In the Jewish tradition, when somebody is ill, we say “Refuah Shleimah” to wish them a speedy recovery. “Refuah” simply means health. And, “Shleimah” means full or complete. But, of course, nothing is so simple in Judaism. Let’s dive just a little deeper.
“Shelimah” shares a root with the word “Shalom” -- peace, completeness and wholeness. “Refuah Shleimah” means not only physical healing, but also psychological and communal wellness. Indeed, the Me Shebararch blessing, the traditional blessing for healing in Judaism, includes these words: “a healing of the soul and healing of the body — along with all the ill, among the people of Israel and all humankind.”
This beautiful Shabbat, with the first signs of spring in the warmth of the air, we mark one year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past year, we have worked to bring about a “refuah shleimah” for loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues and also for our community and our world. Social distancing, the dedication of health care and other essential workers, mask-wearing and the epic work of scientists all have begun to pay off. And now with the promise of buds of spring, a fractured wholeness seems perhaps even possible again.
Refuah Shleimah – may we experience wholeness in our lives and in our world.
Rabbi Debbie Cohen