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Debbie B.

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Join date : 2011-09-05
Location : Chicagoland

PostSubject: Bikur Cholim   Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:56 am

So in addition to fulfilling the mitzvah of giving mishloach manot today, I fulfilled the mitzvah of bikur cholim (visiting the sick). A minyan member was in the hospital recovering from surgery to unblock a cardiac artery. I don't know her well, but she has always been friendly to me and she has been generous in hosting the minyan Chanukkah party in her apartment complex's party room a couple of time. And the hospital is only a few miles from where I work, so I could easily just leave work a little early and drop by to see her.

I brought her a "mishloach manot" package with hamentaschen (a bit bigger with more food than for other friends because she needed it more) and she was really happy to be able to eat the hamantaschen. I felt good about visiting her because she was a little down that even though her surgery was back on Monday, none of her adult children have come to visit her yet (although one of her son's is taking care of her two dogs for her, so it's not like she has been totally neglected by them all). She said that last night a female rabbi had come to the hospital with a young man who read the megillah for all the Jewish patients to be able to hear it. That made her really happy to be able to hear the megillah for Purim even though she was in the hospital.

For me, I like that bikur cholim is a mitzvah. I would still think about visiting sick friends without the religious requirement, but because it is a mitzvah (=commandment), I am more likely to do it rather than make excuses about being too busy or not being close friends with the sick person. It is one of the ways that being Jewish makes me a better person.
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Mychal

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Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: Bikur Cholim   Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:02 pm

My rabbi told a story one day:

Once there was a Jewish family who had no access to food (because of persecution). When the children came to the parents, begging for food, the parents told them that it was a fast day and they must all fast. The children accepted that answer and went to bed without tears.

A powerless situation was made empowering simply by believing that a choice was there to be made, and that they were choosing to go without in order to serve God. The result--no food--was the same regardless, but the idea that it was done for God made all the difference.

I find myself amazed at some of the things I will now do (or not do) in service to God. Like giving up pork. I am not one to diet or deny myself food on most occasions. But for God, I gave up pork and I'm in the process of giving up shellfish. I also fasted for Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur last year. I've never gone 24 hours without some form of food before.

I do find myself thinking about things in a Jewish way--and saying I need to do this or not do that because it's Jewish--and morally right--to do so. I certainly never thought that way as a Christian or unaffiliated monotheist.

I'm tempted to make myself a "What Should Jews Do?" bracelet. LOL.

Incidentally, though, that's the purpose of the tzitzit on your garments--to be a reminder to choose to do the right thing.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Bikur Cholim   Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:14 pm

I volunteer at a hospital which I really enjoy. Unfortunately, not being super well myself it seems I've had to cancel quite often lately. I miss it when I am not able to go.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Bikur Cholim   Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:33 pm

Dena, what do you do in your hospital volunteer work? I remember a child's picture book about girl who was a hospital "candy striper". (Must have really made an impression on me to remember it more than 40 years later!) One of my friends from elementary school was a "candy striper" when she was in high school and she went on to become a nurse.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Bikur Cholim   Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:52 pm

Debbie B. wrote:
Dena, what do you do in your hospital volunteer work? I remember a child's picture book about girl who was a hospital "candy striper". (Must have really made an impression on me to remember it more than 40 years later!) One of my friends from elementary school was a "candy striper" when she was in high school and she went on to become a nurse.

I refill packets for end of life support and Christian Bibles (we do have others but we only give them out by request since they are expensive). We also have prayer mail so I go to each "mailbox" within the hospital to collect it once a week. But as far as visiting the sick, I visit all the Jewish patients.
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