4

There's a gemara that quotes a baraisa as allowing a doctor to administer medical treatment with Rashi explaining that one could otherwise think that one is contravening God who caused the illness.

Bavli BK 85a

תַנְיָא דְּבֵי רַבִּי יִשְׁמָעֵאל אוֹמֵר {שמות כ"א:י"ט} וְרַפֹּא יְרַפֵּא מִכָּאן שֶׁנִּיתַּן רְשׁוּת לָרוֹפֵא לְרַפּאוֹת.

As it is taught in a baraita that the school of Rabbi Yishmael says: When the verse states: “And shall cause him to be thoroughly healed [verappo yerappe]” (Exodus 21:19), it is derived from here that permission is granted to a doctor to heal, and it is not considered to be an intervention counter to the will of God.

One can presumably make the same claim with regard to any other help folks might need with another gemara recording just such an argument put forth by Turnus Rufus with regard to charitable assistance:

Bavli BB 10a

אָמַר לוֹ [אַדְּרַבָּה] זוֹ שֶׁמְּחַיַּיבְתָּן לְגֵיהִנָּם אֶמְשׁוֹל לְךָ מָשָׁל לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְמֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁכָּעַס עַל עַבְדּוֹ וַחֲבָשׁוֹ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִין וְצִוָּה עָלָיו שֶׁלֹּא לְהַאֲכִילוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְהַשְׁקוֹתוֹ וְהָלַךְ אָדָם אֶחָד וְהֶאֱכִילוֹ וְהִשְׁקָהוּ כְּשֶׁשָּׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ לֹא כּוֹעֵס עָלָיו וְאַתֶּם קְרוּיִן עֲבָדִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר {ויקרא כ"ה:נ"ה} כִּי לִי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים.

Turnus Rufus said to Rabbi Akiva: On the contrary, it is this charity which condemns you, the Jewish people, to Gehenna because you give it. I will illustrate this to you with a parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who was angry with his slave and put him in prison and ordered that he should not be fed or given to drink. And one person went ahead and fed him and gave him to drink. If the king heard about this, would he not be angry with that person? And you, after all, are called slaves, as it is stated: “For the children of Israel are slaves to Me” (Leviticus 25:55). If God decreed that a certain person should be impoverished, one who gives him charity defies the will of God.

with R Akiva dismissing it:

אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אֶמְשׁוֹל לְךָ מָשָׁל לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה לְמֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם שֶׁכָּעַס עַל בְּנוֹ וַחֲבָשׁוֹ בְּבֵית הָאֲסוּרִין וְצִוָּה עָלָיו שֶׁלֹּא לְהַאֲכִילוֹ וְשֶׁלֹּא לְהַשְׁקוֹתוֹ וְהָלַךְ אָדָם אֶחָד וְהֶאֱכִילוֹ וְהִשְׁקָהוּ כְּשֶׁשָּׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ לֹא דּוֹרוֹן מְשַׁגֵּר לוֹ וַאֲנַן קְרוּיִן בָּנִים דִּכְתִיב {דברים י"ד:א'} בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם.

Rabbi Akiva said to Turnus Rufus: I will illustrate the opposite to you with a different parable. To what is this matter comparable? It is comparable to a king of flesh and blood who was angry with his son and put him in prison and ordered that he should not be fed or given to drink. And one person went ahead and fed him and gave him to drink. If the king heard about this once his anger abated, would he not react by sending that person a gift? And we are called sons, as it is written: “You are sons of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:1).

R Akiva's rationale should ostensibly hold true for healing as well presumably obviating the need for a biblical allowance to provide medical treatment.

Why the difference?

4
  • One can presumably make the argument that ultimately a pasuk is required by charity as well when we are considered slaves with the refuah pasuk only necessary in that scenario however it seems that the refuah pasuk is required in all cases not only when we're in galus and considered slaves
    – Nahum
    Commented Feb 7 at 20:28
  • 2
    I think you need to separate the source from the rationale. We're permitted and obligated to heal and to give charity because it says so in Torah. R' Akiva is defending those commandments from a philosophical standpoint, and his rationale could very well apply to both.
    – shmosel
    Commented Feb 7 at 20:41
  • 2
    Related: tora-forum.co.il/threads/…
    – shmosel
    Commented Feb 7 at 20:42
  • @shmosel See the continuation of the BB gemara where a pasuk is invoked to allow for charity when we are classed as slaves so it seems to be more than just philosophical
    – Nahum
    Commented Feb 7 at 20:59

1 Answer 1

0

The truth is you can ask how can one fix anything that breaks if it looks like you're contradicting Gods decree. My understanding of rashi is the reason why it looks like you're contradicting Gods decree, is because when a person becomes sick God wants him to repent and God will heal him. That only applies by becoming sick, if hashem breaks something you have, repenting wont make God fix it. Hashem is our healer. When it comes to charity, repentance wont necessarily give you money. Some people are born destined to be poor, like Hillel for a certain time. If Hashem wants a person to repent, Rabbi Akivas mashal isn't addressing that point.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .