A SPECIAL REQUEST: Please do not begin reading this devar Torah unless you intend to learn it thoroughly and reach the disclaimer at the very end. To do otherwise could prove hazardous to your spiritual development and health.
How can it be that a small spreading of the white nega-tzara’as rash causes ritual impurity but that if the rash spreads over the entire body it then becomes a sign of ritual purity?
Why is it that on a Sanhedrin tribunal judging capital offenses a mere majority of two voting for guilt is sufficient to execute capital punishment but that if the Sanhedrin votes for guilt unanimously that the accused is declared innocent and “walks”?
But if the white mark increases in size on the skin after it was shown to the Kohen, who purified it, the person must again show it to the Kohen. If the Kohen observes that the rash on the skin has increased in size he shall declare the person impure, it is the leprous curse.
[This is the law] if the leprous area flourishes over the skin so that it covers all the skin of the afflicted person from head to foot wherever the Kohen can see: When the Kohen sees that a leprous discoloration has covered all the [person’s] skin he must declare the afflicted person pure. It has turned completely white [and so] he is pure.
Rabi Kahana said: If the Sanhedrin unanimously found [the accused] guilty, he is acquitted. Why? —Because we have learned that final sentencing must be postponed till the next day [after the completion of the trial] in the hope of finding new points in favor of the defense. But these [judges who voted unanimously] will no longer [be capable of] see[ing anything exonerating or meritorious] for him
Rabi Yochanan said, “Yehudah wanted to pass by [Tamar], but God sent the angel who is appointed over lust. The angel said to him, ‘Yehudah! Where are you going? Where will kings come from? Where will great men come from? Where will redeemers come from?’”… “And he veered towards her on the road” (Bereshis38:16)—Coerced against his will [not in his best interests
—Bereshis Rabbah 85:8
Belief in human Free-Will is a fundamental of our faith. In Hilchos Teshuvah (chapters 5,6) the Rambam argues spiritedly and convincingly for the veracity and reality the human Free-Will refuting the arguments and beliefs of the determinists and incompatibilists, even the ones who attempt to support their contentions by quoting pesukim from the TeNaC”h. Later commentaries point out that the eleventh Maimonidean article of faith is Divine Reward and Punishment and that such a belief is untenable unless human Free-Will is real and not a myth.
That said it is equally important to remember that our Free-Will is limited and not absolute or all-encompassing. In his treatise on Free-Will, Rav Elya Lazer Dessler uses the following allegory to illustrate this point: When two neighboring countries are war with one another in theory the potential exists for the absolute victory of one country or another. In this scenario country “A” would conquer and annex every last acre of enemy country “B”s land, raising their national colors and imposing their laws and governmental system over every inch of what was formerly enemy territory. But in practice, on any given day during any given battle of the war only a small portion or, in a multiple front war, several small portions of territory are actually being contested. Armies advance and retreat and what was firmly under the control of one country or another last week, last month or last year may be in enemy hands today. Nevertheless, in a long wars ebb and flow the actual current battlefronts comprise a relatively small to tiny portion of the combatant countries total land mass. Read more So Bad That it MUST be Good