Question
Rabbi JJ Hecht wrote that the real meaning of what Moshe said when he heard, from Mount. Sinai, the noise of the people worshiping the Calf: "Kol Anot Anochi Shomea" (32:18) is: "I hear them shouting: 'Anochi!' (Anochiyut!)”; [I hear the voice of selfish preoccupation (Anochiyut; egoism, egotism), the voice of arrogant selfishness]. Looking at the words: "Anochi HaShem Eloheichem - אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ " (Shemot 20:2 & 20:5, Devarim 5:6 & 5:9)" I noticed that on the one hand HaShem emphasizes that we should serve Him while on the other hand using the exact same words HaShem emphasizes that one cannot serve others ( כִּי אָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵל קַנָּא). This reminded me of two great teachings: And G-d said to Moshe: “Hew for yourself (Psal Lecha) two tablets of stone", (Exodus 34:1). And "Do not make for yourself a hewn image (lecha pesel)", Exodus 20:4. I can't remember the source but I once heard that: the key to understand the difference if on where we place the word 'lecha (yourself)'. Because in the first occassion, in the oreder of the sentence, the carving comes first, and 'yourself' is secondary. While in the commandment against idolatry, on the other hand, 'yourself' comes first, and the carving is secondary. The difference is that in one occassion we make our ego secondary to our service. While in the second occassion we place our ego first and let us create our own image on how to live. Likewise there is this drash on Devarim 5:5 where the words: “I (Anochi) stand between HaShem and between you...” are taken to mean that our (Anochiyus) I-ness, ego, self-centeredness, is the screen that separates between human and the Divine. It is 'anochi' – egotism – that separates us from G-d. Are there any commentaries which link the idea of ego/I-ness/self-centeredness with idolatry ? And could it be that people started following their own 'inner voice' after Moshe left who was a kind of mounthpiece through which the Almighty spoke?

Question
Can belief and faith in God change a decree from bad to good? For example, if somebody goes into a scary situation saying "God will help", is it more likely that God will indeed help? And if not, why do people say that? God doesn't always help, and saying something false does not supply comfort. Thank you!
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Is there a belief in predestination in Judaism, i.e. was Joseph predestined to go Egypt? A related question would then be did God arrange all the events of Joseph’s life or did God just take advantage of events that took place?
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Is there a belief in predestination (not Calvinism) in Judaism? For example, was Joseph predestined to go Egypt? A related question is: Did God arrange all the events of Joseph life or did God just take advantage of the events that took place?
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I have a question. There´s this claim of prophecy by the a certain person I read about who lived in the 1900s in India. What is Judaism's stance on prophecy during this period, and also about prophecy nowadays for that matter?
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Question
I heard someone advise a student at my university that they can say, "I will study five Torah verses this week if You, God, give me an "A" on an exam." Is someone allowed to say this? If it is allowed, why is it not considered testing G-d? Thanks a lot!  
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Question
If we believe that God runs the world and that He knows everything, then how is it possible that I have the bechira (free will) to choose "good" or "bad", "right" or "wrong"? He already knows what I will choose, and that seems like it's predetermined - right? Thanks.
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My father is not Jewish. He believes in afterlife, creation, and existence of God. But he doesn't believe the control of God of this world. He thinks that God doesn't intervene this worldly matter. And I know that this is very similar to the philosophy of Amalek. Even though he has no single intention to destroy the Jewish People, his worldview is similar to that of Amalek. I also know that we have obligation to destroy Amalek. Do I have to consider my father to be an enemy of Hashem?
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Question
A relative was a farmer. I'm a city boy and never really got what he did except for enjoying the great food that he produced! I was wondering what significance Judaism places on agriculture - besides the food. By the way, my relative lived simply by my standards, but was certainly very happy and righteous. Thank you.
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Question
Why doesn’t God perform “open miracles” for us today the way He did in the days of Moses? I’ve heard that He indirectly performs miracles (saving us from the destruction of our nation in the Spanish inquisition and the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, the Six-Day War...) but if He really wants us to follow His commandments why doesn’t He simply come and tell us that He’s still around?
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