Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Vain Prayer

The Raving Atheist points out a vain prayer (tefilat shav) in the recent runaway bride case:
"Sure, we were all disappointed, maybe a little embarrassed, but you know what, if you remember all the interviews yesterday we were praying, 'At this point let her be a runaway bride,'" said the Rev. Alan Jones, who was to perform the wedding. "So God was faithful. Jennifer's alive and we're all thankful for that."
The Raving Atheist writes:
Wilbanks was raped and bludgeoned to death by kidnappers two weeks ago and discarded in a Dunkin’ Donuts dumpster. Anticipating the entreaties of her congregation, however, God simultaneously helped her fake the abduction. “I wasn’t sure which outcome I liked more, so I decided to leave it up to a prayer-vote,” God said. “Nearly 60% favored the runaway bride option over the rape/murder, so I led hundreds of law enforcement personnel and volunteers on a wild goose chase.”
In fact, you need not be an atheist to take this approach - the Mishna at the end of Brachot {Brachot 54a} also considers this a vain prayer:
BUT TO CRY {=request} OVER THE PAST IS TO UTTER A VAIN PRAYER.

IF A MAN'S WIFE IS PREGNANT AND HE SAYS, [GOD] GRANT THAT MY WIFE BEAR A MALE CHILD, THIS A VAIN PRAYER.
IF HE IS COMING HOME FROM A JOURNEY AND HE HEARS CRIES OF DISTRESS IN THE TOWN AND SAYS, [GOD] GRANT THAT THIS IS NOT IN MY HOUSE, THIS IS A VAIN PRAYER.

2 comments:

The Raving Atheist said...

God grant that I not be tempted to leave a comment at this blog.

D'oh!

joshwaxman said...

HaKol Biydei Shamayim Chutz MiYir'at Shamayim.

(All is in the hands of Heaven except for fear of Heaven.)

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