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Visiting the Ill: Thoughts & Practices

One who visits the ill should not sit at his head, for the Divine Presence rests there. Nor should he sit at the feet of the ill for the Angel of Death is there. (Zohar, Volume 3)

When the Sages teach that a visitor takes away 1/60 of the illness, it is only during the visit. (Yalkut Reuveini, Bereishit, Page 84)

When one sees someone else in pain, he should experience the pain empathically and pray and supplicate for mercy and compassion. One who visits the ill and does not pray has not fulfilled the Mitzvah. (Sefer Chareidim; Mitzvot of the Heart, 1:39)

One who visits the ill lessens his pain, gives him comfort and honor. He is also expressing friendship. In response, the visitor will be relieved of his suffering, will be comforted by others, will be honored by many and will be wealthy with friends. (Maharal: Netiv Gemillut Chasadim, Chapter 4)

One can literally bring someone who is sick back from the gates of death. That is why Rabbi Akiva taught that one who does not visit the ill, had an opportunity to save the person’s life and did not, and therefore it is as if he has shed blood. (Maharal Chiddushei Aggadot, Nedarim 39)

The Mitzvah of visiting the sick is fulfilled through the body, the soul and money. The body of the person runs and cares for the needs of the ill and to search for any possible cures. The soul prays for healing, and one must make sure that the sick person can afford his medical care. (Shelah HaKodesh, Masechet Pesachim: Bikkur Cholim D’Orita)

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