Idolatry and Modern Medicine
We have all been warned -- and we will all be responsible for the path we choose.
The false prophets of today don't have much Torah to support their religious arguments. They have relied upon a small number of cherry-picked sources, which they take out of context and blow out of proportion - like all those who abuse the Torah - to push an agenda. In this case, they are corrupting the Torah to justify subservience to medical diktats without limits or boundaries.
One of their favorite sources to corrupt is the teaching based on the words “ורפא ירפא” (Shemos 21:19) that grants doctors permission to treat the injured (Brachos 60A and elsewhere). One doesn't need to be a Torah scholar to recognize that permission to treat some people some of the time cannot be equated with requiring all people to submit to “public health authorities” all of the time.
Doctors exist to provide a service to those who are injured or sick, and to offer advice on healthy living. We are not beholden to them, neither individually nor collectively.
Several months ago I prepared fifteen questions for people to ask their rabbis, particularly those who are acting as spokesmen for the pharmaceutical industry. One fundamental question was “Under what circumstances may a minority of medical opinions be followed?” No one can argue that there are no such circumstances – they are clearly outlined in Jewish law – yet the next false prophet who offers a response to this when challenged will be the very first. They refuse to even address the question, because they know their position on the crapcine and related matters will quickly fall apart.
(Just for fun, try this with an apostate in rabbinic garb yourself. You might add that “the majority of doctors” now claim that a man can become a woman, and that someone with homosexual tendencies must remain that way forever. Does the Torah compel us to adopt these positions? What about the fact that witch doctors used to be the majority, yet Chazal rejected them? Watch them duck, deflect, and disappear. It's hours of fun for the entire family.)
The Gemara in Avoda Zara 55A provides fundamental guidance into the relationship we are supposed to have with medical care. It is a lengthy source, but every word is important:
א"ל זונין לרבי עקיבא לבי ולבך ידע דעבודת כוכבים לית בה מששא והא קחזינן גברי דאזלי כי מתברי ואתו כי מצמדי מ"ט אמר לו אמשול לך משל למה"ד לאדם נאמן שהיה בעיר וכל בני עירו היו מפקידין אצלו שלא בעדים ובא אדם אחד והפקיד לו בעדים פעם אחד שכח והפקיד אצלו שלא בעדים אמרה לו אשתו בוא ונכפרנו אמר לה וכי מפני ששוטה זה עשה שלא כהוגן אנו נאבד את אמונתינו אף כך יסורין בשעה שמשגרין אותן על האדם משביעין אותן שלא תלכו אלא ביום פלוני ולא תצאו אלא ביום פלוני ובשעה פלונית ועל ידי פלוני ועל ידי סם פלוני כיון שהגיע זמנן לצאת הלך זה לבית עבודת כוכבים אמרו יסורין דין הוא שלא נצא וחוזרין ואומרים וכי מפני ששוטה זה עושה שלא כהוגן אנו נאבד שבועתנו והיינו דא"ר יוחנן מאי דכתיב (דברים כח, נט) וחלים רעים ונאמנים רעים בשליחותן ונאמנים בשבועתן
Zonin said to Rabbi Akiva, My heart and your heart know that idolatry has no substance. Yet we see that a man goes when broken [to the place of idolatry] and comes back whole. Why is this?
He said to him, I will give you a parable. To what can this be compared? To a trusted person who was in a city, and all the people of the city would deposit [valuables] with him without witnesses. One man came and deposited with him with witnesses. One time he forgot and deposited with him without witnesses. The wife [of the trustworthy man] said to him, Come and let's deny [that he deposited with us]. He said to her, Just because this fool acted improperly, should we forfeit our trustworthiness?
In the same way, when sufferings are sent upon a person, they [the sufferings] are made to swear that they will only come on a certain day and leave on a certain day, and at a certain time, and through the hands of a certain person, and through a certain medicine. When it comes time for the sufferings to leave, this [person] goes to the house of idolatry. The sufferings say, Is it just that we should leave? Then they recant and say, Just because this fool is acting improperly, should we forfeit our oath?
And this is consistent with what Rabbi Yochanan said: What does it mean when it says (Devarim 28:59) “And bad, trustworthy sicknesses”? They are sent to cause harm, and they are true to their oath.
The Torah teaches us that illnesses are sent from heaven with a specific decree when they will begin and end. Furthermore, God decrees the specific intermediaries – both medical practitioner and intervention – that will heal the patient. Although we are supposed to conduct ourselves according to the natural ways of the world, these efforts are nothing but camouflage for God's direct intervention.
Doctors cure no one. Medicine has no intrinsic power. God performs the actual healing, and He orchestrates the specific “cover story” for His intervention. He hides His presence through nature in order to preserve free choice, without which the world would serve no purpose.
Modern science stands in stark opposition to this principle. The “health experts” believe that our bodies can be programmed like computers. They believe our health is unrelated to divine decrees. They believe that their doctors and drugs are not intermediaries for God's intervention, but substitutes for it. Indeed, they warn us that without doctors invading us with drugs from the moment of birth we cannot survive in this world.
