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Basics of Judaism

Moses, Free Choice, and Hitting the Rock

Question: G-d tells Moses in Egypt that he will not be going in to Israel.  Only later on did he commit the sin of hitting the rock, and the nation is told he will not be going into Israel. Was Moses destined to sin or did he have free choice and failed?

Answer: Certainly he wasn’t destined to sin. This is stated clearly in the Talmud “All is in the hands of Heaven except fear of Heaven.” G-d knows the future and saw that Moses’ sin would prevent him from entering Israel, but Moses wasn’t compelled to sin. This is possible because G-d isn’t bound by time and therefore there is no concept of past, present or future in His realm. Only humans are bound by time and therefore things appear to happen in different sequences. As far as G-d was concerned, Moses being told by G-d in Egypt that he wouldn’t enter Israel and his hitting the rock happened all at once, so to speak.

Best Wishes, Rabbi Meir Goldberg

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