Did God Take Away Pharaoh's Free Will?

Why Did God Harden Pharaoh's Heart?

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman

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Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart? Wasn't that a violation of Pharaoh's free will? According to the simple meaning of the text, it seems like God took away Pharaoh's free will by influencing his mind.

In this video, we explore the different words used by the Torah, kaved and chazek, to explain the thought process Pharaoh went through when God hardened his heart. Rabbi Fohrman argues that the precise language shows that God still allowed Pharaoh to pursue his vision–and keep his free will intact–even if the vision was a defiance of God.