Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
What is the value of spending our time on lost causes?
In trying to save a life, Rabbi Nehemia Lavi paid with his life.
All we have is right now, this moment.
Reputable organizations lend support, prestige and funds to those who plan, carry out and praise terror attacks against Jews.
The heart of the entire Jewish people is broken.
A recent spate of offensive statements and images are being excused as shockingly dumb errors.
It’s time for me to decide what I’m going to do in the future. I feel lost!
Taking a picture is not the same thing as experiencing a moment. In fact it’s a way of forgetting.
My husband wants me to join him at a business-related party, I want to stay at home to complete my work.
Why Jewish burial is important — for you and the soul of the departed.
My path to Judaism began with the question: What would Jesus do?
The holidays are over. Here’s how to hold onto the light.
Take advantage of the best vegetable this season has to offer.
What do you focus on when you wake up in the morning: blessing or lack?
Children develop necessary skills and character traits by encountering and overcoming failure.
The relationship may have failed but you’re not a failure.
And how to leap over them.
Yes, you can build chemistry! Here are 8 ways to go about it.
If God is good, why is the world so bad?
Israel Independence Day is the time to ask: Where have we been, and where are we heading?
Beyond the Lullaby Effect: Reading the Bible with open eyes.
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
How my father’s journey from Santa Claus to a gift-lugging dog in a drainpipe led me to Judaism, sort of.
The Hanukkah battle isn’t over. We fight with light.
Candlelight burning so bright. You can’t ever take my light.
Dispelling five myths that block us from connecting to God.
How does helping others help ourselves?
Apple is making an aggressive play for the Jewish cell phone market. Goodbye Siri, hello Shira.
It’s tough, being a work-at-home husband.
This Rosh Hashanah, make the connection. A stirring video to share with friends.
You won’t believe what this man says about being an Israeli Jew.
The most fateful moment in my life came when I asked myself, “Who am I?” This is my answer.
November 14, 2009
November 28, 2009 10:01 PM
Rambam states there is no life on other planets
November 20, 2009 10:44 AM
Too narrow an outlook to say intelligent life elsewhere would of necessity have no free will. Perhaps their Talmud says the same of us.
November 19, 2009 11:41 PM
The final Frontier
Ok as a science fiction reader for over 60 years: Who says life on other worlds do not have free will? You believe G-d created the earth and then created man. And human beings have certain attributes. May the best planet win.
November 19, 2009 6:49 PM
Intelligent Life and Free Will
We exercise free will daily, or at least we make decisions for good or not for good daily. We refer to ourselves as intelligent beings. Who decided that we are intelligent? Us? How can we call ourselves intelligent life and knowing good from evil, when so many choose evil. We don't seem to be doing very well with free will and decision making here on Planet Earth. Our polluted Water, Bad Air, Poor Health, War, all free will decisions to destroy what G-d has created.
November 19, 2009 6:50 AM
You have beautiful eyes
The eyes are the window to the soul
November 19, 2009 6:35 AM
This definitely is a thought provoking topic. But this was well put - if there are other beings, is it really any of our business? Only if it's affecting us, and as far as we know it isn't. It's interesting though. And it does make sense that only we humans have free will. Anyway, thanks for such a thought provoking topic and well put explanation!
November 18, 2009 2:33 AM
What if life on another planet were discovered and they also had free will, but were not human as we think of human?
November 18, 2009 12:00 AM
I love this guy! I too, have always wondered if there was life on other planets...and it makes sense that if there there, there would be no free will...I mean, our own planet is teaming with all sorts of creatures...even in the deepest, darkest seas...and yet, only the humans have free will to choose their reactions to their circumstances. Thank you Rabbi, for so many of your inspirational videos.
November 17, 2009 10:30 PM
But what if...
What if we found beings 12 ft. tall, green with tentacles, and free will? Is the free will enough to declare them to be in G-d's image?
Also: You say it could be like comparing land animals with sea creatures. Don't land animals eat sea creatures?
Just thinking. Good piece.
November 17, 2009 7:16 PM
Astrobiology: It's been a called a science without a subject.
