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Heal Us Please - Chronicle Online/The WORD 06/27/2024

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah

June 27, 2024

21 Sivan 5784

Parashat Sh'lach

A couple of nights ago, my daughter asked me if I wanted to watch a movie with her.  I don’t get offers like that too often. So, of course, I said yes.  

She had chosen the film “Beautiful Boy,” which is based on the true story of a writer named David Sheff, whose teenage son Nic became addicted to crystal meth.  It is a painful story about addiction, rehab and relapse.  Addiction to crystal meth is arguably the most difficult addiction to treat.  But somehow, miraculously, Nic Sheff has been clean and sober since 2011.   

It was such a compelling movie that I am now reading one of the books upon which it is based – both Nic and David wrote memoirs from their unique perspectives.

As a father, I empathized with David’s situation.  He was looking for some kind of magic wand to heal his son and make all his problems go away.  Of course, we all know that no such magic wand exists.  It took hard work and determination on the part of Nic to beat his addiction.   

I have to admit that it brought me back to final few verses of last week’s Torah portion.

Miriam was stricken with some kind of skin disease right in front of her two brothers – Moses and Aaron. Almost immediately, Moses was hoping for Divine intervention – a magic wand.  He reached out to God with a five-word plea for healing on behalf of his sister, “God, please, heal her please –  אל נא רפא נא לה  (see Numbers 12:13).“  

Now, Moses had a unique and special relationship with God.  If anyone could cause God to intervene and bring about healing instantaneously it would be Moses.  Nonetheless, even though God agreed to heal Miriam, she would have to wait seven days for her disease to go away.  Healing always takes longer than we expect, longer than we hope, longer than we want.

We don’t have to look very far to realize that our world is in need of healing.  Here in this country, our politics are divisive and painful.  There is a huge divide between the two major political parties.

In Israel, they are dealing with a similar political divide while also dealing with the aftereffects of October 7thand then ensuing war.

Closer to home, in our own families, we all know someone who is need of healing in one way or another.

And we know that there is no magic wand.  However, we can pray.  We can encourage our loved ones to keep fighting.  We can reach out to people with whom we don’t always agree in order to seek understanding.  And then maybe, just maybe, we’ll experience the kind of healing that Nic Sheff and Miriam experienced.

“God, please, heal her please –  אל נא רפא נא לה.“  



PS - If you are interested in seeing the slides from my presentation on Shavuot, click here

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