Dec 3, 2008

Blessing of Healing (Refa'enu-Heal Us) class notes

Refa'enu [Heal us]

This learning should be in a merit for a speedy recovery for:
Fraida b-s yemadi and yehudit b-s chava, R' Yisroel Noach b-n Hindah, Mindel Adina b-s Yenta Yitteh Yehudis, Yaakov b-n Chana and Ann Clothier
For an elevation of the souls of Rabbi and Rebbitzen Holtzberg as well as the other Jews killed in Mubai.[Gavriel Noach b-n Fridah blumah and Freida b-s Yehudis]

  • We're up to the blessing of Healing!
  • "Rifainu Hashem V'nerafei" - "heal us G-d and we will be healed"
  • These words are taken from the prophets. [Jeramiah 17:14]

A. What is this talking about? It's not about physical sickness, its about spiritual illness!

B. We see this in the context because Jeramia is speaking about the heart being very sick... and then continues on with these words from our prayer.

C. We see that this plea is to cure us from a sick heart

  • This is a prayer for a cure for bad character traits and sin!
  • One can be sick in the heart and not even know that they were sick!
  • The scariest part of having a sick heart is not realizing how ill it is.
  • This is why we say "Heal us G-d, and we'll be healed" because only G-d knows if our heart is sick or not.

A. This is the only bracha [blessing] where we mention Hashem [G-d] in the beginning of the prayer, the reason for this is because often we are unaware of our own sickness

  • "Save us, and we will be saved" why don't we mention Hashem's [G-d] name by this phrase? Rav Schwab says that this is a prayer for the illnesses of the heart that we ARE aware of.

A. Often, these emotions, fears, arrogance etc are outgrowths of not being close to G-d.

B. One way to come close to G-d is by praying to Him.

C. It helps us work on our trust in G-d and become close to Him.

D. "Like a baby in his mother's arms, so too am I in G-ds arms" -Dovid Hamelech [King David]

1. If a mother carries a baby in her arm all over the neighborhood, the baby not realize that he traveled all over because as far as he's concerned he's in his mothers arms.

2. So too we should feel secure in Hashem's [G-d] arms that we are always protected by Him.

  • How do we spiritually heal our souls?
  • Hashgacha Pratis Stories... Stories of Divine Inspiration

1. "Hashem [G-d] loves me stories" There are many stories of small miracles that happen every day. Whenever one of these stories occurs, write it down!

2. This notebook full of stories would fill you with feelings of being taken care of by G-d.

3. Sometimes we look at a situation and think "How could this happen?" And we don't realize the good until weeks/months/years later. But there is always a happy ending.

  • Work on your character traits

1. A person should learn a book of character development every day. [For instance, Tomer Devorah]

2. Spiritual growth is like a wagon moving uphill. As long as its moving up it doesn't matter how slow its going. But once that wagon stops it starts to go down! There's no such thing as stagnation!

3. You don't have to take giant steps, you have to take baby steps. If you take giant steps you'll end up tripping over your feet!

4. Lets say you want to work on anger.. what should you do about it?

a. You have to have practical strategies.

b. The evil inclination [yetzer hara] is very smart, he's pretty old and has been around for a long time.

c. you have to be one step ahead of yourself how you're going to fight your evil inclination!

d. There's a great story about R' Yitzchok Nevohrkie. He had a strategy - before he would get angry he would put on a special coat called his "angry coat". There was once a lady who was driving him crazy. He said to his attendant, "Feivel! Go bring me my angry coat!" Feivel brought it, and by the time R' Yitzchok put it on and buttoned all the buttons, he was no longer angry.

e. Often only the initial feeling of anger is difficult to counteract.

f. If you have trouble with anger... do Lamaze! The relaxation, the focal points etc are so important. If you take Lamaz and twist the words, you get Mazal [good fortune]. If you follow these relaxation techniques you can create your own Mazal.

1. We have to learn to relaaax. You have to keep yourself under control. And learn how to breathe!

2.Focal point: focus on one thing. Focus on G-d!!

3. If you focus on G-d during something extremely painful, you'll be able to make it through the difficult time.

g. Don't get discouraged!

  • Don't forget to Daven [pray]! This is so important to be saved from emotional and mental pain and spiritual illness.

