The last few portions of the Torah say a great deal about free will, including a somewhat strange sentence in this week’s sidra – Uvacharta bachayyim l’ma’an tichyeh: “Choose life, that you may live” (Deut. 30:19).
If you chose life, of course you will live!?
One of the explanations in the books of rabbinic wisdom is that it all depends on your l’ma’an. Some people will choose life so that they may eat and drink. Some will choose life so that they may make money.
The range of possible life-goals is tremendously wide. All have their time and place, and no-one has the right to criticise other people’s choices. What is really important, however, is whether we include anything spiritual in our list of goals.
Work for your pocket, certainly, for your stomach… for your family and community, of course: but don’t forget to work on and for your soul and mind.