Rabbi Dr. Glatt: Vaccination is Pikuach Nefesh

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By Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt

Director, Halachah & Medicine Commission

Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim

There is a small, yet very vocal and influential group of “anti-vaxxers” living in our heimishecommunities. While I am not questioning their love for their children, they are making a tremendous chillul Hashem and putting all Jews at great risk, both from measles, and rachmana leztlan, anti-semitism. I plead that everyone read this critically important pikuach nefashos article.

All the cases of measles identified so far in this very large, ongoing outbreak are traceable to our communities in Eretz Yisroel, Europe, New York, New Jersey, Michigan and elsewhere. This has made countless headlines in the medical and secular press, all revolving around Orthodox / Ultra-Orthodox Jews spreading disease. Imagine what the headlines were in the Dark Ages regarding the Jews and Black Plague. Hashem yerachem. 


All the cases are directly related to heimisheunvaccinated persons – not housekeepers, janitors, nor other people from outside our community, as has been incorrectly suggested.

There is absolutely no one who disagrees with the psak that a parent must remove his or her child to safety when danger is present. Indeed, this psak serves, in part, as the basis for the ruling of HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, zt”l, that providing normal childhood vaccinations is a parental obligation.

HaRav Asher Weiss, shlitaposeik for Shaare Zedek Hospital, maintains that it is a mitzvah and chiyuv to get vaccinated. HaRav Weiss further states that yeshivas have the right – and even the obligation – to protect students and refuse admission to unvaccinated children. HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, shlita, and HaRav Elyashiv have ruled that parents may insist that unvaccinated children be excluded from class so that their children are not put at unnecessary risk.

HaRav Moshe Shternbuch, shlita, head of the Eidah HaCharedis in Eretz Yisroel, has written an extensive teshuva stating exactly the same psak.

Almost all other gedolei Yisroel – including HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt” l, HaRav Yehoshua Newirth, zt” l, and, yibadeil bein chayim lechayim, HaRav Elya Brudny, HaRav J. David Bleich, HaRav Reuven Feinstein, HaRav Hershel Schachter, and HaRav Mordechai Willig, shlita– have all ruled that there is no basis in halacha for suggesting that vaccinations be avoided. All strongly require children in our outbreak setting to be vaccinated immediately.

It is downright dishonest to officially attest that Jewish law forbids vaccination, which is the only way to avoid mandatory state vaccination laws in NY and NJ. No poseik ever has stated that vaccination is against Jewish law.

It is ignorant to state that vaccinations contain non-kosher materials and are therefore assur(forbidden). All the great poskim permit porcine (pig) valves for people with heart disease, and pig or non-kosher beef insulin to be used by diabetics.

The MMR has been conclusively shown in numerous, carefully-done scientific studies in millions of patients to be absolutely unrelated to autism. Indeed, the most recent study looking at over 600,000 children followed for years demonstrated that autism was actually less common in vaccinated children.

These are just three examples of misinformation provided by orthodox anti-vaxxers. Why do we let such incorrect non-halachic, non-scientific positions to be the cause of a huge chillul Hashem?

Why are people not following the medical experts as halacha requires? Why are precious children unnecessarily exposed to lethal illnesses? How could we cause “Orthodox Jews Cause Disease” to be the lead story on major print and other news media? Why are health departments and governments in our “medina shel chessed” talking about fining Jews and closing Yeshivas? Why are non-Jews afraid to sit next to us on trains or go to our stores?

Why have hundreds of unvaccinated Jewish children in the U.S., and thousands more in Israel, contracted measles, a potentially fatal disease? Two have tragically died in Israel, with many more hospitalized. Are we living in the 1950s?

In my humble opinion – as a community rav and board-certified infectious diseases physician – it is because we somehow have forgotten basic halachaHalacha states that if a dispute exists on whether a patient should eat on Yom Kippur, or if Shabbos desecration is necessary to save a life, we must follow the most competent and/or majority of expert physicians.

On the question of vaccinating children against the major vaccine-preventable illnesses, both the most competent and the majority of experts hold the same view. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, all 50 State Departments of Health in the U.S., the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society, the American College of Physicians, plus every other major professional infection control organization in the world are unanimous in their opinion. “Leis man depalig.” No expert organization disagrees.

The evidence is overwhelming that vaccination is the only way to control these preventable fatal diseases. B’chasdei Hashem, no one dies anymore of smallpox; polio is almost wiped out. Why? Solely because of very successful vaccination programs. Rachmana liztlan, why should anyone in 5779 die from measles?

