Bikur Cholim on Shabbos

Bikur Cholim on Shabbos:[1]

It is permitted to visit the sick on Shabbos.[2] Nevertheless [one is not to arrange to comfort the Avel specifically on Shabbos and is rather to arrange to visit him during the week as] it was with difficulty that the Sages allowed comforting an Avel and visiting the sick on Shabbos.[3] It is therefore improper to do like those that do not visit the Avel throughout the week and visit him on Shabbos alone.[4] [If, however, one simply has no time to go during the week, and going on Shabbos will rejoice the ill person, then one is not to abstain from visiting him.[5]]

How to pray:[6] It is forbidden for one to request physical needs on Shabbos, including the needs of a sick person, for him to become healthy.[7] It is likewise forbidden to bless a sick person on Shabbos.[8] Thus, when visiting a sick person on Shabbos one is to say “Shabbos Hi Milizok Verefua Kerova Lavo.”[9] This applies likewise for the Gabaiy in Shul, that when he performs a Mi Shebeirach for the sick he is not to say “Hamakom Yishlach Refua” but rather “Shabbos Hi Milizok Verefua Kerova Lavo.”[10] If however the sick person is dangerously ill on Shabbos [and may pass away that day] then one may shout and supplicate on his behalf even on Shabbos, even as a congregation.[11] It is likewise permitted to bless an ill person who is dangerously ill on Shabbos.[12] The same would apply to a woman in childbirth who is having difficulty in labor on Shabbos.[13] However, a sick person whose life is not in danger on Shabbos [even though in general his illness is life threatening], it remains forbidden to ask mercy for him or bless him on Shabbos being it is possible to do so after Shabbos.[14] If, however, his illness occurred on Shabbos and requires an immediate request of mercy, then an individual may do so even if he is not in danger to die on Shabbos.[15] However, a public prayer may not be held for such a person.[16]


 [1] Admur 287/1 and 3

[2] Admur 287/1; Michaber 287/1; Shabbos 12a

[3] Admur 287/3; Shabbos 12b; M”A 287/1; Elya Raba 287/1; Machazik Bracha 287/3; Shaareiy Teshuvah 287/1; Kaf Hachaim 287/6

The reason: As this may lead one to become saddened together with the Avel. [Admur ibid]

[4] Admur ibid; M”A 287/1; Machazik Bracha 287/3, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 287/1; Kaf Hachaim 287/6

[5] Shaareiy Teshuvah 187/1; Kaf Hachaim 187/1

[6] Admur 187/1; 188/8-9

[7] Admur 288/8 and 9

[8] Admur 288/9; M”A 288/14; Bach 288; Maryu 115

[9] Admur 287/1; Michaber Y.D. 335/6

The reason: One is not to request mercy for the person as he does during the week by saying “Hamakom Yiracheim..” as through asking for mercy one ends up arousing crying and pain. Rather one is required to broaden their minds with words of comfort and encouragement so the ill person does not feel sad on Shabbos. [Admur ibid] Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur does not mention the reason stated above that it is forbidden to request physical matters on Shabbos, irrelevant of the issue of distress.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to recite “Hamakom Yiracheim Alecha Besoch Shaar Cholei Yisrael” even on Shabbos. [Ramban, brought in M”A 288/14] However to say more than this is forbidden according to all opinions. [M”A ibid]

Verachamav Merubim Veshabbaso Shalom: Some Poskim rule one is to conclude the above statement with the words “Verachamav Merubim Veshabbaso Shalom.” [1st opinion in Admur ibid; Michaber 287/1; Bach 287; Shach 335/5; Shavna in Shabbos 12a; Shaareiy Efraim 10/44, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 288/13] Other Poskim however rule it is not needed to be said. [2nd opinion in Admur ibid; Rama 287/1; Rambam Shabbos 24/5; omitted in Michaber Y.D. 335/6; Tana Kama in Shabbos ibid; See Taz 287/1;] Practically, the custom is not to say it. [Admur ibid; Rama ibid]

[10] Admur 287/1; M”A 288/14; Shaareiy Efraim 10/44

Other opinions: Some communities are accustomed to recite “Hamakom Yishlach Lecha Refua Sheleima Besoch Shaar Cholei Yisrael” even on Shabbos, seemingly relying on the opinion of Ramban ibid. [M”A 288/14] However to say more than this is forbidden according to all opinions. [M”A ibid]

[11] Admur 288/9; Michaber 288/10

[12] Admur 288/9; Rama 288/10

[13] Admur 288/9; See M”A ibid and Machatzis Hashekel ibid

[14] Admur 288/9; M”A ibid

[15] Admur 288/9; Kuntrus Achron 288/2; Based on Maharam 603

[16] Admur ibid

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