Judaism's Influence on Health in the Family

Throughout the long history of the Jewish people, Judaism has placed great value on the health of the individual, the family, and the community. This entry discusses traditional Jewish beliefs and views toward health, healing, and well-being from the biblical era to the contemporary period.

In biblical times, health and well-being were connected to being in “right relationship” with God. Illness or health problems came from God, and often were associated with sin or unrighteous behavior (see Deuteronomy 28). Individuals prayed to God on behalf of others. Hagar calls on God concerning her son Ishmael (Genesis 21:16–17), and Moses prays for his sister Miriam, “Please God, please heal her” (Numbers 12:13). People prayed on their own behalf as well. Many Psalms address God to bring relief ...

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