13 Nissan 5779 / Thursday, April 18, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pesach
 
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Divine Providence and Health    

Divine Providence and Health



Medicine would be a straightforward applied science if its sole challenge were healing a physical body, such as an animal. But, that’s not the case; there's a soul involved too…

 



Medicine would be a simple, straightforward applied science if its sole challenge were healing a physical body, such as an animal. But, that’s not the case. The body is lifeless without its spiritual life-spark, the soul. Physical treatments and medication can’t cure an ailing soul. Since body and soul are connected, then their mutual health and wellbeing depends on more than nature and natural law. Human health depends on Divine providence, the Creator’s personal intervention in our lives.

 

The simple conclusion we arrive at is that since all of creation was designed as an agent to facilitate man’s free choice on earth, we can understand how man benefits from the Almighty’s personal attention to the tiniest detail of his life in general and his health in particular.

 

Nature operates according to Divine will, even though it’s not always apparent. The further away a creation is from man and the less it directly affects his life, then the less apparent the Divine providence. Therefore, it seems that the stars and the great galaxies go their merry way in their clear and predefined celestial lanes, according to the dictates of nature and seemingly devoid of Divine intervention. This is only an illusion, since the galaxies don’t appear to have anything to do with our daily lives. In truth, their orbits in space are the product of Divine decree, as King David says that Hashem, "Has placed them forever; He issued a decree that shall not be violated" (Psalm 148:6). The stars, planets and galaxies simply have a static task that doesn’t change.

 

As opposed to the stars and other faraway creations, dynamic daily change in our lives is an indication of Divine providence. Look how things change so drastically from day to day: One day, we’re challenged with income problems. The next day, our children act up. Then, a health crisis pops up. Such matters as income, health, marriage and child-rearing are ways that the Creator sends each individual the messages that he or she needs to stimulate character improvement and personal growth.

 

Divine Providence plays a greater role in a person’s health than in any other area of a person’s life. Pains and afflictions of the body and soul are the Creator’s prime tools in arousing people to correct what they need to correct, for several reasons:

 

First of all, a person might remain apathetic about a variety of other trials and tribulations. He or she won’t necessarily undertake serious introspection after losing a hundred dollars. Yet, few are able to ignore something that directly affects their own bodies, such as sickness or severe negative emotions.

 

This is what happened to Job. At first, the Creator gave the Satan license to test and torment Job, but not to strike him down with illness. And, that's exactly what the Satan did.

 

Even though Job lost his money and buried his own children, he didn’t crack at the emotional seams. The Satan said to the Creator (Job, 2), “A person will give anything for his own skin. Afflict his flesh, and we’ll see if he continues to bless you!” The Satan claimed that no test of faith is as difficult as a sickness or injury. Job’s steadfast faith was shaken once his entire body was afflicted with infectious boils, and he began to harbor disgruntlement in heart about the Creator's way of doing things.

 

We therefore learn from the Book of Job that body and soul afflictions are the most difficult type of tribulations for a person. This is a phenomenon that needs no explanation. The moment a person becomes ill, he loses all joy in life. Even wealth and other material amenities are no consolation. On the contrary, they heighten the person’s feeling of misery for he can’t enjoy them. What good is a big bank account, diamonds and jewels to a person with an ulcer, diabetes, and a cardiac condition whose diet is sorely limited and can’t even enjoy a meal? And what good is a healthy body if a person suffers from a tormented soul? Since one cares so much about one’s health, the Creator frequently arouses a person by way of his or her health, for health issues catch a person's attention more than anything else. Therefore, the first step in seeking a recovery should be introspection and teshuva, remembering that everything comes from Hashem, everything is all for the very best and all for a purpose. The awareness of Divine Providence and clinging to emuna will help us all heal quickly, amen!





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   See More Articles By Rabbi Shalom Arush
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