web analytics
May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Two Most Important Words


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

As I’ve noted in recent weeks, appreciation is a lost concept in our society. Even when we are blessed by the many kindnesses of G-d, we tend to take them for granted and delude ourselves into thinking we are responsible for them all. In vain did our Torah warn us not to fall into the trap of “my strength and the power of my own hand accomplished this.”

But while we are quick to take credit for our successes, we are even quicker to blame G-d for our failures, our sufferings, our illnesses. “Where is G-d?” we cry. “How could He do this to us?” The hypocrisy of this never occurs to us.

I feel privileged to share with you my beloved husband’s attitude during the most painful and trying moments of his terminal illness. I recall when my husband had his first surgical procedure at New York University Hospital. That he constantly thanked his doctors and nurses goes without saying. Even in the recovery room, while still heavily sedated, he never forgot this imperative.

I was standing outside the recovery room anxiously waiting to be admitted to see him when Mrs. L passed by.

“Rebbetzin, what are you doing here?” she asked. “Who is sick?”

“My husband just underwent surgery,” I told her.

“Is he in recovery yet?”

I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. She must have felt my pain and fears because she immediately said, “Come, I’ll take you in to see him.”

Mrs. L is in charge of bikur cholim in many New York hospitals. The Talmud teaches that visiting the sick is a precept that is so important that while reward for its performance is given in this world, the principal remains intact in the world to come. From time immemorial Jewish communities have had bikur cholim societies dedicated to helping patients and assisting their family members. Mrs. L and her staff of volunteers bring homemade lunches and dinners to patients, help those who have financial difficulties, and in general try to make the ordeal of illness a bit more tolerable and dignified.

“Come,” she said to me now in her effervescent manner. “Let’s put on surgical gowns and we’ll go in to see the rabbi.” And with that, she pressed the buzzer.

When the nurse came to the door, Mrs. L explained that we were there to see Rabbi Jungreis, and though it was obvious from the nurse’s expression that she didn’t approve, she escorted us to my husband’s bedside. Mrs. L commanded respect in the hospital.

My husband appeared to be sleeping, but he must have sensed our presence because he opened his eyes and when he saw us his face immediately lit up with his beautiful smile.

Mrs. L walked away to give us some privacy.

“Call her back,” my husband whispered. “I have to thank her for bringing you in.”

“I thanked her already,” I assured him.

“But I didn’t,” he responded.

Not only did he thank her, but he mustered his strength to bless her as well.

In his final days of illness at Memorial Sloan Kettering, my husband desperately wanted to breathe some fresh air, to feel the wind on his face, to see the skies and the birds flying by. But for the patients’ protection the windows at the hospital could not be opened, so we asked permission to wheel him out to the street for a few minutes. It was an especially cold, snowy January day, but we were determined to grant my husband’s wish. I brought his long heavy coat, a sweater and a hat, and when the nurse dressed him I had to turn away because I couldn’t hold back my tears. He had lost so much weight, his hat and coat just hung on him.

Slowly my sons wheeled him to the front entrance of the hospital. It looked as if it was going to start to snow again but to my husband the sky was beautiful. Gratefully he breathed in the cold air and thanked us profusely for having made it possible for him to see G-d’s wondrous world one more time.

Saying “thank you” came naturally to my husband, but for many of us these two little words are very difficult to articulate. This may appear paradoxical, but even though gratitude would render us much happier people, we fight it.

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.

2 Responses to “The Two Most Important Words”

  1. Orah Peer says:

    Yashar koach! great Article.

  2. Leah Urso says:

    Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

I try to be observant, davening daily, but it hasn’t awakened my heart or my mind or changed my life

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

“Surely,” my family insisted, “there must be someone suitable for you. You can’t be so picky.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/the-two-most-important-words/2013/04/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: