Thank God We Can't Change God's Mind

| Saturday, December 25, 2010 | |
by Rabbi David Aaron

At first glance prayer seems to be about whining and begging G-d, "Please heal this person … please bring me my soul-mate … please help my business, etc." One could mistakenly think that G-d is holding out on us and gets pleasure watching us grovel.

To appreciate what we are actually doing when we pray, we have to examine what prayer really means. First, we have to understand that in Judaism we do not pray. Prayer is an English word. What Jews do is l'hispallel.

L'hispallel has nothing to do with begging G-d to change His mind. L'hispallel is a reflexive verb and it means to do something to yourself, not to G-d. When you are praying, your question should not be, "Is G-d listening to my prayers?" For sure he is. What you should really ask yourself is, "Am I listening to my prayers? Does what I say impact me? Have I changed?"

Please do not misunderstand this important principle. L'hispallel does not mean to meditate and talk to yourself as if you could ever make things happen for yourself without G-d. Of course, G-d listens to our prayers and answers but we are not trying to change G-d's mind we are trying to change ourselves.

If you pray in order to change G-d's mind, then, please for G-d's sake, don't pray. We don't want to change G-d's mind. And thank G-d we can't change G-d's mind because G-d has made up His mind a long time ago. G-d only and always loves us and seeks to give us the greatest good. As Psalmist praised, "His compassion (unconditional love) is upon all His creatures."



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