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Shabbat 88: Who Needs Free Will Anyway?

Were Bnei Yisrael forced to keep the Torah? That seems inappropriate. But was there any other way for God to give the Torah? An encounter between humanity and the Divine seems to go beyond human experience. Also: the semblance of free choice, from former refuseniks to our post-Israel experiences, and the potential paradox of choice. So is that coercion per se, or helpful? That close encounter with God may not be all that comfy – just because we want it to be. Yet, Bnei Yisrael do accept the Torah freely in the time of the Purim story. Plus: the words of the Torah shatter into 70 languages, a message of accessibility, across nations and cultures.


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Anne and Yardaena

Anne Gordon is the deputy editor of Ops & Blogs at The Times of Israel. She is a veteran educator, having taught in high school and post-high school institutions in Israel and America for several decades. Yardaena Osband is a pediatrician and teaches in her community and online. They both hail from Boston, proud alumna of Maimonides School, where they first learned Gemara. Talking Talmud is their conversation (via podcast) on the daf yomi. They say: "Learning the daf? We have something for you to think about. Not learning the daf? We have something for you to think about! (Along with a taste of the daf...) Join the conversation with us!"
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