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Rashi to Shemos 23:20


Please see Rashi to Shemos 23:20.
Rashi says this angel was a sign they would sin. Why not wait until after they had sinned? It seems like the jews are being set up to fail.
If this was said to Moshe on his first visit up Mount Sinai, then who told the people told they would sin?
If the sin was the golden calf, why did G-d threaten to destroy the jews rather than send a malach?


My apologies… you question ws answered a while ago but for some reason wasn’t posted.


  1. Just because H-shem knew that the Jews would sin, that doesn’t mean that they were set up to fail. What you are asking seems to be form of a famous philosophical question that the Rambam posed, called “yedia and bechira”. How could it be that H-shem knows what is going to be, and we humans still have free choice. If H-shem already knows what we are going to do, it would seem that we don’t have a choice in what we are going to do, but we know that we actually do have a choice and we DO decide to do things. For example, if I decide to buy chocolate ice cream or a soda, this is my choice and I am the one who decided it. Therefore, how could it be that H-shem knows what my free-willed choice will beforehand? There are numerous answers to this question. I once heard R’ Noach Weinberg zt”l from Aish Hatorah address this issue, and he explained that the reason that we have concepts of before during and after is because we are in subject to something that we have on earth called “time”. If you exist in a place that doesn’t have a concept of time, there is no before or after. Therefore, being that H-shem is timeless, He therefore sees what we are going to do as if it was already done. Therefore, as far as what we are concerned, we have free choice to do as we please, and this by the way is the purpose of creation. Man is the only being in creation that does not run solely on instinct, but has a mind and has free choice, and it is for this very reason why we will be given reward for our good deeds, because we chose to do good because we wanted it and chose it.
  2. I don’t understand your question, who said that the Jews were told beforehand that they would sin?
  3. Sending the malach was after Moshe already prayed and was gicn mercy that H-shem should not destroy the Jewish people. Although they weren’t destroyed, however still it would only be a malach that would guide them, and not by H-shem Himself. As a side point Moshe was successful at stalling off this decree also, and it didn’t actually come to fruition until the Jews entered Eretz Yisroel (See Commentary of Mizrachi on this verse).

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