Thoughts on the Week 8 September 2016


This brief comment is in memory of my late mother (Brainah Leah bat Moshe Aharon) and for all those who read Tehillim for the sake of others. [Note: Quotated verses are taken from the Mechon Mamre website.]

Chapter 7:

The 7th Chapter of Psalms is attributed to King David’s authorship. The introductory verse identifies what many believe to be an instrument called the Shiggayon.

Generally, the message of this Psalm is the righteous may appear weak and vulnerable, but in the end they will prevail over the wicked who will fall victim to their own evil schemes.

ה אֱלֹהַי, בְּךָ חָסִיתִי; הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִכָּל-רֹדְפַי, וְהַצִּילֵנִי.

O LORD my God, I’ve taken refuge in You; save me from all who pursue me, and deliver me. (Psalms 7:2)

Because its penultimate verse promises to return violence onto the head of the perpetrator (as happened to Haman), in some Ashkenaz communities this Psalm is read on Purim.

יָשׁוּב עֲמָלוֹ בְרֹאשׁוֹ; וְעַל קָדְקֳדוֹ, חֲמָסוֹ יֵרֵד.

His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violence shall come down upon his skull. (Psalms 7:17)

Since wickedness diminishes G-d’s presence in the world, the righteous ask for judgement against sinners not only for their own personal relief but in order that G-d’s Presence be exalted once again.

אוֹדֶה ה כְּצִדְקוֹ; וַאֲזַמְּרָה, שֵׁם-ה עֶלְיוֹן.

I give thanks unto God according to His righteousness; and sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. (Psalms 7:18)


The Burden on Junior Doctors

This week a young man we know, married to a junior doctor, shared his frustrations about the working conditions his wife faces daily.

The circumstances include; being made to work more than 50 hours per week in a stress-filled atmosphere literally involving life or death decisions. She’s regularly on call for 12-13 hours overnight for a minimum of 3 shifts in a row while having to work her normal 8-9 hour day shift in between.

Holidays are determined by Rota not by personal preference, sick time is hardly tolerated, and she constantly needs to learn new techniques and procedures on-the-job because there’s little time or budget for professional training.

She’s often put in charge of wards and rounds even though a senior doctor should hold that responsibility. She hardly ever has opportunity to take a break during her shift.

Adding to the ‘normal’ stress of being an overworked doctor is the systematic failures within the NHS. Computer systems break down regularly and there’s very poor IT support. She has no regular office or desk.

Even worse, some NHS Trusts are well-known for underpaying their staff and then creating a bureaucratic maze before the mistake can be corrected. On top of that, she’s expected to continue studying, to pass her exams and interviews and is constantly juggling many other appointments related to her work.

The husband’s lament is that half the country think ‘junior doctors are lazy’. The way he sees it is that they’re not lazy – they’re dangerously exhausted.

The NHS, he says, is held together by the enormous sacrifices of doctors, nurses, midwives and countless others working long hours under unimaginably difficult conditions – just so everyone can have free healthcare. Perhaps, he believes, it’s time to recognize a new system is needed.

One scenario might be to impose co-payments on working adults who use the NHS, to help reduce overall some of the financial and operational burden!