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Wednesday
Oct242018

WHY WAIT TO HEAL?

Although the natural course of healing from circumcision requires three days, prior to day three G-d did not send an angel to heal Avrohom of his pain and suffering… * Since the natural process of healing from circumcision takes three days, why was Malach Refael required for this task?  

Translated by Boruch Merkur

10. Rashi interprets the verse, “…and he saw that there were three men [i.e., angels appearing as human travelers, sent by G-d to visit Avrohom Avinu],” as taking place on the third day from Avrohom’s circumcision [counting the day of his Bris Mila as day 1].

One of the three angels that visited Avrohom was Malach Refael, who came to heal Avrohom. Although the natural course of healing from circumcision requires three days, prior to day three G-d did not send an angel to heal Avrohom of his pain and suffering. (As discussed above, the Mitzva of circumcision was the same before Mattan Torah as it was after Mattan Torah. [That is, the Avos observed all the Mitzvos before Mattan Torah, but for the most part, they were performed in a spiritual sense. Bris Mila is an exception: even prior to Mattan Torah circumcision was done physically. As such, Bris Mila – or any Mitzva after Mattan Torah – is not meant to be performed through supernatural or miraculous means. Even the preparation for a Mitzva must follow the natural approach. The same is true of the aftermath or consequence of performing a Mitzva – in this case, the physical pain and suffering from circumcision – that too must be experienced naturally, without miraculous healing or relief from pain].) Rather, the visit of the three angels – including Malach Refael, who healed Avrohom Avinu – took place on the third day of his circumcision. The timeline here is, of course, consistent with the natural process of healing (for which reason the law is that one who was circumcised more than three days prior cannot bathe on Shabbos ––Shabbos 134b; Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 331:9).


11. Of course, this logic begs the question: Since the natural process of healing from circumcision takes three days, why was Malach Refael required for this task?  (And it is a stretch to say that it was to alleviate Avrohom Avinu of his suffering for the final hours of the day, from “the heat of the day” (B’Reishis Rabba 48:8) until nightfall.)

The above will be understood in light of what Rambam writes – that even natural forces are sometimes referred to by the term “angel.”

Everything that takes place and is manifest in the world has a spiritual source, as our Sages say, “There is no blade of grass in the world that does not have a supernal source (mazal) that strikes it and tells it to grow.” Since these natural powers derive from angels, they are sometimes called “angels” after their source.

The natural power to heal from circumcision over the course of three days is derived from Malach Refael (who is the ministering angel of healing). This power though is only manifest after many stages of spiritual processing (hishtalshlus), before it becomes invested within a particular instance and within the “garment” [i.e., the dimension] of physicality. With regard to other people [who are not tzaddikim], all that is seen is the particular instance and the physical garment; Malach Refael – its spiritual source – is concealed from them and remains a transcendent spiritual source. But to Avrohom, the spiritual source was revealed in the physical world – “Va’yar  – and he saw” – he saw Malach Refael.*

NOTE:

*Footnote 59: Although even to Avrohom the angels appeared in the form of men, Avrohom saw [Malach] Refael and he healed him. (And this is in addition to the fact that from Rashi’s interpretation (18:10) it is clear that Avrohom later knew that they were angels. For if not, why did Avrohom not hesitate to accept the angel’s pledge to return at the same time the following year?) Avrohom did not behold 1) the mere particular instance of healing, 2) which was subject to the process of being physically manifest, diminishing its spirituality from world to world, until it is concealed within the garment of nature, the nature of the body to heal on its own.

(From the address of Shabbos Parshas VaYeira 5725; Sichos Kodesh 5725, pg. 95-96)

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