If one prays specifically after performing a Mitzvah, in the hopes that G-d will be more likely to answer their prayer:

Is that considered improper, as it is using the Mitzvah for his/her own benefit? Or is it an acceptable and valid way to get prayers answered?

  • 2
    Probably better than praying right after sinning
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 22:04
  • I started an answer, but it is a little hard for me now. see attentively every word of this maamar of Peri Haarets on Parashat Reeh, and I am sure that you will be satisfyied. see here each word is important, each letter.
    – kouty
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 23:05
  • chabad.org/1885183
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 30, 2016 at 19:37
  • 1
    See Rosh Hashana Sela Ze litsdaka . Giving Tsdaka for ill person is Tsedaka with tefila. Asser Bishvil SheTit'asher....
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 14:19

3 Answers 3


Rashi, Deuteronomy 4:23:

ואתחנן. אין חנון בכל מקום אלא לשון מתנת חנם, אע"פ שיש להם לצדיקים לתלות במעשיהם הטובים, אין מבקשים מאת המקום אלא מתנת חנם

Even though righteous people can ask for favors based on their good deeds, they ask only for free gifts.

In addition, in Brachot 32b, Rabbi Chiya bar Aba says in the name of Rabbi Yochanan that whoever lengthens his prayer and "looks into it" will end up with "heartache" (כאב לב). Rashi explains that because he acts as if he is "owed" to be answered, his prayer isn't answered.

  • 3
    +1 On Bava Batra 10a however, I found that R' Elazar would pray after he gave Tzedaka because it says "אני בצדק אחזה פניך." Maybe it's different here because there's a special Pasuk?
    – user6618
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 0:06
  • @user6618 Good source, but it doesn't mention it being for getting prayers answered.
    – b a
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 16:54
  • This seems to mean that they don't ask out of a sense of entitlement. Not that they won't do anything to increase the chance of God answering them.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 3:31

Even if not accurately centerered to the question but see Pri Haarets Parashat Reeh See in Wikitext. Doing one mitsva in the hope that a wish came true. The text is hard to read. I will provide a summary which describes clearly the question to which the Peri Haarets responds:

Three of the Chazal sentences used in the Peri Haarets are listed bellow.

  1. R'Johanan met the young son of Resh Lakish and said to him, 'Recite to me the Bible verse [you have learnt to-day].

    The latter replied, 'Thou shalt surely tithe', at the same time asking, 'What may be the meaning of these words? ' R'Johanan answered, 'Give tithes that you may be enriched'.

    The boy then asked, 'Whence do you adduce this? ' R'Johanan replied: 'Go test it [for yourself]'.

    The boy thereupon asked: Is it permissible to try the Holy One, blessed be He, seeing that it is written, Ye shall not try the Lord? -R'Johanan replied: Thus said R'Oshaia: The case of tithe-giving is excepted [from the prohibition], as it is said, Bring ye the whole tithe unto the storehouse, th there may be food in My house, and try Me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be more than sufficiency.

  2. It has been taught: 'If a man says, offer this sela' for charity in order that my children may live and in order that through it I may merit the future world, he may still be a wholly righteous man? '

  3. [if a man says to a woman, be thou betrothed unto me] on condition that I am righteous,' even if he is absolutely wicked, she is betrothed, for he may have meditated repentance in his thoughts.'

The first case deals with the strenght of a Mitsva; the second say that this practice is quite correct; the third that the link between a simple man and Tsidkut and Tshuva is far from unlikely:

When a man did a Mitsva in the hope to be answered in his prayer, this is a sign that this man has a great faith. His faith is that the Mistva is a part of something which was previous to the world by a causal relation, something in which the word itself is included. He is clausely linked to this thing. He "knows" that somewhat in a Mitsva is very strong. He follows through Mitsva accomplishment an inner conviction which attract him toward the "first intent of Hashem" concerning creation. So we see a paradox, he has not been unselfish, but somewhat in his behavior demonstrate that he adheres (not artificiality) to the true nature of mitsva.

I am not sure that I can understand more that this fragmentary explanation up today. But it is clear for me that an accurate lecture of the Peri Haarets may help to a better answer.

