Monday, March 22, 2021

Freedom to be YOU

Are you in a dilemma about whether to vaccinate yourself or your child?

Are you conflicted because "everyone else is doing it?"

Are you confused because "rabbis are telling everyone to vaccinate?"

Relax... no need to be conflicted or confused. It's VERY simple:

Stop asking rabbis if you're required to vaccinate. You're not. Halacha doesn't authorize them to require you to.

Don't even bother asking rabbis for permission NOT to vaccinate. You don't need anyone's permission to decline any injection. It is your G-d-given right.

Instead, ask the rabbi if you are PERMITTED to vaccinate according to halacha.

If he's a competent rabbi, he'll respond that he's not qualified to answer you, but that YOU should consult independent scientists and physicians who have expertise in toxicology, vaccine injury, and vaccine safety...

And after YOU have thorough and reliable information about the actual short-term and long-term risks of the vaccine, AND the reputation and safety record of that particular vaccine maker, THEN you should discuss the matter with your own medical expert who cares about YOU and YOUR child first and foremost, not about his own profit margin, public policies, or alleged so-called herd benefit...

And that if after all that, you STILL wish to vaccinate, you may... but ONLY if it's for the actual medical benefit of YOU or YOUR child, and if the vaccine is tested, FDA-approved, and its safety is well-established.

You may NOT vaccinate your child if the only reason is state policy for school attendance or air travel, etc., if there is no actual benefit for YOUR child that outweighs the risk of the vaccine.

You may NOT vaccinate yourself or your child just because everyone else is doing so or just in order to "participate in society." Following the herd is NOT a Biblical value. Never was and never will be.

If Noah would have submitted to peer pressure just because "everyone else was doing it," there would be no humanity.

If Abraham would have complied with public policy just because "everyone else was doing so" or in order to "participate in society," there would be no Chosen People.

If Mordechai and Esther would have complied with state policies, there would be no Jewish People.

If Moses and the Children of Israel would have sacrificed their freedom in order to participate in society, there would be no Exodus. No Passover. No Torah. No Promised Land.

If there is no freedom to choose, there is no truth and no destiny.

Stand up and dare to assert your freedom.

G-d is rooting for you.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Missing Handshake

Something has been bothering me since yesterday that I would like to get off my chest.

In traditional Orthodox Jewish law to which my wife and I both adhere, we abstain from touching any member of the opposite sex unless s/he's a spouse or very close relative, like a parent or child.

For this reason, I politely refrain from shaking hands with women, and certainly from hugging. Likewise, my wife refrains from the same with men.

It's always awkward to explain this observance to people when I meet them in person and they extend their hand. Especially if it's outdoors or loud and hard to communicate. Even indoors, it's often kind of difficult to articulate.

Sometimes women get insulted and take it the wrong way, as it might imply something unclean about women. Of course, such is NOT the case at all. It's about an ancient religious observance to create respectful boundaries between men and women, a symbolic partition of sorts to remind us that intimacy ("chiba" in Hebrew) ought to be between a married couple only. It also seeks to preserves the unique intimacy that can be implicit in touch between a man and woman.

Of course, I understand that to the vast majority of people in modern society -- in which women participate in the workplace alongside men -- a handshake is simply a polite and cordial gesture, and does not necessarily imply inappropriate closeness between two people who aren't married. Nevertheless, this is my personal observance, and that of most orthodox Jews worldwide. It's hard to spontaneously explain it to people who are unfamiliar with it.

Why do I mention this here?

Yesterday, I had the honor to attend a medical freedom rally outside the state capitol in Hartford, CT. Many ladies warmly greeted me and extended their hands, but I had to uncomfortably decline the handshake. It was outdoors, loud and difficult to hear, so I didn't even bother trying to explain it.

I felt bad since these were all heroic women who came out -- some from as far as NJ and Vermont -- and braved the cold to stand up for truth and freedom. I had already known and respected many of these ladies from their writings on Facebook. They included medical professionals, lawyers, powerful advocates for children's education and religious freedom, and most of all, devoted mothers fearlessly standing up to protect their children from medical tyranny. These were individuals of the highest caliber -- guardians of humanity -- deserving of praise, acknowledgment and encouragement. I felt truly as though I had failed to honor them adequately with so much as a handshake, and wasn't even able to explain my failure to do so.

Of course, medical freedom advocates are the highest quality of people you will ever meet. They are not petty or easily insulted. They have thick skin :)

They all took it in stride and didn't seem offended. Some understood that it's a religious thing, although I imagine that others might have assumed that I was refraining from shaking due to covid concerns.

