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Judaism as a temple for healing

The book "Jewish Healing Wisdom" by Rabbi Steven M. Rosman examines a Jewish angle for staving off and recovering from illness via divine affinity and action. It illuminates how Judaism can heal body, soul and community by honestly respecting one's self, each other and the planet in a way that mirrors the Creator's goodness.

Rosman's book is essential reading as ObamaCare is now the law of the land. Why is health care so important? Because it is a precious, necessary and cherished obligation for an empathetic society.

The dignity of receiving good health care is the valid rationale for ObamaCare. While Republicans may not agree with the vicissitudes of ObamaCare, they surely must agree with Democrats that the avenue to health care for everyone is sacrosanct and essentially good. It is a basic human form of communal kindness and decency.

Judaism and health care have been a force for good in Jewish life for millennia. The Torah guides rabbis and physicians to heal and help others. When Jews were discriminated against in the medieval epoch, medicine was still a major part of rabbinic academies. The imperative of saving lives has been paramount and continues to today.

Rosman wrote a really good chapter on how the food we eat contributes to our health for good or ill. Eating large amounts of unhealthy food can cause a surfeit of diseases that weaken the body. He suggests eating good food that will bolster a benign relationship with God and cleanse the body. Jewish ancestors ate healthier food, and Rosman urges everyone to follow their example. He says whole and organic food are like "divine sparks" that add to the sanctity of the world.

The correlation between the state of souls and health has been explored through the ages, and Rosman makes a compelling case for the association. One of the most morally encouraging part of Rosman's work is his call for goodwill. When humans have a negative encounter or thoughts, Rosman says they should reshape these circumstances or conditions to locate and embrace the possible good consequences.

An intriguing part of Rosman's book is his discussion of the good symbiosis between community and health.

In Jewish life, altruism is a holy duty, and nowhere is this more prevalent than when a Jewish community heals its ill or despondent. In Eastern European shtetls, Jews made sure that no one had to face melancholy alone. Via organizations called Bikkur Cholim, they gave resources and medicine to the afflicted. They really cared about helping.

The bulwark of good communities is relationships, and Rosman urges their cultivation. Rosman says life and healing cannot happen in isolation. He suggests that individuals locate a spiritual friend or mentor who verifies who they want to be in terms of character, morality and life conduct.

Rosman's book is full of real healing wisdom and reveals why the debate about ObamaCare is so morally stirring. We should as a country be hopeful for achieving good health care.

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