Perfection

 

Moshe Ben-Chaim


 

 

Reader: If something "bad" occurs to someone, isn't it true that our Rabbi's have given the prescription for THAT person to perform: Prayer, charity and repentance. Since, we cannot change Hashem in anyway, is one to assume that the following actions will potentially lead to a change in the person, and therefore he/she may be able to raise themselves to a level where Hashem will change their situation?

 

Mesora: Yes, as one changes himself and perfects himself, his change entitles him to benefit from the already existing system of Providence G-d does not change in such a case, yet man derives greater good.

Reader: If so, why is Talmud Torah not one of the three things prescribed? Since in Schachrit we say that Talmud Torah is "equal to all"?

Mesora: Talmud Torah is "equal to all" must be understood in a specific context: this statement refers to what the highest action is that man may perform. Learning is when one engages the mind to approach more knowledge about the Creator. Every halacha, parsha, or piece of gemara we learn affords us a greater appreciation of the Creator of the entire Torah system.

However, when discussing how one may perfect his flaws, here, Talmud Torah is not the prescription, but rather the one's you quoted:
a) Prayer: weighing one's actions and requests,
b) charity: divorcing oneself from the physical and expressing reliance on G-d's kindness to sustain us, and

c) teshuva: introspection, and the abandonment of destructive and prohibited actions and personality traits.

Reader: The second part of my question is: If prayer, charity and repentance work on the mechanism of changing the person performing them, and this change is the thing that allows Hashem to grant him/her a change in their situation...what is the mechanism that allows praying for another person to effect a change for that other person?


Mesora:
In truth, the prayer for others is not the preferred action, as in such a case; the one being prayed for is not perfected in anyway, as he is not reflecting on his actions. Although this is so, G-d decides when he will listen to anothers' prayers for whatever reason.

 

When one is sick, the Torah demands that he review his actions to see what flaw caused his illness. When he contemplates his wrong, regrets it, and resigns not to repeat such behavior, then G-d will lift his illness, as it served its purpose. This is the message of the book of Job. Only once Job repented from his erroneous opinions, did G-d remove his plague, and return him to health, wealth, and increase his family.