The famous line that one surely will come across from the High Holydays prayers is that of 'repentance, prayer, and charity remove the evil decree'. It is that phrase from Jews prayer books that are repeated by Jewish people several times.
But apart from repeating these words several times, many are still flooded with queries and probes as to what is the reason behind such a combination of repentance, prayer, and charity? How is it effective to relieve one from their sentences? Is not G-d a fair judge who listens to the evidence and in view of what he sees gives the fair sentence? How can thus one believe in a G-d who is supposed to be fair yet can be convinced to change a decree?
What are the elements that make up a divine judgment? Are the three components of repentance, prayer, and charity so influential that it van affect judgement? What would one say about a real life judge who after hearing all of the fact of the case and after giving judgment, decides to change the decree even in face of the law because of what the criminal said?
Well to get a clear insight in to these queries, first one need to understand what 'charity' exactly is. We normally differentiate between wages and charity.
As per general information on knows the perfect demarcation between wages and that of charity, for wages are being earned in return of work done, whereas; charity is something that is not earned but have been given or received, due to feelings that have convinced one to give or receive more than the person have actually earned.
Thus when we work or hire a person to do some work, there is a mind-set that the worker will do a specific job or task and upon completion the employer will pay the worker for his work done. Thus to simplify further let’s consider an example of a situation where an electrician comes over to fix a problem in the wiring of your home. He is been paid for his work only because was he successful in locating the problem and he fixing it. However if he was unsuccessful in finding the problem and in the process was unable to fix it, we still pay him for his time and ability. That is part of the concept of wages. Thus it is not given to the worker from the goodness of the employer's heart, but rather the worker was entitled to receive it. Hence this is a logical relationship that can be legally binding.
However the concept of charity is totally different from that of wages. Charity is something when we give someone something willing just because we understand the plight of that person. Though the person at the receiving end may not be related to us, but the problematic situation through which he is been going through make us feel sorry, thus we willingly donate alms to that person. That is what charity is all about!
However the relationship that is shared between G-d and his people is that of employer and employee, for the humans do the 'work' for G-d, in a way performing His mitzvots. Thus for each mitzvah that is being performed, G-d has kept some amount of reward in a form wages, that is being invested upon His workers until they reach the ripe age of 120. And thus once one 'retire' and reach heaven, one is blessed the fruits of our labors. Thus if one works loyally, then he faithfully paid by G-d for the efforts.
It would seem that the concept of charity really does not exist into the relationship between G-d and human being. We put in our effort and G-d, our 'employer' is faithful to pay us for our time and efforts. However in reality it is not like this.
G-d in reality does not need the 'work' of the mortals for He himself is self-sufficient, for he lacks nothing and there is nothing that He can't do. Thus if He wants something, then, it is done instantly! However it is really we mortal humans that need the 'work' of doing His mitzvot. It is we who benefit from our 'employment' with G-d since we are able to achieve reward for the next world.
But actually the truth of the situation is hardly we mortal show concerns for G-d's on our mind. However the unfortunate state of our being is that we rarely get to think about G-d when we do His mitzvot. Without thinking much, we just jump in and do what we are supposed to do. Thus just like the electrician who is not concerned about the employer rather his intention is to do the work properly and get paid and enjoy the money, we, unfortunately, do our mitzvot with little of pure intention to serve G-d and to draw closer to Him.
G-d thus notices our poor intentions and in the process realizes that they are far from being just pure. Thus If he were to pay according to the intentions of the mortal hearts, then the mortals might not get much reward for whatever they have done.
However these flaws of the mortals can well be overlooked by G-d if repentance is being followed. Thus through repentance one should submit oneself to G-d for it is quite possible our to succumb to these worldly vices. However if he tell G-d about their problems, about how they were compelled to dwell in this physical world among a physicality where spirituality does not exist, how all mortals are subjected to desires for attractions in this world, and how the mortals have failed to be a truly spiritual person than they should have been, G-d may understand whole of the situations and thus may let go his employee, free.
Thus all that is needed is a truthful heart while praying to him so that He gets compassionate on the humans and thus show His mercy, for humans are like addicts who try hard to stay clear of addictions so that G-d shows some mercy. Thus in a way He will makes charity, for G-d understands the faults humans make and still understand the plight and rewards.
Thus till now it should have been clear the true meaning of repentance, prayer, and charity for they remove the evil decree. Thus repentance is what needed so that G-d blesses the mortal with his mercy and so that they lead a hassle free life.
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