The last few years could have been so different, if only we allowed the Torah to guide us. Shuls, yeshivos, businesses, and the rest of public life should never have been shut down. No one should ever have worn a mask, anywhere, not for one second. Family, friends, and neighbors should never have fallen for psy-ops and isolated themselves from one another, let alone turned against each other.
And, of course, not one single person, regardless of age or “risk factor”, should have taken any shots of Amalek juice that have maimed and killed so many.
I hope those who made mistakes, who were duped or pressured into choices that harmed themselves and others – and ultimately it was a choice – will take spiritual and material measures to rectify the situation as much as possible. I also hope those who did the duping and pressuring will face the consequences without further delay. If at some future point I am given the opportunity to pull the rope on the worst of them, I would consider it an honor and a mitzvah.
In the meantime, however, we must internalize the fundamental teachings from the Torah that would have guided us away from these mistakes. I have already written extensively about this, and will continue to provide more such teachings. We cannot rely on establishment rabbis – the worst of whom are Erev Rav, and the best of whom tend to lack courage and leadership qualities – to do all the thinking for us. We must continuously increase our own knowledge, engage in critical thinking, and refrain from just going along with something if it seems wrong.
Here are two brief Torah teachings that should have guided us, and would have guided us if the system wasn’t badly corrupted. Let us internalize them now and make sure that what happened in the last few years can never happen again.
The Rambam in Hilchos Sanhedrin 10:1 states:
אֶחָד מִן הַדַּיָּנִים בְּדִינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת שֶׁהָיָה מִן הַמְזַכִּין אוֹ מִן הַמְחַיְּבִין לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאָמַר דָּבָר הַנִּרְאֶה לוֹ בְּדַעְתּוֹ אֶלָּא נָטָה אַחַר דִּבְרֵי חֲבֵרוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה. וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר (שמות כג ב) “וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה עַל רִב לִנְטֹת”. מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁלֹּא תֹּאמַר בִּשְׁעַת מִנְיָן דַּי שֶׁאֶהֱיֶה כְּאִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי אֶלָּא אֱמֹר מַה שֶּׁלְּפָנֶיךָ
One of the judges in a capital case who is among those who rule in favor or against, not because he says something that seems correct in his own mind, but he turns after the words of his colleague – he transgresses a negative commandment. About this it says (Shemos 23:2) “Do not respond in a dispute to turn”. From the oral tradition they derive that one should not say at the time of the vote “It is enough that I should be like so-and-so”, but say that which is before you.
A judge, a rabbi, or anyone with decision-making responsibilities is duty-bound to think for himself and arrive at his own conclusions. He is not allowed to simply kowtow to others – even if they are highly qualified experts in their own right, and even if he ultimately agrees with them. He must express his independent opinion and reasoning behind it, and must rule according to what makes sense to him.
Nowadays it is common for a rabbi to add his name to a proclamation written by a third party (often with a dubious agenda) simply because other prominent rabbis signed it. This creates the illusion not only of a consensus, but one that was formed by careful, independent consideration of the matter by every rabbi on the list. In reality, it is simply one rabbi piggybacking on another for the sake of convenience and political expediency.
I personally know of a prominent Rosh Yeshiva in Brooklyn who appeared in a propaganda video in which he forcefully instructed the public to “get tested”, wear masks, and socially distance. I have this rabbi on a recording in which he divulged that he made this video because others had presumably looked into it, and they asked him to make these statements.
In other words, he had no idea what he was actually talking about, but there he was in a widely promoted video telling people what to do, pretending to be speaking in the name of the Torah as an authority figure. Not only that, he was giving people instructions with life and death implications, both physical and spiritual, yet he was nothing more than a mouthpiece.
Not only is this a dereliction of duty, it is a fundamental violation of halacha. A rabbi must do his homework before issuing a ruling, and he must arrive at his own conclusions (even after consulting with other rabbis). Furthermore, he must be prepared to justify these conclusions based on his own reasoning, and if he sides with one authority over another, he must explain why.
This is not only halacha, but it should be common sense.
The many rabbis who ordered us to behave like paranoid hypochondriacs, suffocate ourselves, and take Pfake medicine did not arrive at these conclusions through independent research and reasoning. If they were not outright bribed and blackmailed to issue these rulings, they kowtowed to others, speaking with a voice of authority that was as fraudulent as their message.
If these rabbis followed the halacha, they would never have conducted themselves in this fashion. If the public had this halacha in mind, they would have disregarded their words without a pang of guilt. Instead, many people were misled.
Let us never let this happen again.
The Tur in Choshen Mishpat Hilchos Eidus 28:15 states as follows:
ירושלמי רב כד הוה חמי סהדי מכוונים הוה חקר כד הוה חמי סהדי הכן והכן הוה מכוון פירוש כשהיה רואה עדים שהיו אומרים עדותן מכוונים בלשון אחד היה חושש שמא משקרים ובעצה כיונו לשונם אחת והיה חוקר ודורש אותם אבל אם לא היו אומרים ממש בלשון אחד אלא זה אומר בכה וזה אומר בכה רק שתהא עדותן מכוונת בלא הכחשה לא היה דורש כל כך
We learned in the Yerushalmi, when Rav [note: our editions of Yerushalmi have it as Rav Huna] would see that witnesses would say their testimony with identical language he would worry that they were lying, and that they conspiratorially directed their tongues as one, and he would investigate and cross-examine them. But if they didn’t speak with actual identical language, but this one said it like this, and this one said it like that, just their testimony was parallel without contradiction, he would not cross-examine them so thoroughly.
How many times have we heard the media and other establishment operatives parrot the same script? What are the odds that everyone would decide all at once, entirely on their own, that those who have concerns and doubts are “conspiracy theorists” (whatever that even means)? That their toxic creations would be referred to by everyone specifically as “safe and effective” (the definition of which they quietly, conveniently obfuscated, as they routinely do, so they can trick people without technically lying)? That everyone up and down the establishment food chain, in every corner of the globe, who detest one another and can never agree on anything, would draw exactly the same conclusions about the “pandemic” and the radical, destructive measures that must be taken?
How could any rational person witness this and not be highly suspicious, no matter how they sold it and how badly we want to be able to trust our “leaders”?
We know that the bad guys are masters at overcoming our defenses. However, if we internalized this most basic and sensible halacha, we would have been protected. We would have been highly suspicious by the uniformity of the messaging, which indicates a conspiracy like little else, and we would have cross-examined the messengers with greater intensity.
Unfortunately, most people didn’t cross-examine them at all. Many of them paid dearly for this, and the carnage is ongoing.
Let us renew our commitment to be guided strictly by the Torah. In the merit of this we should be protected from our past mistakes, and prepared to deal with the challenges that surely lie ahead.
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.