Question & Answer With Michoel - Attempting To Overcome Illness
A Simple Jew asks:
There are occasions when a person is sick and feels so weak that he cannot stand-up to put on tallis and tefillin or even have the mental fortitude to learn Torah while laying in bed. In Likutey Moharan I, 268, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov taught that ilness is caused by the neshoma's distress that the person has some how failed to focus on his ultimate tachlis (purpose) in life.
Knowing the intentions of one's heart, Hashem can tell whether or not the bed-ridden person is still longing to do mitzvos and learn Torah despite his illness. Hashem may even see this sick person try to garner up enough strength to make an attempt to serve Him despite his dizziness or nausea.
Is it possible that it is precisely these attempts and the longing a person feels which helps him to recover rather than any medicine that was prescribed to him?
I think it is clear that spiritual longing is the best medicine and definitely helps bring about a refuah. We see that even by completely non-religious Jews and non-Jews, a happy attitude and goals can help a person get through even serious illnesses like cancer. So certainly when a Yid has a deep longing for Hakadosh Baruch Hu and His mitzvos, it can strengthen a person very much.
The tricky part is that one gets sick, perhaps because of his lack of spiritual focus. But then, the sickness can cause his focus to further deteriorate. Sometimes one needs to just call out “Hashem! Pull me out of this pit! I want to want You but due to my aveiros I have sunken and become sick and now my ratzon is weakened. Help me please to be m’orer my ratzon!”
Hashem is the Yodea Ta’alumos who knows our ratzon, and our ratzon for ratzon, and our ratzon for ratzon for ratzon until the zillionth degree. And he knows what we are capable of. In the zchus of our calling out to Him and wanting to do his will even when we are sick, and exhausted, He should bentch of all with good health and long live, together with all the Yidden. And He should help us to maintain our spiritual levels so that we don’t revert of our spiritual and physical illnesses so that we can all serve Him b’leivav shalem.