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Mar 26, 2012

Saying Shma To Protect from Trouble

Often when tragedy strikes the frum community, or when a series of traumatic events is identified, something is targeted to work on for improvement,  for the merit of the community so as not to suffer such tragedies again or to attempt to stop the series of events from continuing.

Often the action targeted is something like strengthening issues of modesty or prevention of speaking lashon ha'ra or the like.

Because of the recent tragedy of the murders in Toulouse, France, the rav of a shul in England, Rav Chaim Halperin of the Divrei Chaim shul in London, encouraged the strengthening of a matter, in a way I don't remember hearing before, and I thought this was interesting.

This rav said that the words "Shma Yisrael" - שמע ישראל - contain as an anagram the words "Sar" and "Yishmael". The rav said that when we would be careful about saying kriyas shma in its proper time and with kavana, Hashem will then protect us from Yishmael - from  terrorists and danger. He said if we would be more careful about the mitzva of reading shma in the proper time, most of the troubles would not befall us. (source: Bechadrei)

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11 comments:

  1. Any mechanistic, fetishistic, approach to changing the course of events and forcing God to do other than he apparently wants by doing some mystical formula is avodah zarah. Judaism is about doing God's will, not about requiring and forcing him to do ours.

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  2. so a person cant give tzedaka of that someone should get better because of it 9an example explicitly stated in gemara)?

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  3. I recently heard on the radio an article about the effect of placebos on illnesses. Placebos are harmless compunds given to ill people, who think they are getting a drug, but in fact might be getting a candy. In many cases, the effect is the same, meaning that the mind believes it is a drug, and therefore the body naturally heals. 2 other methods were also mentioned in regard to healing, tefilla, and emuna.

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  4. Judaism is about doing God's will,

    The Rabbi said to strengthen kavana while saying shma. That's something that were supposed to do anyway. He didn't say to go out and buy one of his magic amulets.

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  5. Prayer in general, as well as for specific causes, has to do more with improving the state of mind of the one saying the prayer rather than the recipient for whom they prayer was said. Its nice to think that our mi-sheberachs, prayers for the sick, prayers to prevent or alleviate tragedy, prayers for the downfall of our enemies etc. actually physically affect the target, but in actuality they don't. Rather, they help those doing the prayer cope with pain and disturbance. Coping better in turn changes our outlook on problems, sometimes to the extent of actually taking some action ourselves, which in turn help the target cause.
    Believing that theres some physical or medicinal effect that will change things on the other end in just voodoo. Part of the larger phenomenon of voodoo-judaism.

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  6. In response to 9/11 the Jewish Community in Chicago installed atomic clocks, so that could be more makpid in Zman Kriyat Shema.

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  7. for shma or for more precise vatikin davening?

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  8. There is a difference between doing a mitzva in the hope that the zchut will help you (and not expecting an outcome, but hoping for one) and doing a specific action that is supposed to have supernatural powers to give you protection. If he were to have said strengthen yourself in mitsvot because we need all the zchuyot we can get, that is different from saying say kriat shma with special kavana because it has the same letters as sar yishmael and will cause God to protect us.

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  9. His father's shul has shachris minyonim till midday. Maybe he should give his dad a call?

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  10. Unlike Yonah, Rabbis of today are always sure that it's other people's misdeeds that are the cause of tragedies.

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  11. its brought down that nothing bad will happend to anyone who davens netz. OK, but i have no doubt that if someone were to check he would find out that there were people who davened netz (even with an atomic clock) and were killed in traffic accidents, terrorist attacks, crimes, etc. or they lost money or something bad happened, however one defines "bad".

    these types of promises really can't serve any good, almost by definition. i still remember rav mordechai eliyahu's promise that the evacuation from gaza would never take place.

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