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Compiler's Foreword

Chapter 1
The Importance of Maintaining Good Health

Chapter 2
Proper Nutritional Routine and Leading a Healthful Lifestyle

Chapter 3
Recuperating and Convalescing

Chapter 4
Obeying Doctor’s Instructions

Chapter 5
Maintaining a Positive Spiritual Attitude When Ailing

Chapter 6
Maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude When Ailing

Chapter 7
The Relationship Between Spiritual and Physical Wellness

Chapter 8
Specific Spiritual Assists To Health and Healing

Chapter 9
Consulting With a Specialist

Chapter 10
Obtaining a Second Opinion And What to Do When Doctors’ Opinions Differ

Chapter 11
Using Latest Techniques, Procedures and Medications

Chapter 12
Surgery and Medical Procedures

Chapter 13
Ambulances, Hospitals, And the Hospital Stay

Chapter 14
The Health Care Provider

Healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit - Volume I
Based on the Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
General Themes and Subjects Relating to Health


Chapter 8
Specific Spiritual Assists To Health and Healing


by: Rabbi Sholom B. Wineberg

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  Chapter 7
The Relationship Between Spiritual and Physical Wellness
Chapter 9
Consulting With a Specialist
 

Torah Study


Increase In Torah — Increase In Life

Surely I need not draw your attention to the deeper meaning of the concept that the Jewish people are “the one nation on earth”[165] — not only the simple meaning that Jews believe in one G-d and in one Torah, but that they draw down unity [(“oneness”)] into all aspects of this world.

This is to say that there is no disunity and plurality within this world at all: just as G-d is one with an utter and simple unity, so, too, is unity and singularity found within all worldly aspects, particularly since the physical and the spiritual are not separate entities, but are truly one. It’s just that G-d allowed for the possibility [for man to believe the opposite of the truth] — as our Sages, of blessed memory, say: “Let he who desires to be mistaken come and be mistaken.”[166]

This is part of the mission of the Jew: that he himself understand and sense G-d’s unity and make this aspect of Divine unity understood to those in his surroundings, and, to the greatest extent possible, to all those upon whom he has influence.

The same holds true with regard to one’s health: When one needs to improve and increase his physical health and well-being, he should do so in conjunction with and with a concurrent and corresponding increase in his spiritual health and well-being — in the words of our Sages: “Whoever will increase, will see an increase.”[167]

In light of the above, I am taking the liberty to bring to your awareness that it would be beneficial for your father shlita to increase his study sessions in our Torah, the Torah of Life.

It is through Torah that “He has implanted in us eternal life.”[168] One of the meanings of this passage is that even though we live within this corporeal world, we live a true [eternal] life — something that should be felt within one’s physical body as well.

This is also in keeping with the ruling of the Rambam in Hilchos Deos, the beginning of ch. 4, where he states that “maintaining a healthy and whole body is an integral part of Divine service.”

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 141)

“Torah Brings Healing”

Surely you will find the right words with which to explain to ... that his response of “I am entirely incapable of learning Torah at present because I am in pain,” is similar to one who is ill and refuses to take medication with the excuse that he is ill.

Similarly, our Sages, of blessed memory, have informed us that “Torah brings healing to the world,” and “He whose head or body aches should study Torah.”[169]

While it is understandable that in-depth study is difficult while one is in pain, an effort should nevertheless be made. Surely, one can at least study with less concentration — at least [study and recite] the three well-known daily lessons that apply to all, those of Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya, as established by my father-in-law, the Rebbe.

May G-d will it that you be able to convey glad tidings to me, and that your words that “come from the heart” enter the heart of ..., and that they accomplish their desired result.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 175)

Torah — Particularly Chitas — Is The Vessel
For Receiving All Divine Blessings Including Health

I received your pidyon nefesh in which you ask that Divine mercy be aroused for you so that you should be in good health. I will read the pidyon nefesh at the holy resting place of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, for the fulfillment of your heart’s desire for good in all that you require.

