רַב חֶלְבּוֹ בְּאֵישׁ לָא אִיכָּא דְּקָא אָתֵי אָמַר לְהוּ לֹא כָּךְ הָיָה מַעֲשֶׂה בְּתַלְמִיד אֶחָד מִתַּלְמִידֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא שֶׁחָלָה לֹא נִכְנְסוּ חֲכָמִים לְבַקְּרוֹ וְנִכְנָס רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא לְבַקְּרוֹ וּבִשְׁבִיל שֶׁכִּיבְּדוּ וְרִיבְּצוּ לְפָנָיו חָיָה אָמַר לוֹ רַבִּי הֶחֱיִיתַנִי יָצָא רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא וְדָרַשׁ כׇּל מִי שֶׁאֵין מְבַקֵּר חוֹלִים כְּאִילּוּ שׁוֹפֵךְ דָּמִים Rav Ḥelbo fell ill. There was no one who came to visit him. Rav Kahana said to the Sages: Didn’t the incident involving one of the students of Rabbi Akiva who became sick transpire in that manner? In that case, the Sages did not enter to visit him, and Rabbi Akiva entered to visit him and instructed his students to care for him. And since they swept and sprinkled water on the dirt floor before the sick student, he recovered. The student said to Rabbi Akiva: My teacher, you revived me. Rabbi Akiva went out and taught: With regard to anyone who does not visit the ill, it is as though he is spilling blood, as it could be that the sick person has no one to care for him. If there are no visitors, no one will know his situation and therefore no one will come to his aid.
כִּי אֲתָא רַב דִּימִי אָמַר כׇּל הַמְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה גּוֹרֵם לוֹ שֶׁיִּחְיֶה וְכֹל שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה גּוֹרֵם לוֹ שֶׁיָּמוּת מַאי גְּרָמָא אִילֵּימָא כׇּל הַמְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה מְבַקֵּשׁ עָלָיו רַחֲמִים שֶׁיִּחְיֶה וְכֹל שֶׁאֵין מְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה מְבַקֵּשׁ עָלָיו רַחֲמִים שֶׁיָּמוּת שֶׁיָּמוּת סָלְקָא דַּעְתָּךְ אֶלָּא כֹּל שֶׁאֵין מְבַקֵּר חוֹלֶה אֵין מְבַקֵּשׁ עָלָיו רַחֲמִים לֹא שֶׁיִּחְיֶה וְלֹא שֶׁיָּמוּת When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia he said: Anyone who visits the ill causes that he will live, and anyone who does not visit the ill causes that he will die. The Gemara asks: In what way are his actions the cause of that result? If we say that anyone who visits the ill pleads for mercy from God that he will live, and anyone who does not visit the ill pleads for mercy that he will die, does it enter your mind that he would pray that the sick person will die? Rather, anyone who does not visit the ill does not plead for mercy for him, neither that he will live nor that he will die. Since he might have saved the sick person with prayers had he visited, his failure to visit is tantamount to causing his death.
רָבָא יוֹמָא קַדְמָאָה דְּחָלֵישׁ אָמַר לְהוֹן לָא תִּיגַלּוֹ לְאִינִישׁ דְּלָא לִתְּרַע מַזָּלֵיהּ מִכָּאן וְאֵילָךְ אָמַר לְהוֹן פּוּקוּ וְאַכְרִיזוּ בְּשׁוּקָא דְּכׇל דְּסָנֵי לִי לִיחְדֵּי לִי וּכְתִיב בִּנְפֹל אוֹיִבְךָ אַל תִּשְׂמָח וְגוֹ׳ וּדְרָחֵים לִי לִיבְעֵי עֲלַי רַחֲמֵי The Gemara relates with regard to Rava: On the first day that he was ill, he would say to his family: Do not reveal to any person that I am ill, so that his luck not suffer. From this point forward, when his situation deteriorated he would say to them: Go and proclaim in the marketplace that I am ill, as thereby let all who hate me rejoice over my distress, and it is written: “Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:17–18). And let all who love me pray that God have mercy upon me.
