Friday, January 9, 2015

Anti-Vaccine Calls and Halacha - view of Lubavitcher Rebbe by Rabbi Shlolom Shuchat

 update see Wikipedia - vaccine controversies
Collive  By Rabbi Sholom Shuchat - dayan and arbitrator with the Agudas Harabonim - Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the USA & Canada

With the recent news of a measles outbreak in NYC, and the resurgence of the Anti-Vaccine movement in Crown Heights, it is important to step back and take a look at our guiding light, the Torah and the Rebbe's opinion.

Often, during an argument between pro and anti-vaccine, the anti-vaccine proponent will state that studies have found links between vaccines and autism. Said "study" has been debunked countless times by many medical journals, but the claim still lingers among many, specifically among religious Jews who have only jumped on the bandwagon in recent years, leading to the infamous outbreak of mumps a few years ago.

As Lubavitcher Chassidim, we must look at the Rebbe's writings for clear directives regarding what we should do. The following includes a sampling of the Rebbe's directives regarding this matter, leaving no place for doubt or question, and stating clearly what the Halacha is regarding these matters

THE REBBE'S VIEW

Regarding obeying doctors, the Rebbe writes the following:

"Surely I need not remind you that the Torah granted “permission to the healer to heal,” and thus this directive is of Torah [and not Rabbinic] origin.

It is not similar to those who mistakenly say that if someone is G-d-fearing, he need not listen to the instructions of a doctor [— when the doctor’s instructions seem to interfere somewhat with his religious conduct—] and may act as he understands. Indeed, the opposite is the case."

Similarly, in another letter, the Rebbe writes:

"I have received a report that allegedly you are not — G-d forbid — obeying the doctor’s instructions. If this report is true, [that you are indeed not obeying the doctor,] then you will surely begin obeying him properly and will do so at the earliest opportunity, particularly as this is an explicit law in Shulchan Aruch — and may you convey glad tidings."
(Healthy in Body, Mind and Spirit - Volume I, Chapter 4) 

Regarding vaccinations, the Rebbe's view was clear, as stated in the following letter:

"Regarding your question about inoculations against disease:

I am surprised by your question, since so many individuals from Eretz Yisrael have asked me about this and I have answered them in the affirmative, since the overwhelming majority of individuals do so successfully.

Understandably, if there are inoculations that are produced by various drug-manufacturing companies, you should use the ones whose safety is tried and proven."[...]

36 comments :

  1. Rabbi Sholom Shuchat is one of those arrested by the FBI in the sting last year. http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2014/06/sholom-shuchat-admits-guilt-in-mendel.html

    At this point, I'm going to take his arrest into account when deciding whether or not to trust anything he says. He may be innocent of the charges, and should be trusted. Or maybe he's guilty and should not be trusted. So my approach overall will be to not "do business" with him, that is, not to learn from him till the matter is clarified for me.

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  2. I assume that the anti-vaccine movement is coming from the ultra anti-science/modern Hareidi quarter. Do these groups use medicines at all, eg anti-biotics etc? And are tehy the same ones who say there is no danger from smoking?

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  3. What's ro believe or not believe? He is just quoting sources.

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  4. So, if he could quote you sources justifying breaking Federal law, flouting the accepted rules of arriving and enforcing a Bais Din decision, you would "believe" his learning is correct, and you would go around swinging a club at ephemeral husbands?

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  5. You with your chareidi obsession. This is a very popular cause among the vegan/naturist/anti-science crowd. It has nothing to do with religion. But when you have a head like a box of hammers, everything looks like a nail.

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  6. don't compare apples with oranges.. there is always some fringe group who claims the earth is flat. there are even some crazy gay groups who deny the existence of the AIDS virus.
    What i know is that there are tragically outbreaks of diseases in hareidi schools which is due to their obsession with skipping vaccinations.

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  7. I was just making a simple point, which I'll try to do again: If Reuven shows me a book written by Shimon which describes Shimon's viewpoint vis-a-vis a given issue, then I now KNOW what Shimon's viewpoint is, whether Reuven is the holiest Tzaddik or the more dastardly Rasha. Reuven's character, intelligence, clothing, social security no. etc are all irrelevant. The only important thing is whether the BOOK is a trustworthy source of information - which in our case, it is, in my opinion.


    To malign Rabbi Sholom Shuchat (whose name I have never heard before) may serve your purposes (whatever they are), but has no bearing on the opinion of the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל on the subject of vaccinations.

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  8. What i know is that there are tragically outbreaks of diseases in
    hareidi schools which is due to their obsession with skipping
    vaccinations.


    Oh, really? Would you care to name a few?

