Through a personal experience I had four years ago with my father of blessed memory, I was able to witness the incredible commitment of those who we refer to today as our heroes – the medical professionals.
We thank them for saving countless lives and keeping us safe through COVID-19.
They are now busy administering millions of vaccines. We look up to them and are forever grateful.
Let us bring G-d into the picture now. In truth, G-d controls everything including disease and health. In the Torah, G-d tells the Jewish people, “I am G-d your healer.” (Exodus 15:26).
So, if a person is sick, G-d forbid, whom does he rely on? The doctor’s knowledge and skill or on G-d? When he recovers, does he thank the doctor for his efforts or G-d for his kindness? How do we show gratitude towards both?
Judaism teaches us that G-d is the true healer; however, the doctor is his agent.
This week in the Torah we learn: “And He shall surely heal.” (Exodus 21:19) The Talmud learns from here “that permission has been given to the doctor to heal.”
The Lubavitcher Rebbe told countless people that since a doctor has G-d’s permission to heal, one must therefore fulfill all the instructions of a skilled doctor.
Yet, just as one cannot just ignore doctors and expect to be healthy, nor will one find health if G-d does not will it.
Maimonides, a great scholar and respected doctor teaches us, “just as when I eat, I thank G-d for providing me with something to remove my hunger and to give me life, so too I thank Him for providing a cure that heals my illness.”
Everything comes from G-d, whether it is the food we eat or the medication we take. We are blessed with G-d given abundance and we acknowledge that He is the source.
It is a mitzvah for doctors to practice medicine and heal. The Talmud states: “In a city where there are no doctors, a person should not reside.” Thank G-d we are blessed with wonderful medical teams in Cleveland.
Healing a person is a mitzvah, which returns the strength of the body to its original state.
It is also a mitzvah for us to return our spiritual side and ask G-d to “heal” us, by following “doctors orders” – continuing to study Torah, fulfill mitzvot and prayer.
And since G-d is the healer of all flesh, when an ill person strengthens his spiritual health and connection to G-d, this can help result in physical vitality to the whole body.
Rabbi Mendy Freedman co-directs the Lyndhurst Chabad Family Center with his wife, Chaya, serving the Jewish community in the Hillcrest area.