This latter thought really troubled me. You see, I am the LAST person on earth to be concerned about alleged covid contagion. I don't wear masks, don't socially distance, never tested or isolated, never stayed home (except for when I was actually sick with cold symptoms). I shake hands and hug men regularly. In fact, in the chassidic tradition, men kiss each other on the cheek when greeting one another. I do this often when encountering friends in Brooklyn (it's normal in those circles). I never refrained from doing this during the past year, nor did most of my friends.

In fact, I believe that the whole idea of social distancing is -- and always was -- a grave error. The gift of human touch is essential, especially for people who are sick. Especially for elders, young children, people who feel lonely or alienated.

Humans are social beings. We need each other. We need to feel the skin of other humans. Shaking hands and embracing with others is essential to humanity.

Every fortuitous concourse of two humans is an event of Divine significance. When two people shake hands, it's symbolic of the two tablets of the Covenant that are coupled and cannot exist independently of each other. The five fingers of each hand -- akin to the five commandments etched on each tablet -- fuse to form ten. Accordingly, a simple handshake represents the complete Ten Commandments. Shaking hands expresses the Divine Covenant.

A human being is not a risk to his/her fellow. Just the opposite. By closely interacting with others, we help bolster each other's immunity.

The five commandments etched on the first tablet does not detract from, preclude, or contradict the five commandments etched on the second tablet. Quite the contrary: they complement and strengthen each other. [1]

The concept of "asymptomatic transmission" is an egregious lie, an insidious attempt to subvert humanity and make us suspicious of each other, to place artificial barriers between one another.

So you can understand how I felt terribly remiss if I had given anyone the wrong impression that I had refrained from shaking hands due to covid fears.

In order to dispel the slightest perception of chilul Hashem [2], I feel obliged to clarify things here and now:

My not shaking had NOTHING to do with covid or any other health concern, real or imagined. There is NOTHING dirty about your hand, your aerosol, or anyone's 'germs.'

Likewise, it had NOTHING to do with anything condescending or inferior (G-d forbid) about women. Just the opposite.

It was just about my faith -- my moral and ethical personal observances. Which was what that event was all about -- asserting our religious freedoms even if means differing from what others perceive as normal or even necessary, like vaccination, for example.

Of course, we respect their right to vaccinate and live their lives in accordance with THEIR spiritual values, but expect them to accord US the very same respect.

Anyway, if you are reading this and know any of the awesome ladies who were present yesterday at Hartford, please pass this on to them:

I would like to apologize for not being able to explain my not shaking hands.

You are the very best that humanity has to offer.

It was humbling to be in your presence.

My profound appreciation and respect for you far exceeds anything that can be conveyed in a simple handshake.

Thank you for hearing me out and for your understanding.

[1] Each commandment lines up perfectly with its counterpart on the other tablet. Just as one can read them top to bottom, one can also read them side to side, in which the commandment on one tablet complements the equivalent commandment on the other tables:
    1. Commandments 1 and 6: Every human is created in the image of G‑d, so murder is an affront to the Creator.
    2. Commandments 2 and 7: When one worships a deity other than G‑d, it is as akin to adultery. G‑d is our loving spouse (and much more).
    3. Commandments 3 and 8: A person may feel that stealing is only between him and the victim, but it is also a crime against G‑d, whose name will ultimately be taken falsely.
    4. Commandments 4 and 9: Through keeping Shabbat, we testify that G‑d created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. When one disregards Shabbat, he testifies falsely about the Divine origin of the universe.
    5. Commandments 5 and 10: The juxtaposition of jealousy and honoring parents tell us that one who lusts after that which is not his, will ultimately give birth to a child who curses his parents and honors others instead.
See Midrash on Shemos 20:13. (Summary comparison above is from an article by Menachem Posner featured on Chabad dot org).

[2] "desecration of G-d's name" that occurs when we do not act in accordance with G-d's laws or commit a sacrilege. In contemporary times, regarding an asymptomatic human being as unclean or contagious is downright sacrilegious and a desecration of everything holy.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Timely Advice from the Rebbe: Avoid Experimental Drugs!


On this day 69 years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote:

2 Nissan 5712

Peace and blessing!

[This is] in response to your letter from 23 Adar, in which you wrote to me that you had read in the newspaper that a new medicine for paralysis has been developed in the United States, discovered by a certain doctor in St. Louis, and you asked my opinion about this.

