Teachings: Illness & Healing

The Lament: Hidden Key to Effective Listening

by Barry Bub, MD

This free example article is from the recently released 2nd edition of Seeking and Soaring: Jewish Approaches to Spiritual Guidance and Development, published in honor of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Eds. Rabbis Goldie Milgram and Shohama Wiener, Reclaiming Judaism Press.
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A Prayer for Healing from Bone-Related Surgery or Disease: 2 versions

Version 1:
both jointly composed by Rabbi Goldie Milgram & Hubbatzin Barry Bub, MD

Praised be the Source of Life, present in the miracle of human being, for the healing powers of body, mind and spirit.

Grant me ever renewing faith, courage, and comfort.

May each osteoblast, the cells which heal bones, be like the angel Gabriel, bringing strength and healing bonding.

May each white corpuscle, the cells which conquer infection, be like the angel Uriel, carrying healing light to the the site of surgery, rapidly closing each wound.

What Do Rites of Passage Accomplish?

What do Rites of Passage Accomplish? by Rabbi Goldie Milgram with Barry Bub

Rituals and their symbolic, action, and liturgical components facilitate lifecycle events or significant transitions by:

·     providing the framework of support for desired or necessary change

·     acting as speed bumps that invite reflection and integration

Jewish Healing Song

Healing song by Rabbi Shohama Wiener

May the waters of healing,
flow through my (her/his) soul.
May the waters of healing,
flow through my (her/his) heart.
May the waters of healing
flow through my (her/his) form.

Ah-na El na, please Holy One
R'fa na la...Let Your healing be done
Ah-na El na, Please heal my (her/his) soul
R'fa na la...let me (her/him) be whole.

Judaism and Suicide

Suicide is not permitted in Judaism. Life is considered infinitely precious. Suicide is treated as evidence mental illness when it is undertaken. Suicide  is a terrible tragedy for those who remain have to deal with this memory for the rest of their lives. Two poems below reflect the reaction of a wife to her husband's suicide, and my reaction as a rabbi to caring for her and her family.

A Caregiver’s Kaddish for a Patient

Is it possible to allow time in a medical practice to really notice who has died and what they have meant to those who have been involved in their care?

It is traditional to say Kaddish once burial has taken place. There are several forms of Kaddish in Jewish liturgy more familiar among them are the Reader's Kaddish, hatzi-kaddish, Kaddish d'rabbanan (respect for teachers) and Mourner's Kaddish.

This caregiver's Kaddish is based on the internal meaning of the traditional Kaddish, and is designed to be said by the professional staff. This could really be a Kaddish said by any professional care giver - chaplain, home health aide, therapist, etc.

Judaism and Sexual Abuse

We were studying under a huge maple tree outside the United States when it became increasingly clear from the workshop participants’ comments that a traveling rabbi had sexually abused quite a number of women in the region over a period of years. Some had gone to him asking a deep spiritual question and were shocked by the kind of "outreach" they received. Others were young girls accepting a loving hug from a clergy person only to experience a horrific violation of their physical boundaries. All believed themselves special, "the only one." Some were sworn to secrecy. More could be said, let's just say it was becoming clear that a Jewish clergy person had left an international trail of hurt.