Questions tagged [free-will-bechira]

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

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Free will after Moshiach [duplicate]

In the Rosh Hashana amida (at least nusach Ashkenaz), there is a tefilla that the whole world should recognise Hashem as King and that all wickedness should evaporate like smoke. I presume that this ...
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Being punished for things beyond bechira point

According to Rabbi Dessler's idea of a "bechira point", if something is beyond my bechira point and I transgress it, does that mean that I won't be punished for it because it is beyond what ...
3 votes
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Can God influence man to sin?

We know that God is Sovereign, Creator of all things, whether spiritual or physical, and nothing escapes His control or goes against Him. So, from what is written: "However, [God hardened Pharaoh'...
2 votes
2 answers
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Is Mishlei 16:4 saying that Man does not have free-will / freedom of choice?

Shalom. My JPS English Tanakh translates Mishlei 16:4 as 'The LORD made everything for a purpose, even the wicked for an evil day'. This rendering implies (to me) that the wicked were made wicked, ...
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Question on Shmonah Prakim

In ch. 8 of Rambam's Shmonah Prakim (Rambam's introduction to Pirkei Avot), he discusses free will. After maintaining that even the Egyptians had free will, despite Hashem telling Avraham that his ...
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2 votes
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Can God do bad?

Man has free will. He can choose to do good or bad. Does God have free will? Can God choose to do bad things? If we say that god does only good, isn't that putting a limitation on him?
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Can someone's free will affect a prophecy?

When a prophet gets a prophecy, can my free will change the prophecy or is the future event set in stone?
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Life choices how to know if one made the good choice

G-d Himself tells us to choose between life and good, and death and evil. Sometimes good is translated as prosperity here and evil as destruction or adversity. הַֽחַיִּ֖ים וְאֶת־הַטּ֑וֹב וְאֶת־...
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Emunah and failures?

Rav Arush in the Garden of Emunah apparently has a concept that failures are from Hashem see here : Before making a mistake, a person has apparent free choice not to make a mistake. But, after the ...
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Are Nisyonos Lifnei Iver? [closed]

How are Nisyonos not considered Lifnei Iver? One shouldn't place themselves into a Makom Nisayon1, and is Chayiv for sinning even if one doesn't sin (such as transgressing by passing a house of ...
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Why were the plagues necessary if God hardened Pharaoh's heart?

The Torah tells us that God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he would not let the Israelites go. [Ex. Ch. 4-14] Some commentators [e.g., Sforno] explain that this was in order to allow Pharaoh to ...
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Does G-d's overt presence invalidate one's free choice?

It is frequently claimed that the reason for the current Haster Panim (lack of G-d's overt presence in the physical world) is that it is necessary for our free choice. In other words, if G-d's ...
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Egalitarian references in Chazal

I'm trying to find references in Chazal to the principle that people are judged/rewarded based on the choices they make, regardless of their specific role in society. For example, I believe I have ...
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4 votes
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Is it possible to pray to Hashem for a specific person as your prospective spouse?

I understand in the first Amud of Masechet Sotah, an individual’s future [first] spouse is predestined. Is there a possibility of praying to Hashem, such that one may change the decree and designate a ...
6 votes
2 answers
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Freewill and rewarding dogs

If animals don't have freewill, why are dogs rewarded for not having barked at Jewish people during the Exodus from Egypt? (Exodus 11 and Exodus 22)
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How to understand "a person only sins if a spirit of foolishness enters him?"

The gemara in Sotah 3a states: ריש לקיש אמר אין אדם עובר עבירה אא"כ נכנס בו רוח שטות שנא' (במדבר ה, יב) איש איש כי תשטה אשתו תשטה כתיב Reish Lakish says: A man commits a transgression only if a ...
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1 answer
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What if the wicked son didn’t know better?

We say at the Seder: רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבוֹדָה הַזּאֹת לָכֶם. לָכֶם – וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִׁנָּיו ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Do insane people have free choice?

