The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

If everything is predestined, do we have free will?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.

Comments (39)

(39) moshe, June 3, 2010 7:21 PM

everything is predestined, yet we still have free will. if i were to know what u will decide that doesnt mean that u havent decided what to do. if i can look into the future and i see that u made a left turn when u left ur house- that doesnt mean that when u leave ur house u no longer have the choice of turning right. but all that has nothing to do with whats brought out in this clip. what u DO see from this clip is that theres a master plan and a reason for everything, may it be good or bad. thats the comlexity of GOD. there waas a reason y everything happened to each person ( for instance the girl who broke up) and it also fit in with how the accident took place. but whether everything is predestined and free will- they are both true.

(38) maddy, October 28, 2009 1:39 AM

I dont get what this film is trying to say?!..I would think your trying to show the posotive of believing in hashgacha but all i got out of it was negative feelings. That film just brings down my spirit!

(37) ceci, May 25, 2009 10:42 AM

the ruach

I thought the clip was a good example of how the ruach tries to guide us in our path- we can either resist or follow. If I had not torn my knee and broken my ankle riding my horse I was headed to Monterey Dance Academy in Carmel. Instead I went to Cal Poly,SLO and became what I am today. It does not mean I am not a dancer in my heart- but the expression of it is different.

(36) Linda, May 16, 2009 6:13 PM

we have several paths

we start out the day, (or not) with asking for G-od's blessing and help for the day, we expect with joy, the things He has planned for us, and in trusting Him, and His love for us, we go through our day with confidence, knowing He will put into place the events we need. some people have no thought for Him at all, they go about making their own plans, maybe a football player gets injured, and it changes his life forever, if he had pursued the career, he might have been sucked into a life of destruction, as it turned out he chose another path. (maybe there were a few to choose from) it's always the best path to bring glory to G-d. but yes we do choose

(35) angelica, April 28, 2009 2:55 PM


I have to agree with Polly, you can't live in what ifs. I believe we have density but also in that we have free will. How we react to an event,I believe is important. I do believe that GD knows what the day has in store and He's just waiting for us to ask for HIS Wisdom for the day before it starts.

(34) Polly, April 21, 2009 10:10 AM

When we wake up.

When we wake up and put our feet on the floor. We have no idea what the day will bring. But, I do believe G-D does. I also don't and can't believe G-d would have a woman run over to change her direction in life. Life is FULL of twists and turns. We have to get through the best we can. Living in the land of the "what if's" is not good . We can't dwell there while life is passing us by. We have to find a way to move on. Learn, grow,trust and love.

(33) Kay, April 19, 2009 6:08 PM

We don't have control of time or timing. But we have control of our reactions to events. Perhaps it's our reaction to events not our control of them that speaks to who we are.

(32) Anonymous, April 17, 2009 12:52 PM

supreme intelligence

I think we have very little control of things in our lives, even as I write this, do I really want to write this and will it answer any questions. If I don't have a choice What am I supposed to do here?

(31) Anonymous, April 14, 2009 3:38 PM


I believe our lives are pre-ordained by out G-d, but I feel we are sometimes given two paths to choose from, so He does give us a certain amount of free will. In Daisy's case, she should have looked first before dancing out on a busy street..perhaps there was a reason why G-d did not want her to be a dancer, that is possible also!

(30) mike, April 14, 2009 3:39 AM

first of all' well done for pulling out the kedusha in that movie! and this question everybody struggles being that our understanding of the Most High is, to be generous, quite limited. however it is possible to grasp a fragment of the truth to this answer. just as a father knows that when he presents a chocolate bar or an apple which the child will take. the reason i am still in doubt then hypothetically the child have a rush of maturity and go against the fathers preconceived notion? and is everything predestined adele said it did seem to be daisys fault basically i have no idea great question!

(29) SANDY BECKER, April 13, 2009 11:59 AM


i think we all wonder "what if" and how it would have changed our lives.....

(28) Yishai Menachem, April 7, 2009 6:31 PM

For the Best

When an obstacle occurs, realize your reaction is the enemy, shut down your reactive system & invite the Light in express your true proactive nature.

(27) ADELE, April 6, 2009 5:48 PM



(26) Carol, April 4, 2009 5:23 PM

Was it........

Random events or Divine Planning?

(25) Wayne, April 4, 2009 3:46 PM

no one knows

No one knows what would have happened if what did happen hadn't happened. If Daisy had been a little earlier, perhaps she would have been killed. If she had looked before crossing the street, she might have gone out to eat that evening and gotten ill and died with food poisining. If, if, if . . . Where does it end? We can beat ourselves up with the "what ifs" and "if onlys", or we can take the journey of life as it comes and thank HaShem for every day of it, even the days when bones are crushed. Daisy can be bitter about the bones, or she can be grateful that she is alive and that HaShem is good, gracious, merciful, and righteous.

