December 20, 2013 3:23 am at 3:23 am #611619rationalfrummieMember
If Hashem knows what decisions we will make in the future and how our lives will turn out, how can He reward us or punish us– we are merely doing what he knew we would do all along! Also, how does this fit in with the idea that harsh gezeiros can be overturned- does that mean that the future isn’t set, even if Hashem planned it out from creation? Also, what about the idea that our futures are set on Rosh Hashnah? Does that mean Hashem didn’t know what would happen to us the year before, next year?
These are not “troll” questions. I am seeking legitimate answers grounded in torah ideas and concepts.December 20, 2013 6:29 am at 6:29 am #995359Burnt SteakParticipant
The world is like a taco. No matter what you put in it it will taste goodDecember 20, 2013 6:42 am at 6:42 am #995360
And if He wouldn’t know, CV, that would answer all your questions? What if theoretically there is someone that knew. Since that is after all the outcome, it always was going to be.December 20, 2013 6:45 am at 6:45 am #995361
The classic answer to this question is that Hashem is “l’maalah min hazman”.December 20, 2013 7:08 am at 7:08 am #995362E-O-MParticipant
Time only exists for humans. It’s what makes us mortal.
Gd is past present and future combined- he gives us time as a gift and a means to be able to experience life and make choices every day. How our lives and souls turn out is a result of the choices we make
It’s not proper to use the term predetermined when discussing gd who’s is ABOVE time- predetermined suggests that there is a linear sequence of events which gd is aboveDecember 20, 2013 9:54 am at 9:54 am #995363LevAryehMember
Look at the Rambam at the end of the 5th perek of Hilchos Teshuvah, and the Raavad there.December 20, 2013 1:12 pm at 1:12 pm #995364simcha613Participant
I dunno, I never found that question so compelling. Just because G-d knows what we’re going to do doesn’t mean he’s choosing it for us. G-d knows what decision we will make, but it’s still us making that choice. We’re not doing something because G-d knows what we’re going to do, G-d knows what we’re going to do because we do it.
And practically the question is irrelevant. G-d may know what we’re going to do, but we don’t. So from our perspective we’re making the choice, we’re doing what we decided to do, and nothing (at least from our perspective) is making us choose one way over another other than our bechira chofshis.December 20, 2013 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm #995365business1Participant
Of course He knows everything that will happen. However, the while point of olam haza is to earn schar and get to olam haba. The world was set up with bechira so that we can earn our share in the world to come.December 20, 2013 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm #995366anIsraeliYidParticipant
These questions are practically impossible to answer in a way that would satisfy the human intellect. The only answer I’ve found that is remotely satisfying is from a Pasuk in Yeshaya Perek nun-hey, Pasuk Ches (which is leined as the Haftara on every Ta’anis Tzibur at Mincha): “Ki Lo Machshevosai Machshevoseichem, v’Lo Darkeichem Derachai, Ne’um Hashem” – “For my thoughts are not as your thoughts, and your ways as my ways, says Hashem”.
In other words, not everything can be fully understood – we can accept that there are some things that are beyond our understanding. We can, of course, try to understand – but I can accept that there are some things that I just won’t get. After all, there are still many mysteries of the natural world that modern science has not explained – why should all the mysteries of the metaphysical world need to be resolved for me to accept it?
an Israeli Yid (presently in the US, where it’s not yet Shabbos)December 20, 2013 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #995367streekgeekParticipant
These are not “troll” questions. I am seeking legitimate answers grounded in torah ideas and concepts.
If you look hard enough there are legitimate answers everywhere. I can’t even count how many times I asked these questions and how many times these ideas explained to me by so many different people. Keep asking and you’ll find the answers. I would love to write up everything I know about this topic but it is a lot of material and I unfortunately do not have the time for that 🙁December 20, 2013 4:33 pm at 4:33 pm #995368oomisParticipant
You watch a movie. You know exactly what will happen, and when you watch a second time, that is exactly what happens. Your knowing, does not influence what the characters will choose to do.
That is l’havdil like Hashem’s Knowing what we will do.December 20, 2013 4:44 pm at 4:44 pm #995369
LAB: No. Ask someone to explain the Rambam at the end of the 5th Perek. That is one of the most misunderstood Rambam’s out there. Even the Ra’avad didn’t understand what he was saying.
Oomis: That is basically what R’ Saadia and the Ra’avad say. Poshut P’shat is that the Rambam would think it’s Apikorsus.December 20, 2013 5:19 pm at 5:19 pm #995370
You watch a movie. You know exactly what will happen, and when you watch a second time, that is exactly what happens. Your knowing, does not influence what the characters will choose to do.
