In parashat Va’era, after Abraham is recuperating from his circumcision, God comes to visit him and comfort him. Our ancient sages teach us that from this story we learn that it is a big deal to visit and help the sick. Why? Because, as we know, we are supposed to “love our neighbor as yourself” and obviously when we are sick, we need help.
But there is much more to this “big deal” than just doing something for someone who is in need. Helping the sick is a way of emulating God. As we saw in the above story, when Abraham was in need, God came to comfort him. We have discussed in the past the Jewish emphasis on being a giver and that God, being infinite, is the ultimate giver being that he cannot “take” from anyone. We have to strive to see opportunities when people are in need as opportunities for us to be givers and emulate God.
So, today’s Jewish mission is to be a giver and help someone who is sick. Here are some ideas:
- Visit a patient in the hospital/nursing home, or visit the homebound.
- Call a homebound senior before Shabbos.
- Bring food to a family with a new baby.
- Drive someone to a doctor’s appointment.
- Help a child, whose parent is hospitalized, with homework.
- Say psalms together or on behalf of the ill.
- Take someone’s car to be filled with gas.
- Bring gift certificates from places which deliver food, so a family can make its own food choices and not feel dependent on what others cook for them.
- Call when you are at the store, and say “I am here. What can I pick up for you?”
- Share your hobbies, such as baking, singing or writing.