When1 a person asks G‑d to grant a particular request, a question arises: Since G‑d owes nothing to anyone — for no one does Him a favor that would obligate Him to repay — how does one have the nerve to confront Him with requests?2

The solution3 is to give tzedakah to an individual whom one has never seen, and who has never done the donor a favor, and who is never going to return the present favor. And despite all that, one now provides such a person with all his needs, without calculations and without conditions.

That done, one can now have the nerve to face the Holy One, blessed be He, and say: “Even a little guy like me has given money that I toiled to earn (or at least I could have used it to buy whatever I fancied) to a bedraggled stranger whom I had never seen and from whom I will never get anything in return. So certainly You, G‑d, ought to grant all my needs from Your wide-open hand, without any conditions or calculations!”

[At this point the Rebbe turned to one of those present who had previously said that he would contribute a certain sum to tzedakah, but on a certain condition, and told him that he ought to donate that sum, but without any conditions.]