There are so many people sick and so many people dying, I am beginning to lose track.
What does one do when you see people posting, asking for prayers for a loved one, or for themselves, especially when they are coming fast and furious? I try to have a running list, and when I daven (pray), I take time to read it, especially when I light Shabbat candles. But because of the overwhelming number of people in need, I began to worry that I am leaving someone out.
So I made a decision that every time I see a posting or hear of someone in need of prayers, I immediately stop what I am doing and out loud ask G-d to grant them a refuah shalayma, a complete recovery. I also ask that the family of the one in need be given strength to support them through it.
Ideally, one prays for someone sick by invoking their Jewish name and their mother’s Jewish name– for example, Sarah bat Hinda Leah, Sarah, the daughter of Hinda Leah. We use one’s mother’s name because the Talmud says that a mother invokes the attribute of mercy. Drawing upon that quality is what is most needed in times of distress.
Interestingly, often when I ask someone for their Jewish name, they might remember, but too often, they do not know their mother’s Jewish name. Increasingly, (and sadly), today many women sometimes cannot remember their own children’s Jewish names. Some people I know ask for prayers for a parent but don’t know their grandmother’s (parent’s mother’s) name. It sometimes takes a picture of a gravestone to finally track it down….
Let us not wait for times of need to know the power of mercy brought into this world by women. Know the names, teach the names….and when you hear of anyone in need, hopefully, they will be able to share the names, the legacy, and the unbroken chain of generations.
Remember — a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
May G-d grant all those who are struggling today in so many ways complete health, fulfillment, and prosperity.