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Free Will and Determinism

January 11, 2010 --

LPR decided to write about this subject before realizing that this was the time of the Jewish year when the story of Joseph and his brothers is read in synagogues, over several Sabbaths. Proof itself of Determinism at work?

Stated in cinematic terms, if Michael Corleone had accepted Determinism, as did Joseph, perhaps he would not have had his brother Freddy killed, after their mother died.

Twice, after becoming Vice Regent to Pharaoh, Joseph told his brothers, who sold him into slavery, that he he was not bitter, understanding that what had happened was God's Will. The second time he made this assurance, the brothers were concerned that now that their common father, Jacob, had died, Joseph would have his revenge.

LPR has a hunch that the Joseph story was determined by the incidents of the dreams (Joseph's and Pharaoh's) and that the narrative otherwise related events of free will that, taking another course, would have led to the same result: Joseph as top aide to Pharaoh, and the brothers relocating to Goshen, which became incubus of the Jewish people.

The last section of Genesis, and the conclusion of the Joseph story, was read in synagogues on January 2. After the reading from the Torah, a brief reading follows, from the later books of the Bible. This reading is called the Haftorah. The Haftorah reading on January 2 preceded the anniversary this week of the death of my father, Solomon Zukerman. This Haftorah reading relates the deathbed blessing given by King David to his son -- Solomon. My first name is David. Hmm.