The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

Praying for the Terminally Ill

with 2 comments

1. I have only just realised something that should have been obvious to me all along (and probably is to others).

2. I have often felt uncomfortable wishing people “refuoh shleimoh” – complete recovery – on behalf of a relative or friend who is clearly terminally ill. Of course I want to express sympathy with anyone who is ill or suffering: but is it apt to say “refuoh shleimoh” to the child of a ninety-nine year old parent who has clearly taken to their bed for the last time?

3. The answer is, yes – as I should have realised all the time – and it has nothing to do with miracle cures. The prayer for the sick includes the passage “refuas hanefesh u’refuas haguf” – a cure for the soul and a cure for the body. And that is the point. Everyone needs both, all the time. If someone is on their way out of this world, I am praying that they should leave with their soul at rest. And it is never too late to pray for that.


Written by Daniel Greenberg

December 28, 2007 at 1:26 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Daniel,
    As a father and husband mired deep in the battle for health (my wife’s terminal health), I can tell you that I completely agree with you.
    My wife is a 40 year old “new mom.” And she’s having a hard time. And…
    The act of “mi sheberach” can have an effect beyond the spiritual. It can ease tension and suffering in the “recipient.” It’s a prayer for both body AND spirit.
    Thank you, for being so thoughtful.
    Shalom Alacheim


    August 17, 2008 at 4:26 pm

  2. I am sure I speak for everyone who reads this blog when I wish the previous commenter and his family every possible good wish.

    Daniel Greenberg

    August 20, 2008 at 2:45 pm

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