What should be one’s attitude when his or her prayers are not answered?
It says השם יענינו ביום קוראינו – Hashem answers us on the day that we call out. There’s no such thing as your prayers not being answered. It says אשירה להשם כי גמל עלי – I sing to Hashem because He already bestowed it upon me. You have to know that as soon as you pray you’re a lucky person. Now sometimes however the luck comes in ways that you don’t know about or you don’t want. I’ll give you an example.
Here’s a boy who needs an operation. Let’s say he has to remove his tonsils or his appendix, whatever it is. So the doctors are about to strap him onto the operating table. But this boy has other ideas of good times. So as soon as the doctor turns his back, this boy leaps off the table and he streaks through the door, and he’s out on the street straight to the candy store. Now he’s buying a big ice-cream a mile high, walking in the street, licking it. Now that’s life! Who needs an operation when you can be licking ice-cream.
So let’s say his father comes walking along and he collars him and says, “You think this is good for you?” And then comes the potch! “This is good for you!” He smacks his face and the ice-cream goes flying into the gutter. And the father drags him straight back to the hospital. Now, that potch is going to save your life and you’ll be able to eat a lot of ice-cream cones later in life because of that.
So Hakodosh Boruch Hu is not necessarily going to give us exactly what we want. We’re not the physicians to be able to write our own prescription. He knows better what’s good for us! But this you have to know – that your tefilah helped. You’re never a failure when you pray. Even the tzadik who prayed and soon after that a misfortune came upon him chalilah, he should know that his prayers were answered. Maybe not the way he wants – sometimes it might be the best good fortune for him is to be taken out of this world just at that moment, pure and worthy. And then he’ll discover in the Afterlife how lucky he was that he left the world at the right moment.
However, you can never tell – maybe Hakodosh Boruch Hu is waiting for your prayers and He’s going to say to you, “My boy, since you prayed to Me, I’m going to tell the doctors to take you off the operating table.” And then they’ll take a look at your chart and they’ll say, “It was all a mistake. It was a wrong diagnosis. Out to the candy store you go!”
It happens sometimes that way. Many times it’s a wrong diagnosis. Sometimes it’s a fatal disease and people survive. Doctors make mistakes – only that they never say so. The doctor is always right. Even when the patient perishes under the scalpel, they say, “Everything went well; only that the patient died.”
And when the patient gets well after the doctor said he wouldn’t live – the doctor said he could live only three more weeks and this man kept on living for thirty more years; it happens again and again. So when the doctors are confronted with that, they say, “We’ll, it was the wrong diagnosis. It was a mistake in diagnosis.”
So you keep on praying and Hakodosh Boruch Hu might make that diagnosis turn out to be wrong.
TAPE # 387