Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126 rablenblank@gmail.com
::: Thursday June 22, 2023, Tammuz 3, 5783 :::

The Chaplain and the Rabbi

From sea to shining sea
Distinguished Rabbis, Rebbetzins, Healthcare Chaplains and Healthcare Professionals
from throughout the USA and beyond joined us for the June 13th, 2023 seminar
“Halachic Challenges of the Orthodox Jewish Healthcare Chaplain”

Hope, not just to survive but hope for whatever the future has in store for us.

Helping One Another

Are we as good as the other person? There is value in each of us.
We all have what to offer and what to give.

I quoted Rav Gershon Edelstein zt”l because of his tremendous positivity. He truly was a role model for all of us who uphold Torah values and he did so with love for his fellow Jew. The seminar “Halachic Challenges of the Orthodox Jewish Healthcare Chaplain” was a wonderful example of how a chaplain can follow the halachos al pi Torah, but with tremendous finesse.  As Rav Mordechai Willig shlita mentioned when asked about a chaplain ministering to those of other faiths, he shared the importance of Kiddush H and to care for everyone. Though many of our Orthodox Healthcare chaplains are rabbis, yet we see the dynamics of chaplains seeking and appreciating the guidance from poskim, rabbonim chashuvim such as the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Mordechai Willig and Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt MD. Despite who he is and the multitudes who seek his advice as a Rabbi and Doctor, Rabbi Dr. Glatt referred to Rav Willig as Rebbe at the seminar. I mentioned when I spoke to Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l  he said to me “Yehuda, are you asking me or are you telling me”. I have shared this often regarding my relationship with Rav Dovid in discussing or asking his opinion about a specific inyan or shailah. Was I interested in sharing with Rav Dovid what I thought or was I interested in what he had to tell me?  The seminar was about wanting to know that Rav Willig and Rabbi Glatt had to share. We were interested in their knowledge and answers to our questions.  We had distinguished rabbis, rebbetzins, chaplains, healthcare professionals and others who registered and who were on the zoom from “sea to shining sea” from the West Coast to the East Coast and beyond. 

In my recent Moments of Inspiration, I discussed the art of listening and the importance of giving one’s best. Here are some additional thoughts to consider. Should a chaplain have some personal concerns, or just not up to making a visit, then he/she should take a break. Go out for a few minutes of fresh air, recite some Tehillim or talk it over with a colleague. This can be helpful. We are all human and sometimes need a short reprieve. With a renewed vigor the chaplain can then resume visiting his/her patients. The art of listening is not just for patient/chaplain relations but for staff as well. Chaplains are extremely looked upon by medical, nursing, non-medical and other staff with utmost respect and appreciation for the chaplain’s blessings, guidance, and support regardless of their faith or backgrounds. Healthcare Chaplains are an integral part of the team not just in a hospital setting, but other venues where chaplains play an important role in the care of patients. Chaplains have immense feelings for those who they minister to. Their hearts are filled with compassion, empathy, kindness and giving hope. Their patients can be extremely diverse medically, emotionally, and spiritually from pediatrics to end of life. There are many extremes of patient conditions and the reasons they are being treated for.  There are also chaplains who specialize in specific areas such as hospice, pediatrics, cancer, orthopedics, mental health, amongst other specialty chaplaincies. Chaplains are professionals, many who have taken CPE and are also Board Certified.  

There are many who envy others for their abilities and accomplishments, wishing they could be like them, not appreciating one’s own abilities that he/she might have. Rabbis, rebbetzins and chaplains often come across individuals who needs chizuk, encouragement and recognition for their accomplishments that are worthy of praise.  What might seem like insignificant accomplishments or acts of kindness a person has done, are in fact truly special he/she can be proud of. 

This is from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, stating that the Alter Rebbe heard R’ Mordechai Hatzadik who heard it from the Baal Shem Tov. “A soul comes down to this world and can live 70 or 80 years just to do a fellow Yid a favor in gashmius or in ruchnius.” 

“Helping One Another”
(From my CPE, Author unknown)

