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 like moral decay is everywhere, and the general tendency is more towards evil, especially since 99.9% of the world is walking around aimlessly.

  • 2
    That isn't free will. That's your inclination. Everyone has a good inclination and a bad. You have free will to choose which to follow.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 20:36
  • yeah but the question is whether the bad pull is stronger than the pull towards good.
    – ray
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 21:01
  • 3
    Ok, but that influences your choices, not your ability to choose.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 1:03

4 Answers 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 that he have the power of choice to choose with intelligence and with will whichever of them he wishes"

So, we can see that the free will is indeed 50/50 balanced.

Important Edit:

The above answer is correct according to the balance of the free will before the sin of Adam. But after the sin, the balance is not equal, as described further in the same chapter:

וכיון שחטא, נשתנו הדברים שינוי גדול. והוא, כי הנה בתחילה היו בבריאה החסרונות שהיו, בשיעור מה שהיה מצטרך לשיהיה אדם הראשון במצב השיקול שזכרנו... אמנם על ידי חטאו – נוספו ונתרבו חסרונות בעצמו של אדם ובבריאה כלה, ועוד נתקשה התיקון ממה שהיה קודם.

  • could be he means that it is within one's ability but not that it's 50/50. After all, the yetzet tov only comes at bar mitva, giving the yetzer hara plenty of time to take control of the body
    – ray
    Commented Jul 11, 2013 at 5:18
  • so why is 99.9% of humanity walking around with no clue whatsoever what they're supposed to be doing here. many of them have never even met a jew in their entire lives
    – ray
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 22:41

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 watches for the righteous man and seeks to put him to death.' And if not for the fact that G-d helps him he would not be able to overcome it, as it is stated (Tehillim 37:33), "The Lord shall not leave him in his hands,"

There is a story about R' Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (citation needed), where he once told G-d, "You can't blame the Jews for sinning, You put Heaven and Hell in books and the desires of this world in front of their eyes. If You would have done the opposite (i.e put Heaven and Hell in front of their eyes, and all the desires/pleasures in books), no one would ever sin.

In Tanya Chapter 13, the Baal HaTanya explains (Based on the Talmud quoted above, and Berachot) that the Evil and Good inclinations are two equal forces that give their advice to person, and G-d then helps the person choose the good inclination, because otherwise the person would not be able to overpower the Evil inclination.

The Talmud (Avoda Zarah 3A) "G-d does not make tyrannical and unreasonable demands of His creatures." If there is evil in the world, and the evil seems easier and more accessible, we should realize that G-d also gave us the power and ability to overcome it. See here for more.


For any given issue, different people will have different levels of difficulty doing the right thing. For example, John might be a very honest person, but struggle with lashon harah. Meanwhile, Bob could be very good at not talking badly about others, but also be known for stretching the truth. For John, it takes no effort to tell the truth; that's just how he naturally is. On the other hand, refraining from gossip takes a lot more effort. The opposite is true for Bob.

We all struggle with different midot. We are challenged to do the right thing in different situations. The fact that we have free will does not mean that we do not receive challenges from God. But overall, it is not correct to say that we are pushed one way or the other. It is very easy to do evil sometimes, but for other things, it feels far more natural for us to do good.


According to Rav Dessler, free will is the point at the which the pull towards emes and the pull towards sheker meet within a person (Strive for Truth, Vol 2; pg 53). The pull is equal from both sides. But, this point of bechira is constantly moving to either higher or lower levels depending on the person's prior thoughts and actions. Every time a person chooses emes, his bechira point moves up. When he chooses sheker, it moves down.

Part of the reason why we need Heavenly Assistance to battle the evil inclination, as mentioned in one of the responses above, could be due to the fact that by the Chait of Adam HaRishon, the Yatzer Hara entered into Adam and Chava, while the Yatzer Tov became externalized. This reversed their original positions before the chait (Michtav M'Eliyahu II, p138). So, we are now inherently more connected to and more easily identify with our desire for physical gratification devoid of spirituality.

  • so what free will is there for goy in china who has never been exposed to torah or jews?
    – ray
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 19:09

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