15 New Bikkur Cholim Rulings From Rav Elyashiv zt”l

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By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

The following fifteen rulings from Rav Elyashiv are culled from the newly released volume of Ashrei HaIsh on Choshain Mishpat (pages 408-410).  Some of these rulings may be somewhat surprising.  The sefer has haskamos from the leading Gedolim of Eretz Yisroel.

The reader is reminded that to check with one’s own Rav or Posaik for any questions.  The rulings have been artificially re-stated in question and answer form by the author of this article in order to facilitate greater comprehension.  The topics have been re-ordered for the same reason.

WHAT ARE THE PARAMETERS OF WHO IS SUBJECT TO BIKKUR CHOLIM?

There is a Mitzvah of Chessed and a Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim.  Bikur Cholim applies only to someone who is home-bound on account of his or her illness.  Visiting someone who is in bed because of a broken limb or a wound – but feels good is a Mitzvah of chessed, but not of Bikkur Cholim – unless he or she is truly bed-ridden.

IS IT TRUE THAT RAV ELYASHIV RULED THAT ONE MAY NOT SAY A MISHEBAYRACH ON SHABBOS IF THERE IS NO DANGER TO THE ILL PERSON?

No.  This is false. One may recite a Mishebayrach even for a choleh sh’ain bo sakana.

MAY ONE FULFILL BIKKUR CHOLIM THROUGH THE TELEPHONE?

The halacha states that one should NOT perform bikkur cholim in the first 3 hours of the day (YD 335:4).  This is because the choleh appears healthier during that time than he really is and the visitor will not adequately request rachamim (mercy) for him. We see from here that bikkur cholim is so that he will daven properly for him. We see further that it is also to help him (ibid sif 8). Neither of these can be accomplished through the telephone.  However, there is still the Mitzvah of Chessed that is accomplished through the telephone if the choleh benefits from the call.

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DOES ONE FULFILL THE CONCEPT OF BAKASHAS RACHAMIM -REQUESTING MERCY BY WISHING HIM OR HER A REFUAH SHLEIMAH?

It actually depends upon how he says it.  If it is a genuine bracha that he gives him – then yes, he has fulfilled “bakashas Rachamim.”  If it is said in a perfunctory manner (b’amirah b’alma) – then he has not fulfilled this requirement.

HOW DOES ONE DAVEN FOR A CHILD WHO HAS NOT YET BEEN NAMED?

When davening for a child that has not yet been named, one should say, “the baby the child of ______ (insert mother’s name) the daughter of ____________ (insert grandmother’s name).

WHAT IF I DO NOT KNOW THE GRANDMOTHER’S NAME?

If one does not know the grandmother’s name then one may say, “the daughter of Chava” in the blank referring to the grandmother.

MAY A CHOSSON AND KALLAH IN SHEVA BRACHOS PERFORM BIKKUR CHOLIM?

Certainly.  Since it is the performance of a Mitzvah, there is no prohibition of doing something that causes them tzaar – anguish.

MAY ONE DAVEN FOR SOMEONE WHO IS CONSIDERED BRAIN DEAD?

If the patient underwent brain trauma and the doctors have determined that both the brain and its stem have been injured with no chance of recovery and the patient has entered a “vegetative state” rachmana litzlan – one is yet permitted to pray in the blessing of “Refa’ainu” even though it is forbidden to pray for an absolutely miraculous cure.  The reason it is permitted to pray for him in Refa’ainu is because it can lessen the severity of the choleh’s situation.

MAY ONE DAVEN IN REFA’AINU FOR SOMEONE TO HAVE KIDS?

Yes, certainly.  It pertains to refa’ainu because there is some sort of deficit (kilkul) in the body.

WHEN FORMULATING THIS REQUEST – DOES ONE SAY “TISHLACH REFUAH SHLEIMA” OR TIFKOD B’ZERAH SHEL KAYAMA?”

Either one is fine. It may also be done in Shma Koleinu.

[NOTE: Indeed, when Rav Elyashiv zt”l davened for a relative who did not have children he did so in shma koleinu and said the following:

יהי רצון מלפניך שתפקוד בזרע של קיימא לפלוני בן פלונית

ופלונית בת פלונית בתוך שאר חשוכי בנים מעמך ישראל ]

WHAT IF WE DO NOT KNOW WHETHER IT IS THE HUSBAND’S ISSUE OR THE WIFE’S?

Then mention both of their names.

SOMEONE NEEDS A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT. SHOULD ONE DAVEN AT THE GRAVE OF HIS PARENTS? OR IS IT PREFERABLE TO DAVEN FOR HIM AT THE KOSEL?

The Kosel.

SOMEONE’S CHILD IS SICK. HE WANTS TO DAVEN FOR 40 DAYS STRAIGHT AT THE KOSEL. IS THAT AN INYAN?

Davening constantly is always good.  But where does this forty days straight come from?  They should daven there whenever they want.

SOMEONE WANTS TO GO TO THE KEVER OF RABBI SHIMON BAR YOCHAI TO DAVEN FOR A CHOLEH. HE REQUESTs A BRACHA FROM RAV ELYASHIV..

If you are telling me that you are going – it should be with hatzlacha.  If you are asking me whether to go or not, it is preferable to daven at the Kosel.  Because the Shechina has not moved from there.

BUT THE LESHAIM CITES THE VILNA GAON THAT THE SHECHINA RESTS AT THE GRAVES OF TZADDIKIM?

Yes, but the graves of Tzaddikim is like the hashra’as hashechina – but the kosel is the hashraas hashechina itself.

=== An innocent Child is Suffering.  Insurance Won’t Cover it. Please Help if You Can. ===

https://thechesedfund.com/zechornilah/adifficultsituation

The author can be reached at [email protected]

=== An innocent Child is Suffering.  Insurance Won’t Cover it. Please Help if You Can. ===

https://thechesedfund.com/zechornilah/adifficultsituation


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