According to what I was able to find out, this is not a tested or proven medicine. And in fact, it's not [really] a medicine, but only eases the symptoms. There is also room for concern since these are potent injections which carry possible risk of injury, etc.

Based on this, it is my opinion that it is not worthwhile to rely on the information we're hearing and take measures which entail the aforementioned concerns. 

G-d will send healing through another medium, and you'll soon be able to send me good tidings about this.

With blessings for the Passover holiday to be kosher and truly happy, both for you and for your whole family, especially your grandson and parents, may they all live [and be well].

M Schneerson

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Mask Scam

The word "scam" is a mystery.

Its origin is unknown.

Here's my proposal:

Perhaps it's a cognate of ‘mask.

Our English word mask comes from French masque and Italian mascara, which in turn descend from Medieval Latin masca, witch, specter, another word of uncertain origin. It's also believed to have been influenced by Arabic maskarabuffoon or mockery.’ Alternatively, it may have come from Provençal and Catalan mascarar which meant to blacken the face. By the 1570s, "mask" connoted the figurative meaning "anything used or practiced for disguise or concealment."

[Parenthetically, all these words suggest descent from ancient Hebrew root סך (SC), which means covering, as in succah (hut) or masach (screen). In fact, mask is masecha מסכה in Hebrew. The m is preformative.]

Scam could easily have been a metathesis of masc.

Think about it. Magic, buffoonery, masks. They can all imply an attempt to fool or hide the truth from others.

And scam means to defraud or swindle.

Interestingly, just about every human image that google offered when I searched for "scam" depicted the person in a mask, such as the one featured above. By very definition, "scam" implies a masking of the truth.

So there you have it folks.

Masks are a scam.

Not just conceptually and phonetically, but perhaps etymologically as well.

Don't fall for the scam.

Take off the mask.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Take It Off

Masks are only appropriate for the wicked.

Our sages taught: "It's forbidden to gaze at the face of a wicked man" [1]. By wearing a mask, the wicked man prevents others from seeing his face thereby sparing them from transgression.

The Torah bids us: "Don't make gods of 'masecha' for yourselves." [2]

While 'masecha' here refers to molten statues, the word also literally means 'mask.'

The Torah here is hinting:

Do not practice idolatry thereby making yourselves into idolatrous images with masks, since it would now be forbidden to gaze at your faces. [3]

This verse conveys a dire message for our current times.

Do not idolize public health policy and blindly accept their dictates. This grave error will cause you to be wicked with your face covered.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to repent and vindicate yourself. Simply stop worshiping covid policy and take off the mask.

By doing so, you are demonstrating your pure and righteous face, having repudiated idolatry just like our ancestor Avraham.

Good for you!


[1] Megila 28a based on Kings II 3:14
[2] Leviticus 19:4
[3] Ohr Hachayim (ibid) by Rabbi Chaim ibn Atar

Friday, March 5, 2021

When to Disregard the Majority?

This is the second time that the writings of the the third Rebbe of Chabad, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, have been misinterpreted and/or misquoted in attempt to endorse covid policies! The first time was discussed a previous post.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (1789-1866) wrote in his Responsa Tzemach Tzedek (Yoreh Deah 359, pictured above) that if some doctors recommend a certain treatment and others say it's preferable not to do it, then: if the two groups are equal in number and expertise, then שב ועל תעשה עדיף -- it's preferable to stay put and NOT take it, but if the majority of doctors recommend the treatment, then one SHOULD take it. This is because when trying to assess a situation, we follow the majority opinion.

However, he notes that this rule applies only when there is no concern of questionable mortal risk, in which case we would NOT follow the majority (but instead we'd be required to err on the side of caution and heed the warning of two doctors who advise the patient NOT to fast on Yom Kippur, for example, even if they're contested by a hundred even more competent doctors who maintain that it's safe for the patient to fast [1]). Nevertheless, in the case under discussion there is no such concern. It's simply that some doctors claim the treatment is not recommended while the majority claim it is. In such a case, concludes the Tzemach Tzedek, the dictum "shev v'al taaseh" (i.e. when in doubt one should opt to not take action) does not take precedence over the majority view recommending the treatment.

Why am I sharing this here?

Several rabbis have erroneously misconstrued this responsum as a source that one is required to follow the alleged majority of medical experts who recommend the experimental covid injection over the minority of experts who recommend against it.

