1. Upon discovering that someone is sick, call, send a brief card or a note. Rather than allowing a silence to isolate the sick if you cannot visit quickly, send a note, even a brief one, to provide a sense of contact. Almost every hospital room I’ve visited has cards displayed proudly where the sick person can see them; they are a reminder that people do care.
2. Plan to visit the sick. The physical presence of caring people can banish loneliness and provide tangible evidence of a concerned community. A close friend or family member should visit immediately. If the hospitalization will be protracted, others should wait a day or two before visiting. For shorter stays, it is certainly appropriate to visit sooner.
3. Don’t plan on a long visit. Hospital patients have a busy schedule, and sick people often tire easily. It is better to visit briefly but repeatedly than to visit once for a long time. When the patient tires, leave courteously with a promise to return another time.
4. Schedule your visit appropriately. The Talmud counsels not to visit the sick early in the morning or late at night. Most hospitals have visiting hours in order to enable doctors and nurses to perform their tasks unencumbered. Be sure to respect such restrictions.
5. Before visiting the patient, phone ahead to let him or her know you are coming. This simple gesture creates the anticipation of a visit, giving the sick person that much more pleasure. Calling in advance also puts the patient in charge. Being sick often results in a forced passivity. When you phone and ask if it is all right to visit, the patient is able to exercise some control.
6. Prepare for a visit carefully and thoughtfully. · Don’t wear perfume or after-shave lotion. Illness often makes people more sensitive to smell, and artificial odors can be disturbing to the person who is sick. · Don’t bring bad news. Try to restrict topics to those that will make the patient feel good. · Select one or two topics for discussion. Preparing yourself in this way can help you feel ready to sit and talk. · Bring the patient a small, practical gift. A newspaper or magazine can reinforce a sense of connection to the outside world and leaves tangible evidence of the visit.
7. When visiting, help with concrete tasks. One of the crucial aspects of bikkur holim is the kind of caring that can be demonstrated only in person. After getting the sick person’s consent, help by making the bed, watering plants, straightening up the room, or any other chore that helps the sick person or makes the surroundings look well attended.
8. Don’t feel you have nothing to talk about. At the heart of our discomfort with visiting the sick is a sense that we won’t have anything to say. The following specific guidelines might help:
· Be alert to objects in the room that might prompt a pleasant discussion.
· Don’t criticize the hospital, the doctors, the food, or the medical procedures. Criticizing a patient’s care may diminish his or her confidence in it. If the patient is frustrated, then listen sympathetically without committing yourself to agreeing.
· Don’t evaluate a procedure or the veracity of a medical prognosis. At the same time, the patient may want someone who will listen openly, and not brush aside the patient’s feelings of hopelessness or despair.
· Don’t defend God, religion, or nature. Being sick is a legitimate cause for anger, and expressing that anger is the quickest way to be able to move beyond it. We can best help by listening sympathetically and by saying, “It must be very difficult to go through what you are going through.”
9. Don’t be afraid to sit in silence. As with any situation where we are trying to bring comfort and friendship to someone who is suffering, the primary statement we can make is not through any words we speak but through our presence.
10. Listen. Besides demonstrating our involvement by offering our physical presence, we can do so by allowing the sick to speak of their concerns. In fact, this is the main service we can offer. If people who are sick want to speak about their illness - or about something else, then listen. All of us have a need to be heard most of all when we feel strained or ill.
11. Offer to pray with the patient. Of all the events in a person’s life, illness is one that calls for the assurance of holiness and connectedness that Jewish tradition can provide so well. The rabbis of the Talmud often made a point of praying in the presence of the sick, some even claiming that a visit that did not include a prayer did not constitute bikkur holim. Prayer can be informal. A simple wish of refu’ah sh’leimah (“complete healing”) can bring a level of comfort that ordinary conversation cannot.
12. Arrange a prayer in the synagogue. A special prayer Mi she-berach (literally, “may the One who blessed”) is a prayer for the sick. Find out the patient’s Jewish name and the name of his or her mother. By asking for a mi she-berakh to be recited, you ensure that the community is informed of the illness, that more people will pray for that individual, and that the sick person has the comfort of knowing that a congregation of Jews cares. If you would like us to pray for someone, please contact Heritage office.
13. Make a contribution to a synagogue in honor of the sick person. In Jewish tradition, tzedakah (a charitable contribution) is a highly cherished form of demonstrating respect and concern.
