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Heavenly Healing

Should a Doctor pray for his patients?

Published: March 29, 2008


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Visitor Comments: 26

(26) Mary, June 9, 2008 10:37 AM

Should a doctor offer to pray for his patient?

Yes, I''d want my doctor to offer to pray. My sister had an inoperable brain tumor. Doctors sent her home to die, but a neurosurgeon who was not willing to give up put her on the operating table, held his hands over her body and said, "Dear G-d, do your work through my hands" and my sister survived with no brain damage and was able to raise her two small children. She is still alive and well.

Thank you for this wonderful website.

(25) NesanelS, April 7, 2008 10:45 AM

As R' Pesach Krohn said...

I once heard the following from Rabbi Pesach Krohn. (R' Krohn is a noted lecturer and author see Artscroll dot com). He said as follows: Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe writes in his book 'Planting and Building; Raising A Jewish Child' (see Feldheim dot com) that we learn from the concept of 'Aarei Miklat' where the kohen's mother would bring food for the inhabitants. (The Aarei miklat was a small city where people who had killed mistakenly would have to run and there they could not be punished by a relative avenging the deceased's' blood). While they were there, the mother of the Kohen Gadol [High Priest in the Bais Hamikdosh) would bring them food and drink. Why? Because it says that on the day that the high priest dies, they become free. So in order that they should be praying for his death, his mother would bring food and drink.
What is the reason for this concept? The answer is, that being the high priest, he should have prayed for his generation; that all should be well, and since he apparently did not – or not good enough, he has the pressure.
'So too', says Rabbi Wolbe, 'a parent must pray for his children; a rabbi for his congregation' – and therefore we can say here; a doctor for his patients.
Rabbi Krohn ends off saying that once a rabbi came over to a young high school boy during the high - holy days, and asked him his mothers name. The boy asked why – 'I'm not sick?' But the rabbi said 'I want to pray for your success.' The boy said that he was so impressed by that, that it was his prime reason for later going into Jewish education ('chinuch') himself!!!
One more thing we can add; that when we pray, we pray in the plural form 'R'phaeinu'-heel us etc. Thus it is built into every prayer to pray for all!

(24) Beverly Kurtin, April 5, 2008 2:15 PM

How many Gods are there?

As I was waiting to have a dangerous operation, one that could a. cure me, b. cause me to have a massive stroke or c. kill me, the hospital's chaplain asked me if he could pray for me. I understand that HaShem echod; Christians pray to the same God we do. I said yes and, despite him knowing I was Jewish, he couldn't stop himself from saying "in the name of...you-know-who." Instantly he apologized, I laughed. You've no idea how badly I needed that laugh as it would be the last one I would have for months because I got option b. a massive stroke as a result from the operation.

I assured him I wasn't in the last offended, after all, there's only one God and I'm that odd Jew who understands that a Christian can no more NOT pray to you-know-who, as we would find it next to impossible to not say the Shema.

We had a nice spiritual discussion and that was what was on mind as they came for me.

Just before I was induced I said the Shema. Fortunately the CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist was Jewish and waited for me to finish before sending me to la la land.

The stroke didn't occur until several days later, so the chaplain and I had several more conversations; he finally found a Jew who wasn't afraid to discuss the similarities and differences in our beliefs, i.e. as he said, he felt very comfortable schmoozing (his word, not mine) with me.

When I returned to the hospital following the stroke, he prayed for me again, this time in Hebrew! He had taken our conversations to heart and had learned some Hebrew in seminary and although his pronouncation was horrendous, his heart was perfect.

Some of my disabilities are visible and so sometimes well-meaning Christians will offer to pray for me. I explain that I'm Jewish but would be honored if they would, after all, there is only one God as Jesus said when he was asked what the most important commandment was, he said the Shema and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I love blowing Christian's minds with that. Nu? Despite our differences, they are still our neighbors and we are commanded to love them as ourselves.

(23) Chana, April 2, 2008 10:00 PM

I am very uncomfortable if a dr. offers to pray for me if I know that the dr. is not jewish.
Somehow I cannot help but feel that when we are most vulnerable, like during an illness or crisis, a non-jewish dr. or nurse's offer to pray for me is for them an opportunity to "expose" us to their religion and I prefer not to go there....
I would very much welcome a prayer when ill, but it will have to come from a jewish dr.

(22) Susan, April 2, 2008 8:44 PM

Depends on the Patient.

Rabbi, Thirty years ago if my physician began praying for me, as in "Dear G-d, Please help this woman get better"...... I would have thought, Oh No, Medicine has failed and my Doctor is using G-d as a last resort. I must be dying!!

Today, having matured (somewhat), I would welcome a Doctors prayers. It tells me the physician isn't so narrow to think he can heal alone. That the healing is a multi faceted process, between man, the medical profession, and G-d.

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