My Jewish Learning

Free Will Quiz

The paradox of human free will and God's infinite knowledge and power has troubled Jewish thinkers at every point in Jewish history. How much do you know about this debate?



Question 1. Which talmudic sage said that "everything is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven"?
 Shimon bar Yohai
 Hanina ben Hama
 Shmuel
 Rava bar bar Hama

 

Question 2. Which of the following did not have his/their heart(s) hardened by God?
 Pharaoh
 The Moabite king Sihon
 The army of Canaan
 Moses

 

Question 3. According to Isaac Luria, why is free will a difficult concept to accept?
 Because there is nothing separate from God
 Because chaos is impossible to predict
 Because God cannot have foreknowledge of human actions
 Because there is no difference between fatalism and determinism

 

Question 4. Elliot Dorff, a Conservative rabbi and theologian, has used arguments about genetic predeterminism and free will to respond to what issue?
 Poverty
 Rights for Homosexuals
 Kashrut
 Freedom of speech

 

Question 5. Which of these modern scientific advances challenge the Jewish idea of free will?
 Sigmund Freud's suggestion that our behaviors are guided by unconscious drives
 Genetic science about the extent to which our lives and inclinations are programmed into our biological constitution
 Discoveries about organic aspects of our personalities
 A & B only
 All of the above

 

Question 6. Who said that "everything is foreseen [by God], yet man has the capacity to choose freely"?
 Josephus
 Rabbi Akiba
 Shimon bar Yohai
 Hanina ben Hama

 

Question 7. Which of these problems concerned medieval philosophers?
 How to reconcile free will and divine providence
 How to reconcile free will and divine foreknowledge
 How to ensure that human beings experience the feeling of freedom
 A & B only
 All of the above