Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Misheberach Issue

In case you are wondering what happened to TC and me at his parents' this weekend, you can see the post here.

Now, onto something else I have been thinking about on and off lately:

I try to add the names of people needing misheberachs (prayers for the sick) to my prayers (I pray once a day on weekdays and 2-3 times a day on Shabbat). I sometimes get these names from e-mail lists I am on, Facebook groups, or newspaper articles about Israeli terror victims. The problem is that, since I don't know many of these people or their relatives personally, I don't know when they no longer need the misheberachs, either because they (God forbid) died, or because they are well. (For example, does Nadav Eliahu ben Hadassah, the victim of the Mercaz HaRav yeshivah attack, still need the misheberach that was requested 2-and-a-half months ago?). The truth is, even when the misheberach is for the grandparent of someone with whom I am friendly, I can hardly go up to the person and say, So, is your grandfather still alive? Obviously, I could ask how the relative is doing, but I am afraid of upsetting the person.

Do other people have this problem? And, if so, what do you do about it? Should there be a six-month cut-off point or something? I am of the opinion that even if someone has a chronic illness, I will not say a misheberach for him or her indefinitely--only if he or she is in the hospital or otherwise gets worse. But that is more information than I usually have.

I will open this up to responses and suggestions from the gallery (and please, nothing cheeky about how the majority of people on synagogue misheberach lists are dead--that's not helpful).


Knitter of shiny things said...

I've had this issue before. My housemate had asked me to say misheberach for someone, and I did for many months, and then I asked her how the person was doing. She was surprised that I was still saying misheberach, and then asked her friend whose relative this was, who told her that the person was doing much better. And then I stopped saying it.

mama o' the matrices said...

Yep, it's a problem. I tend to stick to a short period of time (a couple of weeks) and then let someone know that I've been saying a misheberach for that person. Hopefully, the checking-in comes across as caring!

When people said a misheberach for the Eldest, I used to appreciate it (back when he was in and out of the hospital). It bothers me a little that some family members still say the misheberach, but I think that's a separate issue.

debka_notion said...

I generally ask people to keep me posted about their relative's health after I've offered to daven for their recovery, and after that offer is then accepted. People often seem to appreciate having someone else make that gesture of really caring, and often they have actually let me know when the person's health has improved or is improving, or the person has passed away. On the otherh and, I've been in the "I have no idea what is going on with this person anymore" position too, and I don't have any good answers.