“Let us now relate the awesomeness of this day’s holiness,” the Unetanneh Tokef commences. This year, the day’s “holiness” for me was displayed by the meeting of a new friend. After schul, I started up a conversation with a lady I had been admiring for her kind, yet distinguished, presence during the service. Quickly we seemed to bond, and she related to me her story of being a hidden child in Normandy during the War. Renée Roth-Hano told a miraculous and terrible story, softened by the captivating lilt of her French accent. We instantly became friends, and I felt that I had known her for years. (Not to mention her insistence that I practice my rusty French with her!) Read more
The concept of the physician as a wounded healer and how it can positively affect the practice of medicine has been around for a long time. In Greek mythology. Chiron was the first wounded healer. He was accidentally wounded by an arrow from Heracles’s bow. He didn’t die, but suffered terrible pain for the rest of his life, as the wound never totally healed.
Chiron searched for his own cure and in the process learned about suffering and healing. He taught others, particularly Esculapius, one of the founding fathers of Western medicine, about the healing arts and through his teaching found comfort from his pain. It was because of his deep wound that Chiron became known as a great healer in ancient Greece. Well known historical figures have commented on this image of the wounded healer over the years. Plato said that the most skillful physicians rather than being models of good health are those who have suffered from all sorts of illnesses. Thomas Jefferson asked, “Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself?” Carl Jung, the famous psychotherapist, said “The doctor is effective only when he himself is affected. Only the wounded physician heals.” Jung also believed that a malady of the soul was the best possible form of training for a healer.