Spiritual Aspects of Medicine
In Episode #4 of “The Art of Medicine with Dr. Andrew Wilner” podcast, Rabbi Jeremy Simons and I discussed the role of the hospital chaplain in modern medical care and the importance of spiritual healing. While in rabbinical school, Rabbi Simons, Assistant Rabbi at Temple Israel in Memphis, TN, received extensive training to comfort people afflicted with illness, whether they are Jewish or not.
We examined the value of spiritual healing and how difficult it is to measure. The Rabbi explained that visiting the sick is a Jewish tradition that goes back thousands of years. According to the Talmud, a caring visit can relieve 1/60th of a patient’s disease burden. Jews believe that just as God should visit the sick, we too should extend ourselves to those in need. Visiting the sick is a “Mitzvah,” or good deed. The “human touch” may also facilitate healing.
While not as effective as penicillin, there are many medical illnesses where any relief would be welcome.
The Rabbi and I also broached the topic du jour of Coronavirus. He reflected on the role of a community rabbi and other clergy in offering spiritual support for global, medical catastrophes.
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