Lubavitcher Rebbe - Chabad photo
Lubavitcher Rebbe - Chabad photoINR staff

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled against the Health Ministry, establishing that the government lacks the authority to outlaw independent birthing centers that are not situated in hospitals.

The Health Ministry had previously ordered the Beit Yoldot childbirth center to close, claiming that such centers were not permitted to operate outside hospitals due to what the Ministry said were increased risks in childbirth in non-hospital settings. Following the decision, Beit Yoldot lodged an appeal, protesting the Ministry’s decision.

In their response – which amounted to 73 pages – the judges of the Supreme Court ruled that childbirth centers which employ midwives as opposed to doctors are not considered to be hospitals (under the Public Health Ordinance) and that the government is therefore not permitted to obstruct their operation.

“In conclusion,” the judges wrote, as reported by Yeshiva World News, “let us mention what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said, when he refrained from using the term, ‘beit cholim’ and suggested that the term ‘beit rofim—house of doctors’ should be used instead.

“‘Why is a sick person being taken there?’ the Rebbe asked? ‘Because the doctors are there, and therefore it is better and a greater merit to call it a beit rofim.’”

A similar account is given of the Klausenberger Rebbe ztz”l, Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam, who founded the Laniado hospital in Netanya, after promising G-d that he would build a hospital if he survived the Holocaust. He wanted the Hebrew term for “hospital” to be a “house of healing” rather than a “house of sick people.”