In a verse said daily during the Shacharis services, we praise Hashem as “the One who heals the broken-hearted, and bandages their sorrows”.
The question may be asked: Isn’t the verse in the wrong order? First it should make mention of Hashem bandaging the broken-hearted person’s sorrows and only afterwards that He will come to heal them. Perhaps we can suggest that the verse is discussing two distinct situations and is therefore not giving us a sequence of events.
The purpose of Hashem bringing suffering upon Bnei Yisroel is to cause us to do teshuvah, to bring us closer to Him. Therefore, Hashem can do this in one of two ways.
At times, Hashem will bring a tremendous fear upon an individual or the community without any actual physical suffering. The fear alone causes us to become broken of heart to the point that we come back to Hashem and His ways. Although nothing happened to us physically, this fright is enough to cause us to return to Hashem. At that point, Hashem will heal us from our broken heart.
This is what transpired during the unfolding miracle of Purim. The Gemara states in Maseches Megillah (14a): “Rabbi Aba bar Kahana says, “The removal of the ring [from Achashveirosh to Haman] had a greater positive effect than forty-eight prophets and seven prophetesses who prophesized for the Jews. They all did not succeed in causing them to repent, whereas the removal of the ring did cause them to repent.””
The tremendous fear caused by Achashveirosh’s transfer of his signet ring to Haman to sign the decree to annihilate us was enough to bring us back to Hashem. The fright itself brought us to teshuvah. Once this wave of teshuvah took place, Hashem orchestrated the miracle of Purim, reversing the Heavenly decree and thereby removing our despair. In that instance, Hashem was a “Rofeh lishvurei lev – Healer from a state of being broken-hearted”, without us actually suffering any physical harm.
However, there are other times that Hashem – with calculations that only He can understand – chooses to bring us back to Him through difficult and very corporeal types of adversities. Bnei Yisroel found themselves in such a climate during the oppression of the Yevanim, before the miracle of Chanukah. At that time, we suffered physically. When we returned to Hashem then, He needed to physically heal us from our painful situation. This was considered as “bandaging them from their sorrows”.
When we give thought to the miracle and salvation that Hashem performed for us on Purim, we must not forget that He did it in such a way that nothing happened to us physically. Hashem spared us from having to go through untold suffering, and instead chose to bring us back as ִ broken-hearted alone.
How often does it happen that one is not feeling well, has a pain of some sort, or some other symptom, and the doctor grows very concerned? X-rays are taken, blood tests are performed, and this person does not stop praying to Hashem throughout the entire ordeal! Finally, the doctor calls him up to tell him the news. “It’s all clear. All the results came out OK!” Thus, Hashem was a Healer of the brokenhearted. He aroused this person to a state of teshuvah without any physical harm actually happening to him.
Adapted from the book, “Passion for Perfection” by Rabbi Usher Smith, available on Amazon or ZBermanbooks.com.