concept that we have free will. But there are punishments for transgressing the commandments. Does the existence of the punishments remove the free will and free choice?
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4answers
166 views

Sources for free will of angels

I want to define free-will for this question as a moral right and wrong decision, not an arbitrary decision or a true/false decision. I am familiar with sources that say that angels do not have free ...
6
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1answer
294 views

Why does God tolerate demons? What is their purpose?

The Bavli records in many places the existence of demons, and answers to this question cite rishonim and acharonim who take this seriously. Pesachim 112b relates a story in which demons are ...
5
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2answers
171 views

Only Yetzer Hara until age 13

The Alshich on Ki Tetze teaches that until the age of 13 a person has only an evil inclination. The good inclination comes only at Bar Mitzva. Hence, the yetzer hara is likened to an old seasoned ...
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3answers
94 views

Is Free will balanced?

Is free will 50/50 balanced or is it more towards the side of evil. it seems to me that it's much easier to do evil than to do good. the situation in the world also seems to suport this, as it looks ...
6
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1answer
104 views

What happens if the accused sotah doesn't consent to the ritual?

Chapter 5 of B'midbar describes the ritual for the woman accused by her husband of adultery. It includes this, after the kohein declares to her what will happen: וְאָמְרָה הָאִשָּׁה, אָמֵן אָמֵן ...
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1answer
180 views

Is free will limited to humans?

Do other beings besides humans have free will? Perhaps animals have free will? What about angels? Does the status of other types of beings' freedom of will affect us in any way?
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0answers
78 views

Understanding the servants' hard/soft hearts

In Parshas Bo (10:1) we read that God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh's servants - כִּי אֲנִי הִכְבַּדְתִּי אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֶת לֵב עֲבָדָיו. The Ohr HaChaim explains that this is so that the servants ...
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3answers
139 views

How can angels “give permission” to each other?

As I understood it, angels have no free will and strictly do those things G-d instructs them to do. But in the brachas preceding krias Shema, we say that the angels "all accept upon themselves the ...
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1answer
237 views

Does the president of the USA have free will?

I don't remember where but I saw a chazal that states something to the effect of "the (non-Jewish) leaders of the world do not have free will". I would appreciate someone editing to source this. So I ...
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2answers
209 views

Doomsday scenario, what would Hashem do?

Lets say John is about to end all mankind by releasing a deadly virus that can never be reversed, cured, or stopped. Will Hashem step in and stop the act? This is a contradiction because Hashem gave ...
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4answers
414 views

Jewish concept of angels

Judaism does not believe in the free will of angels. What is the scriptural evidence for that and since when has such belief been held within the Jewish community?
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1answer
96 views

Did Bilaam have free will?

By God preventing Bilaam from cursing the Jews, was that not an impingement of Bilaams free will?
9
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2answers
198 views

Free will a prerequisite for punishment?

I read that the angel Metat was subjected to 60 pulsei de-nura (Aramaic: פולסא דנורא "lashes of fire"). I have been taught that angels do not have free will. Did this angel act from free will or did ...
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2answers
341 views

How do we know that we have free will?

Where in the torah does it state that humans have, and are entitled to in perpetuity, free will?
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2answers
112 views

Non-Trivial Pursuit: וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם

What is the meaning of וְנַסְתֶּם וְאֵין-רֹדֵף אֶתְכֶם (Leviticus 26:17)? Literally of course it is simple: "You will flee with no one pursuing you" (Artscroll) But this punishment does not really ...
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2answers
121 views

How much room is there for personal influence given the existence of “free will” and “God's will” and “God's plan”?

Today's interesting question delves deeper into the concept of free will. I understand that Judaism views free will as the freedom to choose between life and death (i.e. choose life and live), but ...
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3answers
829 views

How do you know what is God's will in a particular situation?

After reading this superb article by the great Rabbi Noah Weinberg I'm left pondering point number 5 "Make your will God's will". I understand that this does not mean that whatever you personally ...
11
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4answers
276 views

Did hardening Paro's heart mean he wasn't really responsible?

As a child I often wondered how, if God kept hardening Paro's heart after each plague, it could really be Paro's fault. It sounds like God was setting him up to fail, and while that's God's ...
3
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3answers
130 views

Will there be free will and a purpose to doing good in the messianic era?

I recently saw this question in the new Christianity stack exchange site, and it reminded me of a question I meant to ask as a follow-up to this question. With the assumption that evil exists so that ...
3
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2answers
268 views

How do you understand the Rambam on Free choice in Teshuvah 5:5?

What is the Rambam really bothered by in Teshuvah 5:5? רמב"ם הלכות תשובה פרק ה הלכה ה שמא תאמר והלא הקב"ה יודע כל מה שיהיה וקודם שיהיה ידע שזה יהיה צדיק או רשע או לא ידע, אם ידע שהוא יהיה צדיק אי ...
11
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9answers
658 views

do we really have free choice?

I was told Hashem created us with free will; so we can make a choice to do good or evil, right? Well, Hashem knows what we are going to do in 10 minutes. So do we really have free will? Hashem can see ...