Mesorah (Jewish stuff)

Good Deeds for Recovery from Illness

Unfortunately, Ayala Pamela bas Leah (Pamela Nagy Weisfeld) passed away today (August 20th).  We can still do good deeds as a merit for her soul.  May her family be comforted, and may we only share in simchas.

Some upsetting news came down through the Facebook grapevine yesterday:

Pamela was at Neve at the same time as me.  She’s a beautiful, vivacious, wonderful woman.  I was completely floored at this devastating news.  I’m still shaken up about it.

In the past several years there have been a staggering numbers of young people dying.  Mothers, fathers, children.  G-d help us all.  It’s too much to bear, really, and much of the time when I hear about an untimely illness, I don’t feel anything (except an increase in hypochondriacal tendencies).  Maybe I’ve been desensitized.  Maybe it’s just a defense mechanism.  I don’t know.  Thanks to the long reach of social media and general interconnectivity through the internet, such news travels fast, often, and wide.  And while I’m not emotionally capable of feeling deeply for every one who is ailing, when it’s someone who I know, someone whose path has directly crossed mine, I’m reminded that everyone who is ill is loved by someone, even if it’s not me.

Judaism takes the power of prayer very seriously.  Even when a person is, lo aleinu, at death’s door, beyond hope according to medical professionals, we still pray fervently for a complete and speedy recovery.  Why?  Judaism teaches that only Hashem can give or take life, and as long as a person is living, there is still hope.  I know several people who were in such situations, and after their recovery the doctors and other medical staff openly stated that the recoveries were miraculous.  So we don’t despair, even when it looks pretty bleak.

Another concept in Judaism is that of doing a good deed as a merit for the recovery of the choleh (the person who is sick).  One could learn Torah on behalf of the choleh, give money to charity, light Shabbos candles earlier (or at all), refrain from negative speech, make a blessing over food, etc.  Basically, if something is a mitzvah, that spiritual credit can be donated, so to speak, to the choleh in order to help him or her recover.

So, I’m asking all my wonderful readers to consider doing something on Pamela’s behalf.  It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose – every little bit helps.  Whatever you choose to do, have in mind her Hebrew name – Ayala Pamela bas Leah (the “bas” means “daughter of” in Hebrew.  So, Pamela’s mother’s Hebrew name was Leah).  Names are a potent thing in Judaism, so having her “in mind,” as we say, is the most effective way to get that positive spiritual juice to her.  And lest you think this contribution is limited to my Jewish readers, I’m not picky about who sends prayers, positive energy and good deeds her way.  Hashem certainly listens to everyone’s prayers, so there’s no monopoly on helping out here.

Thank you all so much for reading this post, and for potentially doing an action to help Pamela out.  I apologize for imposing on you, as no doubt you have your own list of those who are ill, or who need prayers.  Please don’t feel obligated to help, but if you can, even if it’s just putting a nickel toward charity, it will be greatly appreciated.

If you’re stymied on things you can do to help, here are some suggestions.  Feel free to add more in the comments section:

  • Prayer – remember to use her name:  Ayala Pamela bas Leah
  • Giving charity, no amount too small
  • Refraining from lashon hara (speaking ill of others).  More info on what this is, and how to avoid it, here
  • Lighting Shabbos candles earlier than usual, or just lighting them, if you don’t usually.  Here’s a site with candle lighting times (make sure you’ve selected  the correct city, as it will affect the times)
  • Saying Tehillim (Psalms).  Chapters 6, 30, 41, 88 & 103 are especially good for this situation, but any and all and helpful.
  • Learning Torah.  Here are some useful sites for that:,,, partners in torah
  • Do a mitzvah, any mitzvah.  Here’s a list of the 613 you have to choose from.

May we only share good news with each other from now on.

16 thoughts on “Good Deeds for Recovery from Illness

  1. This post is really beautiful Rivki. I’m sad for you and especially for Ayala and her family even if I don’t know any of you.
    Thanks for reminding us all the power of the prayer.
    I wish Ayala Pamela bas Leah a full recovery and may she be with her family in good health as soon as possible and until she reaches 120.

  2. I’m so sorry. I’m experiencing a respite now, but there was a period where I had 8 friends battling different terminal cancers. My husband, a doc, wasn’t always gentle when telling me the prognoses. It was a dark time, and I could not make sense of it. Instill haven’t. So I will pray and light candles, and do one of the 613. For your friend.

    I’m starting a series about Tech’s bar mitzvah. More than ever I am certain we must rejoice in our communities and celebrate the good times because we cannot only gather together for funerals. My prayers are with your friend and her family. And my heart is with you. Keep the faith. I know you will.

    1. wow, that sounds very intense. I didn’t know your husband was also a doc. Small world. I wholeheartedly agree that we should gather for joy, not just pain.

  3. I was looking at something else on your blog that I came across, and suddenly my sister’s name jumps out at me. Thank you for posting about Pamela and her illness, and asking people to daven on her behalf. May we hear only good news.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. There is a challah baking list here for women that want to bake challah for her refua –
    There is also a facebook group for anyone to join to receive updates and offer support to her and her family.
    And I’ll just add that one can do ANYTHING in honour of her. Any good deed. If you let someone go in front of you in traffic, smile at a stranger, pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you, cook something nice for your family, call a relative… anything where you are stretching yourself beyond your normal instincts can be done with Ayala Pamela bat Leah in mind.
    May we only share happy times together!

    1. I’m so sorry to have to share this, but Ayala Pamela bas Leah passed away yesterday. May her family be comforted. People can still do good deeds as a merit for her soul.

  5. Pamela passed away today – 20 Aug at 18:30. Her family was by her side. Please continue to good deeds, not just for an aliyah for her neshama, but also for the sake of continuing the good deeds that were started on her behalf. We are all gutted at her sudden death, but are grateful she is at peace.

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