Lying in a hospital bed, who couldn’t use a little musical pickup?
Last Minutes of Comfort
About five or six years after we had begun singing together professionally and started Shalsheles, I was sitting with my very ill mother-in-law in the hospital, and I began to sing a song which she had very much liked — “Ekra Le’Elokim Elyon” from Shalsheles Volume I. It’s a song about the power of calling out to Hashem and having faith that He will reach out and save us, and my mother-in-law had found it comforting and encouraging. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, she was leaving us. Her petirah was literally minutes later, and it was quite overwhelming that I had accompanied her with those pesukim.
—SIMCHA SUSSMAN, Shalsheles
You Can Do It
Half a year ago I was doing rounds in a New York hospital, when a guy recognized me and stopped me to schmooze. He told me he was a musician from Eretz Yisrael, recovering from surgery in New York. He had his very first heimishe show booked in a week and a half, but he still wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t sure he could do it. Of course, I encouraged him to go for it. When we met a few months later, he came over to me and said, “You changed my life. I did that show with your encouragement, and things have worked out great since.”
—Singer LEVY FALKOWITZ
I’ll Listen from There
I’ll never forget a special child I’d often go to sing for. He had a notebook in which we signed our names each time, and he enjoyed rereading all his messages. Once, I wrote “I will bli neder come and sing at your seudas hodaah when you’ll be healed.” The next time I visited, this little boy said to me, ‘Maybe instead you’ll come and sing for me down here, while I’ll be up there by the Kisei Hakavod. I’ll enjoy it from there.” A week later, he was niftar.
—Singer YANKY DASKAL
If We’re Healthy We’re Lucky
Around three years ago, I went on my first hospital visit in Lakewood with Misameach, an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of those in need of a refuah. Spending time with people who are sick really affected me, and I went right to Yitzy Waldner and asked him to craft a song that would express a tefillah for healing. After I left him, he called me to say, “I don’t usually pressure artists to take my songs, but this one will be sold within 12 hours, so if you don’t want it, you have to tell me by tomorrow.” And that’s how I got my “Refaeinu” single. Doni Gross, who produced and rearranged it, cut out a third part which was in the original, but that was fine, because all songs are much shorter nowadays. It doesn’t go on and on, and the message stays with you. I decided to take the song, and I played it on my next volunteer call. The mother of the child I was visiting was crying. Bottom line, if we’re healthy we’re very lucky.
—Singer UZI BODNER
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 787)