אָמַר רַב כׇּל הַמְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה נִיצּוֹל מִדִּינָהּ שֶׁל גֵּיהִנָּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר אַשְׁרֵי מַשְׂכִּיל אֶל דָּל בְּיוֹם רָעָה יְמַלְּטֵהוּ ה׳ אֵין דַּל אֶלָּא חוֹלֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר מִדַּלָּה יְבַצְּעֵנִי אִי נָמֵי מִן הָדֵין קְרָא מַדּוּעַ אַתָּה כָּכָה דַּל בֶּן הַמֶּלֶךְ בַּבֹּקֶר בַּבֹּקֶר וְגוֹ׳ אֵין רָעָה אֶלָּא גֵּיהִנָּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כֹּל פָּעַל ה׳ לַמַּעֲנֵהוּ וְגַם רָשָׁע לְיוֹם רָעָה Rav said: Anyone who visits the ill is spared from the judgment of Gehenna, as it is stated: “Happy is he that considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the day of evil” (Psalms 41:2). In this verse, the term poor [dal] means nothing other than ill, as it is stated in the prayer of Hezekiah when he was ill: “He will cut me off from the illness [middalla]” (Isaiah 38:12). Alternatively, it may be derived from this verse in which Jonadab asked his sick friend Amnon, son of King David: “Why, son of the king, are you so sick [dal] from morning to morning?” (II Samuel 13:4). And the term evil means nothing other than Gehenna, as it is stated: “The Lord made everything for His own purpose, and even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4), and the ultimate punishment of the evildoer is Gehenna.
וְאִם בִּיקֵּר מָה שְׂכָרוֹ מָה שְׂכָרוֹ כִּדְאָמַר נִיצּוֹל מִדִּינָהּ שֶׁל גֵּיהִנָּם אֶלָּא מָה שְׂכָרוֹ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה And if one visited the ill, what is his reward? The Gemara wonders at that question: What is his reward? It is as Rav said: He is spared from the judgment of Gehenna. Rather, the question is: What is his reward in this world?
ה׳ יִשְׁמְרֵהוּ וִיחַיֵּהוּ וְאֻשַּׁר בָּאָרֶץ וְאַל תִּתְּנֵהוּ בְּנֶפֶשׁ אֹיְבָיו ה׳ יִשְׁמְרֵהוּ מִיֵּצֶר הָרָע וִיחַיֵּהוּ מִן הַיִּסּוּרִין וְאֻשַּׁר בָּאָרֶץ שֶׁיְּהוּ הַכֹּל מִתְכַּבְּדִין בּוֹ וְאַל תִּתְּנֵהוּ בְּנֶפֶשׁ אֹיְבָיו שֶׁיִּזְדַּמְּנוּ לוֹ רֵיעִים כְּנַעֲמָן שֶׁרִיפּוּ אֶת צָרַעְתּוֹ וְאַל יִזְדַּמְּנוּ לוֹ רֵיעִים כִּרְחַבְעָם שֶׁחִילְּקוּ אֶת מַלְכוּתוֹ Rav continues: His reward is as it is written: “The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive, let him be called happy in the land; and deliver not You him unto the greed of his enemies” (Psalms 41:3). He elaborates: “The Lord will preserve him” from the evil inclination; “and keep him alive” and spare him from suffering; “let him be called happy in the land” means that everyone will be honored from their association with him; “and deliver not You him unto the greed of his enemies,” so that companions like those who counseled Naaman to seek a cure for his leprosy from Elisha (II Kings 5:3) will happen to associate with him, and companions like those who counseled Rehoboam with advice that resulted in the schism in his kingdom (I Kings 12:6–19) will not happen to associate with him.
תַּנְיָא רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר אִם יֹאמְרוּ לָךְ יְלָדִים בְּנֵה וּזְקֵנִים סְתוֹר שְׁמַע לַזְּקֵנִים וְאַל תִּשְׁמַע לַיְּלָדִים שֶׁבִּנְיַן יְלָדִים סְתִירָה וּסְתִירַת זְקֵנִים בִּנְיָן וְסִימָן לַדָּבָר רְחַבְעָם בֶּן שְׁלֹמֹה On a similar note, it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says: If youths would say to you: Construct, and Elders would say to you: Demolish, heed the Elders and do not heed the youths, as the construction of youths is demolition, and the demolition of Elders is construction. And a mnemonic device for this matter is “Rehoboam, son of Solomon” (I Kings 12:21). Had he heeded the advice of the Elders and yielded at that time, there would have been no schism.
