`264 Asher Weiss Doubles Down
Chananya Weissman

March 20, 2023

It was the first night of Pesach. Little Moshe had many questions for the Seder night, beginning with the traditional Ma Nishtana. He stood on a chair while his family beamed at him and faced his father.

“Why is this night different from all other nights?” asked Moshe.

His father motioned for him to stop and smiled.

“A good chasid doesn't ask questions.”

The Torah holds leaders accountable like no religious or political system created by man. Among the various sin-offerings we read about this week are special sacrifices for our greatest leaders when they sin through error, or even deliberately. The notion that a king, a Kohen Gadol, the head of a tribe, and even the Sanhedrin itself might get something very basic very wrong – including permitting idolatry – is not a far-fetched theoretical possibility, but a reality we must anticipate and recognize.

Throughout Jewish history we experienced this harsh reality, as some of our most outstanding scholars abused their knowledge and prestige to mislead the people. We have many examples in Tanach alone, including Korach, Doeg, Achitofel, Shevna, and the countless false prophets who brought ruin upon Israel. Later generations suffered from the Karaites, Sadducees, and numerous other breakaways from “Orthodox” Judaism to this very day. Perhaps the most baffling example is Yochanan Kohen Gadol, who served faithfully in the position for eighty years before becoming a Sadducee and throwing it all away.

In light of this, it would be foolish for us to discount the possibility of rabbis in our time being superior to those who came before them, somehow impervious to the lures of the yetzer hara in ways their predecessors were not. On the contrary, yeridas hadoros, the inevitable decline of the generations, renders it a virtual certainty that some rabbis who were once worthy of respect will disgrace their titles and betray the Jewish people.

Unfortunately, the inevitable decline of the generations has brought with it a perverse notion that certain rabbis are infallible and cannot be scrutinized, no matter how strange their behavior or bizarre their pronouncements. Somehow they enter the Da'as Torah Club, or the Holy Tzaddik Club, at which point anything but complete devotion and blind submission renders one a heretic.

If the rabbi says something strange, it must be that we don't understand the genius behind his cryptic remark. If the rabbi tells us to do something, it is a voice from heaven speaking through his lips. To be sure, those who are known to be pious are given the benefit of the doubt in ways ordinary people are not, for they have earned it, but no one is above question or reproach. No one gets to rest on his laurels. No one gets a free pass.

Asher Weiss was one of the earliest, most prominent rabbis who pushed the accursed Covid shots on the Jewish people. Way back in December of 2020, when the shots were first becoming available, Weiss declared that they were safe and we were obligated to take them. He never had a strong Torah case (or a strong scientific case) to support his position, but this did not deter him from issuing his “ruling” in the most forceful of terms. On the contrary, Weiss resorted to rhetoric, bluster, and distorting the Torah to fabricate a case.

I was infuriated by this and challenged Weiss in writing (see here and here). Last year I made a montage of some of his most perverse statements regarding Covid and tore them apart in episode 48 of my Medical War Crimes program. Most recently, I confronted Weiss in person and asked him if he has anything to say to the countless people who were harmed by the shots he said they were obligated to take. Not surprisingly, he flashed his true colors. A person of integrity who cares about the Jewish people he is not.

It makes sense that Weiss doesn't want to discuss his position, which was indefensible at the time and has become an extreme minority view as the carnage from the shots has become impossible to suppress. What makes less sense is the way Weiss continues to double down on his position. It is as if he lives in an alternate reality. It is a fantasy world (or science fiction) in which the Covid shots saved humanity, no one was harmed by them, and anyone who thinks otherwise is insane.

Last month Weiss gave a presentation at a Chemed conference. The conference was a who's who of Erev Rav moles and mosrim, whose job it is to kosherize and promote foreign ideas on behalf of the government. Chemed itself is nothing more than a Jewish-looking front group that receives enormous funding from the government to infiltrate the Orthodox world on their behalf.

Asher Weiss is right at home here. His presentation was called “The Covid Pandemic - Where Did We Go Wrong”. A more appropriate question would be where didn't they go wrong. Nevertheless, the title seemed promising; it seemed that Asher Weiss and the establishment he serves would finally admit significant wrongdoing. One would doubt the sincerity of such an admission, and expect him to minimize responsibility, but it would be something.