It is known that in order to receive blessings from on High, we must create here below, [i.e., in this physical world,] the proper vessels into which these blessings will flow. Torah is the [most appropriate] vehicle for receiving any and all blessings.

I therefore suggest that you take upon yourself — bli neder — the observance of the three daily lessons [known as Chitas], established by my father-in-law, the Rebbe, an observance that applies to all Anash, our chassidic brotherhood.

They are: the daily portion of Tehillim as divided by the days of the month, recited following the morning prayers; the daily section of the weekly Torah portion — on Sunday, from the beginning of the portion to Sheni, on Monday from Sheni to Shelishi, and so on; and Tanya, as divided by the days of the year.

Observance of the above will surely serve as a fit vehicle to draw down and receive G-d’s blessings.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 51)

Torah Study As An Aid To Various Ailments

Our Sages, of blessed memory, [state] in Eruvin 54a, that “If one has a headache he should study Torah, and if one has a sore throat he should study Torah.” The Gemara concludes that when he does so, he will be healed.

The question [regarding this statement] is simple: We observe people who have headaches and study Torah and are not relieved of their headaches.

Of the many answers that are provided to the above question, one of them is that Torah is an entire organism, as it states:[170] “This is the Torah — man.” [Just as man is an organic whole, so too is Torah.]

Torah thus contains some elements that relate to the head and other elements that relate to the throat, etc. Thus, when one has a headache, he should study Torah. If G-d blesses him with good fortune and he happens upon that section of Torah that relates to the head, then he will be healed of his headache.

Not everyone, however, is spiritually clear-sighted enough to find the appropriate section of Torah that provides healing for one’s headache, or the specific portion of Torah that relieves one’s sore throat, etc. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 53)

Torah And Continued Good Health

... We find ourselves now in the days preceding [Shavuos, the festival of] receiving the Torah, which brings healing to the world as a whole and the Jewish people — the receivers of the Torah — in particular.

In light of that which is known — that in a more particular sense we receive the Torah anew every day, as emphasized by the fact that the phrase “Giver of the Torah” is in present tense — we understand that a Jew must be healthy and whole each and every day. In the words of the Rambam: “Maintaining a healthy and whole body is an integral part of Divine service.”

... Surely I need not motivate you to influence your son to establish set times for the study of the inner portion of Torah (pnimiyus haTorah), which in our generation has been revealed in Toras HaChassidus.

Every increase in Torah and mitzvos, and surely adding to the study of pnimiyus haTorah, which is termed in the Zohar the “soul of Torah,” greatly increases G-d’s blessings for all of one’s personal needs, both for the life of the body as well as for the life of the soul.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 129)

Delaying Torah Study Pending Good Health
Is Similar To Delaying Taking Medication Until One Is Well

In reply to your letter of the 12th of Menachem Av, I hope and pray to G-d that your health will soon improve.

Regarding your statement that it is difficult for you to maintain your established times for Torah study [due to your illness]: This is just like an ill person saying that he cannot take his prescribed medications for he is not yet well [and he will only begin taking them after he is healed].

...Established times for studying the Torah of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, are a vehicle through which one draws down his blessings for good health and sustenance.

Thus, if one laments his [meager] sustenance and [poor] health, the means [for improving them] is strengthening the established times for study. Thereby, [his] sustenance and health will be as they should be. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 381)


TZEDAKAH

The Most Important Medicine For A Jew —
Tzedakah, Good Deeds And A Chapter Of Tehillim

... Your son sheyichye told me that your daughter ... is not, for the time being, in the best of health. No doubt she went to a doctor and is following his instructions.

In addition to your daughter’s conduct of lighting candles prior to Shabbos and Festivals, she should — until she reaches the age of eighteen — place three coins in a charity box of R. Meir Baal HaNes prior to candle lighting. It would also be advisable that you recite ch. 71 in Tehillim every day until Rosh HaShanah.

Your son sheyichye also told me that his aunt ... is not in the best of health. She too should be told what I stated above; i.e., to obey the instructions of the medical specialist and place three coins in a charity box of R. Meir Baal HaNes prior to candle lighting. Additionally, at least once a week, she should provide a Jew with a meal (a guest or a poor person).

