Healer of the Brokenhearted


Healer of the Brokenhearted

January 29, 2018
Orit Esther Riter
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‘Residing in Meah Shearim, R. Ofer teaches a well known segulah (spiritual practice that increases one’s merit) to remove sadness. He recommends reading chapter 147:3 of Tehillim seven times consecutively without interruption upon feeling melancholy. This pasuk says, “Ha-rofeh li’shvurei lev, u’michabesh l’atzvosam— He Who is the Healer to the brokenhearted will also bind up their wounds.”

In order to fully understand the meaning of this pasuk, we also need to analyze the previous and latter pesukim. The previous pasuk reads, “Nidchei Yisrael yichanes,” which, when taking the first letter of each of these three words, spells the word yayin (wine). Some interpret this as suggesting that when we are downhearted, we should sip wine to lift our spirits. Elsewhere in Tehillim it is written, “Yayin yismach levav enosh— Wine makes glad the heart of the man” The Radak’s commentary on this pasuk is that when wine is drunk—in moderation!—it leads man to be happy.

The latter pasuk (147:4) reads, “Moneh mispar la’kochavim, l’chulam sheimos yikrah— He who fixes the number of the stars calls all of them, too, by name.” This pasuk teaches us that each and every one of us is important in Hashem’s eyes because Hashem knows each of His dispersed sons by name. The Ibn Ezra writes that no one is lost in His count. Just as He is aware of every star and their particular task, He is aware of our pain, our tikkun (soul’s path of rectification) and our hardships, and He is there for us through it all. Remembering this wisdom will prevent us from ever feeling alienated or alone.

The Baal Shem Tov suggests that we turn to tefillah which eventually leads to an elevation of our spirits. Tefillah should be done from a place called lev nishbar (a broken heart) rather than a state of hopelessness or of complaint. It is ideal to pray to the Borei Olam through a voice of hope rather than of anguish— with a broken heart in need of mending and dependant only on the Borei Olam to send him his yeshuah. Consequently, through tefillah our broken heart will be mended and we will be uplifted to a state of joy.’

– “Turn Around” by Orit Esther Riter, Day 136, pg. 310

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