  • The next part of the blessing is "We beg a complete cure from all our illnesses"
  • Here we're asking G-d to save us from all of our physical illnesses as well.

a. At the end of the day, only G-d heals!

b. Hashem [G-d] has given permission to the doctors to heal. He has created emissaries who have the power to heal. But it's all coming from G-d in the end.

c. Illnesses CAN be changed through tefillah [prayer]. This is because G-d is not bound by His own laws!

d. If one puts all their faith in the actual doctor, they limit themselves to the laws of nature and the doctor. But one who puts all their faith in G-d, He will personally oversee the healing of that person.

d. Rav Avigdor Miller says that illness is meant for a person to re-evaluate his deeds and misdeeds. It is a message that you should become closer to G-d.

  • How can we ask G-d to heal the sick if we know that everything G-d does is for the good? How can we we ask G-d to take away something that was meant for the good?

a. The illness is for the person's soul searching, when that person starts to daven [pray] he is already doing his soul searching!

  • There are many times that we pour our hearts out and the person is not healed. Where did all those prayers go?!
  • Every prayer accomplishes something! No tear is shed for nothing! It all goes somewhere.
  • Those prayers will effect something at some point. No prayer goes for nothing.
  • You never know how much your prayers have helped a person in a physical or even spiritual sense!
  • Where our logic ends, our belief has to begin.
  • Everything that G-d does is for a reason!
  • Everything is for the good, even if we don't see it with our own eyes.
  • Who knows how much we ourselves are saved from by our great-grandparents' tefillos [prayers]? How many tragedies are we saved from? Who knows?
  • We end off with "For You G-d, King, reliable and merciful Healer.

a. We are showing that G-d is all powerful in His mercy, and with the word King we show that He is all powerful in His justice as well.

  • Hashem [G-d] sent the sickness out of mercy, and in the merit of taking this to heart we can hope for our salvation
  • Sickness can give us an appreciation for health as well.
  • Our body is absolutely incredible! From the power of sight, hearing, touch, the liver, the digestion system.. its mind boggling.
  • Did you know that the stomach lining contains about 35 million glands? all together they secrete 6 pints of hydrochloric acid! This activates an enzyme that starts protein digestion. We can practically eat anything because of this complex and amazing process.
  • The human hand is so complex. it has 27 bones. The huge supply of nerves, thousands of nerve endings concentrated in your hands.
  • The tongue! The bumps on the tongue contain about 9,000 taste buds.
  • The body heals itself all the time. If you rip your stockings, they will always be ripped. But if you rip your skin and you get a cut, your body will heal itself!
  • We end off with "Blessed are you G-d, who heals the sick of His nation, Israel"

a. we thank Hashem [G-d] for the special protection that we ourselves have as His people.

b. All sickness is for us to come close to G-d

May we all be blessed with healing of the soul and the body and merit to serve G-d in good health always, Amen.

You've got questions? She's got answers!

Q. Can you explain about inserting names in this prayer?
A. There is a special place in this prayer to insert names of the ill person. [If you look in the Artscroll, there is an asterisk by that point]

Q. Does putting someone on a list give them a refua [healing] even if they don't believe in G-d, or don't know that you're doing it, etc.?
A. It absolutely has an effect! A prayer is bringing merit to that person. R' Mattisyahu Solomont writes about this. He asks how does a person make a change in G-ds decree? What do all the prayers do? The answer is that by us praying for someone, we are giving that person merit. They are the cause of our prayers and the source of the connection that we produce between us and G-d. And it actually adds to their merit and their spiritual place is changed.

Q. Do we only do this for other Jews? Can we do it for non-Jews as well? What if you don't know a person's Hebrew name?
A. This is of course for anyone. G-d has a special place in His heart for the Jews, but you can pray for everyone. You only have to say "G-d, you know who I'm talking about". You should try and find out what their Hebrew name is.

Q. Does it have the same oomph if you don't know the Hebrew name?
A. I'm not G-d, so I don't know. But I'm sure if you have the right intention and you're praying from the heart, I don't think G-d gets bogged down with the logistics! G-d wants the heart. If the intention is there, it's OK.

Q. So its more a reflection of us who are praying than the person who is being prayed for correct?
A. Yes, its about the one who is praying!
A. [Necha Golda] - There's a great book on prayer, "Praying with Fire" as well as "Understanding Afterlife in this Life"

Q. Why are some of the words in the siddur different than what you're saying?
A. There are two different versions because there are minor changes that happened in different parts of the world and different words were changed from their original text. So people pray according to what their father's prayed. It doesn't really make a difference what you say.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.