This is idolatrous.
The Gemara continues as follows:
א"ל רבא בר רב יצחק לרב יהודה האיכא בית עבודת כוכבים באתרין דכי מצטריך עלמא למטרא מתחזי להו בחלמא ואמר להו שחטו לי גברא ואייתי מטרא שחטו לה גברא ואתי מטרא א"ל השתא אי הוי שכיבנא לא אמרי לכו הא מלתא דאמר רב מאי דכתיב (דברים ד, יט) אשר חלק ה' אלהיך אותם לכל העמים מלמד שהחליקן בדברים כדי לטורדן מן העולם והיינו דאמר ריש לקיש מאי דכתיב (משלי ג, לד) אם ללצים הוא יליץ ולענוים יתן חן בא לטמא פותחין לו בא לטהר מסייעין אותו:
Rava bar Rav Yitzchak said to Rav Yehuda, But there is a house of idolatry in our place, where when the world needs rain, it appears to them in a dream and tells them “Slaughter a man to me and I will bring rain.” They slaughter a man to it and rain comes.
He said to him, Now, had I died I would not have told you this matter that Rav said [the opportunity would have been lost]. What does it mean when it says (Devarim 4:19) “That Hashem apportioned them [the sun, the moon, and the stars] to all the nations”? It teaches that He allowed them to slip [the same root as the word “apportioned”] in these matters in order to drive them out of the world [if they choose to be misled by idolatry].
And this is consistent with what Reish Lakish said: What does it mean when it is written (Mishlei 3:34) “If one comes to be a scoffer He scoffs at him, and to the humble He gives grace”? If one comes to be impure, he is given the opening [to do so], but if one comes to purify himself, they [in heaven] assist him.
We see from here that sometimes those who engage in idolatrous practices will find success in the short term. However, this should not be taken as proof that idolatry is a successful path. They are merely being given the opportunity to exercise their free choice, and will ultimately be driven out of the world.
These teachings are but a small sample, but the Torah is consistent. We are not to believe that our health depends on taking vaccines, or that the entire planet must enslave itself to pharmaceutical products to survive. People who suffer from illness or injury are allowed to seek medical treatment, and in many cases (not all) are obliged to do so. Scientists and doctors play a limited role in our wellbeing. Their position is not vaunted, and we are not to put our faith in them. Much of what they insist is true today will be rejected by those who come after them, as it has always been. Only God's supervision is constant.
The Gemara in Taanis chapter three, relates many instances of famines, plagues, and other “public health” emergencies throughout our history. There are many examples of a particularly holy person bringing rain through his prayers, or protecting his city from plague through his merits. There are even examples of ordinary people protecting their city from plague through seemingly small acts of kindness. They had scientific “experts” then too, but Chazal's prescription for “natural threats” was always spiritual in nature: public fasts, public prayer, and repentance.
There is not a single example of plagues ending through medical interventions or the discovery of new scientific ways of protecting the population. They ended because Hashem ended them, period. This is consistent with all the biblical instances of plagues, such as the plague brought upon the Egyptians, the plague brought upon the Jews in the desert, and the plague in the times of King David. When the spiritual cause for the punishment was addressed, the plague ended immediately – no doctors required, no restrictions on normal life, and no lifetime subscription to “booster shots”.
Where are the “leading rabbis” urging us to follow our Torah's teachings to protect ourselves from this supposed plague? The false prophets have prostituted themselves to the pharmaceutical industry and twisted the Torah to pretend this is God's will. They do not even entertain the notion that a spiritual response will protect us from punishment. No, there must be shiny new injections for one and all, forever and ever. We must bless God for these drugs, even while we continue to cover our tzelem Elokim (likeness of God) and view public prayer as reckless endangerment. God will only save us specifically if we abandon the ways we are supposed to serve Him and kneel before the god of science.
These rabbis are phonies. They are idolatrous priests.
Achiya HaShiloni's prophetic rebuke to Yaravam, the king who led Israel to serve two golden calves (because the first one worked out so well), is appropriate for them as well:
ותרע לעשות מכל אשר היו לפניך ותלך ותעשה לך אלהים אחרים ומסכות להכעיסני ואתי השלכת אחרי גוך
And you have done evil more than all those who came before you, and you went and made foreign gods, and molten images to anger Me, and you cast Me behind your back. (Melachim 14:9)
The biblical word for “molten images” is the modern Hebrew word for masks.
Read it again.
And you have done evil more than all those who came before you, and you went and made foreign gods and masks to anger Me, and you cast Me behind your back.
Relying on pharmaceutical products and the heathens who promote them to save the world is tantamount to casting God behind your back. We have all been warned, and will be responsible for whichever path we choose.
Rabbi Chananya Weissman is the author of hundreds of articles and seven books on a wide range of subjects. He is also the director and producer of a documentary, Single Jewish Male, and a series of short films. His work can be found at chananyaweissman.com and rumble.com/c/c-782463. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.