Visiting the Sick

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  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. 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. [2]
  3. The one who visits the sick often is praiseworthy as long as it isn’t a burden on the sick person. [3]
  4. 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. [4]
  5. 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. [5] Some say that nowadays an enemy may visit since it brings to peace. [6]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. [7]
  6. If the sick person is lying on a bed the visitor may sit on a chair. [8]
  7. 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. [9]
  8. 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). [10]
  9. When one prays for a sick person on Shabbat one should say "שבת היא מלזוק ורפואה קרובה לבוא ורחמיו מרובין ושבתו בשלום".

[11]

  1. One should avoid visiting the sick during the first or last three (halachic) hours of the day. [12]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. [13]
  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). [14]
  3. One should be sensible about which one speaks with the sick person specifically topics of life and not of death. [15]
  4. 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. [16] However, if one knows something that will help the sick person then visiting the sick has precedence over comforting a mourner. [17]
  5. One should visit the non-Jew sick people just like one visits the sick Jews. [18]
  6. A sick person doesn't need to stand in honor of his visitors even if the prince enters. [19]

References

  1. Kitzur S”A 193:1
  2. Kitzur S”A 193:1
  3. Kitzur S”A 193:1
  4. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:4
  5. Rama YD 335:2, Kitzur S”A 193:1
  6. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:4 quoting some say
  7. Divrei Sofrim (Avilut VeBikur Cholim 1:83)
  8. Kitzur S”A 193:2
  9. Kitzur S”A 193:3
  10. Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221)
  11. Kitzur S"A 193:4, Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (section 3, chapter 3, pg 221)
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:11 quoting the Birkei Yosef
  15. Kitzur S"A 193:5
  16. Kitzur S"A 193:11
  17. Aruch HaShulchan YD 335:12
  18. Kitzur S"A 193:12
  19. Rama YD 376:1