Recently, there was an attempt by some "Rabbis and Jewish mystics" to eradicate the swine flu from Israel by chartering an airplane and flying over Israel. On the plane, they blew shofar and trumpets and recited Tehillim. A video of this spectacle was aired on Fox news.
There are many bothersome things about this event.
God and our sages have instructed us on the appropriate methods to beseech God in times of distress. These include repentance, prayer, acts of charity, and fasting. Any practice outside of these is artificial and is not part of the Torah system. Why did these Rabbis feel it necessary to do something different from what Jews have been doing for thousands of years? How does flying around in an airplane over Israel help the situation? Even more, if they claim that this method will bring about healing, why limit their flight to Israel's airspace alone? They should have flown over every country to rid the planet of swine flu! And what a waste of money spent chartering this flight, which could have gone to worthwhile charities, or even to help those suffering from swine flu! These shenanigans are just another example of man's attempt to feel in control of his environment. People invent their own ways to fix a bad situation, which are devoid of any reality principle (such as cause and effect). It is a temporary fix, since the emotions are momentarily satisfied that all will be well after I perform "such and such" activity. But because these activities lack reality in the physical and metaphysical world, they do not fix the situation. If anything, they might increase the suffering, because the people have strayed from God's will by engaging in such nonsense.
Watching this video is saddening. What has the Jewish nation come to? We have sullied ourselves with heretical acts that are foreign to the ideas outlined in Torah. This most certainly removes the title of a "wise and understanding nation." (Deut. 4:6)
As we approach the High Holidays, let us adhere to the true methods that can change an evil decree. Teshuva, tefilla, u'tzedaka ma'avirin et roa hagezera, "Repentance, prayer and charity avert the evil decree". These three require real personal courage and strength. They are not quick fixes. Rather, they bring a person to an awareness of the Creator.
This method alone is truly worthy, through which we earn God's mercy.