Healing is done by G-d; He does this in part through [the medium of] a doctor. However, He established that the principal medicine for a Jew is tzedakah, good deeds and a chapter of Tehillim. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 359)

Supporting A Torah Student —
An Apt Vessel For Receiving G-d’s Blessings
For Good Health

... In order for G-d’s blessings to be long lasting, it is necessary to provide the proper vessels (the medium through which one gathers in [these blessings]), these vessels being [the study of] Torah and [the performance of] mitzvos.

My opinion therefore is that [since the two of you are in need of a blessing for healing,] you should both take upon yourself to support a young man or young lady who studies in one of the Israeli institutions named after my father-in-law, the Rebbe, of blessed memory.

You, Mrs. ..., should give tzedakah for the charity of R. Meir Baal HaNes prior to candle lighting erev Shabbos, and you, Mr. ..., should recite several chapters of Tehillim each morning following prayers — at least the daily portion of Tehillim as divided by the days of the month.

It would also be most appropriate to have the mezuzos of your home checked to make sure they are kosher according to Jewish law.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 225)

Donating To The Charity Of Bikkur Cholim

Surely you have regular study sessions in both the revealed and mystical portions of Torah and you also recite the daily portion of Tehillim (as divided by the days of the month).

It would be most beneficial for you to give several coins to the charity of Bikkur Cholim [the charity of visiting and attending to the ill,] each Monday and Thursday prior to your morning prayers.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VIII, p. 111)

Do Not Go Back On Your Word[171]

Explain to his wife that in his present situation, Heaven forbid he should go back on his promise to give tzedakah — [for doing so means renouncing his promise] to G-d, [and it is] He who is the Healer of all flesh (while human doctors are but His agents). ...

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXVI, p. 299)

Do Not Make Preconditions With G-d

... I must comment about what you write at the conclusion of your letter, that when, with G-d’s help, your daughter will become well then you will — bli neder — donate to Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim:

It is incorrect to use such terminology and make conditions with G-d that first He must help and [only] then, etc.

A Jew is to do all he can in matters of Torah and mitzvos — and the mitzvah of tzedakah is included therein, and what’s more, tzedakah is equivalent to all other mitzvos, so much so, that when using the generic term “mitzvah,” reference is being made to tzedakah (see Tanya, ch. 37 at length).

At the same time, one is to pray, supplicate and demand of G-d that He fulfill his needs in the areas of children, life and ample sustenance.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 400)

Tzedakah By Both Parent And Child

To a parent whose child was having mental problems, the Rebbe advised:

It would be good to set aside a couple of cents for tzedakah every weekday morning, and that you and your daughter personally place the money into the tzedakah box. Of course, there should be no compulsion [to do so, i.e., do not force your daughter to personally give the tzedakah if she is resistant to this suggestion].

It would also be advisable to have the mezuzos checked.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 12th of Adar, 5718)


KASHRUS

The Beneficial Effects Of Keeping Kosher

I was pleased to be informed about your steady advancement in matters of Torah, called Toras Chayim, [the Torah of Life], because it is the Jew’s guide in life, and also Toras Emes, [the Torah of Truth], because it is the truth.

This is doubly gratifying since people of your standing have an impact on the community, for people look up to you and try to emulate you. Thus, your going from strength to strength in matters of Torah and mitzvos is greatly multiplied through those who are inspired by your example, not to mention the direct impact on children and through them on their children in an everlasting chain reaction.

In light of the above, even if there are some difficulties to overcome, it is surely worthwhile to make the effort, since the effort only involves the individual, while the outcome benefits many.

Also, add to this the fact that this is also the channel to receive G-d’s blessings in all needs, and that G-d rewards in kind and in a most generous measure.

The above refers to all matters of Torah and mitzvos, but has a special significance in regard to kashrus.

