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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 10:12:54 -0400 Subject: Free Will--WHY do Knowers of God, nevertheless sin Yosey Goldstein [V24 # 82] gives an excellent defense that knowledge of God and the capacity to sin are independent--i.e. people who know God can still sin. I would like to supplement his ideas by providing a *psychological model* for *how* a person can know God yet sin. My ideas come from a terrific article I once read in the Proceedings of Organization of Orthodox Jewish Scientists discussing the real meaning of the Yeser Ra (Unfortunately I forget the authors and volume numbers.. if any MJers out there have old copies and could supply me that information I would be greatful) According to this article yeser ra does not refer to physical or sexual desire or indulgence since these can be good. Rather yeser ra refers to impetuousness which is *always* intrinsically bad. Some simple examples might be the following: 1) Adam was allowed to eat from the Tree when Shabbath came..his sin was eating immediately (impetuously). 2) David was suppose to eventually marry Bath Sheva; his sin was taking her prematurely. 3) "Modern examples of sin"---doing something on Shabbath, Niddah, eating at a non kosher restaurant and not waiting to go home to eat...all point to the same thing: Doing something which will eventually become permissable but which is prohibited *now*. The reasons for calling "impetuousness" evil are clear since the impetuous person is acting more or less spontaneously without any control over his actions (The above article gives further details and more analysis). Returning to free will we now have a very simple distinction: Awareness of God is an intellectual emotional capacity to recognize God as the runner of the Universe, our lives and morality. Sin on the other hand is simply an impetuous state where we momentarily act impetuously and consequently override our intellectual and higher emotional states. This explains how the two...Awareness of God and sin...aren't necessarily contradictory. (Hopefully I might add in passing that awareness of God and Torah enables us to avoid situations where we might become impetuous). Russell Jay Hendel,Ph.d ASA rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu