Sunday, August 14, 2011

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Does G-d Know?

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

image003     This question keeps coming up. Does G-d know what we are going to choose, and if so, are we really free to choose what we want? If He already knows what is going to happen, aren’t our choices already set? If so, how can there be free will!

     A prophet might know the future. For instance, he could know that Israel is about to fail at something, and G-d has sent him to warn us. But if he knows that we are going to fail, why bother to warn us? If he knows that it is going to happen, then it is already set, and we cannot do anything about it. This seemingly proves that we do not have free will!

     This is, in fact, the Eastern belief of karma. They say, whatever you did in the past must come back to you. Therefore, they conclude, do not do anything!

     This is not the Torah’s teaching. Yes, the Torah teaches mida keneged mida (portion across from portion), that what you do will come back to you; but the Torah also teaches that we have free will. We are taught that no matter what is set to come, we, with our deeds can reverse that decision and turn our future to the good. This is why G-d sent prophets to warn us.

     So, even though G-d knows what is set to come, and He knows what we are going to choose, still, we are free to change our minds, and most importantly, our deeds and choose to do something else instead. And, of course, G-d knows that we were going to make that change, too.

     How does this affect our lives today? Why hasn’t the Redemption come? Obviously, its time has not yet come. But if we have to wait for its time, why do anything to try to bring it? If it is set for a certain date, shouldn’t we just sit back and wait peacefully.

     No. The Redemption is set to come by a certain date, and no matter what, it will not come a second later than that moment. But… it could come earlier. If we use our free will, and do the proper deeds, then we can make it happen now. This is our free will, and it is one of the many differences between the Torah and the East.

     The practical aspect of this difference is, since they feel that they cannot change anything, they say, “Let go… detach.” And since we know that we can change the world, we say, “get involved… make the world a better place.” Not only will you enjoy yourself more, and not only will you reduce suffering, you might even add that tiny drop that was needed to bring the final Redemption right now!


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