March 2, 2023
We've been browbeaten the last few years by authoritarians and those who lick their boots. They sneer at those who have the audacity to evaluate information for themselves, to seek information beyond what the authoritarians curate for them, and to decide for themselves what is best for them. We aren't experts, they proclaim, as if anything less than an expert (one certified by and in good standing with these very people, of course) can possibly have anything to contribute to the discussion.
We must trust these people and we must obey them. They get a blank check like even the prophets of yore never enjoyed. After all, unlike the prophets, they have “data”.
Although the authoritarians commissioned many religious figureheads to put a pseudo-Torah spin on their propaganda, the true Torah position is squarely against them. This is why they refuse to engage anyone who challenges their rhetoric, and must be protected by layers of interference lest anyone expose them for the charlatans they are.
In one of Asher Weiss's directives on the subject, which was heavy on melodramatic language but devoid of the Torah substance we would expect of a posek, he declared that “we must be more severe than the health authorities in Israel and the world”. Of all the many radical, dubious statements Weiss has made regarding our supposed obligations to undergo medical treatments against our better judgment – or even our right to have a better judgment – this statement is particularly stunning.
After all, Weiss and his ilk frequently admonish us that the Torah obligates us to trust the medical establishment, whatever that may be (presumably, those who employ, fund, and promote him). These unidentified authorities, over whom we the people have no control, no right to disobey, and no ability to even challenge, are to be given sovereignty over our bodies and our lives. If they say a drug is safe, we must believe them. If they give us an order, we are obligated to follow them and compel others to do the same.
Yet in this letter Weiss said that we must be even more stringent than these same authorities. To this extent we are allowed and even obligated to deviate from what the “experts” tell us; suddenly we are allowed to freelance!
But Weiss doesn't provide any Torah-based or science-based guidelines for this decree that he invented. How much more stringent than the “experts” are we obligated to be? How much more stringent are we allowed to be, and at what cost? Weiss doesn't say, because it's all a fabrication.
Not only is it a fabrication, it is a lie built upon a lie, for the very claim that some “health authority” can impose its will on the masses – let alone perfectly healthy people who have no need or desire for their services – is a fabrication.
Not only is that a fabrication, but the very notion that a doctor – any doctor – can impose his will on any individual who is not his patient, and with whose condition he is not personally familiar, is a fabrication.
Furthermore, even if a doctor is personally familiar with a patient's condition, and the patient has granted the doctor permission to diagnose and treat him, the doctor does not have a blank check to impose his treatment of choice on the patient.
Furthermore, a doctor never has the authority to impose a medical treatment on an individual – which in all cases exposes him to an element of danger – for the presumed benefit this might provide to someone else. The Erev Rav can wax poetic all they want about the obligation to care about other people – which is a perfectly fine concept – but if we are talking actual halacha, with context and clearly defined boundaries, they are holding an empty bag. This is why they depend on the ignorance and compliance of the masses, and refuse to take serious questions. The few Torah sources they cherry-pick and take grossly out of context are a fig leaf for their corruption.
But enough about Weiss and his fake Torah. Let's learn from a truly great rabbi, Rav Moshe Feinstein, whose wisdom and integrity can guide us.
In Igros Moshe Even Ha'ezer 1:3 he discusses the case of a woman who, due to a medical condition, was unable to be intimate with her husband. The husband claimed that she was a rebellious wife and sought an allowance to take another wife, while being relieved of his financial responsibilities to this one. The doctors declared that the woman's condition was caused by infidelity, which, if they were to be trusted, would support the husband's claim against her.
Those who are interested in the particulars of the case can look it up, but what is most relevant for our discussion is the following comment from Rav Moshe in his response:
והוא באופן שאין לחשוד להרופאים שידוע שיש רופאים שיש לחושדם לשקר בשחד לטובת הבעל וגם לטעות ואף שסומכין עלהם בהרבה דברים הנוגעים לאיסורים אין לסמוך בדבר הנוגע לאחרים להרע להם וגם יש בזה חיובי ממון שעל זה צריך עדים כשרים וידיעה ברורה
And this is in a situation when there is no reason to suspect the doctors, for it is known that there are doctors who can be suspected to lie for a bribe for the benefit of the husband, and also to make a mistake. And even though we rely on them in many matters that pertain to prohibitions, we cannot rely on them on matters that pertain to others to harm them. There is also in this case a monetary obligation [against the wife], for which we require kosher witnesses and clear knowledge.
Rav Moshe takes it for granted that doctors are human beings, who are susceptible to the same moral failings, errors in judgment, gaps in knowledge, and sloppy performance as anyone else. While we must consult doctors at times and give a degree of weight to their opinions (which varies based on the doctor and circumstances) it is nothing like the master/follower relationship that the establishment and its religious shills seek to impose on us.
This is especially true when a doctor's assessment of a condition would render someone a criminal and cause him a monetary loss. In this case, Rav Moshe noted that we cannot trust the doctors' assessment of the origins of the wife's medical condition, for that would cause her to forfeit her kesuba (marriage contract). Rav Moshe also did not discount the possibility of the husband and the doctors conspiring to arrive at a desired conclusion, with compensation for the service.
Apparently Rav Moshe Feinstein was a conspiracy theorist. Or, more likely, he understood the reality of human behavior and how the world works.
Today's “leading” rabbis, none of whom could hold a candle to Rav Moshe's knowledge and piety, have argued that we must disregard the possibility that “the experts” might make critical errors (deliberately or otherwise) or take bribes to arrive at certain conclusions. According to these rabbis, anyone who entertains such “theories” should be called vicious names, canceled, and even treated like a murderer.
These rabbis further claim that the establishment has the right to financially penalize people, destroy their livelihoods, criminalize upstanding people, and treat them like terrorists, based on the opinions of handpicked medical “authorities”. If a doctor says some people might get sick if we allow other people to go outside, for example, then the government has the right to imprison their citizens however they see fit, regardless of the financial and other harm this causes them. And if someone does get sick, the “authorities” can decide for themselves that someone caused that person to be sick, and penalize them however they see fit.
Contrary to Torah law, as clearly articulated by Rav Moshe Feinstein, neither kosher witnesses nor clear knowledge are required. The doctor does not only assess a patient's medical condition, and suggest a course of treatment, but his opinion carries greater weight than kosher witnesses, clear knowledge, and even a prophet.
Why? Because they say so, and rabbis who are commissioned for this very purpose speak falsely in the name of the Torah.
If Rav Moshe Feinstein were alive today, there is no doubt he would stridently oppose these purveyors of fake Torah. Unfortunately there is no one today who can come close to filling Rav Moshe's shoes, but, inadequate as we are, we must fight the battle for truth that is before us.
The Torah is squarely on our side. True gedolim like Rav Moshe Feinstein are squarely on our side. We don't need to invent novel interpretations of the Torah to make our case; that's for the Erev Rav. We just need to say it like it is, and spread true Torah to all who are willing to listen.
It will be easy enough for them to tell the difference.
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