How Can a Doctor Pray for Parnasa (Income)?

eye with wrinkled skinAccording to tradition, at Rosh Hashanah God determines how much income we will earn throughout the year, and we pray that we will have enough for our needs. But how can doctors pray for parnasa? They earn their living because others suffer and need doctors for treatment. The answer: Doctors can pray that poor people will stay healthy, and that rich people will only think that they are sick.

Dr. Kaufman, a local dermatologist, shared this tongue-in-cheek reply at a talk on skin care that he gave to our local Emunah women’s group. I’ve collected some of the important points. Any mistakes are my own.

  • Melanoma is rare and is usually detected by the patient, who notices a change in a mole or mark. Look for changes, uneven coloring, irregular shaping, or bleeding that continues for more than a day or so. Round, dark moles are not usually cancerous.
  • Widespread screenings rarely find cancer, but may lead to greater awareness among the public.
  • Sun exposure causes cancer and increases wrinkles.
  • Buy the cheapest skin cream you can find, because the active ingredients cost the least. Additional ingredients have little effect and can be allergenic.
  • There are about 30 known treatments for warts, probably because warts are hard to treat and often return.
  • Treating a burn with cold water, in the first seconds after the accident, is most effective at limiting damage.
  • Retin-A is inexpensive and smooths out wrinkles, but only temporarily.
  • A six-month treatment of Accutane, a medication with few side effects cures acne in 80% of patients, for life. You shouldn’t take it if you are trying to get pregnant, but doctors need to be careful how they word their instructions. One dermatologist told a patient, “You can’t get pregnant while you’re using this medication.” So she stopped the birth control pills.
  • Creams don’t prevent wrinkles. Skipping the “beauty regimen” has no long-term effects.

Dr. Kaufman believes that there’s nothing wrong with looking your age, and discourages patients considering plastic surgery.

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Photo credit: erix!


  1. I can confirm the point of treating burns with cold (not ice cold) water 100%.
    Example: During a class camp I was co-leading, we camped in tents near a lake and cooked over open fire. We also heated water for tea and coffee over open fire (of course). We had a big container for that purpose. Since the container was heavy when full, we had to lift it in pairs.
    During one of the occasions, an accident happened: Two girls wanted to lift the hot water from the fire. However, one of them lifted her side too fast, and the boiling water spilled over the second girl’s forearm almost up to the elbow.
    I was right there and took the girl to the lake. I made her immerse her arm up to the elbow into the water and sat with her for about 45 minutes.
    Result: You couldn’t see even the tiniest burn mark – the arm looked just the same as her “healthy” one.

  2. I think you were referring to Accutane
    as acne medication

  3. My mother always used cold water first too when we got burnt.


  1. […] How Can a Doctor Pray for Parnasa (Income)?: Hannah shares thoughts and tips she heard during a doctor’s lecture […]

  2. Sad News and Links says:

    […] And I reported on what doctors pray for, and what you can do to protect your skin. […]