A bit of a childish question. Is it possible for God to change the past? or is it one of those things that are generally possible but in certain occasions will never happen?

I'm asking because of this (right column, 17 line from below):

כי הנה הדברים העוברים שלא יהיו אינן נופלים תחת היכולת האלוהי

"… since the things that have already passed, to not be, does not fall under G-d's ability"

(R' Abarbanel discusses the notion of 'Mazel' and how it effects Israel (a person/a people. At this part he explains Rav's opinion [Shabat 116] and his proof of "Leave your astrology", which cannot be interpreted as "I can change what happened and you shall give birth".)

Is there another known reference to this?

  • 1
    well it seems significant that to the best of my knowldge we never find any Biblical characters praying to change the past. (Although perhaps it could be argued that once the past was changed, the need to pray would disappear, and they would end up not praying. Thus perhaps the absenec isnt so telling).
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 17:41
  • Looks like you go towards the direction of something that G-d CAN do but probably never will.
    – Zeev
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 17:44
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    Note that one is not supposed to pray for a result that has already happened. For example if one sees smoke from a house, one should not pray that it is not his own house. Perhaps consider it like "Can Hashem make a four sided triangle" which is one of the invalid questions someone can ask about omnipotence Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 17:47
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    @sabbahillel I think that gemara is the making of a good answer. We pray even when there is a sword on our throats so obviously no matter how unlikely to happen, we can still pray for it. However, there would be loopholes, such as changing what was, as a current item. Such as Leah praying for her male child to become a female, which the gemara does address as being an exception.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 17:53
  • @user6591 But note that even there, the baby was still in utero. Had the baby been born (even if no on else than Leah had seen it) the switch could not have taken place. Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


In Emunot V'Deiot 2:13 R. Saadia Gaon writes:

It will not, therefore, praise Him for being able to cause five to be more than ten without adding anything to the former, nor for being able to put the world through the hollow of a signet ring without making the one narrower and the other wider, nor for being able to bring back the day gone by in its original condition. For all these things are absurd.

(Rosenblatt translation p. 134, my emphasis)

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