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Daily Wisdom 26 Tevet

January 19, 2023 Restoring the Free Will of Pharao?

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

“But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and I will multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh will not listen to you and I will lay My hand upon Egypt… (Exodus 7:3-4).

How could G-d hold Pharaoh accountable if He was hardening his heart and effectively removing his free will?

Numerous answers have been offered to this disturbing question.

16th century Italian Bible commentator Ovadiah Sforno asserts that actually, it was the plagues that would have impacted Pharaoh’s free will. Had he freed the Israelites, it would have been due to damage being inflicted on his nation, not out of any real conviction. So hardening his heart to the effects of the plagues had the effect of restoring his free will.

By Rabbi Michael Skobac


Rabbi Michael Skobac had been involved with Jews for Judaism (Canada) since 1989 and currently serves as its Director of Education and Counselling. He is a leading authority on missionaries, cults and issues relating to Jewish continuity and Jewish spirituality. Rabbi Skobac's publications include Missionary Impossible; Counter-Missionary Survival Guide; The DaVinci Code: A Jewish Perspetive; and Intermarriage: Is There Ligth at teh End of the Tunnel? Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy.

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Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy.

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