(24) pj korver, April 2, 2009 7:07 AM

Predestined Path 0r That Other Path

I believe we do have free will and we can at any time refuse to follow the predestined path but I believe G-d can use our refusal and still bring us to exactly where we were to be, doing what he would have us doing. I believe he loves us and guides as a father will and allows us to sometimes stumble and fall that we may learn.

(23) Betty, April 2, 2009 12:30 AM

Look both ways before crossing tne street, Good choice

God is in control. We have the choice to act or react and we have the choice as to how to deal with the consequences. Hopefully to accept that God is in control and that He is love.

(22) Anonymous, April 1, 2009 10:26 PM

curious indeed

ive always found this to be one of the most fascinating questions pertaining to judaism... if G-d determines everything that happens in this world, then do we truly have free will?? i believe from our perspective we do... I think G-d tests us in different situations to see how we react and wants us to react in kind, beneficial ways. in the same regard, outside events that happen to us are pre- destined by G-d, including things other people do to us. It says in the Torah for example that G=d hardened Pharoah's heart, which suggest that Gd pre ordained what Pharoah was going to say and do... but from Pharoah's perspective, he still had free will and could have gone against his evil pre inclinations... its perplexing to think about this from a religious perspective, however, i think we need to lead out lives believing we have free choice over our actions and at the same G-d ultimately is in control

(21) Anonymous, April 1, 2009 7:19 PM

a reason to be thankful

Free will or not, this concept is definitely food for thought. Just like in this clip all of the little things add up to this one unfortunate event. We have to look at the flip side and see how all of these things that happen to us that look unfortunate are really the threads that are weaving a beautiful picture

(20) Anne, April 1, 2009 12:44 PM

God is Sovereign, He Allows Our Participation

Ultimately, God is in control and will work all things according to His will, whether we perceive them to be good *or* bad. How blessed *or* "cursed" we are in the process depends on whether *or* not we use our free will to cooperate with His will. Failure to seek His will impairs our ability to coooperate with it. Accept that circumstances beyond our will and control (such as when the phone rings) ARE within His control is a matter of faith. That we are allowed to participate with the divine will at all is a great honor and privilege from our Creator.

(19) Ezza Amittai, April 1, 2009 9:10 AM


Though it may sound strange, I believe that both free-will and predestination exixt. As one Sage tells it "The fabric of destiny is woven loosely." For example, I didn't choose to be an Australian, and to speak in English, I was simply born here. But I did choose to learn to speak and read French, putting in years of study and effort.I did not choose for my young brother of blessed memory to die, but I can choose to believe that he is being held safely and peacefully in G-d's arms. Most people seem to want an "either/or" situation. I like the word 'AND'. For example, I love my family AND I get so angry with them that I think I hate them sometimes. G-d made a world with enough room for everything to exist, or not. B"H!

(18) simon ioannou, March 31, 2009 7:21 PM

In my opinion, the sequence of events shown does not relate to predestination. It shows nothing more than unrelated facts. If you were to accept the logic which is being put forward, then you could argue that if Adolf Hitler had left the house at 9-10am on the morning of his sixth birthday, rather than his usual time of 9-05am, then the Second World War could have been avoided ! I do not believe in predestination. As the great Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Nobel prize winner for literature states: "We have to believe in free will - we have no choice!"

(17) Jeanette, March 31, 2009 5:15 PM

a powerful message

Yes, I believe we do have free will even though G-d is in control because we have the choice of what we do, the girl did not have to answer the telephone when she went back for her coat and the friend did not have to wait for her to tie her shoelace if she was in a hurry, we have to look at in a very serious way. It certainly makes you think and gives you pause to what it is all about.

(16) John C, March 31, 2009 11:38 AM

All That Happens is His Will!...

and happens for a reason. To direct us to our Creator and attribute ALL to Him. "INTENTION" "Love your Creator with all your heart and strength, and love your friend AS YOURSELF!"

(15) judith, March 31, 2009 10:46 AM

Doesnt Maimonides ask this question?Dont think theres a clear cut answer.But free will seems to be an absolute. I think mainly a person choses how he reacts to all given (or chosen) situations.

(14) Allan, March 31, 2009 10:18 AM

Free will cannot exist

God is all. All is God. Where, when, what why and how is unknowable to man therefore we can only postulate. Nevertheless, we are to live our lives as if we had free will.

