Sunday, January 1, 2012

1940s Color Photographs of New York and Visiting the Sick on January 1, 2012

GOOD MORNING! Have you ever fantasized on being a hero by saving someone's life?  Ever imagined running into a burning building to save a child or diving into a river to rescue a drowning person?  Chances are that in most of our lifetimes we'll never be presented with one of those situations.  However, there is a way that you can possibly help save someone's life -- visit a sick person!

One may scoff that visiting a sick person can possibly save a life.  Nonetheless, a person who doesn't have visitors may lack the necessary care required to get well or may feel depressed that no one cares.  Not getting proper food, medicine or attention will hinder a person getting better; the sick person's attitude and optimism also impacts the healing process.

The Talmud (Sotah 14a) tells us that we learn the obligation to visit the sick from the commandment to emulate the Almighty.  Just as the Almighty visited Avraham on the third day following his circumcision, we must visit the sick.  Even though everything is dependent on God's will, we must do our part to aid a sick person and alleviate his suffering.  If we do so, it is considered as if we have saved his life (Sefer Hayoshor, ch. 13).

The Shurlock Aruch, (The important Code of how to live a  Jewish Life), teaches that it is an obligation to visit the sick (Yorah Daiah 335:1).  The great sage, the Chofetz Chaim, wrote that visiting the sick may be a matter of life and death.  By visiting a person who is ill, you might be able to advise him of a doctor to consult or a medicine that might be worth investigating.

It is especially important to visit a sick person who has no one else to take care of him.  Similarly, it is important to take care of an out-of-town visitor who has taken ill.  It is incumbent upon every Jewish community to have a Bikur Cholim society -- an organization to care and look out for the sick.

The Shulchan Aruch actually sets out that close friends and relatives should visit someone as soon as he becomes ill; others should wait until three days have passed.  If, however, the person is ill, even the latter should come to visit him immediately (Yorah Daiah 335:1).  If you can't visit, then at least you should call him.

It is preferable not to visit a sick person the first and last three hours of the day.  If, however, you find this difficult, you may visit him any time during the day as long as it is convenient for the person (Yorah Daiah 335:4).

There is no limit to the number of times you should visit someone who is ill.  It is beneficial to visit as often as possible if your visits are welcomed and will not be a burden to the patient or cause discomfort.

It is important that the sick person enjoy the visit, so one should discuss cheerful topics.  One can easily appreciate that talking about other people's illnesses, operations and deaths would be less than cheerful.

Think about what would bring joy to the sick person -- a tasty treat, a book, a game, an article he'd enjoy.  Make sure that his room is neat and clean.  The illustrious Rabbi Akiva visited a disciple and found the room in need of cleaning; he scrubbed the floors himself.  The student attributed Rabbi Akiva's visit to saving his life!

An essential part of visiting the sick is to pray for the person's recovery.  Rabbi Yosef Karo, the redactor of the Shulchan Aruch actually writes (Yorah Daiah 335) that one does not fulfill the mitzvah of visiting the sick if he does not also pray for the person's recovery.  It is a mitzvah to get others to pray for a sick person. 

There is one last benefit of your visit to a sick person.  In visiting the sick, you may see how fragile and short is your own life. You may then make changes: exercising and eating more healthfully -- and in the spiritual realm: examining your own deeds and character traits and correcting them.  The merit of these changes tremendously benefits the sick person.

Love Yehuda

1940s Color Photographs of New York

These are wonderful, rare, color pictures of early-1940s New York taken with a nice Kodachrome camera. Even the bums of the day wore a coat and tie.
click on this link s-Charles-W-Cushman-1940s-life-New-York-City.html

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