Let's say that someone ch''v suffers from a severe psychiatric disorder, which can alter judgment and reality testing, e. g. Schizoaffective disorder (elements of schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder) and has been told by his rav, as this is the case frequently that his only mitzva is 'to get better'. What is the sense of this expression 'to get better'?

closed as unclear what you're asking by sabbahillel, DanF, mevaqesh, Isaac Moses Mar 2 '17 at 18:39

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  • Agree with Jay's comments. What would qualify him as better is a doctor who would evaluate that. I'm not following... – DanF Mar 2 '17 at 17:32
  • have edited question. re; first and now only question it is generally regarded by psychiatrists that with such illness one may have no epsodes for years but still retain the diagnosis, therefore one may be functioning in society but still defined by diagnosis and perhaps would relapse if they stopped medication – yonatanhakatan Mar 2 '17 at 17:42
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    and has been told his only mitzva is 'to get better', what would qualify him as 'better'. It seems like only whoever used the term "better" can know what he meant by it. – mevaqesh Mar 2 '17 at 18:03
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    Could you please edit in more information about the "has been told his only mitzva is 'to get better'"? Who told him this? Was it meant literally, as a matter of Jewish law, figuratively, or merely as a way of providing emotional support? Do you know what the basis of the statement was? As @mevaqesh said, it's very hard for us to define a term in the context of a statement we don't know the real meaning of. If you know someone in this situation, he or she should determine the best things to focus on by consulting his/her rabbi and relevant healthcare professionals. – Isaac Moses Mar 2 '17 at 18:39
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    @SAH Let's continue this discussion of site policy here. – Isaac Moses Mar 6 '17 at 14:51

Very important question.

First ShizoAffective disorder is not a continuous and irreversible problem of Shote (see DSM 5), almost all mental illnesses has full remission states, or partial remission. Maybe that in certain acute situation, little quantities of time, he is Shote. Second. The answer, your only mitsva is to get better needs to be translated. The first of all step is to treat yourself in way to get a maximum of independence and mastery, a minimum of invalidating symptoms. After this step you can and you need to make all mitsvot. The man and the illness have to be considered as two entities. The condition for mitsvot is free will. one man who is in a very acute psychotic & / manic / depressive state loses his free will (see gemara Ketubbot 20a). Pharmacological, psychotherapeutic and rehabilitating treatments help to regain free will. So, in a state in which the amount of free will is low (See for instance Kiddushin 40a an exemple of loss of free will concerning particular things, according to some Rishonim), often, the only free will is to make all to get better, to make a great effort to get the better treatment.

  • ShizoAffective disorder is not a permanent problem of Shote source? – mevaqesh Mar 2 '17 at 18:11

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