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The Rambam in hilchos teshuvah (7:7) states: כמה מעולה מעלת התשובה אמש היה זה מובדל מה' אלהי ישראל... צועק ואינו נענה שנאמר [גם] כי תרבו תפלה [אינני שומע ...

והיום הוא מודבק בשכינה... צועק ונענה מיד שנאמר והיה טרם יקראו ואני אענה

How exalted is the level of Teshuvah! Previously, the [transgressor] was separate from G-d, the Lord of Israel... He would call out [to God] without being answered as [Isaiah 1:15] states: "[Even] if you pray many times, [I will not hear]...

Now, he is clinging to the Shechinah... He calls out [to G-d] and is answered immediately as [Isaiah 65:24] states: "Before, you will call out, I will answer":

The pasuk that the Rambam quotes says that Hashem will answer even before he calls out, so why does the Rambam say only that "He calls out and is answered immediately"?

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Ibn Ezra on Yeshaya 65:24 writes:

לפי דעתי כי טרם כמו עוד, ואם בא בתוספת בי״ת כמו קודם

I understand that טרם means 'while', but if it is preceded by a ב, then it means 'before'.

So, if Rambam reads this verse like Ibn Ezra there is no problem. והיה טרם יקראו ואני אענה means 'While they are calling out, I will answer', not 'before they will call out'.

(This then directly parallels the second half of the verse: עוד הם מדברים ואני אשמע - 'while they are speaking, I will hear'.)

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    See מדרש רבה דברים ב-י אמר דוד לפני הקב"ה...כְּשֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל קוֹרְאִין אֶצְלְךָ, מִיָּד שְׁמַע תְּפִלָּתֵנוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים ד, ב): בְּקָרְאִי עֲנֵנִי אֱלֹקי צִדְקִי, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מָה אָמַרְתָּ בְּקָרְאִי עֲנֵנִי, חַיֶּיךָ עַד שֶׁלֹא תִקְרָאֵנִי אֲנִי אֶעֱנֶה אֶתְכֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר : טֶרֶם יִקְרָאוּ וַאֲנִי אֶעֱנֶה, This shows that Dovid asked Hashem that the tefilos of Am Yisael should be answered "מיד" - and Hashem answered that he would not only answer them מיד but עַד שֶׁלֹא תִקְרָאֵנִי- and on this is quoted the posuk טֶרֶם יִקְרָאוּ וַאֲנִי אֶעֱנֶה. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Apr 30 '18 at 12:43
  • @RibbisRabbiAndMore Sure. That's how the medrash understands it. Radak, Metzudos and Malbim on the pasuk all seem to read it that way as well. But it's possible Rambam reads it differently, like Ibn Ezra does. – Joel K Apr 30 '18 at 12:47
  • Thus, this would pose a question on the wording of the Rambam which says " צועק ונענה מיד שנאמר והיה טרם יקראו ואני אענה" - which would seem to mean that מיד and טרם are the same in this context. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Apr 30 '18 at 12:49
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    That would explain the Rambam's quoting the pasuk, but how would the Rambam understand the Medrash. I assume we would have to say that in hilchos teshuvah the Rambam is going with (his opinion of) פשוטו של מקרא and the Medrash is דרוש. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Apr 30 '18 at 13:00

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