Incredibly, though, Weiss did just the opposite. Before getting to where things went wrong with the plandemic, however, Weiss needed to bloviate and set the stage for the inversion of reality that was to follow. Standing before a background that displayed “CHEMED Medicine + Ethics”, Weiss spoke for nearly forty minutes as a presumed authority in both Torah and science.

The full speech is available here. An excerpt that I will discuss in detail is available here.

He spent the first seventeen minutes cherry-picking Torah sources to magnify our presumed obligation to depend on doctors and restrict medical autonomy. This is certainly the picture he and his heretical backers wish to paint. In reality, the reverse is true. Our dependence on doctors is very limited, and the situations in which one can be forced to undergo a procedure are extremely rare exceptions. Yet Weiss speaks as if the exceptions are the rule, or should become the rule.

After “establishing” the supremacy of the (Western) medical establishment and marginalizing the rights of the individual, Weiss finally turned his attention to Covid. At long last we would hear “where they went wrong”.

“I think Covid stage one brought out the best in us,” said Weiss. “People cared about one another. We locked ourselves in our homes, we closed shuls. The young, the healthy, the vibrant understood that they must limit their activities to care for the elderly, the feeble, or the ill. It was a very special atmosphere.”

Yes, in February of 2023, Asher Weiss waxed nostalgic about the special atmosphere of totalitarian lockdowns, the cessation of public prayer and Jewish communal life, and the abandonment of the elderly to wither in loneliness and isolation – all in the name of protecting them. Those were the good old days.

“It was a very special atmosphere,” continued Weiss wistfully, “and then at some stage everything fell apart, and our society was torn about and unraveled, and it brought out so much machlokes and so much strife and so much pegi'ah b'kevod haTorah [injury to the honor of Torah]...

“So the second stage of Covid brought out the worst in us...we're still suffering from the aftermath of what happened to our societies in Covid – not from the medical aspect, more from the social aspect.”

According to Asher Weiss, what went wrong during Covid was that people stopped blindly obeying the voices of authority. Whatever suffering we see today has nothing to do with “the medical aspect”, but because people of strife with no respect for the Torah threw off the yoke of servitude.

But Weiss was just getting started.

“And one of the, I think problematic things from the period of Covid was, in many circles in our communities, some rabbonim, some gedolim that didn't trust the medical establishment, but have caused a total breakdown and a total mistrust in medicine, in doctors, and whatever doctors say and whatever they represent. These insane conspiracy theories – and I really want to say insane, because that is the way I see it – and it caused a total breakdown of trust, trust we always had, since Chazal said “mikan sheniten reshus l'rofeh l'rappos” [from here we learn that permission is given to the doctor to administer treatment].”

Weiss reaches deep into his inner snake with these remarks. After all the information that has come to light over the past few years, despite all that was done to suppress it and dismiss it, Weiss still maintains that the medical establishment gets an A+ for how it handled the Covid era. Everything they told us is true, those who don't believe them are insane, and whatever damage we suffered as a society is squarely because of rabbis who expressed distrust in (some) doctors.

According to Asher Weiss, distrusting doctors violates the Torah. After all, the Torah allows doctors to treat patients, and the right/obligation to treat patients somehow means the medical establishment must never be doubted. That's a Grand Canyon-sized leap of logic that has no basis in actual Torah. Asher Weiss just made it up.

Asher Weiss is a megaleh panim b'Torah shelo k'halacha, one who distorts the Torah against halacha. As Chazal teach us, even if such people have Torah and good deeds to their credit, they lose their share in the world to come (Avos 3:11). It is not a Grand Canyon-sized leap of logic to apply this to Asher Weiss.

Weiss then acknowledged that there are charlatans in every profession, and there is so much doctors don't know. Nevertheless, “we need to trust medicine, otherwise we are totally lost.”

This is another sleazy maneuver, a straw man. Weiss equates skepticism of the accursed Covid shots – at the late date of February 2023 – with distrust in all of medicine. According to Weiss, we have two choices: trust the establishment all the time and take all their drugs (which the Torah demands of us), or you don't believe in science at all. There is no responsible middle ground.

Weiss continued his assault on common sense and authentic Torah with actual kefirah.

“Doctors don't know everything, there is so much they don't know, but we know far more than we knew in the past. Ibn Ezra, more than 900 years ago, writes that doctors don't know anything about what's in the body, only what's outside. So, Ibn Ezra trusts doctors only treating with a rash, dandruff, cuts, bruises. But how would doctors know what's happening inside the body? That's what Ibn Ezra writes.”

