In this week’s parshah, it states “Yisrael bowed towards the head of the bed.” (B’reishis 47:31). Did Yaakov Avinu bow to his son [Joseph]? Rashi explains: Yaakov Avinu turned himself toward the head of the bed. Based on this, our Sages taught (Shabbos 12b): ‘The Sh’chinah resides above the head of an ill person.’”

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov explains that just being sick, in itself, doesn’t bring the Sh’chinah, but rather that G-d is felt to be present when a human being is asking hard questions about life, looking deeply into his or her own soul, and struggling to do the right thing. It’s the wrestling with conscience that opens up this level of spirituality, not the illness, which just gives us a chance to do the thinking. Even a very evil person has thoughts of t’shuvah in this time [i.e., upon a sickbed]. (Source: Iturei Torah)

The Midrash states: “From the day that heaven and earth were created, people did not become sick. A person might have been walking in the market, he would sneeze, and his soul would leave his body through his nostrils. Jacob requested mercy: ‘Master of the Universe, do not take my soul until I have instructed my children and the members of my house.’ G-d acceded to the request. That is why one wishes a person ‘life’ when he sneezes.” (Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter 52)

The Midrash further explains that, from the beginning of B’reishis until the time of Yaakov Avinu, people did not become ill before they died. The word choleh/sick was not mentioned. There was no alarm set to remind a person of his transient status on this earth. It was Yaakov Avinu who asked Hashem to bring illness to the world instead of someone just dying. Yaakov had to ask Hashem as a show of mercy to bring illness so that a person could put his affairs in order and as an impetus for self-introspection and evaluation. Hashem agreed to Yaakov’s suggestion and declared He would start with Yaakov. Yaakov was, therefore, the first one to become sick.

List of People Who Need a R’fuah Sh’leimah

(a complete recovery)

Please recite Psalms 20, 30, 88, 121, and 130.

Yeshayahu Yosef ben Zari

Rachamim ben Sa’eda Mazal

Alter Shmuel ben Chavah Leah

Meir Yaakov ben Esther

Yehudah ben Dinah

Chaim Avraham ben Shifrah Zisel

Yosef ben Basya

Yehudah Yudel ben Miriam Gittel

Shraga Feivel ben Chayah Daba

Yisachar Dov ben Chayah Brachah

Refael Aharon ben Devorah

Meshulam David ben Alta Hendel

Moshe ben Chasiya

Rafael Avraham ben Ivonne

Tinok ben Tzivia

Gideon ben Ludmilla

Yishai ben Moriasha Tovah

Yosef ben Miriam

Rafael Moshe Yehudah ben Feiga Necha

Yerachmiel Daniel ben Tovah Basha

Chaim Meir Binyamin ben Chanah Sarah

Pinchas ben Feiga Dinah

Yitzchak Mordechai ben Rose Nizha


Rivkah Fruma bas Leah Baila

Irina Ester Chayah bas Yafah

Yafah bas Basanda

Chayah Sheva bas Sheina Reizel

Hadassah bas Hennah Rivkah

Ruchamah Perel Malkah Leah bas Chanah Serel

Hinda Zalma bas Sarah

Esther Hadasah bas Devorah

Sarah bas Ilanah

Rechamah bas Feiga Rivkah

Tinokes bas Efrat Tehilah

Efrat Tehila bas Nina

Chayah Esther Yirat bas Feiga Dina

Tziporah Yeta bas Yehudis

Rachel bas Hinda Reizel

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