Rav Avigdor Miller on Why Pray?

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Q:
If our fate is decided between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, why do we pray the rest of the year?

A:
And the answer is that at every moment a man can reverse the decision. Everything that Hakadosh Baruch Hu decides on Yom Kippur is decided conditionally.

For instance, a man is inscribed for life until next year. But suppose he decides that he wants to jump off the roof. So Hakadosh Baruch Hu says “Go ahead and do it”. Everything is on condition that you don’t choose to frustrate it. If a man wants to lose what he would have gained by the decision on Yom Kippur, it is his privilege to forfeit it.

Now of course that’s limited in certain ways, but in general we have to know that’s the truth. All the gezeiros are subject to certain restrictions. Even a gezeira for evil chalilah, if a man does real teshuva and he cries out with all his heart, in some cases it can help. Because the gezeira is made conditionally, unless he does teshuva.

And therefore it always pays for a person to utilize the situation properly. It could be that what was decreed for him was merely conditional and his prayer will overturn it.

TAPE #555 (July 1985)