The last few days, I’ve had a few emails from a few different people that are demonstrating that the vaccine debate in the orthodox community, particularly in the US, is starting to burst wide out into the open.
Personally, I think this can only be a good thing. I’m not ‘idealogical’ about this either way, I just want to know what the real truth is when it comes to whether vaccines are:
a) Safe as claimed
b) Effective as claimed
My view -about everything - is always that the available information should be clearly put on the table, and that people should be encouraged to question, evaluate, and decide for themselves.
This is part and parcel of people having God-given free choice to decide for themselves and to bear the consequences for their actions and decisions, and whenever I see healthy debate being squashed, or people trying to control others and close a respectful discussion down, my red flag immediately goes up that something isn’t quite right with this picture.
On that score, I want to bring your attention to a recent article written by a Rabbi Yair Hoffman, that was published HERE. You can see the full text for yourself here, but this is some of what Rabbi Hoffman has to say about what he views as the Torah imperative to vaccinate:
“The anti-vaccination advocates have two concerns that are often intertwined. The first is the MMR vaccine itself. They believe that there is some heretofore unidentified element in it that causes autism. The second is that some vaccines contained the preservative thimerosal, which contained ethyl mercury, a type of mercury that had been suspected of causing autism. Thimerosal has actually been removed from the MMR vaccine with no accompanying drop in the incidence of autism. No matter; this has not impacted the anti-vaxxer movement.”
Rabbi Hoffman is presumably going on the information given out by the FDA / CDC on official Governemnt websites like THIS ONE, which state:
Current Status of Thimerosal in Vaccines
If you plain English this carefully-worded answer, you’ll find that what it’s really saying is:
1) While vaccines for young children are now available in a formulation that doesn’t contain thimerosal
2) The ACIP doesn’t actually recommend that these ‘thimerosal-free’ formulations should be the ones that are routinely given to the general public.
I.e. You have to specifically ask for a thimerosal-free vaccine, and vaccines including thimerosal, specifically the flu vaccine, are still being routinely given to children in the US.
What about Rabbi Hoffman’s contention that there is no proven link between vaccines and autism?
Here’s what I found on THIS website, and please do go and take a look for yourselves:
“In 2008 top public health officials at HHS conceded that vaccines caused autism.
You’ll notice that thimerosal is NOT being discussed here as specifically causing autism, but that exposure to the vaccines themselves caused a ‘metabolic overload’ that triggered Hannah’s autism.
The issue if far deeper than a simple discussion of thimerosal (i.e. mercury, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins known to man) causing all the problems.
The human immune system wasn’t designed to be exposed to three very serious illnesses in one shot, even if vaccines are 100% effective and 100% safe.
On the safety front, I’m personally highly convinced at this stage that there is a significant risk associated with vaccines. On the effectiveness front, it’s clear that flu shots can’t be working, because the flu they vaccinate against is last year’s strain, and this year’s strain has mutated already.
But that’s where I’d like to learn more, personally, because if vaccines are also not effective (as can clearly be seen with the flu shot) and also pose significant health risks, or if there is a safer way to achieve the same sort of effective protection against contagious diseases in a non-toxic way (as seems to be the case with so called homeopathic ‘green vaccines’) then it becomes a no-brainer to not vaccinate.
So where does the truth really lie?
Over on Sasson, you’ll find two highly recommended articles setting out an alternative view of vaccination in halacha, written by a dayan in the US who does not vaccinate his own children, but who is scared to publish under his own name due to the pressure tactics he fears (probably justifiably) could be used against him as a result:
Vaccines in halacha - Part 1
Vaccines in halacha - Part 2
If you compare and contrast the approach of Rabbi Hoffman and this Dayan to the subject, you’ll find that the ‘pro’ vaxxer cites very few real sources of information, or up-to-date facts, and relies quite heavily on trying to persuade his readers to vaccinate, or else.
By contrast, the ‘anti’ vaxxer cites hundreds of footnoted sources of recent information and evidence to support his position, which is always a good sign that you’re dealing with someone who is on a search for truth, and who is trying to share the clues he’s finding along the way with as many other people as possible.
The issue is clouded because of the assumptions that a lot of rabbis are making that the information they are being provided by the pharmaceutical industry and the Government etc is 100% reliable and truthful.
That certainly flies in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, including all the falsified trials about anti-depressants and many other medications.
In the meantime, I’m also trying to collect as many ‘clues’ for us all to follow as well, so we can continue learning for ourselves, and deciding for ourselves, with God’s help, where the truth really lies.
To that end, another excellent recent piece over on Sasson about the need for questions to be properly asked and properly answered about vaccines in the Jewish community, which you can read HERE, turned up this video (at the top of the post) from the World Mercury Project.
It’s a quick 9 minute view, shmirat eynayim friendly, and basically describes how vaccines are treated as ‘biologics’ (whatever that means) and NOT medications by the FDA, which means the US government doesn’t require new vaccines to go through the drug testing process in the first place.
The Safety Trials process for vaccines is corrupted
The video also shows that the ‘safety trials’ that have been conducted on vaccines typically last for a maximum of 4 days, i.e. a kid is monitored for 4 days after their injection, maximum, and then if they don’t immediately have a fit or worse, God forbid, they are no longer monitored.
Of course, the incubation time for things like asthma, severe learning disabilities and a bunch of other very serious illnesses that the ‘anti’ vaxx lobby claim are caused by vaccinations don’t show up in 4 days, or even in 4 weeks, and often not even in 4 months…
And the last thing to note is that even with this minimal sort of oversight and checking, around 60,000 children in the US are still being formerly registered as having some sort of serious reaction to vaccines every single year. And there’s a strong suspicion that this undisputed, official figure may only be the tip of the iceberg, as so many parents are being actively discouraged from linking any chronic or acute health issues to their kid’s vaccinations.
