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13

The verse probably most commonly cited is Devarim 30:19 (translation from Mechon-Mamre): הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה; וּבָחַרְתָּ, בַּחַיִּים--לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה, אַתָּה וְזַרְעֶךָ I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before ...


8

You have several assumptions in your question. First: "deadly virus that can never be reversed, cured, or stopped". It's a basic assumption in your question, but it is not supported. There is no such thing. Just from a biological basis a virus depends on its host to survive, if it kills the host the virus dies too. This balance prevents any virus from ...


7

The Mishna in Sotah 1:4-5 and 3:3 explains that until the name of G-d is erased, the Beit Din tries to prevent the name from being erased, but convincing her to tell the truth. The Talmud explains how they go about convincing her to confess (if she is guilty). If she admits to wrongdoing, or refuses to go through with the process, she is divorced from the ...


7

The Ohr HaChaim writes (Bereishis 1:1 note 3): אמרו ז''ל (חגיגה טו.) במעשה מט''ט שדנוהו לפני אלישע ומחיוהו שתין פולסי דנורא, וגם אליהו וכו' (ב''מ פה:) וכמה משפטים לשרי מעלה, והגם שאין להם יצר, עם כל זה ימצא בהם הטעות, כי לפעמים לא יכוונו אל האמת וישגו, וצא ולמד ממעשה המלאך מט''ט ואליהו כי שגגו וכן יקר מקרה ויענישם ה' אפילו על השוגג מה שאין שופט ...


7

I would like to offer a different approach. I don't believe God's knowing what we will do in the future contradicts free will. The first step is to define free-will. I would like to offer a suggestion that free-will is when one is the cause of their own good or evil. The main emphasis is that mankind is the cause. Now, let me offer the following example ...


6

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in his Commentary explains that God did not “harden Pharaoh’s heart” so much as “allow Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened”. This was achieved allowing Pharaoh to (incorrectly) perceive limits to God’s power in bringing the plagues. For example, Hirsch translates Exodus 9:30–32 as a single quote, something like (adapting the JPS ...


6

The explanation I always give is as follows: God never takes away a person's free will. If God wants to influence a person's choice, He does just that - influences it. He does not force it. He will manipulate external factors so that the decision will be influenced in a certain direction. Let me give an example: Bill is buying a new car. He has free will ...


5

R. Heshel of Cracow (the teacher of the Shach), in Chanukas Hatorah, explains this based on the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 27:5), that when it says "G-d looks after the pursued" (Eccles. 3:15) it means "even if a righteous person is persecuting a wicked one, G-d takes the side of the wicked person." So here, if the Jews are being pursued by their enemies, then ...


5

There's a lot to say about this. But one point to start with, re your fourth paragraph: There is a difference between what G-d wants to happen to a person, and who is to be the agent of it. In your example, one of these people may indeed deserve a beating, which will therefore happen one way or another,* but there's no Divine decree that this other person ...


4

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Rambam's opinion. He addresses this question in Hilchos Teshuva (6:3), and says quite simply that yes, sometimes freewill is withheld from someone. The reason it was not unfair to punish Pharaoh after his heart had been hardened and he'd lost his freewill is because he deserved it. Rambam explains that since he ...


4

It is not easy to know Gd's will, but according to the Talmud and Mystical Judaism it is seemingly possible. It seems from most stories, that only the best of the best have even come close to this ability, though of course all of us should strive to do so. First there are 2 main rules.** You can never know what is Gd's will regarding other people, you ...


4

As usual, there are many different authentic Jewish perspectives on this issue. I only know the sources for the more chasidic/kabbalistic approaches to this question, as I think thy are the only ones who really have a satisfactory answer, however I am aware of other positions that appeal to other people more , and they feel that the other approach is the ...


4

While a person has free choice as to how he behaves, his free choice is only for himself and cannot affect other people. Rabbi Shnuer Zalman of Liadi (Iggeret HaKodesh Epistle 25) explains the saying of Chazal (Zohar I, 27b; III, 179a; Rambam, Hilchot De’ot 2:3): "One who gets angry is considered as if he has worshiped idols," as follows: One of the basic ...


4

In the book "The way of G-d" part 1, chapter 3, Ramha"l says: על כן הוכרח שיונח הדבר לבחירתו, שתהיה נטיתו שקולה לשני הצדדין ולא מוכרחת לאחד מהם, ויהיה בו כח הבחירה לבחור בדעת ובחפץ באיזה מהם שירצה Translation: "Thus, it's necessary that the matter be left to his choice: that his tendency be equally to the two sides and not forced to one of them, and ...


3

Tosfos to Chagiga 13b explains as follows (translation my own): מזיעתן של חיות. ויוצאים ממנו מלאכים ואומרים שירה ומיד נטרדים והכי מצינו במדרש (איכה ג) חדשים לבקרים שבורא מלאכים בכל יום ואומרים שירה ונטרדין להן כדאמר בסמוך משום שיש אות במלאכים הקבועים שממתינים זה לזה לומר שירה ואלו החדשים שאינם יודעים הדת ממהרין לשורר ונתחייבו כליה והיינו אשר תקנו ...