That is l’havdil like Hashem’s Knowing what we will do.
Except once upon a time, before the movie was filmed, no one knew what would happen. And it was only at that point in time that the characters had free will. Now, when you’re watching the movie, their free will is obviously long gone.
This mashal doesn’t work, because once you think about it you’re always going to reach a point where you concede that a real awareness of the outcome cannot possibly coexist with a real power to change the outcome.December 20, 2013 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #995371Torah613TorahParticipant
Only mortals are bound by time. Being mortal, I have no idea what this means, but that’s the answer to the question of yediya vs bechira.December 20, 2013 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #995372🐵 ⌨ GamanitParticipant
yitayningwut- except that Hashem is above time, so there’s no difference before the movie takes place and afterwardsDecember 20, 2013 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #995373
That point is a red herring; it doesn’t answer the question. If you admit that for as long as time has existed there was never a time that Hashem didn’t know everything that was ever going to occur, then you can’t really think that anyone has free will to change the outcome. Because if anyone had that power, then clearly there was/is a time where Hashem’s knowledge is incomplete.December 20, 2013 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #995374hudiParticipant
We are making our choices, and although Hashem knows what choice we are ultimately going to make, He does not usually interfere. Hashem “allows” us to go on the path we choose. It says in Mishlei (3:43)”If to the cynics (leitzim) he will act cynically, but to the humble He will grant favor.” In Maseches Shabbos (104a) it’s explained that a person who associates with the cynics is not helped or prevented from carrying out his actions. However, a person who is drawn to humbleness will receive assistance from Hashem “He will grant favor.” (Rashi)
We are taught that harsh gezeiros can be overturned by Teshuva, Tefilah, and Gemilas Chasadim. A person’s free choice does not always extend into the collective tzibur of people. In some cases, Hashem judges us as a nation as a whole and I believe power of personal free choice can be lessened from collective merit or the opposite. Ultimately, the ways of Hashem are hidden. We as people are not judges of what is good or “bad.” We know what we are told in our holy Torah.
There are many different paths to the future. Hashem knows where we will end up and which path we will take. We don’t know where we will end up. We may deviate from the correct path for us and end up with a different future. Does this make sense?December 20, 2013 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #995375golferParticipant
Gamanit’s answer stands as it is. Hashem is, as DaasY first pointed out, l’maalah min hazman, above time and not bound by any concept of time. As time bound humans our understanding of this fact is incomplete, if not completely nonexistent.
I agree with AnIsYid that the only real answer, as the Navi tells us, is that we are incapable of understanding the “thoughts” of Hashem.
Understanding and believing that there are some things we have to accept without having been granted the capacity to fully understand them on a cerebral level in Olam Hazeh, is an important part of Emunah.December 20, 2013 6:22 pm at 6:22 pm #995376
Well said, golfer. I agree.December 20, 2013 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #995377
I don’t agree. L’maa’lah min hazman explains nothing in regards to this question. If you are trying to say that as human beings we cannot comprehend the nature Hashem, fine, but leave it at that. The statement that he is above time does not do anything for this question, as I demonstrated.December 20, 2013 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm #995378
If you watch your young child make a decision, there’s a good chance you will know in advance what he will decide. When you know your spouse really well, there is a good chance you will know some of his/her decisions as well. The better you know someone, the more thoroughly you know them, the better you can know what there choices will be. But this does not affect the decision in any way. Since Hashem knows us inside and out and knows all our motivations, it shouldn’t be too hard for Him to know the paths we will take. But until we take those paths and make those choices, it is US who don’t know and it is WE who need to learn ourselves through taking note of the choices/decisions we make.December 20, 2013 7:23 pm at 7:23 pm #995379
There is a major flaw in that approach.
What you are saying sounds very nice, that Hashem knows us so well that he can figure out our next move. Taken to its conclusion, what you are essentially saying is that there is no real “uncertainty” built into the universe; that theoretically, if you had a supercomputer that had all of the values in the universe from the time of creation until now built into it, you would be able to calculate the future with as much accuracy as a basketball player who can “predict” that the ball will hit the backboard. This approach has a name; it is called Laplace’s Demon.
