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19

The Gemara in Berachos 10a says that (at the advice of his wife Beruriah) Rebbi Meir prayed for neighbors of his to become religious, and the Gemara seems to approve of this. This is also implied by Sotah 14a, where Moshe is said to daven for the wicked to return, as well as in Taanis 23b, where Abba Chilkiyah says that his wife is more righteous because she ...


16

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 ...


12

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 ...


10

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 ...


9

is it ok?!? ITS A TREMENDOUS MITZVAH! we say every day "hashiveinu avinu lesorasecha" 3x a day. Sefardi siddurim within this bracha have a place to add the name of someone who needs to repent and a small bakasha. Also, the chazon ish has a nusach for a teffilah which deals with the issue of "hakol byedei shaymayim chutz m'yiras shamayim". The Chazon Ish's ...


9

The gemara in Moed Kattan 18b would seem to advise against it: כי הא דרבא שמעיה לההוא גברא דבעי רחמי ואמר תזדמן לי פלניתא א"ל לא תיבעי רחמי הכי אי חזיא לך לא אזלא מינך ואי לא כפרת בה' בתר הכי שמעיה דקאמר או איהו לימות מקמה או איהי תמות מקמיה א"ל לאו אמינא לך לא תיבעי עלה דמילתא This is like this incident, in which Rava heard a certain man asking for ...


8

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

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

Avot 3:19 says: "Rabbi Akiva said: All is foreseen, but freedom of choice is given. The world is judged in goodness, yet all is proportioned to one's work." This is a classic conundrum: if we have free will then how can all be foreseen, and if all is foreseen how can we have free will? But, somehow, both statements are true; God, not being limited in any ...


6

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 ...


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 ...


5

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 ...


5

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 ...


5

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 ...


5

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 ...


5

The Ramchal in Da'as Tevunos in the section בריאת הרע וגדריו, starting with siman 96 and particularly in siman 114 and 118, explains how demons came into existence. 114: כשאנו אומרים שהקב"ה ברא העולם הזה, ודאי נבין בתחילה בריאת הכלל, ואחר כך הפרטים, פירוש, בתחילה הטבע עצמו, ואחר כך אישיו. והנה כשרצה האדון ב"ה לחדש הטבע בטוב ורע, הנה ודאי הוא שבאה השפעה ...


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 ...


5

The explanation I have heard is that had Hashem not hardened Paro's heart then it would not have been by choice as he would of for sure sent them out after each plague. However by hardening his heart now he was able to make a decision, which he failed.


5

מעיד אני עלי את השמים ואת הארץ, בין ישראל בין עכו״ם, בין איש בין אשה, בין עבד ובין שפחה הכל לפי מעשה שהוא עושה - כך רוח הקודש שורה עליו. (Seder Eliyahu Raba 9). And Avoda Zara 3a (Rabbi Meir). See also Rambam, end of Shmita ve-Yovel.


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

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 ...


4

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 ...


4

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 ...


4

Rabbe'inu Baḥya (Ḥovot HaLevavot, Sha'ar HaBitaḥon, Chapter 4, s.v. וכן כשיבקש) states, based on the Talmud Bavli (Bava Bathra 119B among others), that HaShem arranges for good deeds to be fulfilled by the worthy and unfortunate deeds to be fulfilled by the sinful (מגלגלין זכות על ידי זכאי וחובה על ידי חייב). According to this Hashqafah (outlook/philosophy),...


4

Free will is premised on the existence of a domain which need not submit to Hashem's will. As the Ramchal writes in the Daas Tevunos, the existence of this domain, while requisite for receiving reward for what we accomplish in this world, at some point will disappear, since ultimately Hashem's will is to reveal his oneness, and the existence of this domain ...


4

Yehuda Shirpin points out multiple sources where angels did indeed make a mistake - Chagigah 15a where Metatron was whipped Rashi (Bereishis 19:22) where the Angels destroying Sedom are handicapped by saying "we" will destroy the city, and continues: An angel is not merely a robot; it is something like a robot with its own intelligence. Perhaps the ...


4

When a person did lose his free choice, we say that he became Shote, loosely linked to the inaccurate term of "crazy" or insane. He is categorized as a child regarding responsibility and this state is often reversed to sanity. For instance mishna Gittin 2.6: קיבל הקטן והגדיל, חירש ונתפקח, סומא ונתפתח, שוטה ונשתפה, נוכרי ונתגייר--פסול. אבל פיקח ונתחרש ...


4

Rabbi Shafier of The Shmuz asks this question in one of the pieces from Parshas Mishpatim. The gist of his answer (although I'd recommend reading it directly, it's not too long of an article) is a two step answer: 1) all results come about from Hashem, even though a person puts intent into their actions, ultimately no results would come about from the ...


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