Hebraic Studies – He Who Heals

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“He Who Heals”

With Rabbi Reuven Ben-Avraham.

What does it mean to trust Elohim as healer? Jews have been seeking answers to this question for millennia. In Shemot - Exodus 15;26, Elohim said:

“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His eyes, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon thee, which I have put upon the Egyptians; for I am that healeth thee” Shemot - Exodus 15:26 (JPS version of the Torah with corrections).

This verse, where Elohim declares: “I am that healeth thee,” is sandwiched between the Israelites’ moaning about the bitter waters of Shemot - Exodus 15:23-24 and their complaining that they would have been better off back in Egypt in Shemot - Exodus 16:2 & 3).

Does Elohim’s declaration as healer in Shemot - Exodus 15:26 offer a source of consolation to the fearful Israelites? He says that if you will heed to your Elohim diligently then He will not bring upon you any of the diseases that He brought upon the Egyptians.

Now in a way this was more of a threat than a source of comfort and healing. For that verse was not a promise, but a warning that they should not be among (Elohim’s) enemies, like the Egyptians. If they heed (Elohim), they will escape from all those diseases that came upon those who were against (Elohim’s) will.

This is the correct understanding of this verse in the context of the Israelites’ irreverence. They have just witnessed Elohim's might in their redemption at the parting of the sea, and yet they have already lost faith that Elohim will protect them on their journey. Therefore this verse is not so much about Elohim’s healing power, but of Elohim’s omnipotence, capable of punishing or healing, creating or destroying.

Thus the verse is clearly a threat in its context. It is indicative of the interactive and demonstrative Presence of Elohim in Torah, which has been more elusive in general Torah teaching history.

However, there is no doubt regarding the second part of the verse, “for I the Eternal am your healer," stating that "this is a promise." Ibn Ezra understands the verse as saying: “I am that healeth thee” just as “I healed the bitter water”. You need no other healer, for no doctor could have ‘cured’ that water.

Thus we must be faithful and prayerful to Elohim, and love Elohim, for Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified name, will treat you well. Elohim’s transformation of the bitter waters was an example of His miraculous wonders and of the divine reward that comes to those who devote themselves to Him. Doctors heal through medicine and procedures; whilst Elohim’s healing comes from being in close and a loving on-going relationship.

A more practical understanding of the said verse, suggests that it is a prescription for how to live a good life in faith. Personally I believe that; I can only teach you the Torah and its commandments, for it contains the best way that your will be greatly improved and at the same time be saved by living by them, I am like a doctor who tells someone, “Don’t eat this particular food, for it will put you at risk for this particular illness.” Healing may not just be the main sign of Elohim’s miraculous powers, but as a result of a life well lived. For the truth is that in a way, Elohim helps those who help themselves. Elohim offers us with a guide that can lead us to a healing life, if we choose to follow His ways.

Many of the rabbinate is predicated on the premise that Judaism offers the Halachah (“law” from the Hebrew root meaning “to walk”) as a path to fulfillment, a road map to connect to Elohim. Judaism teaches that we all have an obligation to study Halachah and choose from it those things that strengthen our bonds to Elohim, blessed be He, and the community.

I am well aware that part of me yearned for a miraculous healing from Elohim and there certainly has been healing in my heart, although knowing that as yet Elohim has not healed all, but His blessed presence has made life a joy!

We all need a little more faith in our lives and take some time to share within our wonderful Jewish community, and find the peace that allows us to persevere our faith and keep up our prayers, and enjoy the blessings that comes with lighting the Shabbat and Yom Tovim lights, and then enjoy the Kiddush together with the Mishpacha (family) if that is at all possible.

Shalom - and …

 

May … “ bless thee, and keep thee;

make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;

lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”

Be’midbar – Numbers 6: 24-26 (JPS version of the Torah).

Remember to say the ‘Shema Yisrael’ at least twice per day!

And remember our motto seen on the logo at the top of this page: “The More Torah, the More Life”, for Elohim, blessed be His Sanctified Name, is the one who gave us our Life!”

Rabbi Reuven Ben Avraham.

For those who have a yearning to learn more about the Torah and grow in being a good and faithful Jew, there are many valuable studies on Hebraic Studies enter the index below. If you have any questions you are welcome to email me.

 

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