The problem with you advocating this approach is obvious. If free will really exists, then there must be a real uncertainty built into the universe. Otherwise your will is as free as the basketball’s.December 20, 2013 7:40 pm at 7:40 pm #995380
No, that wasn’t what I said nor meant. A ball’s course is determined at the outset by the laws of science and nature, and whether or not you know what course it will take depends on your abilities to make the right calculations. I said that if a boy stands in front of a candy counter and is given the option to choose a candy, it is not a predetermined course that can be calculated with any super computers. He is free to choose, and the more you know about him, the better able you are to predict what choice he will make. That is a very different issue.
I wasn’t trying to map out an answer to the questions of the universe, I was just trying to explain why knowing what someone will do does not impede on their ability to make their own choices.December 20, 2013 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #995381
Syag: You missed his point. The point is that it should be impossible to know someone so well as to know exactly what he will do, every single time. If someone did, the person would be no different than the basketball. And if you’re saying that HKBH knows us really, really well, but not perfectly, that’s not tenable either.December 20, 2013 7:48 pm at 7:48 pm #995382
I didn’t miss the point, I disagreed. They’re not comparable.December 20, 2013 7:56 pm at 7:56 pm #995383
Syag: How are they not comparable?December 20, 2013 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm #995384
What Sam said. Syag, bottom line is you’re saying Hashem can accurately predict our decisions ahead of time due to how well he knows us. That is just another way of saying “he knows all the exact values perfectly to plug into the machine.” Which is anti free will.December 20, 2013 8:38 pm at 8:38 pm #995385
Yitayningwut, sure it does. It “explains” how Hashem sees our choices, but they’re still our choices.
Yes, that statement, to us, is a paradox, but only because we’re constrained by the concept of time.December 20, 2013 8:43 pm at 8:43 pm #995386
Syag, choosing a candy flavor is not bechirah. An animal chooses which food it wants; our bechirah is what makes us special and allows us to rise above our physical instincts.December 20, 2013 8:56 pm at 8:56 pm #995387
I know choosing candy is not bechira, I was being simplistic.December 20, 2013 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #995388
yitay – no its notDecember 21, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #995389oomisParticipant
I think that at some point, people need to concede that there are some things we cannot and will not ever understand. That’s why it’s called FAITH.December 21, 2013 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm #995390
Rav Dessler speaks about it in Michtav M’Eliyahu (Vol. 3 pg. 262). Ayin shom.December 21, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm #995391
Sam, how can you simply say, “No” to LAB when he merely pointed to a valid mareh makom?December 22, 2013 12:22 am at 12:22 am #995392
Oomis, Rav Dessler explains why we can’t understand this particular issue.December 22, 2013 1:14 am at 1:14 am #995393WIYMember
1. If Hashem knows what decisions we will make in the future and how our lives will turn out, how can He reward us or punish us– we are merely doing what he knew we would do all along!
He knew we would do it potentially but we get reward for doing it because WE did it. The act makes it ours. Otherwise there would only be reward for potential good and that would be nehama dikesufa “bread of embarrassment/shame.” (the following parenthtical sentences are from Rabbi Rosenfeld on Torah.org: If G-d were to “reward” us for doing nothing it would not be reward; it would be humiliation. Receiving a handout is an embarrassing, mortifying experience. Getting something we did not earn does not make us feel good about ourselves. It makes us feel crushed, ashamed to show our faces in public. Try looking in the face of someone who did you an enormous favor. You’d much rather never have to see him again. If G-d were to give us what we did not earn, we would hardly feel “close” to Him. We would never be able to have any kind of meaningful relationship with G-d in the World to Come — which is really what the World to Come is all about.) True He knows what we will do but He doesnt make us do it. You chose (using your will or ratzon) to do every mitzva you did.
2. Also, how does this fit in with the idea that harsh gezeiros can be overturned- does that mean that the future isn’t set, even if Hashem planned it out from creation?
Hashem has rules set up for how the world works. If abc happens then def will happen. However built into that system there are certain ways to circumvent certain occurrences. Like through tefillah or certain tremendous deeds. Yes Hashem knows how everything will end up but like others have told you that has no bearing on your choices.
3. Also, what about the idea that our futures are set on Rosh Hashnah? Does that mean Hashem didn’t know what would happen to us the year before, next year?
Hashem knows everything always but maybe you can say it is all like the way you can have an idea and know what you want to do but that doesnt make it done just yet. I think what happens on Rosh Hashanah is that Hashem writes down and puts into motion the power to make that year the way its supposed to go based on your merit. He knew it before and knew what He would write before but now He makes it happen so to speak and sets the ball in motion.