As a doctor you know the immense knowledge that has been accumulated recently in the area of diet and nutrition, and how much the quality of food affects physical and mental health. For Jews, the dietary laws have come down with the Torah itself, [the Torah having] revealed the true meaning of monotheism of which the Jewish People have been the bearers ever since.

The Torah was relevant not only in those days of old, when paganism and idolatry were the general practice in the world, but it is just as relevant in the present day and age, since it is only the Torah and mitzvos that are the basis of pure monotheism, rooted in the absolute unity of G-d.

This means that the Jew brings unity and harmony into the physical world, eliminating any departmentalization in daily life, or practicing one’s religion only occasionally; or, as some misguided and misconceived individuals might think, that they can practice Judaism at home but must make concessions and compromises outside the home.

All such differentiations are contrary to true unity, pure monotheism. For the concept of pure monotheism is not just confined to the idea that there is One G-d, but at the same it also requires unity in the personal life of each and every Jew, who is a member of the “one people,” of which it is said that they are “one people on earth.”

According to the explanation of the Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad, “one people on earth” means that they also bring oneness and unity in earthly things, and it is only in this way that the individual can achieve complete personal harmony and unity of the body and soul, at all times, whether in the synagogue, at home, or in the office.

Thus, the importance of kashrus to a Jew is obvious, since the food and beverages that he consumes become blood and tissue and energy, and food that is not suitable (kosher) for a Jew can only alienate him from matters of Yiddishkeit, [Judaism]. Only proper and kosher food can nourish the Jew physically, mentally and spiritually.

As already mentioned, there is no need to elaborate on this to you, a physician, even though your specialty is not directly in the field of nutrition.

The most desirable blessing that can be expressed in this case is that you should indeed serve as a living and inspiring example for others to emulate, and that through your inspiration, many others will go from strength to strength in matters of Torah and mitzvos in daily life.

(From a letter of the Rebbe)

Proper Observance Of Kashrus Benefits Health

I am in receipt of your letter of the 17th of Tammuz, with the enclosure.

If you will let me know the Jewish names, together with the mother’s Jewish name — as is customary — of all those [patients] for whom you request a blessing, I will remember them all in prayer.

It is surely unnecessary to emphasize to you at length that since all blessings come from G-d, and the channel to receive them is through daily life and conduct in accordance with His will — namely in accordance with Torah and mitzvos — every additional effort in matters of Yiddishkeit is bound to widen the channels to receive G-d’s blessing.

... With reference to the matter of kashrus, which you mention particularly in connection with the assertion that kosher meat available in your area does not taste very good, I trust you will be able to find the proper words to explain (particularly since you are a physician) that proper nutrition has a direct effect not only on physical health, but also on such matters as mood, nerves, thinking, etc., although the latter effects are often more subtle and hidden.

This is patently obvious since nourishment is absorbed within the body and is directly linked to its physical and mental capacities, as has also been confirmed by medical science. [As opposed to nourishment,] taste is merely linked to the palate and is of very short duration. The consumption of wholesome and nutritional food is, of course, of lasting vital importance.

As far as a Jew is concerned, our Torah, the Torah of Life, granted to us by the Creator and Master of the Universe, is quite specific as to what a Jew may or may not eat. Only that which is permissible [for a Jew to eat or drink] is truly wholesome and nourishing [for him].

As is the case with all G-d’s commandments, they have not been given to us for G-d’s benefit, but for our own benefit, and not only for our benefit in the Afterlife, but also in the here and now.

In view of the above, indulgence in taste is surely of little consequence in comparison to the vital importance of observing the Jewish dietary laws in everyday life.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 24th of Tammuz, 5739)

A Therapeutic Kosher Diet

... It pleased me to learn that Miss ... refuses to taint herself with non-kosher foods. This itself will enhance her physical health and healing.

On your part, you will surely make an effort to insure that her nourishment be of the best possible quality, as the doctors demand, and at the same time that the foods be kosher.