Some people try to figure out the odds of life being on other planets. I think that's hopeless. I jokingly put it at 50-50. Either God wanted there to be life out there, or He didn't.
November 17, 2009 6:47 PM
I believe the concept of G-d and Judaism came to earth from another planet. Judaism brought enlightenment to planet earth.
November 17, 2009 6:22 PM
There may be other thinking creatures
There is no basis for saying that creatures on another world would have no free will. This implies that they would be less than us,and this is an elitist theory. We were placed here to continue the work of God, but it does not say that there were not other creatures placed on other worlds for the same purpose.
November 17, 2009 5:47 PM
I Agree, I Agree
G-d is the creator of the universe and everything that is in it. If He wants to create other worlds, other beings, etc... That is His will. There is no reason that there would or should be a problem with that. G-d is everywhere, all the time... even out there, in a galaxy far far away...
November 17, 2009 5:32 PM
No Question, No Answer
Actually, Rabbi Avigdor Miller was 100% sure there is NO life as we know it ANYWHERE else. In fact, as he understood, the only reason the scientific community has become so busy looking for it, is because they would like to think that life here developed randomly by "big bang" "evolution" or some other theory which releases Mankind from any kind of purpose or responsibility. Therefore, they are desperate to find life elsewhere, because if it could "happen" here, why and how did it NOT "happen" elsewhere? Sorry to bust everyone's imaginary bubble...
November 17, 2009 5:00 PM
We need to have free will, or to act as if we have free will, but I have spoken to rabbis, very Orthodox rabbis, who say God knows all that will happen, and in a deeper perspective, there is a ring around this notion of free will vs determinism. How do you know that if there was life on another planet that life would not have free will OR that life would be entirely deterministic. That's jumping a little too far into the stratosphere, and maybe that kind of thinking belongs on another planet, because there is absolutely no proof either way that this is true.
Lori just wrote that God determines how and when we die, and if so, then what about our lives? Is God involved in story only at the end, or does God have an intimate role in story in beginnings, middles AND ends. I mean all these small miracles, these God winks. Now how do YOU imagine they happen. Is God entering our lives or not?
I do believe truly that there's a profound learning curve built into all of our lives and that can exist within a cosmic story, and that learning curve is for tikkun olam. But when we reach God I think we review our stories and see a profound thread that led us back, to Divinity and it's a story that is uniquely beautiful and that we can claim as ours. And the threads that then visibly connect us all to that greater whole are among the most beautiful threads of gossamer and gold.
November 17, 2009 4:50 PM
ET no problem
Only Christianity would have a problem with alien intelligence due to the insistence that Jesus came to save all people once and for all at a specific moment in time 2000 years ago. What do you think about that?
November 17, 2009 4:41 PM
I do believe there is life in universe, we will be to selfish to think Gd create billions of galaxies only for our romantic nights
November 17, 2009 8:26 AM
How is it possible to conclude that other intelligent beings would not have free will? I am not writing this as a sort of "new age" topic, but from a purely scientific one, how could one possibly presume that other creatures could not make choices? Without getting as exotic as thinking of ET, anyone who onwns a dog, knows that dogs have moods and expressions and yes they even make limited choices. Chimps and apes actually have over 1000 word vocabularies. What caused Koko, an African Gorilla to ask for a pet kitten? She even asked - via sign language, for a certain type of cat, she wanted one with a certain color. She was offered a choice in what sort of cat she wanted. She choose one with stripes. Now I am not arguing that Human souls are the same as animal ones - or by extension alien ones. However, if you grant intelligence, intelligence is founded on choices. What one chooses to learn, what one chooses to embrace and what one chooses to remember. I simply don't buy the "only humans have free will" argument because if we have it, when other species do the exact same things we do, it is very hard to argue they did not choose.
November 16, 2009 11:52 PM
Mary, what is it that you disagree with?
November 15, 2009 11:45 PM
ripples in times affecting the outcome of the world
Understandably, even the slightest action can ripple thru time that can shape our world. Imagine what it would be like if there were alternate universes, particularly known as a multiverse theory, where we could see what could've happened if we chose differently.
November 15, 2009 8:58 PM
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.