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  9. this is one example, however an additional problem is raised in this case - the face to face chavrusa system apparently causes greater spread of disease, even when regular vaccination does take place, so it is a separate - but interesting - discussion
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23113481

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  10. Hackney, East London
    outbreak of measles 2013
    http://forward.com/articles/205801/are-ultra-orthodox-turning-away-from-vaccination/?p=all

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  11. "I was just making a simple point, which I'll try to do again: If Reuven shows me a book written by Shimon which describes Shimon's viewpoint vis-a-vis a given issue, then I now KNOW what Shimon's viewpoint is, whether Reuven is the holiest Tzaddik or the most dastardly Rasha. Reuven's character, intelligence, clothing, social security no. etc are all irrelevant. The only important thing is whether the BOOK is a trustworthy source of information - which in our case, it is, in my opinion."

    Rabbi Shochet is teaching Torah. He is judiciously choosing sources to make a Torah point. I think we can agree that it's possible make an illegitimate point using legitimate sources. Now, just how judicious is Rabbi Shochet? Based on his arrest, this is a fair question to ponder.

    "To malign Rabbi Sholom Shuchat (whose name I have never heard before) may serve your purposes (whatever they are), but has no bearing on the opinion of the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל on the subject of vaccinations."

    Reb Chaim, please educate yourself before commenting. My first comment has a link. Clicking on that link would have led you to a webpage that indicated that "Sholom Shuchat pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark on Monday to traveling in interstate commerce to commit an act of violence. The crime carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence."

    More investigation would have led you to an understanding that his pleading guilty was an admission he had broken U.S. Federal law. Going into the matter further, you would have discovered that he was involved in a process that flouted the accepted rules of arriving at and enforcing a Bais Din decision.

    Yet, it can be presumed that Rabbi Shuchat has sources he can present to justify his actions in regard to preparing to attack someone that led to his arrest. Persuasive arguments, I would presume. Arguments that, taken collectively, do not lead a person to keep the Torah.

    I took issue with your characterizing Rabbi Shuchat as someone just presenting sources. If we take your approach a step further, someone who's a follower of the Lubavitcher Rebbe might just take these sources and follow through on their implications. Why not? And then the same person could meet Rabbi Shuchat and hear his sources for beating up husbands and also follow through. Why not?

    That was the point I was trying to draw out in my last comment.

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  12. Please refer to my response to Chaim above ^.

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  13. From the article you cited:

    Orthodox opposition to vaccines, where it exists, does not appear to be based on religious objections. Some vaccines do include gelatin,which is made from pig tissue. But Jewish law does not ban the
    injection of nonkosher meat such as pork, it bans actual consumption of it, according to Rabbi Menachem Genack, who runs the kosher division of
    the Orthodox Union.
    Instead, ultra-Orthodox anti-vaccine advocates use
    language similar to that of secular anti-vaccine activists, such as former Playboy Playmate and talk show host Jenny McCarthy.



    As I wrote, it's nothing to do with chareidi ideology.

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  14. I suppose it's possible, but I don't buy it. All schoolchildren come into close contact, chavrusa system or no.

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  15. you mean it is just to do with laziness or separation from the modern world? Or are you saying that certain minority groups generally have worse healthcare, and thus very frum communities are also minorities, and that is the reason?
    Why then, does one prominent RY say it is a hoax? This must reflect some kind of thinking within this environment? Or is he just a hippie in disguise?

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  16. Ahh, I see. And what do you think of college campuses and all the very close contacts going on? Come on.

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  17. "I think we can agree that it's possible to make an illegitimate point using legitimate sources."


    Rabbi Shuchat, however, made no points at all! He merely provided 2 quotes verbatim from Sefarim of the Rebbe which are readily available. There is no room for distortion, misinterpretation etc. here. If an Apikoros photocopies a Sefer relevant to what I am learning about, should I not trust the photocopied page?


    This is getting tedious.

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  18. This is getting tedious.


    Unfortunately, this is true.


    I think we can appreciate Mr. Orlow's point as to the credentials and credibility of the mentioned person as a "respected rabbi and dayan".


    I also think that at this point, after the credibility question has been raised, it is worthwhile to now discuss the actual topic at hand: immunizations.


    Are there differences between immunizations? What about the chicken pox shot - does it endanger future infants under two weeks old? What is the data on this?

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  19. The prominent rosh yeshiva you mention has a wife who is a fanatical health nut. What he says on this topic no doubt reflects her view. This is well-known among those who actually know anything about the chareidi world, although not among obsessives who get their chareidi information from the internet.

    To repeat myself, this has nothing to do with separation from the modern world. It derives from the current vegan/naturist/anti-science zeitgeist.

