Dear Rabbi Moss

My name is Yael and I am 9 years old. I have a question for you. Why does G‑d set us challenges if he knows our future? And if we do the wrong thing how can he be mad with us?

From Yael


Dear Yael,

That is a fantastic question. You must have a very deep mind, because this is the question that all the great minds ask. I will try to give you an answer.

Do you know the song, "G‑d is here, G‑d is there, G‑d is truly everywhere"? If G‑d is truly everywhere, then I have a problem — where are you? And where am I? How can you be there if G‑d is also there? If someone is sitting in a chair, I can't also sit there! If a room is full of people, I can't fill it with more people! So if the world is full of G‑d (because He is everywhere) where are we?!

The answer: G‑d can do anything. He can be everywhere and let us be here too. So really He is everywhere — even the place that I'm in. But He makes it seem to me like He isn't there so I can exist.

The exact same thing applies to my choices. How can I choose if G‑d already decided? If G‑d knows what I will choose, then there's no room for my choice?

The answer: G‑d can do anything. He can know what I will do and let me decide too. He can know but make it seem to me like He doesn't know, so I am free to choose.

So why are we rewarded or punished if G‑d knew anyway what we would do? Because we don't feel that G‑d knew. We feel that we chose freely. And we are right. Just like we exist freely, because G‑d hides Himself from us, so we choose freely because G‑d keeps his knowledge to Himself.

If we would feel that G‑d knows what we will choose, we wouldn't be able to choose anymore. And if we could feel that G‑d is here, we wouldn't feel that we were separate from Him. That's what will happen when Moshiach (the Messiah) comes — we will realise that we are really part of G‑d. And we won't have free choice anymore. That's why we have to do a lot of good now — while we still have the choice!

Think about it, and we can talk about it more if you want.