Prayer is a powerful thing!

Thursday, 24 December, 2015 - 11:06 am

Nobody needs me to advocate for the power of prayer to affect healing and salvation. This is something that every person of faith believes and knows, and, has experienced first-hand. Rather, I would like to share a fringe benefit of the power of prayer that I witnessed this past week.

Last Thursday, our friend and colleague, Dr. David Kaufmann underwent a complicated and protracted surgery. My father and I traveled to Houston to visit with David and his family before the surgery and to be with them in the hospital during the surgery. For a year and a half, our community and anyone that knows or is connected to the Kaufmanns, have been praying for his health and recovery. But as the time for surgery approached the number of people from all over the world who were zoned in and praying had significantly increased.

One man took a group to the Kotel. In yeshivas and schools students were devoting time to prayer. In the hospital everyone gathered was sitting with a book of Psalms. Friends and family were sitting at home or at work reciting Psalms in his merit. One of the nurses who stopped by the waiting area and saw the prayers was so moved that on her next break she came back to pray with the family. As all this was happening something beautiful started to develop.

Prayer is effective from anywhere because distance is irrelevant to G-d. However the impact on those who are touched by the sentiments associated with the prayers is greater when they are aware of the prayers being recited. BT - before technology – people would pray and those for whom they were praying did not necessarily know about it. Through the technological advancements of communication and social media all this has changed.

While the surgery was going on, some friends started a “Whatsapp” that was crowd streaming (just made up a phrase) the recital of psalms. The group consists primarily of current and former New Orleanians who are involved with Chabad and know the Kaufmanns. Throughout the hours of surgery the amazing degree of support that came through to the family knowing that so many people were praying and caring was inestimable. Since then the praying has continued around the clock and it has also turned into forum for sharing recovery updates and just plain old friendship. Social media at its best.

Many of us like to rag on technology and social media as a big time waster and distraction from important things. And that is often true. However, each development can be used for positive purposes. In this case, social media has brought the power of prayer and friendship to a family at a time when that big virtual hug helped, and is helping to carry them through an otherwise stressful period. The other thing we learn from this is that our community rocks! The feeling of Mishpacha cannot be duplicated!

Wishing Dr. Kaufmann continued progress in the recovery and a complete Refuah Sheleimah among all those that need a blessing for healing. Your greater NOLA Mishpacha is looking forward to a great celebration of thanks to Hashem for the kindness that He has shown.

On a somber note, we extend condolences to Hannah Katz Furman and Lou Furman upon the passing of her father, Herman Katz.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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