B"H, I did - or almost did - a good deed. (It will be finalized bez"H in a mazeldiker shoh.) However, when I found out a few months ago that a good result from my actions was on the horizon, I decided in my mind that I would like the z'chus for this action to go to another person who had a hand in it, and who probably needs the z'chus more.
I know that this "transferring the z'chus" can be done. It's an old Jewish concept; I can't give a single source because it is everywhere. But I'd like to know a little more about how it is done, and whether I have done it successfully.
1) If one wants to give the z'chus of a deed to someone else, how does one enact this? Should one pronounce words (to G-d, to others, or to the person), or is it enough just to think of it?
2) After you have given the z'chus to someone else, how much credit can you continue to take and how much benefit in this world can you continue to derive from the action you did? Is it permissible for me to tell others that I did it -- or even, more generally, that I have done an action of this type? Or it it more proper for me to disclaim involvement altogether?
If it is traditional to pay someone when they have done this action for you, may I accept the payment, or should I give it to her?
3) Can you give the z'chus away before the action is finalized?
4) In various situations with possible mitigating factors -- the mitzvah wasn't finalized when you gave the z'chus away; you failed to make a pronouncement; you really really need the z'chus now (just kidding) -- can you take the z'chus back? How?
This is a totally serious question and I hope no one would think otherwise.