May G-d send her His “healing words,” and heal her speedily.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXVI, p. 298 [172])

Physical, Mental And Spiritual Good Health
Through Observance Of Kashrus

It has always been known, and it has been particularly emphasized lately, that diet is very important to the general state of one’s physical health and emotional stability. Many books and articles have already been written and continue to be written on this subject by nutritional authorities and physicians who have dedicated their lives to this specialty.

It is now a universally accepted belief that a human being cannot simply eat and drink whatever he desires or whatever tempts him, but must learn to regulate his nutritional intake. Indeed, the endeavor of nutritional experts and dieticians is to prescribe the proper diet of foods and beverages for each individual in accordance with his or her lifestyle, environment, etc.

Typically, research periodically uncovers new findings, [and] very often the latest findings invalidate the previous ones, though it is assumed that in due course these latest findings may similarly be invalidated by even newer findings.

Lay people can only follow the advice of the experts — as long as they are trustworthy — and willingly accept the restrictions they impose [on the individual for reasons of health. So important is their counsel, that people] even pay for their advice, and so on.

Needless to say, all this is as it should be, since not everyone has the time or capacity to do the research to determine what is good for him physically and spiritually.

In light of the above, how grateful must a Jew be to G-d, the Creator of the world and the Essence of Perfection, Who is certainly trustworthy, for His directives in this field, by giving us our dietary laws, the laws of kashrus, which ensure our good health physically, mentally and spiritually.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, in the year 5736)

... Thus it is obvious how important kashrus is for a Jew, since the food and beverages he consumes become blood and tissue and energy; food that is not suitable (kosher) for a Jew can only alienate him from matters of Yiddishkeit, for only the proper kosher food can nourish him physically, mentally, and spiritually.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 15th of Av, 5735)


FAMILY PURITY

Healthy Children Through Observance Of Mitzvos,
Particularly Taharas Hamishpachah

To parents who asked the Rebbe’s blessing for healthy children, the Rebbe replied:

... It is obvious that the said blessing of healthy offspring, both physically and spiritually, largely depends on the parents’ conduct; just as the physical health and constitution of the parents has an impact on the physical health of the children, the same is true with regard to their mental and spiritual health.

Indeed, as every intelligent person understands, the spiritual aspect is stronger than the physical, so that the order should in fact be reversed, namely, that the spiritual impact is predominant.

... Human nature is such that parents will make every sacrifice for the benefit of their children. They will do so even when the benefits may not be certain — as long as it has a chance [of succeeding].

All the above is by way of introduction to my earnest plea that regardless of how you conducted yourself in the past, you will [from now on] strengthen your commitment and adherence to the Will of G-d, the Creator and Source of all blessings.

This is particularly so in the area of the strict fulfillment of the laws and regulations of family purity, which aside from the essential aspect — that they are Divine imperatives — also have the Divine promise of reward in terms of healthy offspring, physically, mentally and spiritually.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 7th of Menachem Av, 5740)

Enhanced Observance Of Family Purity
Will Enhance Child’s Health

... After asking your forgiveness, I must however state the truth, that in the majority of circumstances, such a thing about which you write, [i.e., your child’s skin ailment,] results from the fact that at the time the mother became pregnant, the laws and regulations of family purity were not properly observed.

If, G-d forbid, this applies to you as well, this can be rectified and ameliorated to a certain extent by beginning now to observe the laws and regulations of family purity in the fullest possible measure and also to influence others to also observe the laws in like manner.

G-d, “Who sees into one’s heart,” seeing that you have made a firm resolution to do so, both with regard to yourself as well as influencing others, will transmit His success to the course of treatment that will be undertaken by the doctor so that your son will be healed to a very great degree — and when you will do the above to the fullest extent, [i.e., observe family purity,] he will be healed to the fullest extent as well.

Hopefully you will be able to find the appropriate words with which to explain the above to your wife as well, and may G-d will it that you be able to convey glad tidings regarding all the above.

It would also be most advisable for you to check your tefillin as well as the mezuzos in your home, to insure that they are kosher according to Jewish law, and to give tzedakah every weekday morning prior to prayers.

