Inability to Control Behavior


What does Jewish teaching say about a person who has an inborn personality trait or physiological or mental health issue that makes it impossible or nearly impossible to avoid breaching a certain negative commandment? For example, one who is unable to restrain oneself from speaking lashon hora, no matter how hard they try, because they have a brain that makes them behave impulsively and lack self-control? Or one who cannot concentrate on his prayers because his mind is too easily distracted and this is unavoidable. Is such a person really responsible for their sins, or are they pardoned for their wrongdoing?



  1. In general, no one is held accountable by Hashem for sins that they did that were beyond their control to contain. Therefore, in your scenario, if a person has an inability to control their speech Hashem will not judge them as guilty for speaking Lashon Harah.

    However, it is important to point out that the exemption is not across the board. If a person is capable of controlling some elements of their speech but not others, and they don’t control the parts that they could have, they will be held accountable for their not having done so.

    Best wishes from the Team