Imagine if parents were to insist their child come to school armed with a revolver. Would even the most ardent gun rights activist defend them? Of course not. So why are we letting children come to our shuls, schools, and camps spreading serious potentially life-threatening illness that could have been prevented by vaccination?

We are living in very scary times, replete with anti-Semitism, chillul Hashem, and fatal contagious illnesses. I feel compelled to publicly speak out (again) against “vaccination hesitancy, and the grossly inaccurate halachic and medical information being publicized by well-meaning but totally ignorant orthodox Jewish anti-vaxxers. It’s a matter of pikuach nefesh.



    • As per Blue Cross Blue Shield, it’s 400 per fully vaccinated child. There’s also a catch, a doctor will only be fully compensated if at least 63% of his office patients are fully vaccinated.

      That means that someone like doctor Shanik in Lakewood, who has 25,000 patients, earned about. $10,000,000.00 by vaccinating Jewish children.

        • You not being truthful Eli, and you’re manipulating Kevin’s words. Kevin never said that the income was per year.

          The link is to a pro vaccine propaganda blog.

          Besides, Nothing in the linked article disproves that a doctor like Dr. Shanik may have earned up to $10,000.000 on vaccinating Jewish children. Michigan is not Africa, it is a state in the USA – not very different than NJ. Non profit insurance companies are common and their payouts our similar to any other insurance companies. The insurance mentioned is the very known Blue Cross Blue Shield, not African Medical.

          So much for fact checking Eli.

  1. The MMR also contains animal UREA. That’s animal urine!!! Go get your vaccine full of animal blood and viruses! This doctor says its Pikuach Nefesh! And by the way, theres DNA from human fetal tissue. talk about cannibalism. It may cause you cancer 15 years down the line but it will take away the measles- its Pikuach Nefesh!!!

  2. Sure s/he’s a rasha for revealing the secrets to those who hide their hands in the sand. How dare s/he open the minds of the ignorant public.

  3. Before we ban yiddishe children from our schools let’s first make sure all janitors etc, are vaccinated. If we really are so afraid of unvaccinated children exposing the disease to others, we should be checking our janitors’ immunization records, THAT DON’T EXIST!

  4. How dare you malign a tzadik like Dr Shanik You just keep spreading your lies.Matzav I’m surprised At you you keep printing all the propaganda of the anti vaxxers.

    • I have heard that the a wonderful Lakewood Doctor that is very pro vaccine – did call Child Protective Services against a mother who disagreed with him medically and wanted a second opinion.

  5. “Once the herd accepts mandatory forcible vaccination, it’s game over! They will accept anything-forcible blood or organ donation-for the “greater good.” We can genetically modify children and sterilize them-for the “greater good.” Control sheep minds and you control the herd. Vaccine makers stand to make billions, and many of you in this room today are investors. It’s a big win-win! We thin out the herd and the herd pays us for providing extermination services.”

  6. Stop stop stop with your lies your stories.Our Gedoilei hadas our Drs all day to vaccinate.You are all rodfin you should all be put in cherem.

  7. Read through the posts here and elsewhere….there is no talking sense to anti-vaxer. Don’t waste your time and breath.

    The real use of time is making sure our shuls and mosdos hachinuch ensure the safety of our children and do not allow unvaccinated children in.

    The anti-vaxers can have their own shuls and schools and spread disease among themselves.

    Just stay away from me and my kids.

    Anti vax – the new leprosy.

    This is what these fools actually fear….so let’s hit them hard with it.

    • they should make theyre own isolated community far away from civilization and enjoy life with rampant diseases

  8. Every website that prints an Anti Vaxx letter or opinion, seems to be quickly inundated with letters sporting “ factual” drivel. Seems that the same person/ few people are writing under different names to make it appear as if they are a larger portion of society than they are. As jews we don’t missionize as we know the truth of our Torah. Those that feel the need to “ enlighten “ generally sense the fallacy of their arguments. The doctors have stated more than once that there is no sense in debating or talking to these people. I’ve seen it first hand. So true. May Hashem protect all of Am Yisroel.

  9. you know what the anti vaxx conspiracy theory reminds me of?????? holocaust denial. Both these people you cant talk any sense into them no matter what they argue with facts. you cant talk any sense whats so ever. ypu cant even argue it out with them its like talking to a brick wall

  10. look heres a post written by a denier it makes about as much sense s the anti vaxx conspiracy theory The “holocaust” was a hoax perpetrated by the same people who faked the atomic bombings of Japan and the moon landings. Walt Disney Studios. That’s how Donald Trump’s father made his fortune. He owned stock in WDS. That means “The Donald” profited from the 3 greatest hoaxes in human history. Aren’t you morons glad you voted for him?
    G · 2 years ago


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