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How long to say refuah shleimah?

Rabbi David SperlingTevet 15, 5780
84
Question
How long do I say Refuah Shleimah for someone who has a long recovery or may not recover completely? I’ll give two examples: 1) Someone who suffered a stroke and is out of the hospital but in need of long term care for a slow recovery. The person is not expected to be completely "normal" again, but may regain some more functioning with time. 2) Someone who was hospitalized for severe depression. The person is out of the hospital and functioning again, but is always struggling with depression and is not expected to be completely free of it for the foreseeable future. I would be concerned about stopping saying refuah shleimah since these people may need special help from HaShem for the rest of their lives. Do I keep saying refuah shleimah indefinitely? Thank you.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There are no clear rulings about exactly how long a person should add private requests for the health of others into their private Amidah. In general it depends on your personal feelings and how deeply you feel your prayers are needed for the ill. Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l (Halichot Shlomo, Tefillah, 8 footnote 60) points out a few things that are connected to our question. Firstly he says that one should not add prayers for the sick into each Amidah of the day – but in general just once a day (I assume that in a case of great and urgent need he would agree to adding the special request more often). Also he points out that one should not add these prayers “day after day for a long time, because it becomes like a fixed prayer and not a prayer of deep meaning [tachnunim] – rather one should stop for a while, and afterwards if they feel a need and a desire they should renew their prayers”. With all this in mind, perhaps you might want to consider saying some Tehillim for these people (once a week or so) and adding afterwards a personal prayer for Hashem to add His special kindness and benevolence to these people who need it (and then add their names), instead of the addition to the Amidah. However, as I said, there are no hard and fast rules for this – and one may be guided by their heart. May all your prayers help bring only blessings and healing to all the needy of Israel. Blessings.
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