Did you know that there's a Jewish tradition to support those who are sick? It's called bikur cholim, visiting the sick. Have you ever brought a friend soup when they had the sniffles? Visited someone in the hospital? Sent a "Get Well" card? That's bikur cholim.
Since children can easily relate to being sick or not feeling well, bikur cholim is an easy mitzvah for them to perform. Plus, visiting and caring for those in our community who are dealing with health issues is also a way to perform chesed, acts of loving kindness.
Learn more about this tradition with the stories below:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
When Amos McGee doesn't show up to work one day, his animal friends at the zoo realize he must feel really bad. The critters gather together and decide to surprise Amos with a visit. With his friends surrounding him, Amos feels so happy that he actually starts to feel better.
Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson
Bear is home in bed and could not possibly feel any worse. On top of feeling absolutely crummy, Bear also feels lonely--until his friends stop by for a visit.
Chicken Soup by Heart by Esther Hershenhorn
Rudie loves his babysitter, Mrs. Gittel--but one day Mrs. Gittel comes down with the flu! What can Rudie do to help her feel better?
Penina Levine is a Potato Pancake by Rebecca O'Connell
When Penina's favorite teacher, Mrs. Brown, takes a leave of absence to care for her ailing sister, Penina and her friend, Zozo, spend hours creating snowflakes to cheer their teacher and her sister up.
Sam and Charlie (and Sam too) by Leslie Kimmelman
This early reader chapter book features vignettes about the friendship between two sisters, Charlie and Sam, and their neighbor, a boy named Sam. When Charlie gets sick and has to miss school, Sam brings her homework over and tries to cheer his buddy up.
Sammy Spider's First Mitzvah by Sylvia Rouss
Everybody knows that spiders don’t perform mitzvot -- spiders spin webs. But Sammy sees that Josh isn’t feeling well, and could use a visitor. Luckily, Josh’s friend Moti is ready to lend a hand.
In addition to reading the stories in this list, you can also learn about bikur cholim by making care packages, writing letters or decorating cards for friends who are under the weather, or watching the video below.
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March 24, 2017