Developed specifically for online, interactive learning
Taught by scholars with a personal interest in the subject
Engaging topics made relevant to real life issues
About the Course
Do we have freedom of choice, or is it merely an illusion? Belief in an omnipotent higher power would suggest that everything is predetermined. But how does that explain the human experience, in which our ability to make choices is a given? And how does it fit with the moral imperative, in both Judaism and in society at large, that people should be held accountable for their actions?
The question of whether or not we have free choice has major implications - not only in how we view morality, but also in how we choose to live our lives. This lesson discusses some of these universal questions, revealing that there are perhaps some areas of life in which we have more control, and choice, than others.
This lesson explores fundamental positions regarding the question of free choice vs. determinism among three distinguished classical Jewish scholars - the Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, aka Maimonides), the Raavad (Rabbi Avraham ben David) and Rabbi Moshe ben Baruch Almosnino. Their positions are examined and challenged, especially in light of Chassidic thought.
There’s more to reality than meets the eye. So maybe choice operates differently on different levels or dimensions of existence. Perhaps in our earthly reality, which is bound by time and space, choice exists, while in more transcendent realms of existence that are beyond time and and space, choice is irrelevant.
If free will does exist, how is it possible for a human being to do anything that contradicts G-d will? In this lesson we explore the seeming paradox between the experience of choice and its theological ramifications. If everything that happens is ultimately destined as part of the divine plan, do the choices we make really change the course of humanity and world history, or are we just fooling ourselves?
(Suggested Donation $40) Donate Here
Meet the Instructor
Rabbi Mendy Herson received his rabbinic ordination from the Central Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Brooklyn, NY. He has traveled extensively as a lecturer, connecting with audiences across the country and as far away as Australia with his engaging scholarly approach and personable, down-to-earth speaking style. Together with his wife, Malkie, he founded the dynamic Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, NJ serving Somerset County, and continues to serve as its spiritual leader. He is also the Associate Dean of the Rabbinical College of America, and a member of the board of Merkos, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch International.
It was an excellent class, very well presented. Fantastic how so much valuable information was conveyed in a short class.
T. Beck, AZ
I enjoyed the course immensely. It was easy to listen to and presented in an organized and cogent way. I hope to be able to integrate what I learned into my life.
S. Hope, AK
The course was well organized and presented, and the sessions were just the right length for the demands of my current schedule.
D. Swick - MA
The handouts and presentation were extremely professional and very much appreciated. The teaching succinct, clear and kept me anticipating the next lesson.