Monday, November 22, 2010

Making a Deal With G-d?

The following question was submitted anonymously using the form on the right.

Are you allowed to make deals with G-d?

I'm not that close enough to Him to be able to tell you what is and what is not allowed. This is not something I've seen written in a halacha sefer - "One may/may not make deals with Hashem for things s/he specifically wants." I will just suggest to you that there is a certain way to live life in which you will come out feeling happy and not upset when things do not work out the way you would like them to.

Why would a person want to make a deal with G-d? Partly because they want to feel like they are in control. Hashem, I'll do this and then you'll do that, deal? [Shake hands] But it doesn't work that way. Hashem is not your friend who you can just make deals with and then hope He will pull through at the end, as long as you kept your side of the deal. Hashem is the One and Only G-d who created the world and all that is in it - so it's only normal that there are going to be things that happen that you may not understand. It's something that as difficult as it is to accept, makes so much sense. How could a human being who is so limited understand the ways of Hashem?!

Did you read this post that I recently re-posted on the blog? It explains this concept really well - how Hashem is so beyond us that it is just impossible for us to understand His ways.

Making deals with Hashem will only lead to disappointment. The reason for this is that sometimes you will see Him "pulling through" and doing His side of the deal and other times you will see that He wont. If you tell Hashem, "I'm going to give x amount of money to tzeddakah and you make sure that I will have xyz happen to me." Hashem may have a reason why it is not good for xyz to happen to you. So if you give the tzeddakah (or make any other change in your life) and then you don't see the yeshuah you wanted, you will be frustrated and upset. And what about the times it does "work"? It's possible that the thing you wanted was good for you at that specific time and Hashem gave it to you - and you would have gotten to that point whether or not you would have made that deal with Him.

What's important to focus on is being a good Jew. Improving your middos. Watching the way you speak. Fixing up your tefillah. Being happy for other people when good things happen to them. Bringing Hashem into your life. Focusing on the good things you have. Strengthening your emunah and trust in Hashem that all He does is for the best.

There's no guarantee that the specific things you want to happen will happen to you but one thing is for sure. If you are constantly trying, striving to be better, you will be a happier person - regardless of whether you get those things you so desperately wanted - because you will know that Hashem loves you and only has good things in mind for you, even if you don't understand it at the moment.

My bracha to you is that you should be able to strengthen yourself to follow Hashem no matter what circumstances you find yourself in and your life should be filled with so much good that you will be too busy thanking Hashem for all you have to focus on making deals with Him!! He should send so much goodness your way that you will be overwhelmed with gratitude for all the blessings you have!

Please can the one who asked this question let me know that you read this answer, if it helped and if you still have questions about what I wrote. Thanks!


  1. I learned (sorry I don't have the source) that tzedakah is an exception to this principle, and that it's okay to give tzedakah on the condition that you will get more money.

  2. I happen to have that question all the time. Thanks for addressing it. I'm a big deal-maker and I usually get put in my place pretty fast :-). I have so many stories.

  3. Sarah-that's interesting! If you could find out the source for that, I'd love to hear it. Also, I think this was more of a general question and I was saying that it's probably better for a person to live their lives trying to be a good Jew and focusing on how they can improve, as opposed to making deals with Hashem that they will do xyz so He should do abc for them. That's not the right outlook because it may lead to disappointment when the deal doesn't pull through!

    SIR-thanks. It's not to say that there will be times when it wont "work" but that's not our job in life. Hashem doesn't work like that, life's not a vending machine where you put in the quarter and out comes the snack you want. You get my drift...if things were that simple we wouldn't have to work so hard to achieve and overcome our challenges because there would always be an easy way out. But we have to remember that Hashem is in control, which means that He will make things happen based on what He knows is best for us!

    May we always be able to see the good in whatever happens in our lives!

  4. I looked up the source, and it's in gemara Taanit 9a. There's some discussion with further sources in What's Bothering Rashi: Devarim p. 237, which you can find online at Google books:

    I totally agree with the general approach you were discussing--I just thought it's interesting that there could be an exception in this one area. Of course, it's not okay to test HaShem in other areas of life and try to "cut deals" to get what you want. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  5. devorah thanks 4 answering!
    i wrote the question so i understand we shud just try 2 get better and hashem knows wat hes doing. but lets say u do u say hashem im gonna throw away not tznius thing now bec i did tht pls make my sister get engaged or something like tht. and acording 2 halacha is there n e thing wrong w/ tht? thanks again

  6. Sarah-that's so interesting. Thanks so much for posting the link so I could get a preview into the book!

    Anon-I'll tell you the truth. If things were that simple, there would be no choices for us to make in life. If you were able to make a deal with G-d every time you wanted something and then it would "work," what would be the point in the tests Hashem has in mind for us. Things are not always meant to be easy - and the reason for that is so that we could use our challenges for spiritual growth.

    Hashem surely has a reason for why your sister (and mine too-Chaya Sara) is not married yet. Of course, it's an EXTRA special thing for you to give up some of your clothing that is not tznius and you can definitely say that it should be a zechus for your sister to find her match. But to say, "I'm doing it so that she should get engaged" can be dangerous. Because if for some reason Hashem decided that it is not the right time yet and you went ahead and made the change and then the yeshuah didn't come the exact way you wanted it, that can make you turn away! As if it didn't work so forget it, it's not worth it for me to change.

    Doing mitzvos and making changes in your life as a zechus for someone else to have a yeshuah is a beautiful and special thing. Who knows? Maybe it will bring about the simcha you are waiting for! But it shouldn't be done in a deal sort of way because we don't understand the reasons behind why Hashem does things.

    I hope this helps and please let me know if you still have a question. Thanks for commenting so I know that the one who asked this (you!) read the answer!

  7. ya it makes sense now thanks sooooo much its so amazing to c someone use so much time in their busy lives to help others

  8. Anon-thanks. I'm glad it's clearer now. It's my pleasure to help out!

  9. Btw there is something to making deals with Hashem. It's sourced in the Torah. Yaakov Avinu made deals with Hashem, I believe in Parshas Vayasai. Obviously we shouldn't say, "Hashem I'm only going to do your mitzvos if you ensure my parnasa." But yet you can tell Hashem, "I'm doing my part to be Good Jew. Please provide me with parnasa."

  10. ya but a lot of times wen u take on something it could be for something else to happen. or wen u daven u ask hashem for stuff n that could be why ur davening. so if the answers always n then theres no point...


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