Why do say the bracha of refa’einu, the blessing of “Heal us,” when we are not ill?
Oooh, that’s the best time to do it! You’ll wait until you’re sick? Hakodosh Boruch Hu says, “Hypocrite! Now, when you need Me, you come to Me?!” It’s when you’re well and you ask for good health, that’s when Hakodosh Boruch Hu appreciates it. That means you’re thinking about Him.
Same as a wealthy man asking for parnassa. A rich man, he has plenty of money, and he says, “Please Hashem, help me make a living.”
“Aaah,” Hakodosh Boruch Hu says, “You’re My man!”
When a poor man comes and asks, Hakodosh Boruch Hu says, “What’s the chiddush? Certainly you need My help – you ask Me only now? That doesn’t mean much.” However Hashem has pity on the poor man too.
That’s why Dovid Hamelech was so beloved in the eyes of Hashem. He was powerful, he was a victor, he was a king, he was wealthy, he was tall and strong and handsome, and yet he always prayed to Hashem as if he was nobody. אנא השם כי אני עבדך – Because I am Your servant, please help me Hashem. And that’s why Hashem loved Dovid. If you’re a successful man and you’re praying to Hakodosh Boruch Hu for help, your prayers are worth so much more.
The gemara says in Masechta Shabbos that when a man prays before he is ill, he can get off easily. If a man waits till he’s ill and then he prays, it’s not so easy.
And he gives a mashal. Suppose a man walks out onto the street and he sees a policeman coming to him. So he takes out a fiver and he says, “Not me officer! You’re not looking for me.” The officer is looking for trouble, so five dollars can help save you.
Suppose however, the officer is writing a summons already; you can’t get away with just five dollars. It’s hard to tear up a summons. For twenty-five dollars he’ll do it.
However, suppose he handed the summons in already in the precinct; it’s on the books already. So now you have to go to the lieutenant; a measly twenty-five dollars won’t work with the lieutenant – you need a bigger sum because he has to go into the records room.
Suppose you’re already standing in front of the judge. Now you can’t just slip the judge fifty dollars. It’s a bigger procedure already. Somebody has to bring a letter to the judge or to one of his clerks and say, “Here’s some documents on this case,” and among of the documents is a $500 check for the judge. So the next day at the hearing, the judge says, “Well, according to these documents, new evidence has been revealed that cast better light onto the case at hand.”
So the gemara says that before you’re ill you get by with smaller things; prayer will help. After you’re ill you need maasim tovim and praklitim gedolim; you need big lawyers after you’re ill.
That’s why it always pays to pray when you’re well. Of course you should always try to pray, but the best time to pray is when you don’t need it, when you’re not in trouble.
That’s what the friends of Iyov said to him. When Iyov’s friends came to him and they saw he was in trouble – he was poverty stricken and he was ill – so they said to him, “Now you’re crying out to Hashem? היערך שועך לא בצר – “Did you put forth your prayers, your outcry when you were not in trouble?” That’s why they said to him.
And the gemara says לעולם יקדים אדם תפילה לצרה – A man should always make his prayers come before his troubles. And לעולם יבקש אדם רחמים שלא יחלה – Always a man should seek mercy that he shouldn’t become ill. That’s why every day you should pray.
By the way, don’t wait till Shmone Esreh. It’s a good idea, every day in the middle of the day – if you came only to hear this, your time wasn’t wasted. Every day in the middle of the day, take out a half minute – it’s a worthwhile investment – and ask Hakodosh Boruch Hu, “Please Hashem, keep me well. And keep my wife and children well.”
I’m not charging you for that advice; it’s worth a lot of money. You will be surprised at the results. Everyday ask Hakodosh Boruch Hu, “Please Hashem keep me well and keep my family well.”
It’s a gemara. לעולם יבקש אדם רחמים שלא יחלה – A man should always ask for mercy not to become ill.
TAPE # 591