Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: This coming wed many rabbis have set forth for everyone to fast and say Tehillim.What do we expect this to accomplish? Does Judaism really hold that if Jews abstain from eating and read Tehillim all day we could actually make G-d do things in our favor? Please let me know.....
Mesora: We cannot change God. This is based on a verse in Malachi, "I am God, I do not change". This means that God is perfect, and any change implies alteration in this perfection. More essentially, change is that which only the creation is subject to.The Creator is not subject to laws of change. So your question seems stronger!
We also know that when we pray, it can have an effect. We see that all our forefathers prayed, and there was response from God as well. If God doesn't change, how is there response?
The answer is from Maimonides. He gives an allegory: When something is distant from fire, it is affected one way, and when brought closer, it is affected in a different manner, i.e., at a distance it is lit, closer, it can be warmed, and even closer, melted. This does not mean the fire changed. Change took place in the object, even though the fire was constant.
So to is it with prayer and perfection. By fasting, man places himself in a state of reliance on God, more than when his stomach is full. He sees his frailties clearly. In such a state, he is more in line with reality and his need for God. When man fasts, and also prays - which must include contemplation upon his state, repentance and ultimately steps towards perfecting himself. The system of Divine Providence is designed such, that just as with fire, as one approaches God, the Divine providence effects him different than when he was sinning. The closer one is to God's will, the better the effect of God's Divine Providence.
As we are warned in the Shema: our abandonment of Torah causes tragedy. By adhering to the Torah, a system for our benefit and enjoyment, we derive Divine protection and blessings. Through fast and prayer, we should awaken ourselves to our errors, reflect during prayer on what is essential in life, compare that to what we actually do, and we must change our ways accordingly.
If Israel would only prove to themselves the reality of God by study, prove to themselves truth of the system, of how God historically blessed our Kings and prophets with good when they lived with Torah, this reality would effect Israel today, they would change, and run the country according to the God Who gave it.
But as long as those in power deny the role of God in the land He gave, then how can we expect our situation to improve? The solution is fasting and perfecting ourselves.

Related Artcles:
Prayer, Repentance

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