Group Bikur Cholim

Q. Is it better to visit the sick alone or in a group?

A. Rav Achai Gaon (She’iltos 93, 8th century) writes that it is preferable to visit the sick as a group. The Netziv in his commentary on the She’iltos writes that this statement is not quoted by the Rishonim, and the source for this Halacha is a mystery. Sefer Mayim Chaim (3:33) suggests that the basis for this halacha is a Medrash which states that Hashem visited Avrohom after his bris milah together with an entourage of angels. (Mayem Chaim writes that perhaps the entourage were the three angels who visited Avrohom.) The Mayim Chayim posits that the benefit of visiting as a group is that conversations flows more easily, and it is easier to provide support and good cheer. Of course, G-d needs no assistance, but He models proper behavior for humans. Still, he rules that since most poskim do not mention this preference of going as a group, individuals should visit the sick even if no one else is available.


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