Monday, June 13, 2016

Free Choice

Why are Jews so enamored with the concept of "Bechira Chofshis"?

Because it's free.....

The Rambam [Hilchos Teshuva 5/1] writes: 

Free will is granted to all men. If one desires to turn himself to the path of good and be righteous, the choice is his. Should he desire to turn to the path of evil and be wicked, the choice is his.

This is [the intent of] the Torah's statement (Genesis 3:22): "Behold, man has become unique as ourselves, knowing good and evil," i.e., the human species became singular in the world with no other species resembling it in the following quality: that man can, on his own initiative, with his knowledge and thought, know good and evil, and do what he desires. There is no one who can prevent him from doing good or bad. Accordingly, [there was a need to drive him from the Garden of Eden,] "lest he stretch out his hand [and take from the tree of life]."

He is saying two things. 1] A man has a choice to be a righteous person. That means that he can do the right and virtuous thing in any given situation or the opposite. 2] He also has a choice whether to harness his nature for good or bad. We are not prisoners of our psyche. [Sefer Litshuvos Hashanah on the Rambam]

If we are aware of the fact that at every moment we choose between good and bad [even though we might not be aware], we are more likely to make the right choices.