Free Choice For Mankind

Day 13: How can i use my
free will responsibly?

וְכַאֲשֶׁר תִּתְנַהֵג בְּמִדַּת הָעֲנָוָה לְהִתְבּוֹשֵׁשׁ מִכָּל אָדָם, וּלְהִתְפַּחֵד מִמֶּנּוּ וּמִן הַחֵטְא – אָז תִּשְׁרֶה עָלֶיךָ רוּחַ הַשְּׁכִינָה, וְזִיו כְּבוֹדָהּ, וְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם הַבָּא

Also, when you act humbly and modestly before everyone, and fear God and (fear) sin, the radiance of His glory and the spirit of the Shechina (Divine Presence) will rest upon you, and you will live the life of the World to Come!

The nature of man is to be fearful of everything- fearful of the unknown, of crime, of competition, of sickness, of pain, of death, etc.

If man is so prone to fear, why is he not as instinctively afraid of the Almighty, the most powerful force on earth?

Hashem removed man’s ability to intuitively perceive His magnitude in order to give him His greatest gift of bechira chofshit, free choice. 

Consequently, man must actively seek out and pursue knowledge of the Divine. That is the only way to acquire the appropriate amount of fear in order to be motivated to choose good over evil.

King David says:

“If you seek it as you do silver and search for it as for treasures, then you will understand the fear of Hashem and attain knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2: 4-5)

(Adapted from A Letter for the Ages, pages 54-55)

Click on image to see the letter in Hebrew and in English

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Bonus Material

Beyond the Animal in Man: Freewill vs. Determinism by Yonasan Rosenblum

The belief in man's elevation over the animals is under assault in the West. Denial of free will -- and with it the possibility of morality -- is central to that attack. If man does not possess the freedom to choose, he is no more morally culpable for his actions than a lion for eating its prey. At the end of the day, he...

Read More

Daily Goals

Daily Goals:
We cannot allow the voice of the evil inclination, which is present within all of us, to overwhelm the voice of the good inclination. We must constantly be on guard, to avoid listening only to the negative, small and fearful voice of humanity when it feels scared, and instead to maintain our freedom of choice by being open to hearing the greater, but more difficult, voice of God. God gave Man the gift of free will to choose between the voice of the good inclination (yetzer tov) and the voice of the evil inclination (yetzer harah).  Which voice will we listen to? Will we heed the voice of desire, as in the case of Adam and Eve? Will we listen to the voice of anger, as in the case of Cain? Or will we follow the voice of God calling on us to make this a more just and gracious world?

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Day 12: Accepting His Will

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Day 14: Agent Of The Almighty

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