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Desecrate Shabbat!


As many of you are now aware, I had to “violate” Shabbat in order to bring Rivka to the ER on Shabbat (hence, the lack of email this morning).  In truth, when it comes to saving a life (a situation called pikuach nefesh), we are commanded: Desecrate one Shabbat in order to observe many more (Shabbat 151b).  For more fascinating Jewish laws on pikuach nefesh and Shabbat, check out this article.

The doctors were completely baffled as to what was causing all of Rivka’s seemingly unconnected symptoms.  Every test and exam turned out negative.  Even when she seemed to be doing better, things would suddenly turn for the worse and we’d be at a loss again.

As soon as Shabbat was over, I posted about the situation on social media and within a few hours, dozens of people were praying for her recovery and by the morning, she woke up completely symptom free and feeling her bright and perky self again, thank G-d!

I believe this shows the power of prayer.  When others are praying for and thinking of the well being of another, then it has a real, physical effect in the world.

In this week’s Torah portion, the wicked king, Balak, hires a non-Jewish prophet, Bilam, to curse the Jewish people.  However, Bilam informs the king that he can only say what G-d puts into his mouth.  From this event, come some of the greatest blessings of the Jewish people in the Torah.  So great, in fact, that they are used in our prayer liturgy every day and mentioned during the priestly blessing on holidays.

From here we see how a potential evil can be channeled into tremendous good.  Likewise with violating the Shabbat in order to save a life.  The seemingly bad desecration of Shabbat is, in actuality, a tremendous mitzvah and spiritual conduit for the blessing of life, health and well being.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!

Rabbi Yossi

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