A Jewish man prays for forgivness at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem prior to the High Holidays. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Praying at the Kotel

What can you do to get your prayers answered on Yom Kippur? Here’s a formula that’s sure to help!

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

Yom Kippur is coming up, and I bet that you want all of your prayers answered. I am going to tell you exactly how to make that happen!

Ready for the secret: Pray for others! That’s right, praying for others gives you a better chance of having your own prayers will be answered.

How do I know? Because three very special people – Sarah, Rachel, and Chana – had their prayers answered after they prayed or at least cared for someone else.

Let’s take a look: “And God remembered Sarah” [Gen 21:1]. The commentators note that immediately beforehand, Abraham, Sarah’s husband, prayed that Abimelech be cured from his illness. Since Abraham (and by extension Sarah) were concerned about someone else, their own prayers for a child were answered.

Next: “And God remembered Rachel” [Gen 30:22]. What triggered God to answer Rachel’s prayers? We are told that when Rachel was about to marry Jacob, her father sent her sister Leah to the bridal canopy instead! Rachel was so careful not to embarrass her sister that she allowed the wedding to go through and for Leah to marry her husband designate! God took note of Rachel’s deep concern for another person and answered her prayers.

Finally, Chana’s prayers to have a child were also answered – because of WHY she wanted a child. She wanted the opportunity to dedicate that child to God. Her desire for a child was altruistic.

So there you go! Three examples of people whose prayers were answered because they prayed for someone else, cared for someone else, or committed themselves to God. So this Yom Kippur, be sure to pray for another person, be kind to another person, and recommit your time, energy and resources to God, and you just might have more prayers answered this year than last!