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Since people increasingly live their lives online can I be yotzei the mitzvah of bikur cholim by visting the choleh's Facebook page?


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closed as too localized by Isaac Moses Mar 12 '12 at 5:12

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I won't even get into the question of leket, shikcha and peah if you play farmville! –  none Feb 27 '12 at 14:31
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possibly related: does "tagging" someone of the opposite gender violate online n'giah? –  none Feb 27 '12 at 21:52
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Freebie for someone with a bit more creativity, knowledge, and/or will to nail this one than I: By visiting FB in the first place, you're giving up some of your soul. –  Isaac Moses Feb 28 '12 at 2:34
    
Oy, @none, what about "poking"? –  Seth J Mar 13 '13 at 13:32

4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You only fulfill the mitzva if you poke the sick person's page, as the well known talmudic dictum states:

Poke chazi mai ima davar
Go see what is happening

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meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1032/… (but +1, great pun!) –  msh210 Aug 1 '12 at 8:03

Yes, this fulfills the mitzva. As the g'mara says:

כל המבקר חולה נוטל אחד, מששים בצערו

Whoever visits a sick person washes one hand; they are feeling his pain.

Obviously this is not referring to visiting in person. As signs all over the hospital inform you, you should wash both hands when visiting in person. So it must be referring to visiting on Facebook.

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wow. just. wow. –  none Feb 27 '12 at 22:19

Well if the fellow is virtually sick then a virtual visit would be adequate. (Hilchos Internet Perek 27)

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Can I find this on Hebrewbooks.org? –  Adam Mosheh Feb 27 '12 at 19:40
    
On hebrewbookspurimedition.com –  Gershon Gold Feb 27 '12 at 19:43
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Hebrewbooks has a Supreme Edition? –  Double AA Feb 27 '12 at 19:49

It depends on the state of the sick person. If it's a case of Pikuach Nefesh or Sofeik PN, everything is allowed. If the person is Chole kol Gufo, he probably is in bed where he will not be able to use his PC or laptop. If it's only miktzas chole, why do you want to visit him anyway?

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