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Parashat Mishpatim

Shalom Chaverim,

Next week the Madrichim are heading off for a weekend seminar to prepare ourselves for a new year of educating, ruaching and general hineni-ing. In the lead up our Melbourne roshim (Sammy and Charlotte) were looking for someone with a first aid certificate to act as a medic on our seminar.

As I got involved in this goose chase it got me thinking about why a first aid certificate suddenly gives one the power to help someone medically? Which got me thinking about a larger question; since when did humans become qualified to tamper in the health of others?

When the commentators read through the Torah they look for language which seems out of place, double words and strange word choices. In this parasha when discussing reparations for damages the Torah says;

וְרַפֹּ֥א יְרַפֵּֽא

Heal shall he heal

The double word indicates a deeper message beyond the simple translation of the text. The Gemara suggests that from 'here we derive that a physician has permission to heal.'

I spent this week running around catching up on medical appointments that I had missed on my gap year… doctor check-ups, orthodontist appointments, dentists appointments (well I actually missed that one, but never mind), and to think that these professionals had to be given 'permission' to do their invaluable work is absurd. However, if we compare Judaism to some older traditions, we see it is quite radical to allow mere mortals to tamper in disease, which is framed as Heavenly retribution for sin. But still, it sounds strange that G-d had to 'allow' doctors to heal, surely the permission should be given to the patient, allowing them to seek out healing.

A parable is told about Dr. Shmoylov waiting in line at the gates of heaven (picture waiting in line for tickets for the Aussie open, or at Solomon's butchers on Friday afternoon), he is infuriated that an important person such as himself is waiting in line with the other plebs. The angels ignore him but rush over to another doctor who arrived after Dr. Shmoylov! When he complains, the angels reveal that this doctor was, in fact, G-d himself, he just sometimes likes to play doctor…

Perhaps, the things we think we have great control over we actually don't. Maybe there is a higher being deciding some of these endings? Even when we think we are providing a great healing service to others, we can actually only do so with heavenly permission to perform our daily miracles.

Shabbat Shalom!

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