For the week ending 21 June 2008 / 18 Sivan 5768

A Question of Priority

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: An aged neighbor is in the hospital in weak condition. I have a sort of free night in which I could pay him a bikur cholim sick visit. On the other hand I could take care of some other pressing business that night and be free to visit him in the morning and help him put on his tefillin. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Too many of us are guilty of putting off such things as sick visits or condolence calls until it is too late. In ordinary circumstances, therefore, one should definitely seize the first opportunity to perform the sick call in accordance with the rule that one should never delay in fulfilling a mitzvah which comes one's way.

In your case, however, if you are certain that the patient cannot put on his tefilin by himself and there is no one else available to help him, it makes sense for you to postpone your visit till the morning and catch two mitzvot at one time.

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