In our Torah portion this week, which comes from the Book of Leviticus, we are provided with a glimpse of how our ancestors viewed illness as well as wellness. In these chapters we find detailed information concerning the priestly rituals proscribed for the healing and purification of those afflicted with a wide variety of ailments. As disturbing as the Torah’s descriptions of these priestly practices may be, there is no doubt that our ancestors understood ritual to be inextricably linked to the process of healing.
In truth, illness can be a lonely experience. Sickness can isolate us from the world of human contact for prolonged periods of time, and this can be very depressing. Over the past two years, COVID-19 has brought many of us face to face with this reality.
If we have learned anything over the course of this pandemic, it is that human beings are social animals. We need contact with others to maintain our mental health. We need to know people care about us – we need to feel loved.
We have also learned that a simple visit from a friend or a call from the rabbi can bring great comfort and aid in the healing process. Thankfully, our pastoral practices today are much different from those we find in the Book of Leviticus, but the tradition of linking physical healing to ritual practice continues to remain central to who we are as a faith.
May all that we do at HCRJ help us bring healing, strength, comfort, and peace to all who need it in our community and in the world around us.