Tuesday, September 7, 2010

240 - Nitzavim-Vayeilech

"Life and death I have placed before you - blessings and curses - and you shall choose life" (Devarim 30, 19). The most elementary aspect of bechira (free will) is that people have the ability to choose not to sin, thereby saving themselves from death in this world and the next.

Rav Wolbe writes (Alei Shur vol. II pg. 41) 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 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 that will have to answer for them. Integrating this idea can aid us in our avodas 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 when temptation knocks on his door.

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