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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Sun, 8 Dec 1996 20:06:38 -0500 Subject: Respect for Dying People In Vol 25 #37 we have the case of a woman dying of cancer who has a few months to live. She can no longer walk 1.5 miles to shule so she rides on Shabbath. Her best friend (and the community joined in) slandered her Kashruth and people stopped eating by her. There is actually a related Talmudic precendent: People would ask (taunt) King David: Does a person who commits adultery (referring to his sin with Bath Shevah) have a share in the next world?" "Yes", replied King David, "if he repents;", "but" he continued, "those who publicly embarrass people (referring to his deriders) to not have such a share." The conclusion: Whatever the seriousness of riding on Shabbath, it would seem to me that social ostracization of a sick person is also very serious. If I can say something constructive, there seems to be a simple solution to this problem: 1) Let the dying woman stop driving on Shabbath ; 2) Let the Rabbi of the community organize some type of Bikkur Cholim group to visit her after shule Shabbath or on Friday night (by using rotation methods you can insure along visit every week without any one person giving up too much time 3) Let her friends accept her dinner invitations (after she stops driving) and bring over food to her. I must add that I find it odd that there has been recent concern about tirchah Desibburah ,troubling the community, in reciting MiShebayrachs on Shabbath this has occupied several MJ postings. I would suggest that cutting out all Mi Shebayrach and using the gained time to visit a few sick people would be halachically acceptable to everyone!! I cannot say that I am unaware of why parents with little children might want to ostracize people who are mechallel shabbos in order not to expose children to this (I of course don't agree with it) but in this case even the "other side" must agree that the motivations of this person are clear and therefore mercy should be exercised. Finally just as sins are reversible thru teshuva, so too, illnesses, even \ cancer, are frequently reversible. Let us pray for a refuah shelaymah for this woman. If this posting even remotely increases her sense of well being because someone cares than I think I have been Mekayam bikur cholim(via email!) Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d., ASA,rhendel @ mcs drexel edu