I'm having a great day. I've just left the Kotel (Western Wall) where I've read a few chapters of Psalms for my family, friends, for myself and my new granddaughter. I pulled a chair up close to the Wall, leaned my head against the stones, closed my eyes, and felt my thoughts and prayers be absorbed by the cool rock, a few unexpected tears sliding down my cheek into the black-gray tangle of my beard. The Wall seemed to reach out and welcome the surge of energy and sensation flowing through my body.

I leave the Kotel feeling like one of the luckiest guys in the world. How many people, I think to myself, can jump in the car, ride over to the Old City, drive slowly through these ancient streets and alleyways, and go to the holiest place in the world for a few minutes of prayer between appointments?

My spirits are picking up steam.

I'm driving down the mountain now. A mist clings to the ground, filling the spaces between the trees, giving the forest on either side of the Jerusalem Highway an eerie, mystical aura. Playing on my tape machine is a lovely piece of music combining flute, drums and rhythmical voices, a fitting background for this beautiful ride. I think of my friend in Seattle who first told me about this musician, and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful friend. In fact, I'm lucky enough to have several really good friends, men who have been my friends for over thirty years. I sense in this moment how very fortunate and rare it is to have good, seasoned friends like these.

Suddenly, a cascade of memories and sensations flood my mind and body and I begin to happily sing along with the tape.

As I drive down this mountain, music playing, trees whirring by, my heart full of appreciation and love, I feel free. As free as could be. I have the pleasant sensation of being neither confined nor restrained, without limits or boundaries. Free to do what I want, to be who I am. Decide what I wish. Act and discover.

It's a heady feeling.

And the words pop into my mind: Free Choice.

The sky has turned a deep red. A break in the clouds allows enough light to penetrate the dusky sky and evoke a crimson color that now reflects against the thick mist that clings to the ground and trees.

If I'm truly free, what will I father with my freedom? Is my life so completely up to me?

I feel my hands on the wheel, my feet on the pedals, the sound of the engine in my ears, the wind blowing against my face. I re-anchor myself in sensations of the moment.

Freedom! Free choice! Absolute free choice.

But what does it mean? To be free, must I not be free from the conditioning of my parents, my society, my community, from biological and genetic influence?

To have free choice, must I also be free of morality? If I am influenced by concerns for right and wrong, are my choices free? Do I have the choice to commit atrocities, abominations, act irresponsibly, G‑d forbid?

To be free, it seems, I must be able to stand in the middle of any situation or decision, any encounter or challenge and see all options as absolutely equal; for if one is better than the other, then the choice is not free, it is already conditioned by preference or value. To be free, all options must be open.

To be free, I must be able to see myself standing constantly in the fulcrum between life and death, where either is my choice.

I shudder.

It's dark now. The trees and boulders that line the road have lost their definition against the gray-brown background of this mountain and now seem cold and impersonal. I roll the window up against the bite that's entered the wind. Winter is descending on Israel. A welcome change from the heat. The music has ended. The car is silent. There is the whine of the wheels on the road. The flashing lights of the cars. The street signs. A glow from my dash board. The continual surge of thought pounding in my head.

G‑d gives me the possibility to transcend all limitations and definitions, to exist in a sphere where who I am is determined solely from my choice and the consequence it brings.

The tzaddik and the rasha: Are they equal? Mordechai and Haman: at what level are they indistinguishable? Good and evil: Can I find them in myself and love them both? Am I free to do that, too? And which one will I choose? And afterwards, will I be able to exist with the consequences of my choice, with the ‘who-I-am' that becomes revealed when I and only I am responsible for what I choose, for how I act, unencumbered, uninfluenced by anything other than me?

Oh G‑d, have You guided my day to this moment, descending down this mountain from Jerusalem?

Self discovery leads to freedom.

If I cast away my conditioning and its limitations, my preconceived notion of who I am, of how I must act, of the difference between Jacob and Esau, Mordechai and Haman, do I become them all and, if so, what do I do with all these tendencies permitted and prohibited? Do they each have purpose, time and place? Or has G‑d created something superfluous, G‑d forbid?

No. Contained in my little body is the entire universe. Equally. And G‑d has given me the power to choose to act with any part of myself -rasha or tzaddik or anywhere in between. The choice is up to me. Who I am, how I behave is my choice. All things are possible, all alternatives available, I am who I choose to be and in this freedom there is no one left to blame. In my absolute freedom I am absolutely responsible.

I am, in this freedom, left with only myself and my choice and its consequence. I am left with the awesome opportunity to discover who I am through what I father in my life through my choices.

I see my exit ahead. Sha'ar HaGai. I turn right and proceed on the Beit Shemesh Road towards the Rehovot turn off. I'm anxious to get home. My wife is working tonight, and my kids are waiting for me to cook dinner.

It's night. Pitch black. I put on another piece of music and enjoy relief from my thoughts. I suddenly feel very tired. It's a winding road. I encourage myself to pay closer attention to my driving. Immersed as I've been in these thoughts, I know that angels have driven the car this far.

Yet there remains one more thing. I can feel it. There's something still nagging at my mind.

If free choice means that we choose from a point where all things are absolutely equal, on what basis is choice made? On what basis do I choose?

And the answer comes: From the essence of my self. From my essential being that, if it chooses good, does so simply because that is who I am, who I was created to be. In that heady, spinning, limitless place in which I am totally, absolutely free — as G‑d promises I am — I choose and act independently and courageously only from trust in the essence of myself, a creation and reflection of G‑d, who in His absolute freedom chose good when He said: "And G‑d created light and darkness, and He called the light good."

In His absolute freedom G‑d chose and chooses from no preconditioned place. Being and containing all, He knows that all is equally essential to the existence and perpetuation of the whole.

And yet, He chooses us.

He takes the Jewish people as His chosen.

He does this from the essence of Himself.

And in so doing, He reveals to us the essence of ourselves. He gives us the power to completely transcend all limitation, to be absolutely free, yet, in this freedom, to choose life, to choose G‑d, to choose good.

We choose from the essence of our being as G‑d created us to be. Absolutely free. Good at the core.

The angels have carried me safely down the mountain. My children greet me with smiles. I put the rice on to boil. What a marvelous day it's been.