Linda Pardes Friedburg
Russian-speaking American Israeli Community-building Mom

Healing Words

Today is Rosh Chodesh Iyar, which always falls between the two heaviest days of the Jewish year, Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron. Between national destruction on Holocaust remembrance day, and national rebirth, on Yom HaAtzmaut.

The famous acronym for the hebrew letters of Iyar – אייר – is “Ani Hashem Rofecha.” I am God your Healer – the One who can mend our broken hearts from the tragedies of both our past and unfortunately present histories.

We are meant to emulate God’s qualities in our every day behaviors, and He has given us the power to heal – not only through medicine, but through our words.

This is the great message of Parshat Metzora, where one who has been afflicted by leprosy – a physical illness in the Torah brought on by the spiritual flaw of speaking hurtful words – must go to the Cohen Gadol – who blesses Am Yisrael with love – for healing.

Social media enables healing words to spread – and of course their opposite – more impactfully than any other time in human history.

I was introduced this week to a new concept – “rolling Tehillim.”
A spontaneous, ever-expanding WhatsApp group of women saying chapters of Tehillim for a friend recovering from cancer surgery – messaging the chapter numbers that we complete when we have time, picking up from the previous number.

Even my choice of the word “recovering” – “המבריא/ה” – is impactful, when I speak and when I pray, versus the word “sick” – which infers finality, and not process.

A quick recorded message to a friend going through challenges, even someone I am out of touch with, let’s them know suddenly that I feel, hear and am with them.

Simple words of praise to our family and friends that uplift and motivate, far more than criticism, which drains life.

And then of course are the healing spiritual words we say expressing gratitude just between us and God – the blessing Asher Yatzar for the miraculous workings of our bodies, Modah Ani for waking up every day, blessings before and after food. These bring constant physical and spiritual Refuah.

And finally there is the power of a hug, when there are no words.

Shabbat shalom and Chodesh Mevurach – to a month of healing that we bring!

About the Author
Linda Pardes Friedburg made Aliyah from New Jersey in 1990. She is Founding Director of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli National Jewish Leadership Initiative for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis, is grateful for her six kids and one Belarussian husband, and still feels the need to pinch herself every time she drives up the hill to Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, their home since 1994. OLIM FOR TZAHAL
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