Question: I have been suffering with chronic medical issues for the past 7 years. It gets worse and then reverts to manageable, but I never feel healthy. What are the Jewish teachings on healing through study?
Answer: Our Sages ask the question: How are we allowed to go to doctors? Isn’t that, in effect, displaying a lack of faith? They respond that, when we are taught in the Torah (Exodus 21:19), “And you shall surely heal,” we are being told we may seek medical assistance in order to heal ourselves.That assistance can be in any way, shape, and form. But we are not like the Christian Scientists who believe that we must utilize faith and meditation alone to be healed. Are there stories of great men and women who have found miracle-cures through prayer and meditation alone? Of course. Yet, it is generally understood that God does not want people in our generation to rely solely on miraculous intervention. One must utilize the medical arts; but always remember that, ultimately, it is God who heals, and it is to Him we must pray.
Therefore, I would urge you to seek medical guidance—be it traditional medicine, holistic medicine, herbal supplements, etc. All of these fall under the injunction of “And you shall surely heal.” However, I would not suggest reading and study alone as a means of healing yourself.
I wish you a speedy recovery!
Rabbi Azriel Schreiber