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Author:  Sarah
E-mail:  not available
Date:  12/30/2003 9:33:00 AM
Subject:  Tehillim
Message:  Your position on saying tehillim is very clear, however I'm wondering what prayer is appropriate when you hear terrible news. Late last night my cousin was hit by a car. I normally would have said tehillim with true meaning (not mumbo jumbo) to beg G-d for mercy. I already davened 3 times that day and had no clue what prayer to say. What do you suggest?
Reply:  I'm sorry to hear this sad news. There are many laws applicable in such a situation. First of all, I hope he/she is on the way to recovery. If, God Forbid, a person was determined by the Doctors to be beyond help, it is forbidden to pray for them. It is considered a "false prayer." Similarly, if someone is coming into town and sees firetrucks speeding in the direction of his home, it would be a false prayer if he were to pray that it should not be his home on fire.
Usually this is not the case, thank God.
You should pray three times each day, and mention the sick person's name and that he is the son of, and say his mother's name, during the blessing of Refaeinu. Then you can study Jewish Laws pertaining to you, and have in mind that the Zechut (credits) of your Mitzvah should help the sick person. You can do other Mitzvot with the same intentions. Additionally, when someone close to you has such a situation, it is also meant as a wake-up call to those around him/her, including you. Look through your actions, and do Teshuva (repentance) on anything you might be doing wrong. All these things can help protect and cure the sick person.
There was a time in history, near the end of the first Temple, that we had a book that listed a cure for everything. People stopped getting God's message when he made people sick. They just opened the book and cured themselves. Chizkiyah, the king at that time, hid the book, and the Rabbis all praised him for it. When something bad happens. it's a wake-up call from God.

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