I write “alleged majority of experts” since:

a) doctors who did speak out against this injection have been censored, suppressed, or threatened, so we cannot know with certainty that there isn’t a silent majority of experts who are simply afraid to speak out;

b) this is a new experimental technology concerning which no doctor has any experience, and surely not with regard to long-term risks. Consequently, no doctor can be relied upon as a medical expert to vouch for its safety, unlike the therapy discussed by the Tzemach Tzedek with regards to which both groups of doctors presumably had expertise;

c) the vast majority of doctors who are currently recommending this injection are merely parroting medical policy dictated by others (like the CDC). Their opinion is NOT based on their own experience or expertise, and cannot be considered halachically-binding medical testimony. [1]

All this aside, there are three glaring reasons why this responsum is totally irrelevant to the experimental covid injection under discussion:

1) In our case, the minority of medical experts are not saying that it’s merely “preferable” not to take this treatment. Instead, they are earnestly warning us of their concerns of serious life-threatening risks associated with this treatment, including antibody-dependent enhancement, pathogenic priming, cytokine storm, autoimmunity, lifelong injury, infertility, or death. In this case, the Tzemach Tzedek himself clearly acknowledged the הלכה רווחת that we do NOT follow the majority view when there is possible mortal risk, but instead err on the side of caution and heed the advice of the two experts who caution against taking it, even if they are VASTLY outnumbered by experts who maintain that it’s safe. [2]

2) The concern here is not only based on any one (or two) doctor’s prognostication concerning mortal risks of this product, but about actual adverse effects, including fatalities, that have already occurred. As of this writing, there have already been well over a thousand reported deaths – and nearly two-thousand hospitalizations – in the immediate aftermath of receiving these injections. In this case, all doctors’ opinions are largely irrelevant [3]. Halacha obliges us to err on the side of caution and avoid the well-documented risk of this injection. Or at the very least, it MUST be a personal choice.

3) The Tzemach Tzedek was discussing a patient with a diagnosed condition (he began with “לענין רפואה לחולי”). A patient’s obligation to heed a majority of doctors concerning a treatment does not relate to a healthy person’s decision on whether to take a prophylactic treatment to prevent a disease that he may or may not even catch in the first place. While doctors have been granted a certain degree of authority with regards to healing, “ורפא ירפא”, this authority does not necessarily extend to prevention. In this latter area, the doctor might have a vote but not a veto. [4]

Attempts to derive from this responsum that a healthy person is required to expose himself to the risks of an experimental injection – against the dire warnings of potential mortal risk from countless independent medical experts, and just for the sake of theoretically preventing symptoms of a potential disease that has a 99.9% survival rate – is totally absurd and without basis. Rabbis who cite this teshuva to enforce compliance with the new state-sponsored vaccine policy are demonstrating that they are either seriously misinformed or suffer gross lack of rabbinical competence, or both. Rabbis should never seek to misconstrue halachic texts to conform with popular secular agenda. In rabbinic parlance, such a person is called “מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה – one who insolently misinterprets the Torah.” [5]

While I would normally desist from expressing such words about anyone, let alone rabbis whom I’d otherwise hold in high esteem, I must unambiguously highlight their grave error in this case, since we are discussing a serious matter of life and death affecting millions of yidden worldwide. We cannot remain silent while their adherents and students are being misled in such a dire situation of sofek sakonas nefoshos. We also may not remain silent while the Tzemach Tzedek's words are being misconstrued to the peril of klal Yisroel everywhere. [6]

May we merit a complete healing for all the sick of our people, and a complete return to sanity, truth, and objective reality.

Rabbi Michoel Green


[1] Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Harav 618:9

[2] Ibid s'if 5

[3] See recent letter by Rabbi Wosner. Halacha authorizes medical experts to establish a concern of risk, but not necessarily to establish a din of incontrovertible safety.

[4] Observation attributed to Rabbi Chaim of Brisk. It should also be pointed out that the Lubavitcher Rebbe never said that one should heed the advice of doctors with regard to vaccination. Instead, if it was tested and proven to be incontrovertibly safe, the Rebbe recommended taking it ומכלל הן אתה שומע לאו. In our present situation, that condition has not been satisfied, which is the entire crux of the matter.

[5] Sanhedrin 99b

[6] Read about another recent misinterpretation of the Tzemach Tzedek's writings in attempt to condone halachically-unjust and indefensible covid policies: Rabbi's Blog: No Authentic Halachic Source for Masks (