by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Q: Is a person considered blameworthy if he catches a cold even if he took normal precautions and followed hygienic procedures?
A: If somebody did everything that was necessary he’s not blameworthy, that’s all. The question however is why did the cold come? So we have to utilize that procedure that the gemara says, "Yifashfeish b’maasav — He should look into his deeds." Now in most cases there is a physical reason for which the person is to blame.
Even if no cause could be found, you still must recognize the hand of Hashem
Sometimes it’s because of lack of sleep. When the resistance is low it’s easier for somebody to contract some sickness. When people are unnecessarily tired from over-exertion, many times from over-excitement, even emotional excitement lowers his resistance. And so to some extent it’s still possible despite his precautions that there is a physical cause for which he is to blame.
Even if no cause could be attributed to him, there still is a necessity of recognizing the hand of Hashem and saying that Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants him to take notice that he’s being told of something.
One important point in all these matters is as follows. Even if somebody is not to blame at all, he has no sins at all, sometimes illness comes upon him in order to remind him how fortunate he was before he was ill. When a person is well he’s expected to appreciate it and he has to express his thanks constantly to Hashem. If a man is giving you gifts all the time and you don’t respond to the gifts, so how can he make you feel that the gifts are worth thanking for? He stops giving the gifts. He stops giving the gifts. As soon as he stops giving the gifts then you’re aware that you were receiving gifts until now. That’s one important reason.
If you study that you’ll come to the conclusion that in order to maintain what we have it’s important to learn to appreciate it. If you’re able to walk without crutches, you’re expected to be happy with that gift. When people are walking on crutches, they’re looking forward to the day when they’ll be able to throw away the crutches. Now we understand it was given to them, among other reasons, in order to look back and understand how lucky they were before this happened to them. — Test of Emunah (#557)
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