Ten Things I Learned from My Doctors
Since the physical world is a reflection of the spiritual.
The heart and brain perform very different functions in the body, yet the blood vessels and nervous system form connections between them, allowing them to work in tandem. Any disconnection can be fatal.
In the spiritual plane, the heart symbolizes your emotions, the brain your intellect. Both these “organs” are essential to divine service, yet neither can function on its own. Jewish observance requires that our actions be infused with the lifeblood of emotion and intelligence.
An antibiotic taken many times will eventually lose its effectiveness. The bacteria become resistant, and the doctor changes the medication or increases the dose to heal the patient.
When you are used to a certain dose of prayer, Torah study and mitzvahs, you may stop feeling the positive effects on your daily life. If this happens, increase the amount of time and effort you invest in your observance, and it will once again invigorate your day.
In a hospital, the doctor sees the patient briefly to diagnose the illness and prescribe treatment. The nurses spend more time with the patient, making the treatment tolerable with their tenderness and patience.
God has given us a prescription for life, and it is our responsibility to share it with others. However, it needs to be done with compassion, sensitivity and patience.
We depend on our eyes to navigate a path through the physical world.
In the same way, we use our understanding to “see” the possible consequences of each decision we make and to choose the right path.
5. Optometrist II
Each eye sees from a different angle, and the brain combines the two views into a single image.
On a spiritual level, the right eye sees only the good in others, while the left eye looks with judgment, noticing the negative. Our job is to create a harmonious outlook in which kindness prevails over judgment.
6. Optometrist III
When one sense is blocked, the others automatically become heightened. Thus a blind person’s sense of hearing is often much more sensitive than a sighted person’s.
God created the world so that all we see is the natural order – the universe seems to function on its own. This illusion makes it more difficult for us to hear and understand the truth – that God runs the world, down to the smallest detail. However, if you sensitize yourself properly, you will recognize the hand of God in your daily life.
If a patient refuses part of the treatment a doctor prescribes, the doctor will continue with the partial treatment in the hope that the patient will eventually come to his or her senses and follow through with the rest.
When first introduced to Torah, God’s prescription for life, people may not be ready to accept the entire “treatment.” They should nevertheless begin with whatever part they can accept. Eventually, they will follow through with the rest.
8. Physician II
When one limb of the body is weak, the doctor will care for that part, but will also work on strengthening the other, healthy limbs. Building up the body as a whole has an immediate positive effect on its weaker parts.
The Jewish nation is one body. If we see that another person has a spiritual weakness, one way to help is to build up our own spiritual strength.
9. Physician III
One of a pediatrician’s responsibilities is to vaccinate young children against disease. When a child is later exposed to the disease, he or she will not catch it, or will have only mild symptoms.
A strong Jewish education will inoculate our children against the negative influences in the world, and make the challenges they do face easier to overcome.
A child who walks into an operating theater and sees a surgeon cutting into an unconscious patient will naturally assume that something horrible is happening. As the child grows older, however, he or she will come to appreciate that the surgeon is actually saving the patient’s life.
It often seems that horrible things are happening, both in the world at large and in our personal lives. We may never gain the wisdom to comprehend why these things happen, but we know that God is in charge of this operation, and He is doing it for our ultimate benefit.
An excerpt from Learning on the Job: Jewish Career Lessons