Your wife tichyeh should observe the “good custom” of upstanding Jewish women of giving tzedakah before lighting the candles every erev Shabbos and erev Yom Tov.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 357)

Wellness Of Child And Taharas Hamishpachah

... I received your note in which you write about your son:

If you inform me of your son’s full Hebrew name as well as your full Hebrew name, I will remember him in prayer for a speedy recovery.

I trust you will not take offense at the following remarks, but I consider it my duty to mention that this kind of disorder in children is quite often due to the fact that the parents did not properly observe the laws of Taharas HaMishpachah, the laws of family purity, at the time of conception.

If — G-d forbid — this was indeed the case, bear in mind that teshuvah (repentance) is also effective retroactively to quite a great extent, so that it is possible to rectify the failures of the past.

You and your husband should firmly resolve to observe the laws of Taharas HaMishpachah from now on, and try to impress upon your friends as well the vital importance of observing these laws.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 27th of Shevat, 5721)

Health Of Newborn Child And Taharas Hamishpachah

One of the essential mitzvos is Taharas HaMishpachah, which, as explained in our holy sources, is directly related to the well-being of newborn children.

Although each of G-d’s commandments must be observed for its own sake, G-d revealed to us that each mitzvah also has a unique significance of its own, connected to the spiritual and physical well-being of the person fulfilling the mitzvah.

Incidentally, the importance of this particular mitzvah [of Taharas HaMishpachah and mikveh] can also be gleaned from the fact that when our Sages of the Mishnah wish to illustrate how G-d provides us with a pure heart, they say, “Just as a mikveh purifies, so does the Holy One blessed be He.”[173]

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 21st of Menachem Av, 5724)


Spiritual Assistance Of Relatives In Promoting Healing

The Spiritual Assistance
Of Parents For Their Ailing Child

In reply to your question as to how you can be of assistance to your [ill] daughter:

When parents conduct their daily life according to the desire — as delineated in the Shulchan Aruch — of G-d, the “Healer of all flesh and Performer of wonders,”[174] this increases the success of the treatment by the flesh-and-blood doctor (who is the agent of the “Healer of all flesh”).

Even if the parents imagine that it is difficult for them to change their past manner of conduct, still, parents do even more difficult things for the sake of their children.

As to your traveling here [to see me] — there is absolutely no need to do so, for my response is [and will continue to be] as above. Rather, the cost of the journey should be given to tzedakah for the merit of your daughter tichye.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 25th of Tammuz, 5731)

Impact Of Children’s Positive Spiritual Behavior
On The Health Of Their Parents

I received your letter in which you write about the medical treatment your mother will be undergoing.

As requested, I will remember her again in prayer for the success of the medical treatment.

Needless to say, every additional effort in matters of Torah and mitzvos on your part, and also on the part of the other family members, will bring additional Divine blessings to all the family, and particularly to your mother.

The good conduct of a son is especially credited to his parents, and therefore stands them in good stead. [No matter how laudable your conduct has been until now,] in matters of goodness and holiness there is, of course, always room for improvement. ...

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 3rd of Iyar, 5720)


Assorted Spiritual Assists To Healing

Healing Through Joy

I received your telegram about your daughter tichye’s [state of health] and today I received your letter from the 22nd of Kislev as well.

When I was at the holy resting place of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, of sainted memory, I mentioned your daughter in prayer for a speedy recovery. Surely you will not keep good news from me, and you will notify me [of your daughter’s improved health] as soon as possible.

It is well known that “Joy breaks all boundaries.”[175] It would therefore be proper for you and your family to participate — either personally or at least by assisting — in the preparations to the chassidic farbrengens that are held from time to time in your locale. This will also serve to hasten your daughter tichye’s recovery.

In the future, when you write about your daughter’s healing, the language should be, as is known, “to all her bodily parts” and not “to her 248 bodily parts.”

With blessing that you soon be able to convey glad tidings.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 94)

Doing A Favor For A Fellow Jew
A Spiritual Vessel To Receive G-d’s Manifest Blessings

... One of the best ways to receive additional blessings from G-d is by doing a fellow Jew a favor, either materially or spiritually; just as one can always find an individual who is in need of material tzedakah, the same is true regarding doing a spiritual favor.

