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"I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse; and you shall choose life, so that you will live, you and your offspring" (Devarim 30:19).

In Judaism, the foundation of Free Will is that people have the ability to choose not to sin, thereby saving themselves from death in this world and the next.

HaRav Volbe zt"l writes that there have been various different apostasies throughout the generations. However, our generation has reached an all time low of apostasy. We don't even believe that we have free will. Courts of law absolve murderers from responsibility for their crimes because of psychological disorders and the like. We Jews have absorbed some of this mentality and many of us believe that we are compelled to sin. Do we believe that it is possible to live from Yom Kippur to Yom Kippur, or even one single day, without sinning?

We must realize that we are responsible for our actions, and ultimately it is we and only we who will have to answer for them. Integrating this idea can aid us in our service of Hashem, since the very knowledge that one has the ability to choose to uphold the Torah, gives a person the strength to overcome his Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination) when temptation knocks on his door.

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel