Monday, February 05, 2007

אַרְיֵ׳לֵיבּ בן שֹׁאשָׁא הֶענָא

I'm sitting here in my parents' apartment in Boropark, waiting for a call saying that they got to the hospital and the doctors are figuring out what's wrong with my father. He thinks it's a hernia (or few), above and beyond the few life-threatening conditions he's already carrying around. It's the same weakening heart and kidneys, and spine problems that he's been dealing with for years now.

And I'm wondering what, religiously, is supposed to help. Do I pray? Read Tehillim? Give more tzedaqa? Why should any of that matter? If the Creator of Worlds has decided that it's time for something to happen, who am I to say no?

God has eternal symphonies to weave and endless tapestries to conduct — God has a plan. God has many plans! How could I derail the cosmic balance? And even if I could — would it be right?

(my father passed away 16 days later)

16 Comments:

Blogger Ari Kinsberg said...

רפואה שלמה

2/05/2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger tikkunger said...

Steg, I'm so surety here about your father and I'm sending you my non-halachick/kosher style positive vibes your way.

stand fast I'm sure all of this will work out.

2/05/2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous TamaraEden said...

Hey Steg, I do hope all turns out well. My thoughts are with you and your family.

2/05/2007 7:26 PM  
Blogger thanbo said...

Saying tehillim (tegillim to our Pycckuu friends?) may or may not help Upstairs, but it often helps Downstairs - e.g. calming yourself, losing yourself in the Psalmist's emotions instead of obsessing on yours.

yh"r that Hashem should send your father a complete, physical & spiritual healing.
Soon.

P.S. some of these Vord Verification strings look like names out of "the Eye of Argon".

2/05/2007 7:33 PM  
Anonymous david g. said...

I had a similar dilemma when my wife had major surgery several years ago. Thanbo has a point but I think it goes beyond that. Contemplating the meaning in some of Tehillim, like "Retzon yereiav Ya'aseh ve'et shave'atam yshma veyoshiem" the meaning of Yere'av, Yishma and Yoshiem,puts things in perspective.

refuah Shleima to your father and chazak to you.

2/05/2007 8:25 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Wishing your father a complete return to wellness.

2/05/2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

thanks everyone

2/06/2007 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...

Wishing your father a speedy recovery.

Being at the mercy of doctors and the medical process is demoralizing and adds to a feeling of helplessness. Having a belief that reciting psalms could help the cause is empowering and is potentially a great boost to the morale of patient and family.

At the very least אם לא יועיל לא יזיק .

2/06/2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

If the Creator of Worlds has decided that it's time for something to happen, who am I to say no?

By that logic, the doctors shouldn't operate on your father, ch"v.

מניין שניתנה רשות לרופא לרפות? שנאמר "ורפא ירפא

2/07/2007 1:13 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

By that logic, the doctors shouldn't operate on your father, ch"v.

That's not what i mean at all.

Human effort is always called for. Digging people out of collapsed buildings, feeding the poor, clothing the exposed, building tsunami detectors... those are all things that are in OUR power to do, and so we can, and must, do them.

What i'm losing sight of is the significance of NONpractical, ritual actions. Throwing my father's name into mishebeirakhs as i've done for years now doesn't automatically make him recover; that's why we call it prayer, and not wingardium leviósa.

It's asking God to do something... which God could have already said 'no' to at the moment of creation.

2/07/2007 7:18 AM  
Blogger thanbo said...

"which God could have already said 'no' to"

Well, isn't that a thicket of issues.

1) predestination vs. free will vs. chance. I think we're forced to say that predestination is not operative at our level, e.g. "all is foreseen yet permission is given". To do otherwise leads to antinomianism, which has not been a major force in Jewish thinking and history.

2) The Mishnah in Berachos tells us not to pray about things that have already happened, e.g. if the fire has already happened, one can't pray "may it be G d's will that my family wasn't inside."

But that doesn't say anything about that which might happen, which might be predestined, but which might not be. Because who knows if your prayers are the tipping point, at which the Divine justification for saving your father comes into play? E.g. "G0d desires the tears of Tzaddikim" (a sentence that has caused us a lot of grief over the years, let me tell you. It's why we can't stand Rebbetzin Jungreis, but that's another story).

Hhazaq we'emass, we-rephuah shelemah.

And may it be God's will that you still feel up to doing what you planned this Shabbos & after.

2/07/2007 8:07 AM  
Blogger Elie said...

May you father have a refuas hanefesh vihaguf.

I have wrestled with this same issue, particularly during my son's illness. As I concluded then:

"...prayer is always a good thing, has an intrinsic value, whether or not a miracle was to be expected."

2/07/2007 9:35 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

Refuah shleimah to your father.

(If nothing else, davening can alight some of your hurt.

2/10/2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I wish your father a refuah shleimah, preferably bi-m'heirah. As for your question about praying, reciting tehillim (psalms), and giving tzedaka (charity), well, like chicken soup, it can't hurt (and tzedakah will help *someone.*)

2/12/2007 9:58 PM  
Blogger Amishav said...

I certainly hope that the doctors who are working with your father will be able to make him comfortable, and quickly.

As for your question- I think that even though HaShem knows what the outcome of all this will be and what you will do, you should pray for your father, say tehillim, and give tzedaka.

Another thing that you could do is simply ask him how he is doing, and what you can do for him. People often get forgotten in medical situaions. Just being asked about might do him a world of good.

All the best to you and to him.

2/13/2007 9:51 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Sigh. Wishing for a Refuah Shelaimah.

2/14/2007 12:35 PM  

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