Questions tagged [free-will-bechira]

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

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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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0answers
23 views

How do we reconcile mental illness with free will? [duplicate]

A somewhat general question that I'm sure will have a specific answer. I'm wondering, doesn't mental illness nullify our free will? Can we say those that hallucinate, living in seemingly completely ...
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1answer
738 views

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 ...
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173 views

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 ...
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1answer
83 views

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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1answer
119 views

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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4answers
151 views

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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2answers
110 views

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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1answer
112 views

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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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 ...
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4answers
82 views

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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160 views

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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315 views

Free choice versus the Will of G-d

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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495 views

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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166 views

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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1answer
178 views

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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1answer
336 views

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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3answers
247 views

Does Judaism believe the doctrine of predestination?

Is there any indication of predestination doctrine in Judaism?
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3answers
131 views

What does HaShem benefits 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 making this human being with the the ability ...
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1answer
67 views

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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1answer
125 views

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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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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594 views

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 ...
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2answers
156 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 fruit?...
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1answer
125 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
109 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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76 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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155 views

Lesson from Moshe's Rock

In Parsha Chukat, Rashi (BeMidbar 19:12) 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 ...
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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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166 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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3answers
296 views

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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2answers
542 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?
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1answer
175 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
119 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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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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152 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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363 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 ...
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2answers
782 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 (...
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2answers
281 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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4answers
161 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 ...
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1answer
199 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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2answers
390 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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117 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
208 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
319 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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272 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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732 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?