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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach




Pirkei Avot 3:15

הַכֹּל צָפוּי, וְהָרְשׁוּת נְתוּנָה, וּבְטוֹב הָעוֹלָם נִדּוֹן. וְהַכֹּל לְפִי רֹב הַמַּעֲשֶׂה

Everything is foreseen yet freedom of choice is granted, And the world is judged with goodness; And everything is in accordance with the preponderance of works.

Everything is foreseen yet freedom of choice is granted

G-d created the sky and the earth, the sun, moon, and stars, as well as the day, night, seasons, and years. As a result, we can conclude that G-d created time. G-d exists outside of time. Past, present, and future are all the same to Him. So He is aware of all we have done, are doing, and will do in the future. But the true freedom that humans have remains unaffected by G-d’s knowledge. The genuine freedom of choice that man has is the fear of Heaven, i.e. the decision to live in line with His will.The above we can learn from Deuteronomy 10:12 which clearly shows that man has a free choice:

(יב) וְעַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מָ֚ה די אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ שֹׁאֵ֖ל מֵעִמָּ֑ךְ כִּ֣י אִם־לְ֠יִרְאָה אֶת־י די אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ לָלֶ֤כֶת בְּכָל־דְּרָכָיו֙ וּלְאַהֲבָ֣ה אֹת֔וֹ וְלַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־ די אֱלֹקיךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃

And now, O Israel, what does the L-rd your G-d demand of you? Only this: to revere the L-rd your G-d, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and soul.

The world is judged with goodness

On Rosh Hashanah (and at the end of days), the world is judged, and we can rejoice that G-d does so with goodness. After all, the last remark may have put us off – what does it mean if we have a choice between good and evil? G-d, according to Rabbi Akiva, judges with goodness, which means compassionately. He permits repentance to atone for our subjection to the evil inclination..[1]

Everything is in accordance with the preponderance of works

Bartenura on Pirkei Avot 3:15:4:

“all is in accordance to the majority of the deed”: According to what a person repeats and is constant in the doing of good, his reward will be multiplied. As one who distributes a hundred gold coins to charity [giving out one coin at a time] is not similar to one who gives them out [all] at one time. And the textual variant of Rambam is, “all is in accordance to the majority of the deed”; and not “as per the deed.”

You may be wondering what it matters now, for example, when you provide the tokens, the total amount you lose is the same.

The difference is that with each action, your mind is aware of the activity, and it so gets more embedded in your consciousness. When you have to choose whether to offer someone a coin or not, you will be more tempted to use the first method than the second.

Improve your attributes by making minor adjustments on a regular basis and repeating them frequently.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] English Explanation of Pirkei Avot 3:15:1

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