A text I was pondering, and then quickly said out loud, as I was waiting for my third vaccination.

דְּאָמַר רַב אַחָא: הַנִּכְנָס לְהַקִּיז דָּם, אוֹמֵר: ״יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה׳ אֱלֹקַי שֶׁיְּהֵא עֵסֶק זֶה לִי לִרְפוּאָה, וּתְרַפְּאֵנִי. כִּי אֵל רוֹפֵא נֶאֱמָן אָתָּה וּרְפוּאָתְךָ אֱמֶת, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכָּן שֶׁל בְּנֵי אָדָם לְרַפּאוֹת אֶלָּא שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ״. ... כִּי קָאֵי מַאי אוֹמֵר? — אָמַר רַב אַחָא: ״בָּרוּךְ … רוֹפֵא חִנָּם״.

Rav Aha said: One who goes to let blood should say the following:

"May it be Your will, my God, that this enterprise be one of healing, and heal me.

For you are a faithful healer, and your healing is truth.

For it is not proper that humanity heals, and yet they do."

... As one leaves, they should say:

"Blessed are You, who heals for free." (Talmud Berachot 60a)

What blessing could be appropriate for COVID vaccinations? Using this Talmudic text as a starting point, we look at some little-known blessings for medical procedures, at the correct response for a sneeze, the creation of sneezes, and the spirituality of the randomness of disease and healing. Prepare for confusion! 

  • Here's my 20-minute podcast, going over the sources and thinking out loud. Listen on the website, spotify, apple, amazon etc.

(Speaking about free healing, I cancelled everyone who was a paying 'member' of this blog. It doesn't feel right to be taking money now that I'm not a hungry student, and I don't know how long I will be posting these shiurim. So we loosen the obligations on all sides now, and hope the Torah continues to flow in whatever format she chooses. And I'll keep using dear old 'Buy Me A Coffee', since it's the platform where all these thoughts have found a home, and if anyone sends a surprise coffee my way - unrequited love - it will warm my winter. )

Shavua tov!