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Shabbos Chic Blog

Exploring the Path of Free Will

Free will is a mystery to most of us, until we decide to press in and search for its meaning in our own lives. 

I did a search for quotes on free will, and the largest collection I found was on Goodreads. A total of 377 quotes (collected from authors) provides plenty of entertainment, but not much satisfaction, at least not for me. 

Then I heard Rabbi Alon Anava say, "The whole point of free will is not the path you walk on. It's how you walk on it. That's the point of free will."  Finally, I found a satisfying quote on the topic of free will. 

An article by Rabbi Noah Weinberg brings free will into sharper focus for me, in my daily life. Free will is a choice:

"Greatness lies in how we resolve conflicts – in using our free will to grow – not to quit. To face reality – not to escape. To live and not to die. When we escape problems, we escape the chance of becoming great. It's a constant battle every moment of our lives."
 
First, we have to use our free will to WANT to be great, in some way. That's exciting to me, so now I'm using my free will to see what's getting in the way of my achieving greatness.

Here is Rabbi Weinberg's list of 5 levels of achieving free will, which I LOVE:

Level One: Don't be a sleepwalker. 
Make decisions actively.

Level Two: Don't be a puppet of society's goals, 
or a slave to your old decisions.

Level Three: Be aware of the conflict between the cravings of your body 
and the aspirations of your soul.

Level Four: Identify with your soul, not your body.

Level Five: Make your will God's will.

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