Friday, February 17, 2012

Free Will vs Divinely Inspired Action

There's a very illuminating vort on Parshas Mishpatim in the Mei Hashiloach.
I'll keep it short and to the point.
A recurring theme in his philosophy and in the writings of other mainly Chasidic leaders is this idea that all our actions are directly caused by Hashem and are thus part of his divine plan. The punchline is usually, therefore don't get too down on yourself by things you've done because it wasn't really you doing it, it was Hashem.
Which naturally brings up some obvious questions, like where does free will fit into this picture? and why accept consequences if ultimately it was a divine occurrence?

Here's the gist of what he says.
It says in Tehillim "Somech Hashem L'Chol Hanofelim V'Zokef L'chol Hakefifim".
Hashem supports those who have fallen and makes upright those that are bent over.
There are two spiritual states..one is a Kafif meaning he's bent over but hasn't yet fallen, and then there the Nofel, one that has already fallen.
The Kafif represents a mind burdened with toxic waste. It might be full of resentment, anger, haughtiness or lust. It has un-resolved issues marinating inside. When a person is in this state it's very difficult to resolve what's going on and do Teshuva. So Hashem brings them out into the realm of action. The arena of action thus becomes a workshop all his deep issues. So out of His goodness Hashem will cause him to sin so that he can go from being a bent over Kafif to a fallen Nofel. Once they're in the world of action, now they can be addressed and resolved.
So the fact that our sins might be divine occurrences doesn't contradict our free will because the actions that God causes are just a release of toxic waste which is in our minds and souls in order for us to do Teshuva.





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