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Silent Songs of Strength: Shabbat Healing Reflections.

Written by שי טחן, 6/3/2024

Silent Songs of Strength: Shabbat Healing Reflections.

Rabbi Shay Tahan


Shabbat as day of prayer

Shabbat is a day of joy and happiness, where prayers should primarily focus on honoring and praising the Creator. Therefore, it is advised to refrain from private prayers and requests that may remind one of painful events, as they can disrupt the joy of Shabbat.

However, exceptions are made in times of crises, such as for a severely ill person, a terrible event such as a terrorist attack, or during a war. In such dire situations, prayers are permitted.

Still, it is advisable to schedule such prayers on weekdays. In exceptionally challenging times, the community may collectively engage in daily prayers, including on Shabbat. (ש״ע הרב סימן רפח סק״ט)

It seems incorrect, however, to designate Shabbat as the exclusive day for special prayers without including weekdays. The Gemara indicates that Chazal were initially reluctant to permit visiting the sick on Shabbat, allowing it only with difficulty. The concern was that visitors might cry out to Hashem for the patient's recovery, highlighting the severity of praying on Shabbat. The Mishna Brura(סימן רפז)  emphasizes that waiting until weekdays and visiting on Shabbat is therefore incorrect.

The Biur Halacha states that if a visitor went on a weekday, then he may also go visit the sick on Shabbat, but the poskim didn't favor the idea of a person visiting only on Shabbat. While there might be differences between this case and the question of praying on Shabbat where people gather due to available time, it is apparent that one should not initiate such an event exclusively for Shabbat.


Praying For the Sick.

One should refrain from praying on Shabbat for the sick and the wounded victims of war and terrorist attacks. Instead, it is recommended to mention them briefly and say(שלחן ערוך סימן רפז) : "It is Shabbat, when it is forbidden to cry out; healing will surely come soon, for His mercies are abundant; rest on Shabbat in tranquility." The Rema advises to omit the words: "His mercies are abundant." However, the above guidance is specifically for those who are minorly sick(מגן אברהם סימן רפח סעיף יד) . For those who are in life-threatening danger, we are allowed to pray for them on Shabbat since it is urgent.

Some poskim(רש״ז אורבעך בשלחן שלמה ערכי רפואה ח״ב עמוד רלד)  permit saying Tehilim for the sick even if they aren't in life-threatening danger, as long as it's done privately and not in public.

Also, it's permitted to say Tehilim for the sick in a way that it's not visibly evident that it's said for the sick. For example, just reciting Tehilim without specifically mentioning what it's for and without emphasizing it. This way, it appears as if the person is simply saying Tehilim without a special reason(רש״ז אורבעך בהליכות שלמה תפלה פי״ד בדבר הלכה יט ושו״ת תשובות והנהגות ח״ג סימן צ) .


Crying on Shabbat.

Although Shabbat is a day of joy and we are commanded to celebrate it as such, one who feels very sad due to the serious situation we are faced with may cry on Shabbat to relieve his pain(רמ״א סימן רפח) . The Taz(סק״ב) , on the other hand, says that the only crying permitted on Shabbat is the crying of a person who feels very close to Hashem, and therefore he cries an emotional cry, not a sad cry, similar to the way the great sage Rabbi Akiva cried every time he recited Shir HaShirim (זוהר חדש) as he understood the high spiritual level it reached.



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