I hope this helps you.December 22, 2013 2:29 am at 2:29 am #995394
DY: Because it’s a dangerous Mareh Makom to point out without a proper explanation of what it means alongside it.December 22, 2013 5:49 am at 5:49 am #995395
Syag is saying the Raavad. Oomis is more like Rabbeinu Saadya.December 22, 2013 5:52 am at 5:52 am #995396
But really, how does awareness change anything? If I am aware it must be because you are forced. But if your question is about being predetermined, than even without anyone in particular knowing the fact is that it was always true that you were going to do this choice. You can’t come now and change that fact in retrospect, regardless of anyone being aware of that fact.December 22, 2013 6:32 am at 6:32 am #995397once innocentMember
There are many answers to this question. If someone really wants to find the answers to questions like these, he probably wouldn’t settle for asking on an online forum. I would advise asking a rabbi.
Nonetheless, I will share a thought I heard from Rabbi Klatzko that made this concept clearer to me. Picture an ant making its way across a map. When it is passing over NY, to it Ohio doesn’t exist. But if a human would be standing near the map, the human would see Ohio and NY. Why? How is that possible? Because a human is bigger. L’havdil, HaShem is bigger than us humans and so, HaShem knows what will happen in the future.December 22, 2013 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm #995398LevAryehMember
DaasYochid and Sam2, I said to look at the Rambam AND the Raavad, precisely because I knew the Rambam alone would be hard to understand.
Personally the Raavad does make some sense to me; he separates the Ribono Shel Olam’s da’as from his control. In other words (I think): It’s not that since God knows what will happen THEREFORE it happens, rather it will happen because we decide to make it happen, and God knows what that is. A little better.
Sam2 – If you think that the Raavad misunderstood the Rambam, chas veshalom, why would you suggest asking someone to explain it? Surely no one in this generation is on the level of the Raavad.December 22, 2013 1:30 pm at 1:30 pm #995399
LAB, I personally would never express it the way Sam did, but at least one of the meforshim claims that the Ra’avad did indeed misunderstand the Ramba”m. Of course, the Ra’avad disagrees.
The Ra’avad himself seems to admit (at least this is how I understand his concluding words) that his pshat will not be entirely satisfying to everyone.
The meforshim I’ve seen on the inyan (admittedly only a few) seem to take the approach of explaining (and I assume, agreeing with) the Ramba”m.December 22, 2013 1:38 pm at 1:38 pm #995400
LAB: It’s Yadua that the Ra’avad did not understand what the Rambam meant. The Ra’avad’s response to the Rambam shows that the Ra’avad thought the Rambam didn’t answer the question. Really, the Rambam did (and it’s even clearer in the Moreh.)December 22, 2013 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm #995401
Your last line is the main point. We see his real intention in the Moreh.
It could still be, though, that according to the Raavad, invoking unknowns is equivalent to leaving it open ended.
The Ravvad didn’t merely say that some people won’t like his Pshat. He ends with Vechal Zah Einenu Shova Li, which means that he felt compelled to give some answer but he didn’t like his own answer and would rather it not be brought up.December 22, 2013 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #995402
By the way, the above time Terutz answers it very well, to an extent.
One way of putting the question is that if my knowledge of your choice is like Syag mentioned, due to knowing you very well, then, perhaps unbeknownst to yourself, you aren’t really deciding. So instead we are answering that the prior knowledge is only based on the choice.
There is only the issue of saying that in some way, you are affecting Hashem ChV since you changing what He knows or knew, and it’s as if in some way He had to wait for you to find out. This is where the Rambam comes in, telling us that His knowledge is not gained the way ours is.
edited for clarityDecember 22, 2013 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #995403
HaLeiVi: Re-read your last paragraph. I think you didn’t mean to say what you said. An is should be an isn’t, or something.December 22, 2013 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #995404Torah613TorahParticipant
All analogies break down at some point. /general observationDecember 22, 2013 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #995405
Yes, Sam, I thought so too. Can a kindly mod please change that?December 22, 2013 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #995406
Thanks, Kindly Mod.December 22, 2013 5:44 pm at 5:44 pm #995407popa_bar_abbaParticipant
Imagine it like this: Suppose you are a professional chef making chicago style deep dish pizza in cast iron skillets. You know how to make the recipe, and you know based on how you make each recipe how it is going to turn out differently. And you make each one the way that you intend for it to turn out. And it certainly does turn out that way. But that doesn’t mean also that it had to turn out that way, and the proof is that if I made the same pizza it would probably turn out differently.
So this situation is the same thing (assuming I made both).
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