Difference between revisions of "Visiting the Sick"

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===Praying for the sick===
 
===Praying for the sick===
 
# If one prays in front of the sick person one may pray in any language, however, if one doesn't pray in front of the sick person should only pray in Hebrew. In the prayer one should include the sick person together with all Jews who are sick saying "המקום ירחם עליך בתוך חולי ישראל" (Hashem should have mercy on you amongst the sick of Israel). <ref>Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221) </ref>
 
# If one prays in front of the sick person one may pray in any language, however, if one doesn't pray in front of the sick person should only pray in Hebrew. In the prayer one should include the sick person together with all Jews who are sick saying "המקום ירחם עליך בתוך חולי ישראל" (Hashem should have mercy on you amongst the sick of Israel). <ref>Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221) </ref>
# When one prays for a sick person on Shabbat one should say "שבת היא מלזוק ורפואה קרובה לבוא ורחמיו מרובין ושבתו בשלום".  
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# When one prays for a sick person on [[Shabbat]] one should say "שבת היא מלזוק ורפואה קרובה לבוא ורחמיו מרובין ושבתו בשלום".  
 
<ref>Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221) </ref>
 
<ref>Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221) </ref>
 
==When to visit==
 
==When to visit==

Revision as of 16:58, 4 March 2012

Obligation

  1. When a person is sick there’s a mitzvah (positive commandment) to visit the sick as we see that Hashem visited Avraham when he was sick after his Brit Milah. [1]
  2. One who has the opportunity to fulfill visiting the sick and comforting the dead should first visit the sick, however, if he can only fulfill one of the two he should comfort the mourner. [2] However, if one knows something that will help the sick person then visiting the sick has precedence over comforting a mourner. [3]
  3. The mitzvah applies even when the sick person is in the hospital and is taken care of by doctors and nurses. [4]

How often

  1. There is no maximum measure to this mitzvah and the one who visits the sick more often is praiseworthy as long as it isn’t a burden on the sick person. [5]
  2. One should be careful that one isn't causing the sick person a burden because sometimes it's difficult for the sick person to speak or he may need to go to the bathroom but he's embarrassed and so it's important that the visitor be wise and attentive. [6]

Who should visit

  1. An enemy of the one who’s sick shouldn’t visit the sick so that people don’t think that he’s happy because of his downfall. [7] Some say that nowadays an enemy may visit since it brings to peace. [8]However, one should be careful that it doesn't cause the sick person to feel that he is very sick and that's why he's coming to visit and really it all depends on the situation. [9]
  2. A man may visit a woman and a woman a man, however, the man and woman may not be secluded together in order not to violate the laws of seclusion (Yichud). [10] However, some say that this isn't proper. [11]
  3. Relatives and friends who usually visit the sick person’s house can visit the sick immediately after he becomes sick, however, those who don’t regularly visit shouldn’t visit the sick until after three days. [12]
  4. One should visit the non-Jew sick people just like one visits the sick Jews. [13]

Three main components of visiting the sick

  1. The primary aspects of visiting the sick are 1) to see what the sick person needs 2) to have his friends speak pleasantly with him 3) pray for his health. [14]

Speaking to the sick person

  1. If the sick person is lying on a bed the visitor may sit on a chair. [15]
  2. One should be sensible about which one speaks with the sick person specifically topics of life and not of death. [16]
  3. A sick person doesn't need to stand in honor of his visitors even if the prince enters, however, if he wants to be strict he is allowed. [17]
  4. When it's possible one should take two others in order to visit the sick. [18]

Praying for the sick

  1. If one prays in front of the sick person one may pray in any language, however, if one doesn't pray in front of the sick person should only pray in Hebrew. In the prayer one should include the sick person together with all Jews who are sick saying "המקום ירחם עליך בתוך חולי ישראל" (Hashem should have mercy on you amongst the sick of Israel). [19]
  2. When one prays for a sick person on Shabbat one should say "שבת היא מלזוק ורפואה קרובה לבוא ורחמיו מרובין ושבתו בשלום".

