In Mashcehes Brachos (Bavli) 60 the Gemara states that one should not pray that his unborn baby be a boy if it's after the time the baby has formed already in the womb. However, in Masheches Brachos in the Yerushalmi perek 9:halacha 3 the Gemara brings the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda ben Pazi who holds one can daven for the baby to be a certain gender even while the mother is sitting on the birthing stool.

My question is that in Bavli the Gemara (Mishna) brings a case of a person who hears there is an outcry of anguish in their town and davens that its not coming from his family, the Mishna holds this is a prayer in vain. However, the Yerushalmi does not bring this case, so would Rabbi Yehuda ben Pazi allow one to pray in this case as well, or is an unborn baby the only unique case in which one can pray for a change in nature?

  • I doubt he would argue on a mishna. And there is a difference between changing a natural present state and changing what has already happened in the past which would require changing time- space(?). But +1. Nice question. – user6591 Jul 25 '16 at 13:23
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    Well he argued on a Mishna already in regards to praying for the gender to be a male,its in the same mishna – sam Jul 25 '16 at 13:26
  • Hhmm. You are probably right about that. I always assumed he was working with the mishna somehow. But anyways back to your question, even his wording only allows up until sitting on the birthing stone. I don't he would allow praying the next week, do you? But again, good question. – user6591 Jul 25 '16 at 13:42
  • I hear what your saying about after birth but that can be seen with the eye,however, the town case he doesnt see whats going on ,and maybe supernaturally it wont be his family,it could be you have an answer just trying to get a clear understanding – sam Jul 25 '16 at 14:00
  • So far on Rashi in Vayeitzei 30 21 I found that Re'em says R'Y'B'P' is in fact arguing on the mishna, assuming he found a braisa to rely upon. On the other hand Nachalas Yaakov has an explanation saying that is not necessarily so, but does seem to lean that way anyway. And here's possibly my final thought. The drasha R'Y'B'P' makes to prove his point is from Yirmiya 18 6 which is Hashem asserting He can do anything with Bnei Yisroel. The Malbim there explains the passuk to be reffering specificaly to a potter at the time of forming the vessel. Might help with your question. – user6591 Jul 25 '16 at 17:10

I actually heard a story that someone (a close friend to me) came to his tzaddik that he should pray for his unborn baby that the dr. say will have a life lasting syndrome r"l, so the tzaddik told this person that according to the gemara this can not be changed... the guy croud out: "but rebbe according to the yerushalmy it could be changed"! by hearing this the rebbe agreed to pray to g-d for his sake, and the story has a very nice end, the child was born completely healthy and is now a sweet and healthy nice jewish boy - Thank g-d.

  • Do not forget that the doctor is not a navi and he could be wrong. Davening for good health for the baby is not attempting to "change" nature but asking Hashem to heal what might be wrong so that the baby would not be ill. It is not the same as davening to change the sex of the fetus. – sabbahillel Sep 20 '16 at 0:00
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    Maybe i'm missing something, but this doesn't appear to answer the question. We know that one can pray to change the status of a baby before it is born. The question is whether one could also pray that a burning building belongs to someone else. – mevaqesh Oct 20 '16 at 0:24

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