It is important for the sick person to pray for himself/herself, because his/her prayers are the most sincere. Regardless, we should also pray for the speedy recovery of our loved ones:
He Who blessed our forefathers Avraham, Isaak and Jacob, Moshe and Aharon, David and Solomon – may He bless and heal: (person’s Hebrew name) son of (person’s mother’s name) as we pray for him and contribute to charity on his behalf. In reward for this, may the Holy One, Blessed is He, be filled with compassion for him to restore his health, to strengthen him and revive him. And may He send him speedily a complete recovery from heaven for all his organs, among the other sick people of Israel, a recovery of the body and a recovery of the spirit, swiftly and soon. Let us say: Amen.
Transliteration: Mi sheberach Avoseinu Avraham, Yitzchok veYakov, Moshe, Aharon, Dovid veShlomo, Hoo Yivorech veYirapeh eis haChole: (person’s Hebrew name) ben (person’s mother’s name) ba’avur she anachnu mispalelim ba’avuro. Bischar zeh, haKadosh Boruch Hoo yimale rachamim olav, lehachlimo uleraposo ulehachziko ulehachayoso, veyishlach lo mhero refuah shlema min hashamayim lchol averov ulechol gidov, bsoch shear choley Yisroel, refuas hanefesh, urefuas hagoof, hashta, ba’agalo uvizman koriv, venomar: Omein.
It is important for the sick person to pray for him or herself, because his or her prayers are the most sincere. Regardless, we should also pray for the speedy recovery of our loved ones:
For a woman: He Who blessed our forefathers Avraham, Isaak and Jacob, Moshe and Aharon, David and Solomon – may He bless and heal: (person’s Hebrew name) daughter of (person’s mother’s name) as we pray for her and contribute to charity on her behalf. In reward for this, may the Holy One, Blessed is He, be filled with compassion for her to restore her health, to strengthen her and revive her. And may He send her speedily a complete recovery from heaven for all her organs, among the other sick people of Israel, a recovery of the body and a recovery of the spirit, swiftly and soon. Let us say: Amen.
Transliteration: Mi sheberach Avoseinu Avraham, Yitzchok veYakov, Moshe, Aharon, Dovid veShlomo, Hoo Yivorech veYirapeh eis haChole: (person’s Hebrew name) bas (person’s mother’s name) ba’avur she anachnu mispalelim ba’avura. Bischar zeh, haKadosh Boruch Hoo yimale rachamim oleha, lehachlima uleraposa ulehachzika ulehachayosa, veyishlach lah mhero refuah shlema min hashamayim lchol avereha ulechol gideha, bsoch shear choley Yisroel, refuas hanefesh, urefuas hagoof, hashta, ba’agalo uvizman koriv, venomar: Omein.
Our Synagogue currently prays for the speedy recovery of the following people:
|Last Name||First Name|
|Lazer HaCohen Ben Zlota|
|Yosef Eliezer Ben Devorah|
|Boruch Shmuel Ben Nechama Baila|
|Sara Bas Sheindel|
|Boris Ben Malka|
|Yehudis Chaya Bas Sarah|
|Gershon Ben Basha|
|Anna Bas Miriam|
|Ester Bas Fira|
|Yakov HaCohen Ben Zlota|
|Hershel Ben Hinda|
|Marat Ben Elka|
|Kalman Dovid Ben Anna|
|Bondarenko||Label (leonid) Ben Sura|
|Davydova||Nina Bas Yenta|
|Gorbach||Ross Ben Raya|
|Greenspon||Chaya Baila Masha Bas Zisl|
|Katz||Avigdor Shmuel Ben Lieba Rivka|
|Khvilovsky||Leonid Ben Sarah|
|Khvilovsky||Sofia Bas Bronya|
|Khvilovsky||Shifra Chaya Bas Bronya|
|Kravetz||Ella Bas Rakhil|
|Mendelsohn||Malka Bas Chava|
|Scher||Shmuel Bas Janet Beth|
|Scher||Yakov Ben Janet Beth|
|Sheyrif||Ariel Dovid Ben Bella|
|Shilkrot||Rafael HaCohen Bas Sossi|
|Shilkrot||Dvora Bas Sarah|
|Titevsky||Zanvil Ben Machlya|
|Vikdorchik||Berel Ben Dvorah|
You can make a donation for the speedy recovery using the options below:
|Make check to Heritage and mail it to
Heritage, 2826 W. Lunt Ave. Chicago IL 60645
|Call Heritage office at 773-973-1800
to provide a credit card information