Thursday, 22 Shevat, marks the passing of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson (1901-1988) of righteous memory, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
When the Rebbetzin was cured of a sickness, the Rebbe did more than pay the physician. He thanked him for his success, which came from the true “Healer of all flesh and Performer of wonders.” The Avner Institute presents this letter, where the Rebbe elegantly writes of the physician’s role and remittance due to level personal and professional care.
“At the outset, on behalf of Mrs. Schneerson as well as on my own behalf, I wish to convey our sincere appreciation for your kind and considerate care in connection to the recent incident that occurred with Mrs. Schneerson. [Thank you] for your immediate response and home visitation at an inconvenient hour, etc., [and] all this in addition to your having provided her with your expert and skilled treatment and care.
I surely need not stress to you how important it is to the patient that the doctor expresses personal interest and attention, particularly as this constitutes a significant aspect in the patient’s healing. As you yourself correctly noted in the course of our conversation, the mind has a critical degree of influence over the entire body and one’s state of mind directly affects the healing process.
We extend our thanks in anticipation of your continued interest and assistance.
I hope and pray that G-d, “Healer of all flesh and Performer of wonders,” will bless you with success regarding all your patients, including this present one.
I had occasion to hear a thought from my father-in-law, may the memory of a tzaddik be for a blessing — a thought that has its place in our Torah, which is called the Torah of Life (as it serves as our guide and source of life) — that in order to assure the success of the medical treatment, the remuneration for the doctor’s services are to be in keeping with the medical stature of the treating physician.
In point of fact, this principle applies to all professions and services, including communal services. It need not be said that my father-in-law put this into practice and I wish to do the same.
I therefore am taking the liberty to enclose my check, although I am not sure whether this is the appropriate payment. I am sure, however, that if this sum does not suffice, you will see to it that your secretary contacts my secretary so that I will be able to rectify the matter. Together with the payment comes the traditional Jewish blessing, “Use it in good health.”
One of the primary reasons for the above principle is the fact that the Torah is aware that a doctor or someone with another occupation has fiscal responsibilities to his family and community, etc., responsibilities that he can adequately take care of only if his services are adequately paid for.
Therefore, if the receiver of the services does not satisfactorily reimburse the provider of the service, a thought might arise in the doctor’s mind (fleeting as it might be) that it would be acceptable for him next time to delay treating this individual in favor of an individual who pays what is expected of him.
Consequently, the Torah strives to remove even the possibility of such a thought. Thus, whatever occupation Providence had in mind for an individual to carry out for the benefit of others, this will always be done with total dedication and devotion.
Once again, my great thanks. With respect and personal regards,
P.S. After this letter was written, your official bill was received. Enclosed please find a check. However, as I emphasized, this is a formal payment while my letter and the [other] attached payment are on a personal basis, as a much deeper and more personal gesture than that of the formal relationship between doctor and patient.
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