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The Preventive Medicine Of Tefilla

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 14/7/2019

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The Preventive Medicine Of Tefilla

We say at a Bris ואמר לך בדמיך חיי ואמר לך בדמיך חיי; in your blood you shall live.[1] We know that there are many sick people that need more blood. So, we say this Pasuk at a Bris meaning that in the merit of this blood, this baby should have a healthy life where he doesn’t need a blood transfusion. In this way, we can explain בדמיך חיי- that the baby should live with his own blood his entire life and not need the blood of others.[2]


In Birchas Hamazon we say ונא אל תצריכנו ה' אלה-ינו לא לידי מתנת בשר ודם; please make us not needful, Hashem, of the gifts of human hands. This can also be understood as a gift of בשר meaning transplants from others, and דם as referring to receiving blood from others.כי אם לידך המלאה הפתוחה הקדושה והרחבה; only of Your hand that is full, open, holy and generous.[3] 


After we use the bathroom we say the Bracha of אשר יצר while when we daven Shemoneh Esrei we recite the Bracha of רפאנו. What is the difference between these two? R’ Shimshon Pincus explains that the Bracha of רפאנו is for one to be healed after becoming sick, as is implicit from this Bracha. This is in contrast to the Bracha of אשר יצר which is to prevent one from becoming sick to begin with.  

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] Yechezkel 16:6

[2] אוצר פלאות התורה, Bamidbar, pgs 449

[3] אוצר פלאות התורה, Bamidbar, pg 450. When R’ Yechezkel Abramsky was told about a person that needed a blood transfusion, he related that when he says in Birchas Hamazonונא אל תצריכנו ה' אלה-ינו לא לידי מתנת בשר ודם, he has in mind that he should never need a blood transfusion. When his students asked him if this is the meaning of these words, he replied that when one says the Tefillos and Brachos that Chazal instituted, he can intend in the words any Tefilla he desires.   

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