The name Rabbi Avraham Garfinkel brings a smile to all who knew him, especially to those Talmidim who were fortunate enough to learn in his class. Many Talmidim still have his famous stencils on the Gemarah they learned with him in 10th grade.
During Hakafos this past Simchas Torah, one of his sons suddenly collapsed and Hatzalah was unable to revive him, and a small notice was placed in 770 that Rabbi Garfinkel is sitting Shiva in Far Rockaway.
A week or two after the Shiva, with the sign still hanging in 770, one of his former students, Uri Ivry, saw the sign and went to visit him. Rabbi Garfinkel was so pleased to see him and asked about many of his former Talmidim.
Uri then contacted a number of friends, and on Thursday evening, he together with Rabbis Moshe Heber and Lazer Avtzon, drove out to see him and spent several hours sharing stories and Divrei Torah.
Just before leaving, Rabbi Garfinkel expressed his appreciation to the yungeleit by saying that it is written that when one comes to visit the sick, he takes away 1/60th of the sickness.
Rabbi Avtzon then repeated a vort he heard from Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, also a former talmid and later a colleague of Rabbi Garfinkel, that when a person is sick, the sickness is made up of the two letters, Samech and Mem, which represent 60% psychological and 40% medical.
So when one is sick and finds himself all alone in the hospital or in a heme for the elderly, from a psychological standpoint, the patient can be very down and feeling a sense of worthiness, no one comes to visit, no one cares chas veshalom, and this can have a dramatic effect on the patients recovery. So even though the sickness itself only accounts for 40%, however, the fact the person is all down and broken, makes it very hard for them to recover.
But when guests and former talmidim come to visit, even if it is after 30+ years, suddenly, the patient realizes that he is not alone and forgotten. he is still remembered and appreciated, so his 60% becomes stronger, and this helps him overcome the 40% of the medical side. This is then the meaning that it takes away from the 60% and helps the person recover!
Bez”h, we hope to bring Rabbi Garfinkel to Crown Heights for 19 Kislev and to invite all his former Talmidim to a large farbrengen together with him.
For those wishing to see him sooner, he is at the Long Island Hebrew Living Center located at 431 Beach 20th Street, Room 418, Far Rockaway, NY 11681. His telephone number is 718 327 2700 ext 418.