Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Machla

I got an email from one of my frummer-than-frum friends with a Tehillim request:

The husband of one of our friends was just diagnosed with the Machla.
"The Machla."

Why are we afraid to say the word "cancer?" What power do we give this word in its utterance?

When my father ah"s was diagnosed with colorectal cancer a few years ago, some of my siblings and siblings-in-law refused to tell people what he had. They just said he was very ill. You know. With a knowing glance. It's understood.

Me, I told anyone who would listen, to get advice, doctor and treatment recommendations, support, medical news etc. I would have shouted it from my proverbial rooftop if I could. Someone I love has CANCER! Help! I'm scared. I need information.

I don't get it. Is it a big secret? Is saying the word going somehow make the disease worse? Do we live in the world of Harry Potter, where He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named can somehow be invoked if we say the word Valdemort?

In Judaism, do we believe in magic?


Nice Jewish Guy said...

It's really another of what I call Jewperstitions. You're absolutely right: saying the word won't make Hashem alter the predestined course of events. Unfortunately, though, people can be very superstitious, and belief systems are very hard to change.

smoo said...

My ex-mother-in-law refused to say that work, refused to acknowledge the growth on her face was that word and it penetrated her brain and killed her.

How unnecessary!

NJG- "jewperstitions",LOL, who's the punster now???

SuperRaizy said...

This has always bothered me also. I think that this is a silly custom that is fueled by fear and ignorance.

mistermaggoo said...

The Rebbe's Advice #57 - Cancer "that" illness
In memory of Rabbi Gavriel & Rebbetzin Rivkah Holtzberg HYD - Shluchim to Mumbai, India

A woman asked the Rebbe for a brocha for someone who had “that” illness. (This is a reference to cancer, which is unfortunately today’s least curable sickness. Therefore, it has been called with the word “that,” the known one.)

The Rebbe said, when we say the word “that,” it implies something in the far distance. However, the illness should have no association with the person whatsoever.

Zoreah Tzedakos, p. 119

Compiled by Rabbi Chaim Dalfin