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Advice for the friend of a terminally ill individual

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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Question:

My friend has lived for fifteen years with multiple sclerosis. She is currently in a hospice with kidney failure, and is receiving sustenance intravenously. The doctors say that she will die within a month. Do you have any words of comfort?


Answer:

My blessings for much strength and may your friend have a speedy recovery.

Doctors are authorized by G-d to heal. They are not empowered to predict the end of life. Life is in G-d’s hands, and we should always remember that, and trust Him.

Another moment of life means another opportunity to spend time with a loved one; another chance to do a mitzvah and thereby to create an eternal connection with the Creator
I therefore suggest that you and she live with these two ideas in mind:

1) Live with the knowledge that G-d creates each of us, and has a purpose for us every moment that we live. Another moment of life means another opportunity to spend time with a loved one; another chance to do a Mitzvah and thereby to create an eternal connection with the Creator. Live life and enjoy it every day. Live life and help make others enjoy it every day.

2) Live with the knowledge that G-d is watching over us, and He is all-powerful. No matter what the situation, we can always pray to Him for a complete and speedy recovery. In the words of our sages, “even if a razor-sharp sword is lying on the neck, do not despair.”

It would be advisable to ask for a special blessing and prayer by writing a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe at www.ohel.org.


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COMMENTS

A friend with a Terminal Illness

Posted by: Judith Yacov, Herzlia, Israel on Jan 22, 2009

I found your interpretation very encouraging. Those extra moments aren't just prolonged suffering but extra moments for opportunities for mizvahs and, hopefully, they will mitigate the suffering.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Miscellaneous » Health Issues » Medical Ethics

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Lubavitcher
One who follows the teachings of the Chassidic group which was formerly based in the Belarus village of Lubavitch. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York with branches worldwide. The Lubavitch movement is also widely known as "Chabad."
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.