I’ve been having this difficulty for a while, and I hope you can help me gain some clarity. We know the gemora that says if one davens for someone else, he is answered first. I’ve been davening for a friend of mine to get a better job, which he just recently got, but I haven’t been answered yet regarding myself. I’ve been davening to get a better parnasa, saying parshas hamahn, learning Zera Shimshon, but I haven’t been answered. How do I make sense of the gemara’s promise?
Looking forward to your insights,
It is not easy when we daven for something that we need and it takes a while until we get answered, and it is often a nisayon in emuna. Essentially we can’t know why it is that the other person was answered before we were. But here are a few possibilities.
- What you are referring to is a gemora Babba Kama 92a. There are a few commentators (see Mabit -Bais Elokim Shar Hatefilah 12, Kasav Sofer -Drashos pg. 101) who explain that the reason when one person davens for another that he is answered first, is because his tefiloh is on a higher level. This is either because he put his own interests aside and he is concentrating on his friend’s needs, or that he is concentrating on subjecting himself in front of H-shem and not davening merely because he needs something. According to what they are saying, if a person davens for someone else in order that he should be answered first, that is essentially davening for himself, but saying the other person’s name, and including the other person in his tefiloh. It could be that this segula will not work under such conditions.
Additionally, we know that one of the factors that can block a person’s tefiloh is called “iyun tefilloh”, when a person davens well and thinks afterwards, “I davened great, now H-shem will surely answer me”. The reason that such a thought hampers the persons tefillos is because we have to daven with the attitude that we are asking H-shem for a gift. He doesn’t have to give it to us, and we are beseeching Him for mercy, and pleading to Him us our request. In no way can we daven to H-shem in the form of a demand, of with an attitude that we are deserving of what we are requesting.
Have said that, when a person does different segulos, he should not think, “OK, now that I did this segula, it will happen”. If we will believe in the segulos, then in a way we are saying that it isn’t H-shem’s mercy, but the segula, and this can have a negative effect. All the segulos that we do are only different ways to try and convince H-shem to give us what we want, but at the end of the day, we can’t dictate to H-shem what to do. Our attitude has to be, “H-shem your and only you are the boss, please help me with…”. We have to be careful put our emuna in H-shem, and not in the segula.
- It is possible that your tefilloh WAS answered, and possibly that it was answered even before your friends, but the wheels that were set in motion to bring you your yeshuah just take longer until you see it in fruition.
- It is possible that, H-shem did answer you, and He in his infinite wisdom, feels that this situation is better for you, (Why? We don’t know).
- The gemora (Berachos 32b) says, “if a person davened and he wasn’t answered he should keep on davening”. This is because there are certain requests that need multiple tefillos. One thing is certain, no tefilloh goes unanswered. It is possible that H-shem, the one who knows our future, has decided to save these tefillos that you davened for a time that He kows you will need the tefiilos even more, and he is saving for then.
At the end of the day, we don’t know the reasons why shomayim does what it being done. However one thing we do know, is that we are in the best of hands, and H-shem is taking care of us. Our job is to keep strong, have emuna and keep on davening.