The more one occupies himself in this matter, the more one derives personal satisfaction from one’s labors. [And] all this is in addition to performing a mitzvah of the Torah, namely, the commandment to “Love your fellow as yourself,”[176] concerning which Rabbi Akiva states:[177] “This is a primary principle of the Torah,” — something that draws down additional blessings from G-d.

Such conduct has a direct or [at least an] indirect effect on the improvement of one’s health, as well as in more accurately assessing all that is happening to oneself and around him. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 138)

No Use Of Amulets

You write about [providing you with] an amulet [as a segulah for the improvement of your health]:

This is not our approach or custom. Strengthening your bitachon in G-d, “Healer of all flesh, and Performer of wonders,”[178] is one of the best spiritual segulos.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 24th of Cheshvan, 5728)

In another letter[179] where the writer asks about amulets, the Rebbe responded:

“I have heard nothing at all about [employing] such matters.”

Forsake Path Of Segulos
Except For “Segulah” Of Torah And Mitzvos

You write that you saw in a book a segulah or something similar [that will bring about healing]:[180]

Forsake the path of segulos, as people and circumstances tend to differ, [and] not everyone possesses the knowledge and ability to perceive and unmistakably know the ins and outs of these matters.

[So why use the path of segulos at all] when there exists the tried and proven “segulah” of following the path of Torah and mitzvos — as I have already written to you in my previous letters.

May the “Healer of all flesh and Performer of wonders” enlighten you regarding all the above and grant a full and speedy recovery to your mother shetlita.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 394)

No To Segulos —
Yes To Checking Mezuzos And Reciting Tehillim

You ask that I provide you with a segulah [for increased good health]:

It is not my approach to provide segulos; however, as in all Jewish homes, the mezuzos are to be checked. Also see to it that the one in need of [increased good health] recite Tehillim daily.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 247)

Checking Mezuzos, Tefillin, And Giving Tzedakah

To an individual who was suffering from acute anxiety, the Rebbe advised:

I would also suggest that you have the mezuzos of your home checked as well as your tefillin, and that before putting on your tefillin every weekday morning, you put aside a small coin for tzedakah.

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 26th of Teves, 5725)

Spiritual Assists For Health

To a woman who was having health problems, the Rebbe wrote:

It would be well to have your mezuzos checked to make sure they are kosher and properly affixed. Also, you are no doubt aware of and observe the “good custom” — bli neder — of putting aside a coin for tzedakah before lighting the candles [on erev Shabbos and erev Yom Tov].

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 21st of Kislev, 5733)

Tehillim, Tzedakah And Partaking In
Public Torah Study As Vehicles For Healing

I was informed by ... that you are unwell and that you ask for a blessing:

Surely you are under the care of a good doctor and you are following his instructions, as G-d always desires that things should come about through an agent who exists within the natural realm and that the healing come about in a natural way.

One needs however to make a [spiritual] vessel through which G-d’s desire [that you be healed] will come to pass. The vehicle for this is to recite several chapters of Tehillim daily, to give tzedakah according to your ability, and to participate in a public Torah study session that is given in the synagogue.

I hope you will begin doing these things as quickly as possible. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IV, p. 41)

Satisfaction Felt When Doing Good Deeds
Strengthens Not Only Spiritual Health,
But Physical Health As Well

... Of course one must obey the instructions of the doctor when he says that you must take care of your health, and indeed, this is the Torah command,[181] “Scrupulously guard your health.” However, when G-d inscribed this in His Torah, He concurrently wrote about the importance of performing deeds of righteousness and kindness (tzedakah v’chessed).

Surely, then, it is possible to act in this manner [of performing deeds of righteousness and kindness] where not only will this not harm your health, but on the contrary [it will improve it,] for the satisfaction and pleasure felt when doing a good deed strengthens and enhances [not only a Jew’s spiritual health, but also] a Jew’s physical health.