We know that Hashem gives everyone free choice. But when examining the traits of an insane person, it is clear that someone can be so mentally ill that it is impossible for them to control what they ...
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Was Adam HaRishon's eating from the Tree of Knowledge really a sin

Most of the characterizations I have seen portray eating of the Tree of Knowledge as a sin. Yet (I personally, with no validation for my surmise) would be inclined to think otherwise. My reasoning is:...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Do nochrim have free choice in the 7 Laws?

There is a teaching that Jews have bechira chofshis, and only as regards their performance of mitzvot. (I don't have a source for the first claim offhand; please help. The source for the second claim ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can Angels "fall"?

According to this answer, the Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer (among other works) references an idea that angels "fell" -- were somehow separated from their holiness and "became" human. This answer states ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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How do we exercise free will when influenced on so many levels?

In Judaism, there is a concept of free will; but, from many sciences and probably our own experiences we know for a fact that many factors influence our decision-making process, and many of them ...
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what is the nature of future visions which never come to be?

In a number of places chazal describe someone, for our purposes we will dub the 'seer' as seeing the future descendants of certain people, such as Moshe before he killed the Egyptian or Elisha before ...
2 votes
4 answers
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What makes the choice to do good or evil?

I understand some of bechira but this has always puzzled me: If we are equally inclined to do good or evil, what is it that makes the final choice?
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Will people have the capacity to act out of free will in the next world?

The next world/techias hameisim/any world after that- is a place to receive sechar for the work done in this world. I was wondering if in any of these worlds people will have free will (more ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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Free choice versus the Will of G-d [duplicate]

What are the different Hashkofas (outlooks/philosophies) in understanding free choice in a matter versus HaShem's Will occurring in that same thing? For example, if my wife divorces me, did she ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Did The Snake In The Garden Of Eden Have Free Will?

I heard that all of creation recognizes Hashem and is obedient to Hashem, and that humans are the only creation from Hashem that have free will. So why is it that the snake in the garden of Eden was ...
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What is free will and do we have it?

I guess to do evil and good there must be somekinda free will.If someone kills another without understanding it,one can´t say He /She did no evil,but you can say they are without fault. So I would ...
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2 answers
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Divine Providence and Mishpatim 21:13

The Rambam, and many other Rishonim believed that divine providence extends to people in accordance with their righteousness. It follows that they believed that many times, G-d lets things happen ...
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1 answer
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Understanding the Bracha of Hashiveinu in Shemoneh Esrei

It is commonly understood that God gave us free will to do good or evil. Similarly, it says in Gemara B'rachot (33b) that "Everything is in the hands of Heaven, except for the fear of Heaven." In ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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If a shidduch says "no" to you, does that mean that they are not your zivug? [closed]

If a shidduch says "no" to you, does that mean that they are not your zivug (predetermined soulmate)? Some sources: Forty days before the formation of an embryo, a Heavenly voice proclaims: The ...
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2 votes
3 answers
359 views

Does Judaism believe the doctrine of predestination?

Is there any indication of predestination doctrine in Judaism?
4 votes
4 answers
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What does HaShem benefit from making the human being?

HaShem made the human being with free will (to choose), but what does it mean to HaShem, or what does He gain/benefits from making the human being and why make this human being with the ability to ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How does Tzaraat work without God seriously intervening in the natural world?

The concept of Tzaraat is confusing. Essentially, soon after slandering your friend, you are to be afflicted by this mysterious skin or clothing discolouration as a punishment and then excommunicated....
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2 votes
1 answer
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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 (...
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10 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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8 votes
0 answers
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If Lev Melech B'yad Hashem, why bother voting? [duplicate]

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 ...
8 votes
2 answers
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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 fruit?...
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9 votes
1 answer
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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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3 answers
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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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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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13 votes
6 answers
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Lesson from Moshe's Rock

In Parsha Chukat, Rashi (BeMidbar 20:12) says that, 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 ...
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3 answers
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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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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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3 answers
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Do Amalekites not have souls?

I remember reading once (in Sender Zeyv's novel Ten Lost), that some Jewish sources say that Amalekites don't have souls. Obviously, this might not be so reliable, coming from a work of fiction, so I'...
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2 answers
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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?
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1 answer
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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
1 answer
126 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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4 answers
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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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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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