In Parshas Va’eira, God sends Moshe and Aaron to warn Pharaoh in advance of each of the first seven plagues to free Bnei Yisroel from Mitzraim. Since Pharaoh refused to send out the Jewish people after each of the first five plagues, God then withdrew Pharaoh’s free will and sent the remaining five plagues. One might assume that free will is an uncompromising God-given right. Could God suspend someone’s free will under special circumstances?
Two Morasha shiurim address free will. The first class discusses the nature, importance and dynamics of free will. The second class seeks to understand how man can have free will in light of God’s omniscience, omnipotence and Divine Providence, as well as various qualifications to the principles of free will. (Free will and Pharaoh is discussed in the second shiur linked below.)
Free Will I
The Morasha shiur on The Nature, Importance and Dynamics of Free Will addresses the following questions:
- Do we have free will, or are our actions pre-determined by scientific laws?
- How do we exercise free will?
- Why do we have free will?
- What is the extent of our free will?
- What is the “zone of personal growth”?
- What are the implications of the decisions that we make? How far-reaching are the consequences of our decisions?
Free Will II
The Morasha shiur on Is There Free Will in Light of God’s Omnipotence, Omniscience & Divine Providence? examines the following issues:
- How can we have free will if God is omnipotent and decrees everything that occurs in the world?
- How can we have free will if God is omniscient and is aware of our future choices before we make them?
- If everything is a result of Divine decree, why do our efforts sometimes seem to pay off?
- What kinds of individuals are excluded from the normal principles of free will?
- How is it possible for a person to lose his free will? What happened to Pharaoh?
- Will we still possess free will in the Messianic era?