| Parshah |

Doctor’s Orders

He takes many things into account — our actions, our future, our past. All are influential in His final diagnosis


“…for I, Hashem, am your healer.” (Shemos 15:26)

This pasuk seems difficult to understand. Why does Hashem say He is “our healer”? Is healing unique to Klal Yisrael? Hashem heals all people. In the brachah of asher yatzar, we refer to Hashem as “the healer of all flesh.” If so, why does the pasuk seem to indicate that Hashem is specifically Klal Yisrael’s healer? (Rav Shimshon Pincus, Tiferes Shimshon)

Every family seems to have their go-to sickness, the one that hits everyone as soon as a stray germ’s in the air. I know families who have the stomach flu on a regular basis and another who trade migraines as though they were contagious. In our family, it’s communal strep syndrome.

We’re obviously a sharing, caring family because no sooner than one child has strep, he passes it along to his siblings. Not only that, many of my kids get strep without even showing traditional symptoms.

Last week Binyamin was under the weather for a few days with a niggling headache and exhaustion. My family doctor is a gem and knows us well. So when I asked for a culture based on a few days of headaches, he didn’t blink an eye. Sure enough, Erev Shabbos I got the results that Binyamin had strep.

That left me with several other kids who displayed various signs of runny nose, coughing, and one child who said his right ear lobe hurt him when he’s sleeping, but not when he’s awake. (We’re very creative about our aches and pains.)

There are two methods to healing in our world. The first, is allowing teva, nature, to take its course. Hashem created the body with many natural healing powers to cure itself. Sometimes these aren’t enough, and a person has to turn to an outside source, such as a medical doctor who has the ability to heal with medications, treatments, or surgery.

The first type of healing was established in nature during the Six Days of Creation. Within that process, Hashem heals all flesh equally; He does not specialize in Bnei Yisrael’s cures.

But in the second type of healing, when one needs to use an outside source, here Hashem singles out Yisrael and assures them He is their healer.

There wasn’t any time to go to the doctor before Shabbos, but Motzaei Shabbos was a family outing to the after-hours clinic.

My kids better not complain that I don’t take them anywhere fun. The clinic is always packed with action, and you can wait hours with people who must not have realized they were deathly ill until after regular office hours.

Finally it was our turn. The doctors on this shift are always well after retirement age and act accordingly. I explained the situation and asked for cultures for all the children. Dr. Dinosaur shuffled to the examining table to shine his light down each child’s throat.

“Only one child has a red throat, so I’ll only culture him. One doesn’t start sending in cultures every time one sneezes. It’s simply not protocol.”

“Protocol or not, it’s what’s practical for my family. I know my kids. They can have strep even if their throats aren’t red.”

Apparently, though, this archaic expert had much more experience than a mere mom. I left the office with one measly prescription in hand.

This assurance gives Klal Yisrael added security. Hashem, the King of the world, does not simply view the disease of each Jew as a physical doctor would. Instead, He takes many things into account — a person’s actions, his future, his past — all are influential in His final diagnosis.

Just like in the general world, a person prefers going to his personal physician who knows him well, so too when Hashem assures us that He is our personal healer, we can be secure that He will be looking at all facets of our health.

“It’s my favorite pathogenic Peritzmans,” my family doctor greeted us when I showed up the next morning. “I saw that Binyamin has strep, so I was expecting you.”

He then proceeded to culture all my kids, sending us home with prescriptions for penicillin “since they’ll probably be positive.” (His words, not even mine.) Sure enough, doc was right. We’re passing around the penicillin these days and appreciating our family doctor who knows us and knows what’s bugging us.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 679)

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Tagged: Parshah