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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 11:54:09 -0500 Subject: Caring for Sick people vs Mechallel Shabbos I am sure we were all touched by the recent anonymous posting of a woman who is dying of cancer and therefore rides to shule on shabbath because she can no longer walk. Her friends have begun slandering her and not trusting her Kashruth. I would like to offer some simple suggestions which might help: 1) I would suggest that the Rav of the community set up a rotational sequence of members to visit this woman on Shabboth...that way she gets visited once a week while no one member has to say spend more than one Shabboth a month by her. 2) I would suggest Mishebayrachs be made for her every week in her shule 3) I would also suggest that her friends visit her during the week with prepared foods they have made (after all if she can't walk to shule she probably has difficulty preparing food). 4) I urge that people have an attitude that even though this is a serious disease there are people who have been cured of it. 5) Finally with respect to the halachic problems of eating Kosher by a person who is Mechallel Shabbos. The issue of helping such people (this is a different question than say eating by them) is discussed in Rambam Laws of Murder, Chap 13, last law: Rambam states that even if you see a Jew sinning and rebuke him and he doesn't accept it, nevertheless, as long as he believes and is attached to the Jewish people it is incumbent to help his overladen animals "lest the person become anxious about his property ...". If we have to care about the women's property we certainly have to care about her herself (Bikur Cholim). I would strongly urge the Rav of the community to urge his congregants to separate eating and caring issues. Hopefully of course, if enough people visit her she may stop riding. Finally, let us remember that the Talmud relates that one of Rabbi Akivah's students was sick and Rabbi Akibah visited him every day until he got better. Rabbi Akiva then realized how important Bikur Cholim is since it led to this student getting better and began preaching to that effect. Refuah Shlemah to you, among the sick of Israel Russell Hendel, Ph.d, ASA, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu