15 Adar B 5779 / Friday, March 22, 2019 | Torah Reading: Tzav
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Someone to Speak With

It’s hard to be without a friend. It’s hard to be alone. It’s hard when there’s no one to talk to. Tziporah Barabi writes about the power that we have to help others feel better…


Translated by Chana Cohen



Speaking, it turns out, is something which greatly affects our health, especially emotionally.


Maimonides teaches that the root of all illness lies in the soul.


When a person is sick, his spirits are very low. What should be done? We need to raise his spirits. This will improve his health. A healthy body requires mental balance and relaxation. Mental weakness leads to emotional turmoil and difficulties.


But what happens when we really do want to improve our spirits yet we aren’t able to calm ourselves down?


Lectures, speeches and slogans about positive thinking don’t help us here at all.


We need to talk about it.


And we need someone who will listen.


Our Rabbis firmly stated: either a friend or death.


It’s difficult without a friend.


It’s difficult to learn alone.


It’s difficult to stand alone.


It’s difficult to go on alone.


It’s difficult.


The inability to express myself, the inability to talk to someone and share what I am going through can lead to isolation and greater mental stress, making my situation more painful that it already is.


Speech is good. It’s healthy. This is what it was created for - to share, to express, to say what we feel.


If a person is worried about something, he should tell someone about it. Speak about it.


However, one should only speak constructively. No gossip or cheap talk. Not at all. Only if my intention is really to talk about what’s bothering me, what’s hurting me, if someone hurt me or insulted me.


Studies show that people who speak more live longer, healthier lives.


An eighty year old woman living in a nursing home for a number of years already told me that suddenly the policy became not to talk about anything. Just to be quiet and not to speak about what hurts. The staff there teaches her that it’s forbidden to complain. They want her to refrain from expressing herself and to just think positive.


“It’s very hard for me,” she told me. “I want to talk about it, I need to share how I’m feeling with someone. It hurts me inside. Why should I keep quiet and not talk about it?”


Really, why?


When a person has a concern, he needs to express it. To talk about it.


A painful burden on one’s heart, a closed heart - this is what causes illness, G-d forbid.


“Anyone who listens to the heart of another (and even to his own heart), who knows how to be a listening ear, fulfills a great and wonderful commandment, as it is said: "Better is he who whitens his teeth (speaks) to his friend than one who gives him a drink of milk." (Scriptures 111, 72).


One who brightens up a friend’s day and makes him happy, who listens to his distress and encourages him is better than one who gives his friend a precious and expensive gift! Nothing can revive the human soul like joy, unlike the milk that can do a person good only for a few moments.


This is one very important reason for fulfilling the precious mitzvah of visiting the sick.


And when we say “the sick”, of course, this also means those who feel lonely and worried, not necessarily the one who is lying in bed with high fever or a sore throat. The caregiver also needs a listening ear and support.


Rabbi Akiva taught his students as follows: “One who visits the sick gives him life.” You are literally helping him recover by strengthening him, encouraging him and listening to him, and that’s the main thing.



* * *

You’re invited to contact Tziporah Barabi - the power of the soul -  for everything is the soul, at teilot1@walla.com or visit the website, גם ציפור מצאה בית - Remedies of Maimonides.

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