web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


A Meaningful Hospital Stay During Chanukah

Lessons-logo

Patience seems to be in such short supply these days, yet it can make a world of difference. This is particularly so in certain kinds of stressful situations whereby we think we only have time to act in a knee-jerk way instead of acting thoughtfully.

I learned much about this last Chanukah when I came down with cellulitis of my left leg and was sent by my doctor to a local hospital’s emergency room. Admittance took more than an hour, and before long I was hooked up to an IV. In the ER, with no privacy, one of the men told me he had been there for over two days. My countenance sank considerably. Getting transferred to a regular room became my most fervent wish.

After a request and a few breaks, I was notified that I would soon be going to a regular room. Joy overcame me. But it would be short-lived, as I would soon be reminded of that old adage: “Be careful what you wish for; lest it come true.”

After being taken out of a wheelchair, and, in much pain gently placed in the bed, I heard across the two movable curtains that separated me from my unseen roommate the jarring sounds of his recordings. A man was seemingly being tortured in the recording, and his screams were desperate. It was like hearing screeching chalk on a blackboard.

Then the screams stopped. Some disturbing rap-type music that included a liberal sprinkling of four-letter words sounded instead. When that stopped, the original annoying cycle continued – at times loud; at other times a bit more tolerable. (When I heard the sounds of torture, I felt like shouting to my roommate, “Turn that thing off!”)

But even in pain from the cellulitis, and despair in what I was hearing, I somehow knew that shouting at and/or demanding something from my anonymous roommate would not be the way to go. So in pain and with disgust, I felt helpless. I don’t like feeling helpless, as I’m a strong believer in taking steps to improve a situation. But since I knew only that he liked listening to obscene and violent programming, I felt powerless.

What would my hospital stay be like? Instead of relaxing, reading and sleeping, and enjoying my wife’s visits while the IV antibiotics worked their cure, I would likely be on edge, anxious, and unhappy – certainly not a prescription for recovery. And how would I pray three times a day in that room? And just my luck: It was Chanukah, and the Festival of Lights could easily turn into Days of Darkness.

I was determined not to surrender to despair. If this were a test from a God who loves me, I would focus on thinking of a way to respond. Reminded of my purpose in this world, and feeling hopeful despite no concrete plan of action, it suddenly came to me as to what my course of action would be. Before I ask him to lower the noise, I had to make contact with him as one human being to another. But how?

After much thought, two strategies came to mind: I formulated an opening statement, and I’d make him an offer. I asked him how he was feeling, and received a reply of “not so good.” I felt compassion for him, having heard the sadness in his voice. Imagine that just moments earlier, I felt disdain for him. But now, I realized he was a fellow human being who was hurting.

Then came my offer. I’d try to help him cope with his struggle, not as a medical expert (which I wasn’t) but rather in human terms. After exchanging names, I assured him that I’d pray for his full recovery. With feeling, he thanked me.

Although still not seeing him, he no longer seemed that distant.

When one of us subsequently got up to walk around, we saw each other briefly and exchanged short, cordial greetings. Awaking from my sleep in the middle of the night, I decided to walk some more. Getting out of bed was very painful and walking was excruciatingly difficult. But I was wrong to think that I was alone in my pain, as I heard my roommate ask me if I was okay. I said that despite the pain while walking, I would give it my best effort. He suggested I ask for a cane to help me walk better. Thanking him, I said that I’d rather remain as independent as possible and walk on my own if at all practical.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Meaningful Hospital Stay During Chanukah”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015.
‘Alliance Between Israel & US Must Always Remain Above Politics’
Latest Judaism Stories
wine

One can drink up to the Talmud’s criterion to confuse Mordechai and Haman-but not beyond.

Hur and Aharon holding up Moshe's hands as Joshua battled Amalek.

“The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav” gives great insight to Purim

Esther Denouncing Haman

Purim is the battleground of extremes, Amalek and Yisrael, with Zoroastrian Persia in between.

Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Forever After?
‘Obligated for Challahh and Not Terumah’
(Kesubos 25a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

The way we must to relate to our young adult children is to communicate with genuine loving-kindness

More Articles from Alan Magill
Lessons-Emunah-logo

The simple act of kindness should be the reward itself. Anything more in the form of a reward is gravy.

Lessons-logo

Patience seems to be in such short supply these days, yet it can make a world of difference. This is particularly so in certain kinds of stressful situations whereby we think we only have time to act in a knee-jerk way instead of acting thoughtfully.

I recently heard a Pirkei Avos shiur in which the speaker said that our spiritual DNA derives from our patriarchs and matriarchs. The great tests they withstood and for which they gained ever greater prominence was witnessed by the Jews who followed them, many of whom succeeded in overcoming great challenges as well. It seems that an individual’s great effort helps the spiritual strength kick in.

The first and only time I said I was a rabbi was also the first and only time I had a gun pointed at me. What led me to that moment was my need to stay on the Upper West Side for a Shabbos and a hospitality committee that arranged for me to stay with a man who lived in the former janitor’s apartment on the fifth floor of a synagogue.

It is very important for Jews to first help family, then other Jews close to us, then Jews not as close. Next, if possible and appropriate, Jews should help those of any race or creed.

The five-year-old boy was in a church in Puerto Rico with his parents. As they and his grandparents were Catholics, that made him Catholic – as far as his young mind could figure.

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

Feeling more alone than at any time since arriving in New York, I looked inside myself for anything that could anchor me to bring me back to who I was, to move away from illusions of romance to my central sticking point. Suddenly and unexpectedly, being a Jew meant more to me than anything else in the world.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/a-meaningful-hospital-stay-during-chanukah/2013/11/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: