Do We Really Have Free Will?

Free Choice, Determinism, and G-d's Knowledge

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Do We Really Have Free Will?: Free Choice, Determinism, and G-d's Knowledge

If G-d knows what we will choose, do we really have free choice? In this challenging 1-hour lecture, Rabbi New tackles this profound paradox.
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Perpetual Creation, Divine Providence, Freedom of Choice

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Sylvie Pettersen Sydney. Australia. June 7, 2020

Dear Rabbi. Most excellent as always. SO SO blessed by your person, your light, your teachings - Jews and non Jews, we all receive your words and bless HaShem for them. Reply

Edith Nairobi March 2, 2017

I'm so enlightened by this lecture. Thank you. Reply

Sara Metzger February 14, 2017

such a tremendously humbling and empowering lecture, thank you so much!! Reply

Allan Koven California August 28, 2014

Still does not make sense. When will some great Rabbi develop an idea that can
be an undeniable concept when it comes to free will. The only answer that I have ever heard that makes sense is that it is a Paradox. The rest is rationalization. Reply

Tzvi Freeman February 4, 2018
in response to Allan Koven:

Then you might find this article will satisfy your quest: Why It’s Okay That Free Will Is Paradoxical Reply

Tom Rockville, MD August 20, 2014

GREAT LECTURE! I have seen dozens of lectures online over the past few years and this is without a doubt the most profound and enlightening of them all. Brilliant! I posted the lecture on my FB page and send it to everyone open to the Torah. Reply

Anonymous November 3, 2013

If you know there are 2 people who need help and you know who they are, then it is my opinion that you should make sure these 2 get the help they need. It is your responsibility. Reply

Allan Koven September 23, 2013

Free will. I notice that the Rabbis have really chosen to stay away from this subject. Either HaShem is the force behind all of creation and all knowing or he is not. The idea that he limits himself in this regard is absurd. Reply

ruth housman marshfield hills, ma September 22, 2013

Free Will vs Determinism The end point of this debate, is to reach a point in which it isn't a debatable question, because one's WILL then, in terms of relinquishment of free will, is identical to the Will of the Creator, so one freely gives up one's free will for the sake of the story that brought the individual forward, toward the knowledge that One ness is the pervasive force in the universe and that G_d controls not part but the entire story. Every soul has a journey and every detail of that journey is, paradoxically "known" within a framework that on this "plane" feels like free will. The journey of soul, that does require movement forward, as in rejecting evil inclination, brings one to the final realization it always was, All G_d. Perhaps that is difficult to conceive on this plane of existence, but it is possible to transcend and walk in both words, that very spiritual cosmic world, as the same times as the mundane. It's about Pardes, and the layering of consciousness is no different from the layers of Biblical exegis. I can prove this. I know. Ani Yodeah. Why? My life is so visibly totally non random, I have to see the Hand of Divinity guiding me, every single step of the way. And sure, I fall down, I often fall down, and realize in that falling the reason is to learn, to practise humility. Maybe this does not make sense, but I am guided here, too, to write on Chabad. I am guided every single step of the way, in a most visible way, and I really can Prove this.

I believe we're all entering a new state of consciousness about this entire issue. Reply

Stephanie cranston, ri February 21, 2013

Teshuva Shalom...beautiful teaching! Toda raba :)

Just wondering, where in the Torah is it said that all will do teshuva? I know it to be true but just looking for scripture. Here? "It will be that when all of these things come upon you - the blessings and the curses that I have presented before you - then you will take it to heart among all the nations where Hashem, your G-d has dispersed you; and you will return unto Hashem, your G-d, and listen to His voice...with all your heart and all your soul."

