If a person is deciding whether to do something and says "I'll flip a coin, heads I do it, tails I don't" does that fall under the prohibition of "don't divine with signs" in Vayikra 19?


2 Answers 2


Chicago Community Kollel - Parsha Encounters 4 Shevat 5768 in the name of Rabbi Yisrael Belsky Shlita, says that one may flip a coin to make a decision.

When one flips a coin and makes a decision based on the results, he does not feel his decision is necessarily the right thing to do. Rather, he was undecided, and he is leaving his decision up to "chance"


I asked this question to R' Shlomo Shlezinger Z"l and his answer was:

The very idea of Avodah Zarah assumes that some Earthy bodies or forces have a certain independence from G-d, have strengths of their own. So one who says "this dice has divine powers to guide me through my life" is an idolater.

But one who follows Moses' "וְעַתָּה אִם נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ הוֹדִעֵנִי נָא אֶת דְּרָכֶךָ וְאֵדָעֲךָ" and asks from G-d to show His will in throwing dice, that would surely be allowed.

  • Can't that logic also be extended to drawing lots and following omens [which appears to be forbidden]? One can simply claim "I'm asking from G-d to show His will through X" where X is {lots,omens,etc.}?
    – user9806
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 18:38
  • See the beginning of Rambam's Hilchos Avodah Zarah - it became AZ when people disconnected the bodies and forces as being G-d's servants from G-d and attributed independent capabilities to them. As long as a person holds that whatever happens comes exclusively from G-d's will it is permitted (in this view).
    – Al Berko
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 18:48
  • That seems to me like a too permissive approach. What prevents one from also applying it to, say, sorcery (which is clearly forbidden) and claiming that "it is just G-d showing His will" through whatever the steps of this sorcery incantation/ritual/whatever are? Since everything in the universe happens by G-d's Will, this type of thinking can be extended to anything.
    – user9806
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 19:21
  • @user9806 But isn't what Eliyahoo did on Carmel sorcery? It surely was, but because he warned everyone that it comes from G-d it was allowed.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 20:14

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