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    Take your pick – Re’eh

    The sidra says (Deut. 11:26-27) that God gives us two options and says, “Choose!”.

    This is the basis of the doctrine of free will, which gives man the power of decision-making. What man makes of his life is therefore up to himself. Isa. 3:10-11 says that human beings “eat the fruit of their deeds”.

    Impressive, but more complicated than it sounds. The Talmud (B’rachot 33b) says that all is in the hand of Heaven: man has free will, and yet God is in charge. How we explain it is that God controls the external situation but man controls the response.

    However, it is not only a philosophical struggle between man and God but even a psychological tussle between forces within man himself. Moshe Chigier states: “Philosophically speaking, it seems that an absolute free will is non-existent. All human actions are motivated… with a purpose of gaining or achieving something…

    “When the law demands that an act to have legal validity must be done with a free will, and that, for instance, a sale, or a contract, entered into by force, is not valid, force of circumstances of any kind does not invalidate it.”

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