Now that we have begun the month of Iyar – which stands for “Ani Hashem rof’echo” – we present a letter of the Rebbe on the subject of health. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s personal trusted secretary, Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
25th of Shevat, 5732
Greeting and Blessing,
I was sorry to hear that you were not feeling too well, but I trust that by the time this letter reaches you, your health will have improved satisfactorily. In as much as there is always room for improvement in all things, I wish you further improvement and a refuo shlemo.
Not knowing what sort of a patient you are, I take the liberty of expressing my confident hope that you follow your doctors’ instructions. Even if this may entail an enforced period of rest and interruption in your work, which no doubt you would be inclined to militate against, nevertheless I am confident that you will overcome this, so as to expedite your complete recuperation.
It is customary for Jews to connect everything with the Weekly Portion of the. Significantly, we read in this week’s Sedra (rapo ye’rapeh)‚ which our Sages explain to be the mandate of physicians to heal and cure. Moreover, our illustrious teacher the Rambam, who was a famous physician in the plain sense, as well as a great spiritual healer, made it a point in his great Code (he’yot ha’guf bori ve’sholem, midarkei Hashem hu Hil. Deot 84).
To paraphrase the Rambam, and apply it in the area which we had occasion to discuss, we may say that what the Rambam is expressing here is that in order that the physical body be fit to serve G-d, that is to say to elevate and sublimate the physical into the spiritual, or to bring out the spirituality of the material, which is the key to the all-embracing Divine Unity – it is necessary that the physical body be in a good state and healthy. I might add that in your own sphere of sculpture, this is also self evident. For, in order to create an idea out of a piece of inert matter, whether metal, wood or stone, it is of course necessary that the material be in a good state.
I trust you will not consider me presumptuous in trespassing upon your domain. However, I only wish to impress upon you the essential thing, namely the need to follow your doctors’ instructions.
Wishing you a refuo Shlemo, and with kindest regards to you and your family,
The above letter is from the newly-published The Letter and the Spirit, Volume III, by Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP).
These letters were written originally in English and were prepared for publication by Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel, whose responsibility it was the Rebbe’s correspondence in English and several other languages.
We thank Rabbi Shalom Ber Schapiro, who was entrusted by his father-in-law Rabbi Mindel with his archives and who is Director of the Nissan Mindel Publications (NMP), for making the Rebbe’s letters available to the wider public. May the merit of the many stand him in good stead.