This article by Rabbi Berel Wein reminds us that that our father Yaakov prepared for his encounter with Eisav by adopting three possible strategies and not relying on prayer alone.

He says

There is a common adage that God helps those that help themselves. To accomplish things in life, both spiritually and materially, effort and planning, devotion and industry must be expended.


Relying on prayer alone without the expenditure of one’s own talents and resources is a way of getting away cheaply in the matter.

How does Jewish thought look at the prayer which is uttered without “ expenditure of one’s own talents and resources”?

Is it considered a wasted prayer and the names of Hashem if used are uttered in vain?

Or because, after all, the person addressed his prayers to the only One who could help him, is it still a valid prayer – only not the best?

  • 1
    It's a joke. – Double AA Feb 9 '15 at 0:55
  • There are times when hishtadlut is necessary/expected and time when it's not a reasonable option. E.g. Chizkiyahu's bitachon was praised for going to sleep when the enemy was at the gates and there was nothing reasonable for him to do; and his efforts were criticized as foolhardy when he tried to impress an enemy with Jerusalem's wealth. Similarly, in these week's parsha (Beshalach) Moshe tells the people to do nothing ("v'atem tacharishun") and that G-d will save them. So it depends on the context. – Loewian Feb 9 '15 at 2:02
  • @loewian The question is posed specifically in a case where hishtadlut is necessary/expected. – Avrohom Yitzchok Feb 9 '15 at 16:24

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