We've all gotten one of them at some point. A text or email asking us to daven for someone who is sick.
What is your natural reaction to one of those forwards? Do you pass it on? Do you say tehillim first? Do you just delete the message?
There are some people who are quick to pass on tehillim names. The email or text comes in, they pass it on and feel satisfied that they did theirs. They may even forget to say the perek because they were busy figuring out which ten people (or more if they really want to feel righteous :)) they could pass the name on to.
I have a problem with tehillim forwards.
They have made us so callous. Unfortunately, they are sent around so often that it's hard to take heart. To see each name as an individual. As a person suffering who really needs our tefillos.
There are times that emails are sent around and around and around without verifying where they came from and if the person still needs those tefillos. It is sad. I personally have gotten tehillim names after a person passed away r"l or after the person was healed. I've gotten emails about the surgery that was going to be "TODAY" in big bold letters...and I've had to scroll down through names and email addresses, only to see that the surgery took place a week and a half before.
So I decided to do what I think makes sense. I don't forward tehillim names unless I know-firsthand-who the person is and what their condition is.
I'm not so rigid though. If a friend is passing on a name and she can speak to someone who knows the choleh firsthand, I'll pass it on too. The main thing is that the name shouldn't become another one on the list that is just mumbled without feeling. I don't need specific details of how the person is doing, I just need to get some kind of update so I know whether or not the person still needs those tefillos.
So what about all those forwards?
I don't pass them on.
Instead, I say one perek of tehillim for that person and pray to Hashem that he/she be healed.
Passing on the names without knowing anything about the person makes it so cheap. We don't value the person behind the tehillim name anymore. We don't feel with them.
Of course, there is something special about the way we can pass on a name within minutes and how people stop whatever they are doing to daven for someone who is sick.
But at what cost?
We have lost our hearts.
We have lost the feeling behind a name.
We have lost the personal touch.
When we were little girls in elementary or high school and someone came in and wrote their grandfather's name on the blackboard, we all davened with such fervor, with such intensity, begging Hashem to heal our fellow classmate's grandfather.
Names are passed around like old news.
And it's sad.
Sad that our hearts have become hardened. Sad that we don't take on each name we hear with the seriousness and emotion it deserves.
But what can we do?
We get too many names, too many forwards, r"l and the list keeps growing. And we have no idea who sent it and why we are saying tehillim for each specific choleh.
When we know what their situation is, it makes it so much more real to us...and we could daven with more feeling.
I don't know if there is a solution to this. Unfortunately, there are so many names, so many people who need our tefillos...and we are not capable of healing them.
But there is one thing we can try to do.
We can try to connect to the ones we do know. We can daven for the sick people we do feel connected to...and beg Hashem, the only One who can, to heal them.
As for the other names that are passed around, I think it is best to say a perek for them and ask the one who sent it if they can give you updates so you can know if you need to keep davening.
Please, let's try not to make these names just another name. Forwarding tehillim names non-stop takes away the heart. Say your perek. Don't forward just to feel good about yourself. It only cheapens the growing list of cholim. It chips away at the emotions in our hearts and holds us back from feeling along with those who are fighting to live.
May Hashem have rachmanus on all the sick children, parents, grandparents...on every single patient and may He heal each of them with a complete refuah shelaima.
May He listen to the heartfelt tefillos of those who are davening for these cholim and let them experience nissim-so they can show the doctors, nurses and medical staff who really runs the world and how powerful our tefillos are!