Chessed Alaska

Visiting the Sick

Bikun Chalim

Visiting the sick is one of the greatest Mitzvahs mankind can show towards one another. The Torah tells us in Genesis 18:1-2, that G-d Himself and three angels (disguised as men) visited Abraham on the third day after his circumcision by stating:

“1 Hashem appeared to him in the plains of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the heat of the day. 2 He perceived, so he ran toward them from the entrance of the tent, and bowed toward the ground.”

This short illustration demonstrates how we are to act by following Abraham’s example. G-d came to visit Abraham while he was recovering from circumcision, and despite his condition, he left the comfort of his tent to care for the three angels (disguised as men) who came to see about his recovery. Like Abraham, we are to be a reflection of G-d by caring and loving for one another.

The following list consists of three practical ways to apply the Mitzvah of caring for the sick: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

  1. Be diligent to ensure that an ailing individual has no material needs.
    • An individual who is in need of such things as food and drink are unable to completely focus on their recovery. By supplying these needs, we enable this person to return their focus towards recovering their strength, a huge but often overlooked role to play in our fellow man’s healing process.
  2. Spending time with the person in need.
    • Spending time with the sick and supplying companionship can help by lifting up their spirits. Offering words of encouragement can be monumental, much like the way Benjamin consoled his father Jacob during Joseph’s displacement in Egypt.
  3. One should be praying essential prayers for healing.
    • The four main prayers for healing are described as follows. To read the above mentioned prayers please follow the links below:
      1. Mi Sheberach (The One who Blessed) – This is the most traditional prayer when praying for the ill (go to prayer).
      2. Refuah Shleimah (Complete Healing) – The prayer is offered for the complete healing and a speedy recovery (go to prayer).
      3. Psalm 20 – Labeled as “G-d responds in times of distress.” This Psalm is often used when praying for the sick as it offers words of life that aid in the healing process (go to Psalm 20).
      4. Psalm 119 – Arranged according to the Hebrew aleph-bet, eight verses for each letter, this psalm offers up the focus of a person to fix on the word of Hashem and live by Torah (go to Psalm 119).