Dreaming of Moshiach

Monday, January 01, 2007

Free Will

The fact that man is endowed with free will, to act righteously or to sin, cannot be interpreted as an approval of crime or immoral acts. Free will merely confers on the man the option to act perversely, but it does not approve or even condone his misdeeds. Let us make the distinction clearer through a parable:

Two deserts are offered in the cafeteria, pink grapefruit and a rich cheese cake. David must choose between them. One is healthful and nutritious, the other harmful to his well-being.

Like all the other customers, David, who is very overweight, is free to choose either of the two. If he opts for the cake, his cholesterol and blood sugar levels will surely rise, further compromising his already failing health.

The fact that David is a free agent to select the cheese cake in no way minimizes the harm that it will do him if he decides to eat it.

The situation is similar in our spiritual world. Just as certain foods cause harm to the human body, so, too, do certain acts inflict damage on man's soul. The body will continue to function, but less efficiently, after ingesting harmful foods; so, too, does man's soul function at a lower level as a consequence of his misdeeds.

A person is given the option to choose whatever his heart desires, but when he errs, he harms his soul with his own two hands.

In a certain sense, the spiritual mechanism is easier to deal with than the physical. Again, let us explain with a parable:

If David indulges in fatty foods and two packs of cigarettes each day, the harm to his body is inevitable, and, to some extent, irreversible.

In contrast, on the spiritual plane, a person has the opportunity to repent and be re-instated to his former spiritual level. The power of teshuvah, repentance, has no parallel in the physical world. It is a distinct and precious gift to man from his Creator in order to facilitate man's spiritual progress.





והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו