Letters Jan. 2007
Christian Noachides Message Boards
“Its strange that Jesus would take responsibility for all our sins, when the Torah says “Fathers will not be killed for sons, nor sons for fathers...each man in his OWN sin shall die”. Jesus goes against God’s very words. Not only are these the Torah’s words, but it makes sense.
Additionally, I have never found proof for Jesus so called miracles, since there were no witnesses, and the stories concerning him weren’t written until decades after they supposedly happened. In contrast, I accept that God gave the Torah on Mt. Sinai, since there exists an unbroken chain of transmission in the Jews who witnessed the event. It wasn’t written down decades later, but from that event and forward. The story traces the Jewish families from Egypt, through Sinai, and even afterwards. All this detail is absent in connection with Jesus.
And if faith is what Jesus requires, then what stops another person today from popping up, and claiming HE TOO requires faith? Why shouldn’t I blindly accept a new messiah? Both the new messiah today, and Jesus have equal grounds...that being faith, and no proof.”
Prayer & Contradiction
Reader: I believe there is an inconsistency between the following statements on your website:
Reader: I heard once the following explanation: Why should Hashem listen to the prayer of a third person: Because though Hashem decided that the best for a person is to be sick at this moment, Hashem did not want that a third person should be in distress. Thus, if a (third) person really feels the pain of another person and davens for him, Hashem might decide that the sick person should become healthy.
Mesora: The Talmud’s explanation makes sense. Your explanation does not: What perfection comes about for the sick person through the distress of a third party, that G-d would remove this sick person’ suffering? Was not the victim’s suffering due to his imperfection? Does he not still remain with his imperfection? Additionally, we see from G-d’s response to Moses’ prayer for Miriam, that G-d does not remove illness due to stress on a third party (i.e., Moses).
As Rabbi Reuven Mann recently recalled, “It could be due to the merit of another more perfected person, that I will obtain God’s favor: God might save me, since my death could negatively impact another person.” This however does not remove the prohibition to recite Tehillim for any sickness, for anyone. This concept stated by Rabbi Mann means - as the Torah taught - that God will intercede on behalf of one person, due to the perfection of another.
Statement 1 implies that it doesn’t make sense to say that G-d will listen to the prayer of a perfected individual so as to relieve him from distress. Statement 2 implies that G-d will save a person from death so as to prevent a negative impact on another.
I eagerly await your reply.
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: There is no contradiction: I stated the first quote which is wrong, and Rabbi Mann stated the second one. This area requires further study, but I do wish to highlight one issue.
According to Rabbi Mann, the fact that God didn’t let you die was due to the prayer of the other person…my very point. God is answering the “other” person…the one who prayed; not you. And if that person did not pray, then you would die. In the end, you did not receive a stay of execution due to your merits, but merely for the benefit of another person. So what have you gained, if God spared you for the sake for another? You still remain with your flaw, and until you remove it, you deserve death.
I clearly must retract my position that God will not save one person for the prayer of another, since He did so when Moses prayed for the Jews. But we must say that He did so, since the need to destroy the Jews was now removed by Moses’ increase in perfection, not the Jews’ perfection.
Prayer & Perfection
Reader: Why are we obligated to recite the Amida? Why is Mincha the most powerful time to pray and make our requests to God?
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: Amida, or the Shemona Essray is obligated upon us for many reasons. Primarily, this obligation teaches us that we are dependent beings, created by a Creator, and in constant need of His will so that we might continue to exist. We do not exist after He created us in an “automatic” or auto-pilot fashion. This is provable: since we could not create ourselves, our existence is therefore not due to us. It then follows the quantitative increase in our existence as well – our continued lives – is not due to us. We need God each moment to exist for another second, and another, ad infinitum. This is most profound.
Our existence also depends on many factors, including knowledge, attachment to God and His system, forgiveness by God so we may endure, physical healing, money, and an array of elements. Fascinatingly, these factors in the order as I cited, is the very order of our requests in the Amida. We ask God for His help in the order of each factor’s vitality to human existence and perfection. So we learn that the Amida is also important, as it allows us to request our vital needs.
I never heard nor is it sensible that afternoon prayers should be more effective. Abraham did not pray in the afternoon, since Isaac instituted it. God in no way answered Abraham less than Isaac.
The Torah states that God hears us from wherever we call to Him. So “whenever” we call Him should be equally recognized by God. This truth also teaches that it matters none if we pray by the Western Wall, or in our homes. We are no closer to God in Israel, although living there can affect our thoughts, and help us focus on Israel’s purpose. The Rabbis teach that the “Air of Israel makes one wise”. But this must be understood. If someone devoid of Torah lives in Israel, he will not become wise. It is only he or she, who recognizes the significance of Israel, and who studies Torah and is imbued by Israel’s history and purpose, that they will become wise.
Recognizing God as our Creator, that we are temporary creations, and seeking our needs, are the most important roles of the Amida. We are thereby humbled, and reminded of our short term here on Earth. This facilitates the removal of our attachment to futile pleasures and involvements, freeing our energies to reattach to God, as is His will, for our benefit.