Praying for Health

I never noticed this until now, but when we say the Asher Yatzar bracha (blessing said after going to the bathroom), we say at the end:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ רוֹפֵא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשֹוֹת

Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.

However, during Amidah, we pray to Hashem by saying this:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ , רופֵא חולֵי עַמּו יִשְׂרָאֵל

Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals all the sick people of the Jewish nation.

The first bracha in Asher Yatzar is a prayer to Hashem for healing all of mankind but the second bracha in the Amidah is only a prayer to Hashem for healing the Jews.  Why is this?

The gemara in Megillah 18b answers that each bracha in the Amidah is there for a specific reason.  The bracha on healing the Jews is the eighth bracha of the Amidah.  This corresponds to the eighth day of a Jewish baby, when he is circumcised.  Since only Jews have the commandment of having a circumcision, this blessing only applies to Jews and not the rest of mankind.  Therefore, the blessing only refers to healing of Jews.  However, the bracha of Asher Yatzar, which refers to blessing Hashem for allowing our bodily orfices to function properly is something that applies to everyone.  That’s why that bracha refers to all of mankind.

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Haman is the Pits

For those of you not following Daf Yomi, we just started doing the whole gemara in Megillah that discusses the story of Purim. Of course, with Purim coming in three weeks, this is very apropos. On Daf 14, the gemara discusses Haman’s ‘bargaining’ to Achashverosh to allow Haman to kill all the Jews. Haman offered plenty of good reasons to kill the Jews, including a large amount of money, but at the end, Achashverosh tells Haman to keep his money and that he too had wanted the Jews annihilated.

The gemara then goes on to compare the above exchange to two neighbors; one has a large pile of dirt and is looking to get rid of it, and the other has a large hole in the ground and is looking to fill it. When the neighbor with the hole in the ground finds out that the other guy can help him, he offers him money. The neighbor refuses the money because he is quite happy to get rid of his pile of dirt.

There’s an obvious question here. Why do we need the story following the one about Achashverosh and Haman? It’s obvious that they were both getting something they both wanted and that no money needed to change hands. So what is the story regarding the dirt teaching us?

Like many questions in Judaism, we answer this with another question. We see that both Achashverosh and Haman both equally wanted to wipe out the Jews. Yet at the end of the story, we see that Haman and his sons and followers are all destroyed, and Achashverosh not only maintains his dynasty, he also emerges as a part-hero! Why is this so?

So there are those that want to say that the pile of dirt is analogous to Achashverosh, and that Haman is analogous to the ditch. Achashverosh had a deeper understanding of the power of the Jews. and understood that Hashem played a big role in the final outcome. He had a respect for the power of Hashem. Achashverosh was therefore hesitant to kill the Jews unless he knew that they were in a state of constant sin. Achashverosh also knew that if things were going to go well for the Jews, that there was no way they could be defeated. That’s why Achashverosh is compared to the pile of dirt. The pile of dirt is elevated from the ground signifying his being on a higher level. On the other hand, Haman’s hatred for the Jews was so intense that no rational thought could motivate him NOT to kill the Jews. For Haman, the only thought on his mind was to wipe out every last Jew from the face of the Earth. Therefore, in the final outcome, Haman was killed and Achashverosh was allowed to live. Additionally, that is why Haman is compared to the ditch, which is something that is on a lower level.

We should all strive to be doing good stuff, so that the ball can be on our court.

Not My Day: Monday

Due to the snow last week, I had a class that was cancelled.  The week before, the teacher wanted us to go to the MOTA Legislative Reception, so we missed class (no one went, but what do you expect if its going to be all the way in Annapolis).  Since we missed two weeks in a row, we suddenly got an email saying that we’re expected to make up a lot of the work on our own time.  This meant going to school and examining two cabinets full of occupational therapy assessments.  Since the person in charge of checking out these assessments is only there certain hours of the day, I had to be there at 8am.  Fine.  I get there, write up all the assessments in cabinets 3 and 4, and come home.  I find out I was supposed to do cabinets 4 and 5.  It’s now 9:30am, and I see this is going to be a great day.

As part of my graduate project, I have to interview teens for a special project, and they live two hours away, in Pennsylvania.  Today, my group and I were going to drive there and conduct the interviews and get our research under way.  Just as I was getting ready to leave, I was finishing my deli sandwhich, and it slipped out of my hands and subsequently painted my nice pair of pants with mustard. Great.

Next, I’m on the way to Target (our meeting point; it made sense for only one car to drive the four of us two hours away), when I get a phone call from my group member.  The teacher had called her and had found out that none of the teens we were going to interview were going to be there so we shouldn’t bother coming.

The fact that we weren’t going to Pennsylvania meant that I was going to have to go to class tonight, which is something I was hoping I’d miss.

Tuesday, please be kind.  Thanks.

Not My Day

Pennystock and SaraK had their moments.  Now its my turn.

It actually started last night with my not being able to fall asleep until welll after 2am due to my extended Shabbos nap. I woke up this morning to the shrill of my alarm clock at 6:30am so I could shower before taking my parents to the airport.  I get to my parent house, where I’m told that I had been informed that they got a ride from someone else and that I didn’t have to take them anymore.  Fine.  I then prepare for teaching at Gesher LaTorah, located at the JCC.  I get there and the lights are all out.  Turns out they’re closed for Presidents Day.  Doh.   I already had my morning coffee so I doubt I’ll be able to fall asleep anytime soon.

So here we are, about to begin one of my busier school weeks, and as of 9am Sunday morning, its already going bad.

Alleged Pledge 2.1

The same organization who was responsible for my post, “Alleged Pledge 2.0,” is responsbile for this one.  This envelope is labeled “Second Reminder” and also comes in two colors.  Like last time, the letter tries to guilt you into giving and reminds me twice that this is the second reminder.  Argh.  Should I just post the name of the organization and see if anyone else has this problem?

Posted in Mail, Rants. 4 Comments »

Steve Jobs Prank Calls Starbucks

While giving an iPhone demonstration, Steve Jobs shows how he can pull up a map of all the Starbucks‘ in his neighborhood and call whichever one he wants.  I wonder if the employee of that Starbucks will ever know that she actually spoke to the CEO of Apple.

Official Graduation Countdown

One-hundred days until graduation!

In my original post of the graduation countdown, I had mentioned in the commentsthat the graduation date was going to fall out on Shavuos, and I would therefore not be able to go.  This was going to affect the entire College of Health Professions.  However, I have now learned that they will have a special ceremony on the Friday after Shavuos for those who can’t attend their regular graduation because of Shavuos.  So it looks like I will be walking down after all.

Posted in School. 3 Comments »