  • If this answer seems to be redundant toward with the 2 others answers I apologize, but it was initiated before the publication of other answers, and skipped until I found the text in wikipedia.
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 3:24
  • In general, your posts are very very difficult to decipher. Consider using translation software, or posting more comments, with requests for help composing answers from other users. The jargon policy is that Will any English speaker who is interested in this content be able to understand what it means without additional research
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 3:37
  • edited with improvement of the English language
    – kouty
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 12:55
  • While I applaud any improvement, even the first paragraph remains difficult even after the several necessary rereadings. Even if not accurately centerered to the question (I assume this means that your answer might not be relevant) ...Doing one mitsva in the hope that a wish came true. (I don't know what this sentence is supposed to mean. That one should do mitsvot in the hope that a wish come true? That one shouldnt? That it will be effective? That it wont be effective?)
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 14:29
  • @kouty I don't think your answer is redundant because it brings out that tzedaka (or maaser or whatever) is particularly permissible to use as a ~way to get prayers answered -- to put it extremely crudely. I have heard that one of the Rebbeim of Lubavitch also encouraged this
    – SAH
    Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 16:59

There is no issue with doing a mitzvah with the hope that the mitzvah will give you some benefit or be a merit for some other supplication. On the contrary it is seen as a righteous deed.

This idea is found in the Gemara Pesachim (8a) regarding one who gives charity in order for one's child to be healed from sickness and other requests:

האומר סלע זו לצדקה בשביל שיחיה בני או שאהיה בן העוה''ב הרי זה צדיק גמור

If one says "I give this Selah so my child will live or that should merit the world to come", such a person is wholly righteous

Rav Ovadia Yosef also gives this topic further treatment here:

שאלה: האם מותר לתת סכום כסף לצדקה בשביל שיתרפא איזה אדם או בשביל בקשה אחרת, או שלא נכון לעשות כן מפני שהמעשה לא נעשה לשם שמים אלא לצורך פרטי?

תשובה: בגמרא במסכת פסחים (דף ח.) אמרו רבותינו, האומר (הנני נותן) "סלע (סכום כסף) זה לצדקה בשביל שיחיה בני", הרי זה צדיק גמור. כלומר, אדם שנותן צדקה, ואומר בפירוש, שהוא נותן את הצדקה כדי שבנו יחיה, הרי זה צדיק גמור, ואין שום פגם במה שהוא עושה.

ומבואר אם כן בגמרא שאין כל חשש בכך שאדם נותן סכום כסף לצדקה בשביל שיתרפא בנו, שהרי על כל פנים הוא מתכוין לתת צדקה

וכן פירש רש"י בסוגיא בפסחים, שאין אנו אומרים שהואיל נותן כספו לצדקה בשביל שיחיה בנו, אם כן נחשב לו המעשה שלא לשם שמים, אלא אומרים אנו שקיים בזה מצות צדקה שציוהו בוראו לעשות צדקה, ומתכוין הוא גם להנאת עצמו שיחיה בנו.

ומכאן הוכיח מרן רבינו עובדיה יוסף זצוק"ל, שכל מעשה שאדם עושה לשם שמים, ומעורבת בכונתו גם כוונה אחרת להנאת עצמו, וכגון מי שאוכל בשבת לכבוד שבת קודש ובכדי לענג את השבת, לקיים מצות בוראו, אך הוא מתכוין גם להנאת עצמו, אין אנו אומרים לו שמעשיו אינם לשם שמים, שהואיל ובכוונתו מעורבת גם כוונה לשם שמים, הרי זה נחשב שעושה לשם שמים ושכרו בשמים גדול. וכן כתבו עוד רבים מרבותינו הפוסקים.

We do not tell him that his actions are not altruistic, that since he intends involved Altruistic intention, it is considered to be doing for heaven and his reward is great in heaven.

  • 2
    Couldn't charity be different from other Mitzvot?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 3:09
  • There is no issue with doing a mitzvah with the hope that the mitzvah will give you some benefit or be a merit for some other supplication How do you know that there is no issue? Depending on the context, Rambam (Hil. Avodah Zara 11:12) could certainly be an issue.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 3:32

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