And of course when HaShem says "and you shall love Me with all your heart..." that is a promise that will come to pass because He says so. Reply

Allan Koven Anaheim January 16, 2013

Free will Again, HaShem being all and everything, knowing all and everything, presupposes the idea of free will, in my opinion. Most people have a hard time with determinism because they feel manipulated. Nevertheless, everything happens between our two ears and therefore tends to be somewhat illusionary. Consequently, what appears real is an act of
the Creator's ongoing creation and as it is an ongoing time related function, we can never know more that what is in the now as determined for us. Reply

Carmine R. Fragione New Smyrna Beach December 26, 2012

Free Will God has to define the parameters and then within those limitations we must have a Free Will. I cannot think myself to be on Mars and abracadabra , I am on Mars. So we can assert a notion of input into the world we exist by exerting a Free Will, but it has material limitations . But if a basic determinate of Will, is to answer any question , or refrain from responding to any question and thus stand mute, then the election to express an answer to an invitation to speak, and to refrain and stand silent, shows a binary world exists in which options exist and personal feelings can weigh in, A man can be forced to answer, subverting the extent of the pleasure of free will, but some men can stand mute, even to the affliction of death ,showing man certainly has a place where he has a simple option and nothing can force the selection , and the man is then free to choose. A man cannot choose anything, but he can choose or decline to make a choice, and that is a signal of free will Reply

Angela Hoffberg Richland, Mississippi October 30, 2012

Free Will There is no free will that is not destined. Reply

Allan Koven Anaheim, Ca. October 26, 2012

Free will Didn't God create the soul along with everything else? If so wouldn't the soul be all knowing?Or did he leave that part out?

Except for the discussion of God as creator of all, I find the Rabbi's arguments regarding free will illogical and unconvincing In addition,with all due respect, yelling out a perspective does not make it true. Reply

Anonymous Dallas, Tx/USA October 25, 2012

Who Are You? Freud spoke of the Id, Ego and Superego, that is, the body, the mind and the soul. If you "are" your body then you will do what your body tells you to do. You are not free. You eat when you must. Breathe when you must and so on. If you "are" your mind, that is, an ego, then you are bound to satisfy the ego and you have no choice and are not free. You will work eighty hour weeks to buy that mansion and impress people you don't even know. You will go to war over trifles. It is only when you are yourself at the deepest level, the spiritual level, the Godly level, that you are truly yourself and free. Reply

George Ortega White Plains, New York October 22, 2012

No "feeling" of free will, and no God's free will Harris and others make the mistake of asserting the illusion of free will is a "feeling." It is not. A feeling is most technically an emotion or sense perception. Our illusion of free will is most precisely defined as a conclusion (for those of us who have arrived at the notion by thoughtful consideration - or lack thereof) or a belief (for those of us who have never truly thought the issue through, and have simply been taught that our will is free).

The assertion that if God has caused us to feel or conclude that our thoughts are up to us, then certainly they must be up to us is refuted by the acknowledgment that if it is God who is causing us to have a certain feeling or conclusion, it cannot be up to us.

Also, if we acknowledge that God is compelled to be God, to be infinite, to be the Creator, to be every attribute by which we describe Him, surely He is not free to be any way other than that, and therefore He is not free to choose contrary to Nature.

Excellent exploration. Reply

Linda Best Raleigh, NC October 21, 2012

Do we really have free will? Could surrender to God be death blows to the ego-self-I until it is no longer I?... but God? Reply

Irene Glen Curnie, MD USA October 21, 2012

Free Will? My goodness Rabbi New, I am speechless concerning this teaching. It is so deep, I need to listen to it again.

My spirit stirred as I listened to your lesson, and I felt a deep presence of G-d.

All I can say is thank you for this marvelous lesson.

You are blessed to have this great insight and I am blessed to have had the opporutnity to hear you teach on it. Reply

Gilly, Albert Gilead October 21, 2012

Moshe New - Fre Will Excellent - the way of how the Rabbi addresses the dynamics of creation, as the stem from the free will., central to the very concept of creation which is opposite to any sorts of determinism. By means of our free will we are enabled to create in a permanent and constant manner Hashem's dwelling here on earth. Reply

Mark Coventry, UK October 21, 2012

Free Will Simply awesome analysis of 'free will'! May the truth reign. Reply

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