3

The famous saying that you are thinking of is לב שרים ביד השם. Unfortunately this saying is not from Tanach, rather it is an adaption of the Posuk in Mishlei 21:1 לב מלך ביד השם. This is generally understood that leaders do not have free choice on things that affect their subjects, rather God decides that himself and sways the Kings heart. For more of a ...


3

Devarim 10:12 says: And now, O Israel, what does the Lord, your God, demand of you? Only to fear the Lord, your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to worship the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, Rashi says: Only to fear [the Lord your God,…]: Our Rabbis derived from this verse [“And now… what does… ...


3

Rashi explains that no one will chase you because you will be weak. The implication is that there is a superior enemy to fear (as is written in the same verse) and good reason to run. But the only reason why an army would bother to give chase is they fear the other side will regroup and retaliate. G-d is saying that your enemies will not need to worry ...


3

When it comes to other people your attitude to them must always be to save them from suffering. Whether they need, deserve or would benefit from suffering is not your concern at all. The only person I know about who tortured others (mentally) for their benefit is Joseph, and we do not have the capability of doing such a thing. If they need suffering it will ...


3

I see that the issue of the Rambam was raised above, but I can not fit the comment above, so here it is. The question the Rambam is asking (in Teshuvah 5:5), I believe, is how to reconcile Hashems knowledge with the premise that Hashem knows what man will do. What the Rambam is trying to clarify is how Hashem knows what man will do. If the way Hashem ...


3

note: source is in kabbalah alot earlier then the alshich true, it is unbalanced in that sense. but there are many many things to say about this issue, here are some pointers: we (at least its in my machzor) say on rosh hashana "ata yodeah yitzram ve'atah (possibly "ki" ) yotzram"(אתה יודע יצרם ואתה יוצרם) meaning god created us with a disadvantage and ...


3

This seems to parallel לא יאונה לצדיק כל און - No wrong shall be caused for the righteous, certainly according to Rashi (there on the verse and other places) that this applies to all sin, but even according to Tosfos that this only applies to food or things which are degrading for the Tzaddik, it is certainly appropriate to ask for that protection. Note in ...


2

To try and understand the Ramabam's question I think we have to first provide an explanation that will remove ones initial understanding of the the Rambam's question. I don't believe God's knowing what we will do in the future contradicts free will. The first step is to define free-will. I would like to offer a suggestion that free-will is when one is the ...


2

I believe the idea that angels do not have free will comes from a medieval understanding of what the gemora means that an angel can only have 1 task. (Mesechet Baba Metziah 86b) There are numerous statements in midrash and gemora that an angel can only do one thing. They have one single mission. When angels appear to have more than one mission, Chazal ...


2

B"H, I have humbly tried to summarize the Friedlander translation of the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim Section III Chapter XVII (link) as regards the free will of earthly beings other than man. Hashem Yerachem if I've erred in this task. Elements in brackets, including ellipses, are my own. The Rambam begins with views "generally accepted by our Sages" on the ...


2

The Talmud (Kiddushin 30B) says: ואמר ר"ש בן לוי יצרו של אדם מתגבר עליו בכל יום ומבקש המיתו שנאמר צופה רשע לצדיק ומבקש להמיתו ואלמלא הקב"ה עוזרו אין יכול לו שנאמר אלהים לא יעזבנו בידו And R' Shimon ben Levi said: "The inclination of a person gathers strength every day, and desires to kill him, as it is stated (Tehillim 37:32), 'The wicked man ...


1

The commentaries on Kedusha of shemoneh esrei (Avudarham among others) say that the angels are requesting permission from each other in order to start together. It therefore seems that they do not need the permission because they can't praise Hashem were it not for another angel allowing them to, rather the permission is a way of expressing that they make ...


1

After searching around, I found something that somewhat contradicts what I said in my earlier comment where I suggested that r'shut simply means "making space," that is, non-interference. It seems that there is an understanding that r'shut actually does mean giving permission, but the permission seems to have been ordained from a source higher than regular ...


1

Bilaam had free will - but he also had a heightened awareness of Gcd's presence. As a prophet he was acutely aware of Gcd's ability to punish; and he even got a "refresher course" on his journey, in the episode with his talking donkey. Compare it to this: You find a perfect spot to park - but it's there's a no-parking sign and a policeman standing nearby. ...


1

The Ramchal in Da'as Tevunos Chelek Beis Simanim 29 - 35 deals with the issue of angels making mistakes. I am not going to copy it here because it is lengthy. Essentially, his idea is that angels are given two things - their mission and their awareness. Sometimes their mission is very specific and detailed, and sometimes it is given more vaguely. If an ...



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