The same is true with regard to your situation [and your difficulties in speaking loudly]: even if you will not speak loudly, people will surely be able to hear what you are saying. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. X, p. 50)

All-Encompassing Prayer Of Health

Attention can be called to our Sages’ statement (Megillah 17b, explained in the Tzemach Tzedek’s commentary to Tehillim 6:1) that [requests for] healing are mentioned in the eighth blessing [of the Shemoneh Esreh], the blessing Refa’einu, where we ask: “Grant complete cure and healing... .”

An association can be made with the eighth candle, [i.e., my father-in-law, the Rebbe, the eighth Rebbe,] (in the chain of leaders of the chassidic movement: the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch,...), [and the eighth Rebbe,] Yosef ([who is associated with] the eighth king, Hadar,[182] as explained in the Hosafos to Torah Or, Parshas Vayechi, [and identified with] the level of tzaddik, the foundation of the world, and circumcision which is carried out on the eighth day. [Similarly,] Shemini Atzeres[183] is connected to Yosef — Zohar I, p. 208b; Likkutei Torah from the Rebbe Maharash, p. 71d).[184]

[So, too, regarding the Rebbe’s second name] Yitzchak (which is numerically equivalent [208] to eight times the numerical equivalent of G-d’s name Y-H-V-H,[185] as stated by the Tzemach Tzedek in Or HaTorah, Bereishis, p. 304a).

[This also relates to the] all-encompassing healing that will come in the Ultimate Future (see the maamar entitled Samchuni in the Tzemach Tzedek’s Derech Emunah), in the era of Mashiach; may he come speedily in our days.

Then there will be a harp of eight strands and we will specifically say to Yitzchak: “For you are our father.”[186] See (Sanhedrin 94a [which states]): “The Holy One, blessed be He, sought to make Chizkiyahu Mashiach.”

[The passage continues, stating that Mashiach will not come] “until [the Jewish people] are repeatedly humiliated” (which has been fulfilled in the present era). [And it speaks of] Chizkiyahu as having eight names.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. II, p. 27)

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) II Shmuel 7:23.

  2. (Back to text) Bereishis Rabbah 8:8.

  3. (Back to text) Taanis 31a.

  4. (Back to text) Blessing after the Torah reading.

  5. (Back to text) Eruvin 54a.

  6. (Back to text) Bamidbar 19:14.

  7. (Back to text) The above is the Rebbe’s reply to an individual who sought the Rebbe’s blessing for a wealthy individual suffering from cancer. He received the Rebbe’s blessing and the individual was healed. Having been healed, he pledged a large sum to tzedakah. Later, however, under pressure from his family, he retracted his pledge.

  8. (Back to text) From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 29 Nissan, 5715.

  9. (Back to text) Yoma, conclusion of the chapter entitled Yom HaKippurim.

  10. (Back to text) Conclusion of “Asher Yotzar” blessing, from Berachos 60b.

  11. (Back to text) See Sefer HaMaamarim 5657, p. 223ff.

  12. (Back to text) Vayikra 19:18.

  13. (Back to text) Yerushalmi, Nedarim 9:4.

  14. (Back to text) From the text of the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, from Berachos 60b.

  15. (Back to text) Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 119.

  16. (Back to text) In this case, writing the words Kra Satan (“obliterate Satan”) on a piece of parchment.

  17. (Back to text) Devarim 4:15.

  18. (Back to text) See Bereishis 36:39.

  19. (Back to text) The eighth day of the Sukkos holiday.

  20. (Back to text) Reprinted in Or HaTorah, Bereishis, Vol. VI, p. 1065a.

  21. (Back to text) The numerical equivalent of G-d’s name Y-H-V-H is 26, and 8x26 equals 208.

  22. (Back to text) Shabbos 89b.


  Chapter 7
The Relationship Between Spiritual and Physical Wellness
Chapter 9
Consulting With a Specialist
 
  
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     Sichos In English -> Books -> Other -> Healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit - Volume I

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