אָמַר רַב שִׁישָׁא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַב אִידִי לָא לִיסְעוֹד אִינִישׁ קְצִירָא לָא בִּתְלָת שָׁעֵי קַדְמָיָיתָא וְלָא בִּתְלָת שָׁעֵי בָּתְרָיָיתָא דְּיוֹמָא כִּי הֵיכִי דְּלָא לַיסַּח דַּעְתֵּיהּ מִן רַחֲמֵי תְּלָת שָׁעֵי קַדְמָיָיתָא רָוְוחָא דַּעְתֵּיהּ בָּתְרָיָיתָא תָּקֵיף חוּלְשֵׁיהּ Rav Sheisha, son of Rav Idi, said: Let one not visit a sick person, neither during the first three hours of the day, nor in the last three hours of the day, so that he will not be diverted from praying for mercy. Rav Sheisha elaborates: During the first three hours the sick person is relieved, as after a night’s sleep his suffering is somewhat alleviated and the visitor will conclude that there is no need for prayer. In the last three hours of the day his weakness is exacerbated, and the visitor will despair of ameliorating his suffering and will conclude that prayer is futile.
אָמַר רָבִין אָמַר רַב מִנַּיִין שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא זָן אֶת הַחוֹלֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ה׳ יִסְעָדֶנּוּ עַל עֶרֶשׂ דְּוָי וְגוֹ׳ וְאָמַר רָבִין אָמַר רַב מִנַּיִין שֶׁהַשְּׁכִינָה שְׁרוּיָה לְמַעְלָה מִמִּטָּתוֹ שֶׁל הַחוֹלֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ה׳ יִסְעָדֶנּוּ עַל עֶרֶשׂ דְּוָי § Ravin said that Rav said: From where is it derived that the Holy One, Blessed be He Himself sustains the sick person? It is as it is stated: “The Lord will support him upon the bed of suffering” (Psalms 41:4). Support in this context is understood to mean that He will feed him. And Ravin said that Rav said: From where is it derived that the Divine Presence is resting above the bed of the sick person? It is also as it is stated: “The Lord will support him upon the bed of suffering,” which indicates that God is actually over his bed.
תַּנְיָא נָמֵי הָכִי הַנִּכְנָס לְבַקֵּר אֶת הַחוֹלֶה לֹא יֵשֵׁב לֹא עַל גַּבֵּי מִטָּה וְלֹא עַל גַּבֵּי סַפְסָל וְלֹא עַל גַּבֵּי כִּסֵּא אֶלָּא מִתְעַטֵּף וְיוֹשֵׁב עַל גַּבֵּי קַרְקַע מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַשְּׁכִינָה שְׁרוּיָה לְמַעְלָה מִמִּטָּתוֹ שֶׁל חוֹלֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ה׳ יִסְעָדֶנּוּ עַל עֶרֶשׂ דְּוָי The Gemara notes that this is also taught in a baraita: One who enters to visit a sick person may neither sit on the bed nor sit on a bench or on a chair that is higher than the bed upon which the sick person is lying. Rather, he deferentially wraps himself in his garment and sits on the ground, because the Divine Presence is resting above the bed of the sick person, as it is stated: “The Lord will support him upon the bed of suffering,” and it is inappropriate for one to sit above the place where the Divine Presence rests.
וְאָמַר רָבִין אָמַר רַב מִטְרָא בְּמַעְרְבָא סָהֲדָא רַבָּה פְּרָת וּפְלִיגָא דִּשְׁמוּאֵל דְּאָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל נַהְרָא מִכֵּיפֵיהּ מִתְבָּרֵיךְ וּפְלִיגָא דִּשְׁמוּאֵל אַדִּשְׁמוּאֵל דְּאָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל אֵין הַמַּיִם מְטַהֲרִין בְּזוֹחֲלִין And apropos statements of Rav cited by Ravin, the Gemara cites an additional statement that Ravin said that Rav said: When there is rain in the West, Eretz Yisrael, a great witness to that rainfall is the Euphrates River, as ultimately that rainwater increases the water flow in the Euphrates River. And this statement of Rav disagrees with a statement of Shmuel, as Shmuel said: A river is blessed from its banks, i.e., the increase in its water flow is attributable to its tributaries and not to rain. The Gemara comments: And this statement of Shmuel disagrees with another statement of Shmuel, as Shmuel said: The water purifies when flowing