Dear Rabanit Cohen,
When Mashiach Comes Will We Still Have Free Choice?
Thank you for writing. I like your question. I think that when Mashiach comes, the many layers of confusion that make life so difficult will disappear. Many of our priorities will change and we will sense the importance and beauty of Torah and mitzvot. Being kind and generous with others will be natural. Divine wisdom will shine through every aspect of the world. In the words of Yeshayahu Ha’navi, “The entire world will be filled with knowledge of G d as waters cover the ocean.”
And with the truth so obvious, who will be able to do anything wrong?
However, good versus evil is not the only decision we make in life. There is another kind of free choice – one that will apply even after Mashiach comes and that is: good versus better. Today, the question is often whether or not we do a certain good deed. But when Mashiach comes, it will be to what extent we do that mitzvah. Will we push ourselves to the max or just be satisfied with a regular job. Today, we choose between using our talents for good things or the opposite. When Mashiach comes, we will choose between nurturing those talents even further or just letting them be.
Although obstacles give us excitement which then conjures up free choice. They provide us with a drive for life. When Mashiach comes, that drive will be there – only in a different form.
Think of an airplane and a rocket. They both require a form of resistance in order to fly. In the airplane, this resistance is provided through interplay with an external factor: the varied degrees of air pressure on both sides of the wings. Now, above a certain elevation this is no longer possible. You have to create your own resistance that pushes downwards. This is the rocket.
Today, our battle is between good and bad. With evil working against us, we make the right decisions and propel ourselves forward. But when Mashiach comes, we will leave this “atmosphere.” We will therefore use freedom of choice to decide just how high we want to soar.
As the Gemara states, “Tzadikim have no rest, neither in this world, nor in the next.” In the words of the Navi, “They go from strength to strength.”