1,240. Visiting the Sick

192:10 If one person has medication and a sick person requires it, it is prohibited to raise the price above the going rate.

193:1 When a person is sick, there is a mitzvah to visit him. We see that G-d Himself visited the sick in Genesis 18:1, “Hashem appeared to him in Elonei Mamre,” teaching us that G-d visited Abraham while he was recuperating from his circumcision. Relatives and friends who are frequently at the patient’s house should go to visit him as soon as they hear that he is sick. Others, who are not at his house so often, shouldn’t go to visit for three days so as not to suggest that the sick person has anything more long-term than a passing illness. However, if the patient is seriously ill, even those who are not so close may visit immediately.

Even an important person should go to visit one of lower station, even several times a day. Those who visit more frequently are praiseworthy so long as their visits don’t disturb the patient. The patient’s enemy should not visit him when he’s sick, nor console him when he’s a mourner, so that others shouldn’t think he’s happy about the person’s misfortune. One is, however, permitted to escort an enemy’s funeral bier. We aren’t concerned that people will think he’s happy in such a case because this is the fate that awaits us all. We will see in 207:2 that a sick person doesn’t need to get up for anyone, not even for the ruler; if he chooses to stand for someone, we don’t tell him to sit down.