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: aish.com, chabad.org, torah.org, 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.