Apr 11, 2018

Interesting Psak: delaying medical treatments until the zman

Rav Gershon Edelstein stated an interesting "psak" that could easily be misunderstood.

Rav Edelstein was speaking at a conference about educational methods and he told the participants that when yeshiva bochurim have to undergo medical treatments it would be better to do so during the zman and not during vacation, bein hazmanim.

Rav Edelstein explained that during bein hazmanim there is less Torah learning happening, so the Torah learning that is being done is that much more important. So, stopping to learn during bein hazmanim is stopping a much more important level of learning, and stopping a more influential learning, and it would be better to undergo the treatments during the yeshiva session when there is so much more learning being done and his learning is far less influential overall.
source: Kikar

This seems to me to be similar to the concept of when someone learns torah at a time when few others are, the reward for that torah is much greater and the influence of that torah learned is greater. I heard it explained once as a pie of torah learning - when many are learning, each slice is smaller, but when only a few are learning, each learning portion is much larger. This is why many yeshivas or shuls or kollels encourage learning at unusual times, such as Purim night after the megilla or right after Yom Kippur, and other such "off times".

So, this yeshiva boy who needs medical care is causing a much more significant loss when he stops learning during bein hazmanim than when he stops during the zman.

A caveat that should be stated is that:
1. the yeshiva boy is learning during bein hazmanim. Not all do. Maybe his plans were for a tiyul, and not for learning. I dont think Rav Edelstein's policy would then apply, as during the zman he is stopping learning and during bein hazmanim he isnt learning anyway.
2. obviously this is talking about someone who needs medical attention that can wait until later. Someone who needs urgent care should not wait until the zman starts but should get himself taken care of as soon as possible.



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