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October 10, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Haazinu

In this week’s Torah portion, Moses predicts that Israel will abandon God and be punished.  Arama asks: if the Israelites have free will, how can Moses predict their downfall?

He tries to reconcile these ideas by suggesting that Moses speaks “on the basis of his psychological insight of the character of his people,, not on the basis of prophetic knowledge.”

He then goes further: what about God?  If Israel’s exile is inevitable, why did God bother to take them out of Egypt?  Arama suggests that “God had constructed man in a way that makes attainment of his ideal state an extremely difficult task.  It is only through the passage of time and the lessons learned from history that  man will ultimately achieve the ideal state that is his purpose.” It seems like Arama (or more precisely, Munk’s paraphrasing) is saying that bad stuff will happen eventually because God has made man that way, but free will determines which generation(s) go bad.

This interpretation seems to fit with another remark by Arama a few pages later: “observance of Torah at any given time, ensures of its adherents prolonged periods of well being.”  So God foresees exile, but not necessarily which generations are virtuous and which not.

I’m still not sure Arama makes sense, but at least I understand the logic.  But if God doesn’t foresee what a generation does is that consistent with the idea of Divine perfection?


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