Free Will and Do We Really Have it?


“Everything is foreseen and free will is given.” (Ethics of the Fathers) Does God’s omniscience contradict human freewill? In this resource, learners will immerse themselves in the profound and complex philosophical and theological questions that emerge from the concept of divine providence.  Students will move from analyzing the Biblical and Rabbinic sources to a personalized activity of choosing from a variety of positions on this topic that are posted around the room, and find the position which most closely matches his/her beliefs.

The learner will:

  1. Understand the complexities of the coexistence of Divine foreknowledge and human free will

  2. know some of the classic Jewish sources that address this issue

  3. be able to formulate his/her own perspective and be able to explain this personal position in the context of the texts studied during the lesson 

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

Student handouts, poster board

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