Ask the Rabbi with Rabbi Chaim Mintz

A great rabbi gave me a blessing, but it didn’t work. Is it respectful to go back and tell him, or should I just accept the fact that Hashem obviously said no?

Rabbi Chaim Mintz responds:

Ask for Another One!

You can certainly return to the rabbi and let him know that his blessing was not fulfilled. But don’t blame the rabbi; on the contrary, ask him for another blessing! The blessing of a great Torah sage can be a very powerful tool in helping a person receive what he needs. The Talmud (Bava Batra 116a) tells us that a person who has a sick relative should go to a Torah scholar and ask him to pray for his recovery. Torah scholars have a special connection to Hashem, and He wants to fulfill their requests. So it would be worth your while to go back.

Make Yourself a Worthy Recipient

Although a rabbi’s blessings are valuable, there can be many reasons why it wasn’t fulfilled. Perhaps his blessing was accepted in Heaven, and Hashem was ready to send His blessing, but there was an issue on the receiving end. The recipient must also be worthy of receiving the blessing, such as by praying and doing good deeds. So maybe it was you who was deemed unworthy due to your deficiencies. There can also be many other reasons why Hashem did not wish the blessing to be fulfilled at this time.

Keep Praying, and Don’t Stop!

But whatever the reason may be that the blessing was not fulfilled, there is no reason to give up, and you should continue to pray and seek blessings, which is similar to prayer. As the Talmud (Brachot 32b) tells us, if a person prayed and his request was not granted, he should keep praying. And even if he prayed for something many times and has yet to be answered, it doesn’t mean that he will never be answered. Each additional prayer makes a person more worthy of Hashem’s blessing, and so he must never stop praying.

Even the great Moshe’s prayers were not always answered immediately. After the sin of the Golden Calf, Moshe beseeched Hashem to forgive the Jews and his request was not initially granted. But he persevered and continued praying for 40 days and nights without stop, until Hashem finally granted them forgiveness. Imagine the tragedy that could have taken place had he given up after a week or even thirty-nine and a half days of intense prayer!

…And Seek More Blessings

Similarly, each blessing from a righteous person can bring a person closer to having his request granted, and it is possible that after the tenth or thirtieth blessing it will finally be fulfilled. So keep praying, keep turning to Hashem’s emissaries for help and receiving blessings from great rabbis, and continue to make yourself more worthy of receiving Hashem’s blessings.

In short: You can tell the rabbi the blessing wasn’t fulfilled, and also ask for more blessings. At the same time, keep praying, and continue to make yourself more worthy of receiving Hashem’s blessings.

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