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  KD MAGAZINE!         ב"ה              
 
 
  PARSHAT VA'EIRA  
 
Free Will
By Rabbi Chaim Lobel

 
RABBI CHAIM LOBEL - PARSHAT HASHAVUA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

“And I (G-d) shall harden Pharaoh's heart and I shall multiply my miracles and wonders in the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh will not listen to you, and I shall put my hand upon Egypt.”  (Exodus 7:3)
 
G-d told Moses that, by hardening Pharaoh's heart and making him stubborn, G-d would have the opportunity to “multiply my miracles and wonders”.
 
The Sforno explains that G-d strengthened Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh would act of free will rather than fear. Otherwise, Pharaoh would have expelled the Jews after the first plague. G-d wanted Pharaoh to free the Jews in recognition that G-d is the sovereign of the universe.
 
Why? Why does it matter whether Pharaoh acted of free will or fear so long as he freed the Jews? Surely the Jews didn’t need to witness the miracles for they were minor compared to the revelation at Mount Sinai.
 
The Medrash (Shemot Rabba 9:1) quotes Ezekiel (33:11) “I (G-d) do not desire in the death of the wicked, rather let him return from his ways and live.” The Medrash explains that this verse was one of the reasons for all G-d's miracles at Egyptian expense.
 
The Yefe Toar, commenting on the Medrash, says that part of G-d's justice is to preserve man's free will, the ability to choose and act of his own volition. Forcing Pharaoh to react from fear would have undermined G-d’s system of justice. G-d had to convince Egypt and Pharaoh that it was wrong to enslave Israel and to choose to release them.
 
Part of G-d's justice is giving Man the ability to make decisions. G-d had to wait until Egypt repented.  
 
Free will is a gift of G-d that can never be compromised. Doing the right thing is only right when a person comes to the realization that it is the right decision. The concept of free will is grounded in understanding our choices and acting upon them. When dealing with others, especially children, it’s important to remember to protect their free will and enable them to make the right choices.
Shabbat Shalom
 
For more Divrei Torah on the Parsha:
Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html

 
   
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