As always, watch the video, and decide for yourself.
If any ‘pro’ vaxxers out there have detailed, credible information to specifically answer these points and concerns, I’d love to hear from you, as would most of the Jewish parents out there.
But as time is going on, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that while the ‘anti’ vaxxers have an impressive amount of information to share and a willingness to discuss the matter to its depth, the ‘pro’ vaxxers generally do not.
The only way to really get clarity on this matter is for us to keep taking it back to God, and to ask Him to show us what's really going on here, and how He wants us to react. No-one can control what really goes on with their children and their health, whether they load their kid up with every shot going, or do the exact opposite.
God is the only One who's really calling the shots when it comes to our health. So whatever conclusion we ultimately come to about whether or not to vaccinate our children, we still need to be asking Hashem to look after our kids 24/7.
Because that's really what's going to make all the difference.
UPDATE: One of the commentators, Daisy, apparently has a lot of useful background info on vaccines on her website HERE. Please check out the comments for more details.
Six weeks’ ago, when I was starting to pack up the tiny flat, my kid and her friends decided to rearrange all the furniture. They did a really good job, except they ended up shoving one of my huge, solid wood dining chairs in the corridor-room on the way to the back bedrooms.
That fateful day, I groped my way over to my kid’s bedroom to go and wake her up - and slammed straight into that massive piece of wood. I think I probably broke my toe.
Because we were in the middle of packing, I couldn’t find my helichrysum oil, I couldn’t find my sujok stick, my lentils - none of the things I usually use to deal with these minor emergencies. I was also so stressed from the move (because we still hadn’t found a place to rent, and we also were in the middle of trying to find a place to buy) that I couldn’t really pray on my toe to figure out what the message was.
Because God puts messages in everything, we just have to try and decode them.
So it took a month for the toe to heal up, and it’s still been a bit puffy and sore, but Baruch Hashem, on the mend!
Until that fateful day two days ago, when I stubbed it again, this time against the broken glass top of my oven that had been shoved somewhere for safe keeping.
Let’s be clear, I dealt with this situation with something approaching zero emuna.
I was so angry that I’d just stubbed that same poor toe that I banged the glass top away from me - and it smashed into a million shards. And I had nothing on my feet. So it took me half an hour to sort that particular mess out.
Then, I ended up having to take a kid to school again, like has been happening all year if I want her to actually make it there. And there was tons of traffic and I needed a wee. And then, 20 minutes away from home I got a phone call from the other kid, who had missed the bus to her school that was even further away and was now waiting for a bus that simply hadn’t come in an unfriendly Arab part of town.
So I made a U-turn, drove to pick her up - and quietly started to fume.
Just that morning, I’d written a sanctimonious post (draft....) on how a parent’s self-sacrifice, or mesirut Nefesh, is what really helps their kids to get through their issues, and for their kids’ souls to heal. Rav Arush wrote that in ‘Education with love’, and it’s been a credo I’ve been trying to hold by for the last seven years.
But two days ago, God showed me that yet again, my yetzer was causing me lots and lots of problems by taking things to extremes. Even something good, like sacrificing yourself for your kid, can end up being warped and unhelpful.
After I spent five hours taxi-ing my teens around before I’d even had breakfast, with a newly-swollen toe and a feeling of increasing anger and dissatisfaction, I started to realize that once again, I am approaching a ‘change point’ in my life.
For two days solid, I stomped around my new, bigger apartment feeling really awful, yelling at everyone and everything and emitting ‘dangerous Ima’ vibes.
Part of the problem was that I just realized that while I’d been blaming a lot of issues on my lack of space and cramped living quarters, many of the problems are actually much deeper than that.
I may have left the rented dump behind, but I was hugely disappointed to find that I’ve brought the ‘rented dump’ mindset of constriction, complaint and lack with me.
But life is so good!
So why have I been feeling so ucky the last few days?
The feet always allude to emuna. The feet are the place that the dark forces grab on to, to pull a person to oblivion. That’s part of the deeper spiritual reasons for dancing, and picking our feet up off the floor, because it breaks the hold of these evil forces.
So I danced a bit around the flat yesterday, and started to feel a little better.
Then, I sat down and tried to work out what message God is giving me, and this is what I got:
1) Sacrificing ourselves for our kids, especially our teens, doesn’t mean we give them a ‘get out of jail free’ card. They also have to learn responsibility and accountability, and if the price of missing the right bus because they got up too late is an hour of uncomfortable waiting in an Arab neighborhood of town, so be it.
2) I’m over-protective of my kids because I sometimes get scared about all the ucky people out there. But I need to trust Hashem more, that He will look after them, and send them the help they need whenever they truly need it.
3) I am running myself into the ground by trying to smooth out other people’s issues. Even though I love those other people so very much, this is not what God wants. He sends each of us tests to help us grow closer to Him, and to work on our emuna, and sometimes the highest help you can give a person is to step out of the way and encourage them to take everything back to God.
4) I still feel half-stuck. True, the gashmius side of things is now looking up, Baruch Hashem, but spiritually and emotionally, I’m still dealing with a bunch of things that aren’t really getting anywhere fast, or obviously improving.
5) I need to start going to more Kivrei Tzaddikim again. Kever Rachel is up the road from me, and it’s high time I paid it another visit.
There’s more insights popping up too, but I can see that change is on the horizon.
I can’t carry on the way I have been.