1. Problem: You know, some situations make me anxious and depressed.
2. Advice: Thinking back about a happy occasion may lift up your spirits.
3. Problem: You know, I often feel helpless in tough times.
4. Advice: If you think back, remember how things worked themselves out on so many occasions. Maybe, all you have to do is hang in a bit more.
5. Problem: You know, sometimes I feel I can’t handle all the things I have to do.
6. Advice: Try tackling one thing at a time and give that one thing your complete attention.
7. Problem: But sometimes I just have to juggle more than one thing at a time.
8. Advice: So, try 2 or 3 things at most. Isn’t that also juggling?
9. Problem: But I don’t know where to start. It’s so confusing!
9a Advice: Start from anywhere, and go from there, one thing at a time.
10.Problem: What can I do about being so irritable and easily angered?
11. Advice: Hold your peace for 2 or 2 seconds before reacting to provoking words said by others.
12. Problem: You know, I’m upset over the fact that some people don’t respect me.
13. Advice: If you have self-respect and self-esteem, it usually rubs off on others, and they’ll usually respect you.
14. Problem: Why do I have so few friends?
15. Advice: Maybe it’s because you don’t put enough at cultivating friendships.
16. Problem: How do you cultivate friendships?
17. Advice: You just get the ball rolling by saying a cheerful “good morning!”
18. Problem: I don’t think I’m getting enough attention; you know.
19. Advice: Start by giving genuine attention to others, and then others will give more attention to you.
20. Problem. Why can’t someone else “get the ball rolling?”
21. Advice: If people will keep on “passing the buck” nothing will get rolling.
22. Problem: How can I be in a happy mood if I just don’t feel like being happy?
23. Advice: Treat it like exercise.
24. Problem: What do you mean??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
25. Advice: What do you do when you don’t feel like exercising?
26. Problem: I force myself to exercise because I know it’s good for me, and once I start, it’s easier to get more fully into it.
27. Advice: Same with feeling happy. Go through the motions of being happy, get your mind going in the direction of happiness, and then, eventually, you’ll be truly happy.
28. Problem: What are some of the motions which indicate happiness.
29. Advice: Smiling, speaking pleasantly, reacting more readily to others, dancing at the sound of uplifting music etc.
30. Problem: Sometimes I feel that G also is kind of ignoring me and my problems.
31. Advice: If we’d always feel G’s presence and attention, being good would be a cinch. G wants us to work at it and deserve even more, so He hides His felt presence from us.”


(From my CPE, Author unknown) 

  1. Hope is looking beyond the past and present, towards the future.
  2. If the past and present is kind of dark, the future could be bright.
  3. If the past and present is the kind that pulls us down and makes us depressed, a bright future lifts up our spirits.
  4. This is why hope has many positive results: 4a) It gives us courage and energy to keep going forward. 4b) It makes us feel better, so we cope better with the present. 4c)  It gives us self-confidence, we perform our tasks better.
  5. The opposite of hope is hopelessness.
  6. Hopelessness prevents us to look positively to a brighter future.
  7. When one is hopeless, he is apt to say: It’s no use trying or “I give up” or I’ll never make it” etc.
  8. Hope results in courage. Hopelessness ========🡺 discouragement.
  9. Hope is positive. Hopelessness is negative.
  10. There are 2 ways to look at a cup filled halfway:  Hopeful = Gee! It’s half full. Hopeless = Shucks! It’s half empty! It’s exactly the same cup. Just 2 ways to look at it.
  11.  It looks half-empty if we take the half-full for granted.
  12. In the U.S.A. we are blessed with many blessings.
  13. If we take the blessings for granted, we focus on the half-empty.
  14. If we don’t take blessings for granted, we can focus on half-full.
  15. If we believe in G and rely on Him and trust Him, it is then much easier to trust that the future will be brighter, and that G will help us get there, especially if we do our part through honest efforts.”
    • From the Yated Ne’eman June 16, 2023 “After Rav Shteiman’s passing, Rav Gershon Edelstein zt’l became nosi of the Motzes Gedolei HaTorah.  After Rav Gershon began opening his home to the public, large numbers of people flocked to his doors. He had an incredible capacity to share the burdens of others and to empathize with those who were suffering. His questioners saw that their problems weighed heavily on him. The long lines outside his door often included people spanning the entire spectrum of Jewry, all of them seeking his wisdom and counsel. Old men and youths, erudite talmidei chochomim and the most unlearned men, stood side by side waiting eagerly for an audience with the rosh yeshiva and an opportunity to present their questions to him. Every visitor to his home left with a sense of clarity, with the feeling that their uncertainties had been resolved and they had been guided onto the correct path. There are many other examples of Rav Edelstein including how he would listen to individuals who would call him about all sorts of inane topics, He had the utmost patience, demonstrating perpetual kindness and good cheer.” His love for his fellow Jew was truly special.
    • There is much hope we can have for others and for ourselves as long as we have emunah and betachon in the Ribono shel Olam. He gives each of us tremendous opportunities to accomplish many wonderful things with our mitzvos and chasadim that will bring us closer to the coming of Mashiach. We can all inspire others and ourselves in more ways than one. We just have to believe in ourselves and know how much Hakadosh Baruch Hu loves us and how much we love Him.
  • May we be blessed to always have hope with lives filled with Simchas Hachaim, good health, happiness and a meaningful life. 
  • Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank