World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Bikur cholim

Article Id: WHEBN0012355488
Reproduction Date:

Title: Bikur cholim  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chesed
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Bikur cholim

For other uses, see Bikur cholim (disambiguation).

Bikur cholim (Hebrew: ביקור חולים‎; "visiting the sick"; also transliterated Bikur holim) refers to the mitzvah (Jewish religious commandment) to visit and extend aid to the sick.[1] It is considered an aspect of gemilut chasadim (benevolence, selflessness, loving-kindness).[2] It is traditional to recite prayers for healing, such as the Mi Shebeirach prayer in the synagogue, and Psalms (especially Psalm 119) on behalf of the sick.[3] Bikur cholim societies exist in Jewish communities around the world. The earliest Bikur cholim society on record dates back to the Middle Ages.[4]

History

The roots of Bikur cholim can be traced back to the Torah, when God visits Abraham after his circumcision (Genesis 18:1).

Bikur cholim is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud several times, in Tractate Nedarim 39a, 39b, and 40a. Nedarim 39a and 39b state that "[One must visit] even a hundred times a day" and that "He who visits a person who is ill takes away a sixtieth of his pain." Nedarim 40a says that "anyone who visits the sick causes him to live and anyone who does not visit the sick causes him to die"; it also states that those who visit the sick are spared from the punishments of Gehenna (hell) and that God sustains the sick, citing the Book of Psalms Chapter 31.[5] According to the Talmud, visits should not be very early or late in the day, and one should not stay too long. Relatives and friends are urged to visit as soon as possible. It is advised that a sick person not be informed of the death of a relative or friend lest it cause more pain.[3][6]

Visiting the sick during Shabbat, often after morning services, is a common practice; the House of Shammai opposed this but the House of Hillel viewed this as a mitzvah and the view of Hillel became part of halakha. Additionally, is also permissible to travel on Shabbat if a close relative falls ill.[3]

Organizations

There are many Bikur Cholim organizations in the United States, Israel and the World. They are not connected but generally serve similar purposes. One example in the United States is the California basedBikur Cholim, also known as the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, is a nonprofit organization in Greater Los Angeles and California, providing life-saving services and social support programs for children, adults, and families suffering from serious and life-threatening illness.[7] Its programs and services include physician referrals, help with treatment costs, free loan (g’mach) of medical equipment, visitation, meals, Blood & Bone Marrow program, Direct Donor Blood, Bikur Cholim House, the Living Room, Hearts of Angels Volunteers, Shabbox & Shabbos Closets, Kids Helping Kids, and a multi-media library.[8] Another Bikur Cholim organization,serving the Nation's capital, Washington D.C., as well as the Greater Washington D.C. area ( Northern VA and Montgomery County, MD) is the Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington, www.bikurcholimgw.org. Like other Bikur Cholim organizations, located in major cities, Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington serves Jewish patients coming its service area for medical treatment. Bikur Cholim of Greater Washington in particular assists Jewish patients at the NIH ( National Institutes of Health). The Rabbi Isaac N. Training Bikur Cholim Council in New York City holds an annual conference of visiting the sick that is attended by volunteers and professionals from around the country.

See also

References

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.