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 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 2. 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 3. 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 4. 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 5. What does the term hashgahah mean?
 Predetermination
 Divine providence
 Free Will
 Godliness

 

Question 6. Who believed that free will doesn't really exist, but human beings need to believe it does?
 Ludwig Wittgenstein
 Yeshayahu Leibowitz
 Josephus
 Maimonides

 

Question 7. Many kabbalists believe that God's providence does not extend to which of the following?
 Animals
 Tzaddikim
 Hasidic Jews
 People who do not study Kabbalah