[20]

When to visit

  1. One should avoid visiting the sick during the first or last three (halachic) hours of the day. [21]However, if that is the only time one is able to visit the sick one should do it then rather then not visit at all. [22]

Going to doctors

  1. A sick person must seek expert doctors and medicines and not rely on miracles.[23] However, one must not only rely on doctors rather one must have faith that Hashem will heal him. [24]

Over the phone

  1. One doesn't fulfill the complete mitzvah by calling the sick person on the phone, rather one must visit in person. However, if one can't visit then one must call. [25]

References

  1. Kitzur S”A 193:1. The Rambam (Hilchot Avel 14:1) writes that visiting the sick is a mitzvah derabbanan (rabbinic).
  2. Kitzur S"A 193:11
  3. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:12
  4. Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim, pg 41) explaining that certainly there is a purpose to encourage and pray for the sick person and it's included in Ahavta LeReacha Kamocha.
  5. Kitzur S”A 193:1, Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 52)
  6. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:4
  7. Rama YD 335:2, Kitzur S”A 193:1
  8. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:4 quoting some say
  9. Divrei Sofrim (Avilut VeBikur Cholim 1:83)
  10. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:11 quoting the Birkei Yosef
  11. Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 48) quoting Ramat Rachel (16)
  12. Kitzur S”A 193:1
  13. S"A YD 335:9, Kitzur S"A 193:12, Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 52)
  14. Kitzur S”A 193:3
  15. Kitzur S”A 193:2
  16. Kitzur S"A 193:5
  17. Rama YD 376:1, Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 46)
  18. The Shiltot (93) writes that one shouldn't visit the sick unless one has two others with him, the Emek Shelah 93:7 writes that this isn't sourced in any sefer before or after the Shiltot. However, Zera Chaim (pg 7) explains that it may be based on the interpretation of Rav Shmuel Ben Chofni Goan who writes that Yosef took his two sons with to visit his father Yacov in order to fulfill visiting the sick implying that one needs to have others with him when visiting the sick. Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 42) concludes that when possible it's better together with others, however, one shouldn't miss the mitzvah because of this especially when it causes a burden for the sick person.
  19. Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221)
  20. Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221)
  21. Kitzur S”A 193:3. Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221) writes that these hours must be Shaot Zmaniot otherwise there are some days where one can’t visit the sick.
  22. Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221). Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:8 writes that the minhag isn't strict about this because chazal didn't forbid visiting during these times rather chazal were giving advise when it's best to visit. Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 44) also writes that today we aren't concerned about only visiting during these times. See Sh"t Tzitz Eliezer (Ramat Rachel 12), Shalmat Chaim (411).
  23. Rambam (Deot 4:1) writes that a person must stay away from things that destroy a person’s body and practice healthy habits. Shevet Yehuda YD 336:1 writes that a sick person must go to the doctor and there’s almost a strong obligation on the sick person and his family to find an expert doctor and good medicine. One may not rely on a miracle. See also Sh”t Yabea Omer 4 CM 6:4(4) who gives the background to this topic and concludes with this approach. Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim 38-9) writes that it seems that the sick person may refuse a certain visitor from coming and it’s not considered an issue of not seeking a way to become healthy, but there may be an issue for the sick person to refuse anyone from visiting him.
  24. Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 53), Bach YD 336
    • Sh"t Igrot Moshe YD 1:223 writes that if one can visit in person one must do so, however, if one can't visit then one must call the sick person on the phone. Sh"t Yachave Daat 3:89 agrees. Similarly, Yalkut Yosef (Bikur Cholim pg 43) writes one doesn't fulfill the complete mitzvah by calling the sick person on the phone, rather one should visit in person. However, if one can't visit then it's good to call or write a letter to strength and encourage him.
    • Sh"t Tzitz Eliezer (Ramat Rachel 8:6) writes that someone who can't visit the sick or a talmid chacham who is learning torah can fulfill his mitzvah partially by calling on the phone. He specifies that in regards to the sick person's needs, if the sick person is in the hospital this isn't a concern, speaking to the sick person can be done over the phone, and praying for him can be done anywhere, yet, it's preferable to pray in front of the sick person. Sh"t Chelkat Yacov YD 188 writes that one doesn't fulfill his primary mitzvah by calling on the phone.
    • Minchat Yitzchak 2:84 also seems to say that if one can't fulfill the mitzvah in person one should call on the phone. In conclusion he writes that before calling one should first speak to the sick person a few times and then after one is familiar with his situation one may call on the phone. [Interestingly Minchat Yitzchak 2:84(10) he raises of fulfilling the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim through a video conference (such as Skype) and seems to say that it would be better than a phone call.].