Rav Avigdor Miller on Hashem Knows

It states somewhere that a person is punished בידי שמים for any bad thought even though he didn’t do it l’maaseh. But that seems to be contradicted by a statement in the gemara: חישב לעשות עבירה ונאנס ולא עשאה – If a man wanted to an aveira but he didn’t because something prevented him, it’s not considered like he did it.

Now, this was treated at length in previous lectures. But briefly, it’s like this. When a man wants to do something bad; let’s say he wants to break a window of a jewelry store. And so he picks up a brick and he walks over to the store window. Then he sees a policeman standing nearby. So he begins to whistle, he put his hand in his pocket and he walks off.

So the gemara says, נאנס ולא עשאו, if something prevented him from the aveirah, it’s considered as if he did not do it; even though it seems like he wanted to. But we have to learn p’shat properly. Now many people won’t accept this p’shat, but it’s the truth. It means that it’s considered by us as if he didn’t do it, not by Hashem. Why by us? Because we say that probably you wouldn’t. Probably in the last moment, since you’re  a tzadik – you’re basically a good man, you’re not a window breaker – so probably you would have changed your mind anyhow, even without the policeman. And that’s why the gemara qualifies the statement and says: Suppose this man was a confirmed window breaker; he did it before, he’s made a habit of breaking into jewelry stores. So the gemara says that for him, it is considered like did it. Because we know that he probably would have done it if not for the policeman.

But when it comes to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, He knows! So it depends. Does Hakadosh Baruch Hu know you would do it? If yes, so it’s considered like you did it. And if He knows that you wouldn’t have done it anyhow, that you would make the right decision and put the stone down, so He considers it like you didn’t do it. So when you say “It’s considered like he didn’t do it,” it means considered by us. But by Hakadosh Baruch Hu it depends on what the facts are, that’s all.
TAPE # 203 (January 1978)