This is a complete distortion. On Shemos 21:19, in which the Torah grants doctors the right to treat people, Ibn Ezra writes as follows:

לאות שנתן רשות לרופאים לרפא המכות והפצעים שיראו בחוץ. רק כל חלי שהוא בפנים בגוף ביד השם לרפאתו. וכן כתוב כי הוא יכאיב ויחבש .וכתוב באסא וגם בחליו לא דרש את ה' כי אם ברופאים...

This is a sign that permission is given to doctors to treat injuries and wounds that are visible on the outside. However, any illness that is internal in the body is in the hands of Hashem [alone] to heal. And so it is written “For He injures and binds up”, and it is written by Asa, “And also in his illness he did not seek Hashem, but only [put his faith] in doctors”...

Ibn Ezra does not relegate doctors to kindergarten nurses treating playground scrapes, nor does he claim that we have no idea what's going on inside the body. Long before Ibn Ezra lived, doctors performed surgery and studied the human body. The Gemara lists remedies for a wide range of illnesses, and although medicine has certainly evolved over the centuries (for better or for worse) no one can reasonably deny that our knowledge of the human body was zero until modern times. Does anyone believe the Rambam – a contemporary of Ibn Ezra – treated nothing more than dandruff and bruises?

Weiss continued. “The father of the Avnei Nezer 150 years ago quotes the Ibn Ezra,” here the generally humorless Weiss actually laughs, “as if that is halacha l'Moshe miSinai [a law given to Moshe at Har Sinai]. And that's extremely strange. But even going back 150 years, they didn't know much.”

Asher Weiss finds the Ibn Ezra ridiculous, as well as all the poskim who took his words seriously. According to Weiss, Ibn Ezra's words, despite being specifically linked to the pasuk on which he writes – “This is a sign that permission is given to doctors to treat injuries and wounds that are visible on the outside” – do not reflect the Torah's actual position. According to Weiss, Ibn Ezra was simply making it up based on his ignorance of the human body. We know better now, so we can all have a good little chuckle at how primitive the Ibn Ezra was.

But lo, it is not merely the Ibn Ezra who is worthy of our mirth, but thousands of years of gedolim who shared the same understanding of the Torah until at least 150 years ago. For the sake of brevity we will cite one more, Rabbeinu Bachya, like Ibn Ezra a rishon, and author of Chovos Halevovos. On the same pasuk he writes as follows:

הרפואה בבשר ודם אינה אלא ע"י צער וטורח והוא שיסבול הסם או המשקה המר, אבל רפואה של הקב"ה בנחת אין שם צער כלל כי ברכת ה' היא תעשיר ולא יוסיף עצב עמה. ומה שארז"ל ורפא ירפא מכאן שנתנה רשות לרופא לרפאות לא אמרו אלא במכה שבחוץ שהכתוב מדבר בה אבל חולי מבפנים אין זה תלוי ביד הרופא אלא ביד הרופא כל בשר אשר בידו נפש כל חי

...Healing through flesh and blood is only with pain and trouble, that is that he suffers the drug or the bitter potion, but Hashem's healing is with gentleness, without any pain at all, “For the blessing of Hashem is what makes one wealthy, and it does not add frustration with it.” And as for what Chazal said, “And he shall surely heal; from here permission is granted to the doctor to treat”, they only said this regarding an external injury, for that is what the scripture is speaking about. But an internal illness does not depend on the hands of the doctor, but in the hand of the Healer of all flesh, in whose hand is the soul of every living being.

Rabbeinu Bachya not only echoes Ibn Ezra's words, but clearly states that this was the position of Chazal. This is not only how Ibn Ezra understood the pasuk based on his “primitive” understanding of the human body, but how Chazal themselves defined the role of doctors.

In other words, contrary to the distortions and heresy of Asher Weiss, this is in fact Torah from Sinai.

One can argue that technological advances have rendered certain internal injuries more readily visible and treatable without undue risk to the patient, and thus within the purview of doctors to treat. We can leave that to true poskim, Torah scholars in every generation with the requisite knowledge and integrity to determine. However, it is indisputable that the Torah's position is to limit and minimize the role of doctors, not, as Asher Weiss claims, to maximize it and redefine it altogether.

