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The Eighth Blessing: Divine Healing

“Heal us, Hashem – then we will be healed; save us – then we will be saved, for You are our praise. Bring complete recovery for all our ailments, for You are G-d, King, the faithful and compassionate Healer. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals the sick of His people Israel.”

The eighth blessing of Shemoneh Esrei is Refa’einu, asking Hashem for health. A person can insert a prayer in the middle of this blessing for his own or another’s recovery. Although a man is called up to the Torah as the child of his father, the Zohar writes that in prayer one should be referred to as the child of one’s mother (Zohar, Lech Lecha 84).

Can a person mention the name of any sick person in Shemoneh Esrei? Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach maintained that a person should be closely associated with the people for whom he is praying, and it is improper to make requests for people with whom he has little or no connection during this blessing. Rav Shlomo Zalman would mention family members during the blessing of Refa’einu and others during the blessing of Shema Koleinu (Halichos Shlomo 15,60).

At times, a person is so sick that the doctors say there is no chance of survival. Some authorities write that upon reaching such a critical state, one is asking for an open miracle, and it is improper to pray for the patient (Rav Akiva Eiger, Shulchan Aruch 230 citing Sefer HaChassidim 795). Even at such a critical state, however, people should have complete confidence that Hashem has the power to effect healing, as the Talmud says that even if a sharp sword rests upon one’s neck, one should never give up hope of Divine salvation (Brachos 10a).


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

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