Repentance, Prayer, and Giving/Unetaneh Tokef

If you thought three actions might reverse your fate, what would they be? Based on the Talmud, Unetaneh Tokef presents a seemingly simply recipe to avert the evil decree against someone:

(מד) וּתְשׁוּבָה וּתְפִלָּה וּצְדָקָה מַעֲבִירִין אֶת רֽוֹעַ הַגְּזֵרָה:

But repentance, and prayer and charity annul the evil decree.

Reflecting:

  • Why do you think these three particular actions - teshuvah (repentance/return), tefilah (prayer), and tzedakah (just acts of charitable giving) - annul one's evil decree? How does each contribute to allow a person to begin the year with a clean slate? Would you add anything to this list?
  • Can you think of a time in the recent past when you hurt someone or yourself? What would it look like to sincerely try doing repentance, prayer, and tzedakah?
  • This prayer can actually be translated as“teshuvah (repentance/return), tefilah (prayer), and tzedakah (just acts of charitable giving) make the evil decree pass." How can repentance, prayer, and tzedakah help us to cope with the evilness of a difficult situation?