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  20. "As Lubavitcher Chassidim, we must look at the Rebbe's writings for clear directives regarding what we should do. The following includes a sampling of the Rebbe's directives regarding this matter, leaving no place for doubt or question, and stating clearly what the Halacha is regarding these matters."

    A "sampling". Rabbi Shuchat made choices what to include, and what not to include. How sound were these choices? Could other choices, or a more complete survey, present another picture?

    Since the search for truth here does not fascinate you, may I suggest that you we switch our venue to an online game website? We can can play an exciting video game while we debate, which may overcome the tedium of our discussion.

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  21. They once asked R' Chaim Volozhiner whether they should permit a certain
    Baal Darshan to have a few words in the main Shul on Shabbos, since he only
    quotes from sources like the Talmud, Midroshim etc. R' Chaim replied, " Yo Yo,
    es iz takke Kosher fleish, obber es kocht zich in a Treifenem tepel!" ved"al

    ReplyDelete
  22. There's a link to a video in this post that may be of interest:
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2014/10/observations-about-salk-polio-vaccine.html
    Tedium Alert to Chaim and Honesty: If you are operating heavy machinery, exercise caution when reading my comment there, as it may lead to inattentiveness.

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  23. JO,


    I agree that sometimes a body of work - be it the Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, Rambam etc. - may contain seemingly contradictory statements, and in order to clarify the author's true position it will be necessary to reconcile these statements to arrive at a more nuanced opinion - one which a cursory glance at any one (or two) of the sources would not provide. It is for this reason that the Gemara castigates those who pasken based on Mishnayos alone, calling them מבלי עולם. How does the person know that there isn't a different Mishna which may contradict or at least qualify this one? You can only really know Hilchos Shabbos if you've learnt the whole lot - I get that.


    The question is - does one need to be חושש that in any given body of writing, that is the case? The answer must surely be decided on a case-to-case basis. I think that in a work that is not known to contain any major contradictions, such as the writings of the Rebbe (please correct me if I'm wrong), there is no need to worry that we are not seeing the whole picture.


    Furthermore, we must bear in mind that there is a difference between a Halachic work - in which the author may choose to be more concise in some places and rely on the fact that the reader will discover that elsewhere he has elaborated on the subject - and collected letters (as is the case here), each of which is a "standalone" expression of opinion and was only ever meant to be read by itself. If the Rebbe was happy for the recipient to read just that letter and was not concerned that he would not get "the whole picture", then why should >I be concerned?

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  24. You seem knowledgeable about Lubavitch Chasidism. I'm not knowledgeable. So I concede to you, if you feel confident that Rabbi Shuchat has made an honest presentation on the subject of vaccinations.

    But...

    ...if you have a friend who's wife is seeking a Get and who has gone to Rabbi Shuchat for relief, then please advise your friend to take appropriate precautions to avoid a possible imminent threat to his body and his reputation.

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  25. Thank you for the link. I was only able to see the trailer, as the video has been removed due to a copyright issue.

    I do think I should clarify. I respect you Mr. Orlow. I think you've got a nice sense of humor and are a good guy. I also agree to disagree with you on certain issues.

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  26. One thing this quote does demonstrate is the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe as a baal eitzah, especially as compared to leaders of our generation. I'm not minimizing the messianic frenzy he caused in his later years, but it's worthwhile to remember what a great man he was otherwise.

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  27. Thanks for the heads up!

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  28. INTERESTING https://www.boughtmovie.net/free-viewing/thank-you.php

    ReplyDelete
  29. you should use the ones whose safety is
    tried and proven."

    But what would the rabbi say about most of them today, that are NOT safe ?

    CDC admits they covered up MMR autism link for over 10 years


    http://www.morganverkamp.com/august-27-2014-press-release-statement-of-william-w-thompson-ph-d-regarding-the-2004-article-examining-the-possibility-of-a-relationship-between-mmr-vaccine-and-autism/



    10 years of measles NOT even 10 deaths , but over 100 deaths from MMR
    as per CDC & HRSA.gov


    http://www.naturalnews.com/048573_measles_deaths_MMR_vaccine_immunization_dangers.html

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  30. Have you forgotten the More doctors smoke camel add. in medical publications 1930 to 1950 ?


    You can by most Doctors for the right price, where do you think they become so rich from

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  31. @Moishe - please use respected authoritative sources

    your claim has been shown to be false

    http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/cdcwhistleblower.asp

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  32. Leading Vaccine Doctor States Cancer Linked to Polio Vaccine:

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/02/18/leading-vaccine-doctor-states-cancer-linked-to-polio-vaccine.aspx

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  33. Please read the refutation of this nonsense

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/09/11/a-zombie-meme-rises-from-the-grave-maurice-hilleman-the-polio-vaccine-sv40-and-cancer/

    ReplyDelete

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