(13) alex, March 31, 2009 9:53 AM

I say that life simply happens. And then we ascribe reasons for the occurrences. God is aware of every possibility that may occur, since he is every possibility, thus he knows what will happen. I think the potent questions to ask: does He will things to happen? Do we have any say in the matter? or is sub-mission the only choice we have?

(12) aliza, March 31, 2009 7:04 AM

it could be that taxi co. don't check thier cars till they are in an accident. if the taxi would have been repaired the brakes would have worked . also if the taxi was brought in for inspection ,maybe all would be well w/daisy. or maybe showers suddenly started, having everyone move out of the rain daisy ran slipped on an oil puddle, the street was cobblestone very slippry.if she looked or if she didn't look she still had to cross the street the fact that she slipped or her bone was crushed is also telling us that her parents didn't take her to the pediatrician the way they should otherwise the dr. would have noticed the beginings of ostoporosis in a teenager that is what caused the bones to beak. (take your pick)hindsight is 20/20 . do you really want to see the future better to enjoy the present. have a good yontif.

(11) Evie Florian, March 31, 2009 2:45 AM

Destiny vs Reaction to our Destiny

Destiny can be pre-ordained, perhaps, but free will is what we do with that destiny - how we react and what we make of what life (or G-d) hands us. Do we become bitter or better? That is free will.

(10) Paul Siromoni, March 30, 2009 10:48 PM

Our will, aligned to God's will leads us to His way, whatever happens.

If our will is attuned or aligned to God's will, whatever happens will happen for our good. We need not then be anxious.

(9) Anonymous, March 30, 2009 6:58 PM

Quantum Entanglement : Suite 101

We have free will by God's law, but i think sometimes we can be very stubborn and also very ... deaf? I think everyone remembers all the IFs Ifs Buts and Shoulds ... these are the real regrets , in other words, getting rid of your chametz at Passover is also a metaphor for other types of emotional 'shedding'. ... not just housecleaning. (i think!!)

(8) lisa, March 30, 2009 4:07 PM


all the events that happened in this clip were based on G-d's response to previous choices (free will)made by the protagonists and the other characters.

(7) Ziporah Elisheva, March 30, 2009 3:27 PM


We absolutely have free will. Each person in the scenario had free will to do exactly what they did under the circumstances - and part of that free will is how we choose to bring the Presence of G-d into the scenario when we make our choice. Some situations are more challenging than others, but we always have a choice.

(6) Mark Leaman, March 30, 2009 3:10 PM

Some of both

I see it as free will and also predestined. There was a choice to be made and they made it. The man could have been more cearful when crossing the road. The couple did not need to argue. The package did not have to be picked up then, its we who decide when to do what when. If Daisy looked when crossing the road she may still be alright but she chose not to, if she did whos to say the taxi will not hit tomorrow that may well be predestined.

(5) Anonymous, March 30, 2009 2:28 PM

we don't have control over what happens- we have free will over how we will deal with what happens

(4) Miriam, March 30, 2009 2:27 PM

Everybody has there day.

She's alive, so, it could had been worst, she is young an,d looks strong, so, she will be O.K. On the ther hand, when is time to go, is time to go, says THe Lord.

(3) Tijs, March 30, 2009 1:58 PM


Yes, we do have free will, but we shouldn't exaggerate the meaning of having free will. Besides free will there is coincidence, the occurrence of simultaneous changes, sequences of occurrences touching one another. Stories like told in this movie can be told on any happening, anything that occurs has it's history, it's steps towards a accident, a stroke of luck or a simple state of being. Destiny does not exist. Destiny would suggest that the world or the evolution has a direction, but it doesn't. It's simply something that happens, a continuous change of circumstances and adaptions to these circumstances. Without this change there would be nothing. A world without change is a world we can't perceive. So there is a straight line between change, occurrences and coincidence. Because we are aware of this line and all it's coincidences we search for a goal or a meaning which we call destiny. It's a religious interpretation of our being. People are always trying to find this meaning, but science and good observation don't show any signs of any meaning. We like to hink that everything has a purpose. Because we are aware of our existence we're trying to answer the question "why?". Why "why"? should be our question, has there to be a "why". Humanity is taking itself to seriously when it tries to answer this question. And if your really want an answer: just because...

(2) Anonymous, March 30, 2009 10:49 AM

And so I have a good excuse for staying in bed all day, not paying my taxes and not cleaning up after my pets? It is my destiny?

(1) yitz greenman, March 29, 2009 1:36 PM

ethics of our fathers, chapter 3, mishna 17

everything is foreseen permission is granted the world is judged with goodness everything according to the majority of deeds


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