A part of the Tora-portion of this week is:
G‑d reveals Himself to Abraham three days after the first Jew’s circumcision at age ninety-nine; but Abraham rushes off to prepare a meal for three guests who appear in the desert heat. One of the three—who are angels disguised as men—announces that, in exactly one year, the barren Sarah will give birth to a son. Sarah laughs.
וַיֵּרָ֤א אֵלָיו֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה בְּאֵלֹנֵ֖י מַמְרֵ֑א וְה֛וּא יֹשֵׁ֥ב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹ֖הֶל כְּחֹ֥ם הַיּֽוֹם׃
“Now the L-rd appeared to him in the plains of Mamre, and he was sitting at the entrance of the tent when the day was hot.” (Genesis 18:1)
From this first verse, we can already draw three important learning points.
“Now the L-rd” - Three days after Abraham circumcised himself, G-d came to him to visit him in his pain. This teaches us the importance of visiting the sick.
Although visiting the sick is not specifically given in the Torah as a commandment/ mitzvah, it is so logical and fundamental that it is not necessary to be given as a commandemnet, and it is G-d Himself who sets us the example in this Parasha. It applies to Jews and non-Jews alike because it brings peace and harmony to the world, it makes the world a better place to live in.
There are many ways to help the sick. By giving attention, bringing food, making a phone call. The mitzvah of visiting the sick - bikur cholim - knows no limits in time and opportunity. We can always call, drop by, bring food, take care of practical matters etc. etc.
Of course, we pray for the sick. The prayer below can be used for that purpose.
"May the Holy One, blessed be He, be filled with mercy for (mention the sick person's given names), son/daughter of (use Noah if the sick person is a non-Jew; use Sarah if the sick person is a Jew), to restore him/here to health and to cure him/here, to strenghten him/here and to invigorat him. And may G-d hasten to send him/here from Heaven a complete recovery to all his/here bodily parts and veins, a healing of spirit and a healing of body. Amen"
Through all these activities on our part, 1/60 of the person's illness is taken away.
“in the plains of Mamre” - The place Mamre is named in memory of Mamre, the person who helped Abraham. There are different opinions about the person Mamre. Some say that he advised Abraham about circumcision, others that he helped Abraham care for the wound and ease the pain. In which we practically see example that Mamre acted in the image of G-d by visiting the sick person.
The significance of this becomes clear in that Mamre - a non-Jew - received the favour of receiving a piece of land as a reward in the land assigned to Abraham! and that his name is even mentioned in the Torah.
It also shows the importance of us showing people our gratitude for the time, effort they give to us to be helpful to us. We should not take that for granted.
Let us show our gratitude by saying "thank you" and bless them for their effort.
Common blessings include:
· G‑d bless you!
· May G‑d give you all that your heart desires for good!
· May G‑d give you success in all that you do!
· May you have health, wealth and nachas (May the light we give others be reflected in their thoughts and actions.) from your children!
Pronounce it: With all your heart.
“sitting at the entrance of the tent” - This teaches us that when we are sick and others visit us and want to help us, we should also be there for them. In our sickness, our loved ones are also "sick" . Sick with worry, sick with fear, overwhelmed by the care they feel they have to take on etc. Abraham looked forward to receiving guests and cared for them. This is also how we should treat those who visit us in our sickness. Being mindful of their needs, trying to exude positivity and confidence. All this that when they leave us go with and good and fulfilled feeling.
Brought By Angelique Sijbolts
Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.
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