There is also no basis for doctors to inject perfectly healthy people with mysterious shots – all of which actively subject these perfectly healthy people to dangers – under the guise of reducing the chance of them getting a severe case of Covid if they ever get it at all. This is especially true when the shots are designed to program the body to manufacture harmful spike proteins, which we are told will only be for a short time and will not venture where they can cause harm, and then the body will dutifully stop this process.

Leaving aside all the “insane conspiracy theories”, this was the official sales pitch for the shots. There is no way to reconcile this with the words of Chazal, that doctors are granted the right to treat sick people, and are not to monkey around with the internal workings of the body on the genetic level. Weiss provides no Torah support for such a radical notion, for there is none. Instead he mocks the father of the Avnei Nezer for citing the Ibn Ezra as halacha.

There is little fundamental difference between how Asher Weiss and Reform Jews approach the Torah. Both believe Chazal knew very little about the actual world, we are far superior today, and we can make radical changes accordingly. The only slight difference is that Weiss pretends this is what Chazal meant all along by granting doctors permission to treat.

Weiss then laments once again “this total breakdown of trust in major parts of our communities has dramatic and catastrophic consequences.” He said he knows many cancer patients don't trust doctors, and will not go for radiation or chemotherapy. Of course, Weiss makes no mention of cancer patients and other severely ill people who were denied medical treatment during the lockdowns he remembers so fondly, or those who were refused care as punishment for not having taken the accursed Covid shots.

It goes without saying that Weiss would never question the conventional wisdom on radiation and chemotherapy altogether. Such a thing would be against the Torah.

“And it is becoming more and more common in our society, people don't trust doctors. And they go to all kinds of charlatans suggesting total nonsense that has not been proven.”

Weiss simply cannot fathom why it is increasingly common for people to distrust establishment doctors. Weiss also cannot accept the possibility that anything outside the establishment is sensible, or has proven to be effective.

Indeed, in the beginning of his presentation Weiss went to great lengths marginalizing “alternative medicine”, by which he meant all the treatments mentioned in the Gemara – which he lumped together in one supernatural basket – and everything outside the approved Western model. He insinuated that “alternative medicine” by definition is unnatural, when, for the most part, precisely the opposite is true. Western medicine, with its near-total dependence on artificial pharmaceutical products, is a deviation from the natural approach to healing that was the norm throughout human history, and remains the norm in many parts of the world. The average person in the Western world does not live a longer, healthier life specifically thanks to Western medicine than his counterpart in Asia, where more traditional medicine is favored.

To Asher Weiss, a shill for the pharmaceutical establishment, reality is totally inverted.

Weiss then proceeded to malign those who don't trust the establishment, blaming them for the recent “outbreak of measles” in Israel and parts of New York. It was “because so many people stopped vaccinating their children for measles,” Weiss said, launching into full scare-monger mode. “We don't want to go back where we were 100, 200, and 300 years ago. Smallpox wiped out 50% of the population in Europe!”

Then he issued another statement that is pure kefirah: “These diseases didn't go away because someone wrote a kemayah [amulet with holy writings inside]. Vaccines took away these diseases.”

Not only is this kefirah, and not only is it highly dubious from a medical standpoint, it is also another sleazy straw man from Weiss. Once again he covers for a radical statement by implicitly marginalizing those who don't believe in vaccines as believing in the occult.

“So planting total mistrust is a terrible mistake, and we need to restore faith in the medical profession, and in medicine, and I think that is scars that we still carry from the Covid pandemic.”

Weiss fails to consider the possibility that any mistrust in the establishment is warranted, and sees this unwarranted mistrust as the only casualty of the Covid era. Needless to say, since the establishment bears no fault for this, they do not need to restore trust by actually being trustworthy, but by indoctrinating the population.

Finally, after lambasting Rabbis and large segments of the population for peddling “insane conspiracy theories”, going completely against the Torah and all reason, and spreading disease and death through the community, Weiss pretends to be a peacemaker.

“So I don't want to be negative, and I don't want to criticize going back anyone, but these are bad consequences that we are still carrying from the period of Covid, and I think we all need to restore our fundamental trust in medicine and the medical establishment.”

When deceitful scoundrels like Asher Weiss, his fellow Judenrat at Chemed, and the wicked people who fund them are removed from the medical establishment, perhaps that will be possible.



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