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Kamtza Bar Kamtza 101: A Thought-Provoking Response

by D. Wolf. Last week, I penned a hotly-debated letter on TLS. Critics were enraged while others applauded the courage it took to speak up and bring the painful subject out to the open. In this letter I’d like to offer a response to some of the feedback I received.

In a response posted on TLS, a writer took issue with the parallel I drew between the tragic episode of Kamtza Bar Kamtza and our treatment of anti vaxxers. In his letter, he argued that since the host was offered an enormous sum of money to accommodate Bar Kamtza’s plea, the only motivation to reject such a significant sum of money must have been an enormous level of sinas chinam.

Before I respond to the question, a basic understanding of the story of Kamtza Bar Kamtza is warranted.

 

KAMTZA BAR KAMTZA 101

The Gemara (Gittin 55b) cites the pasuk “אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד ומקשה לבו יפול ברעה” – fortunate is the man who is constantly fearful and he who hardens his heart will come to harm. The Gemara then brings three different stories to illustrate this idea – one of them being the story of Kamtza Bar Kamtza.

Tosfos explains that the good fortune and tranquil life of those at the party prevented them from feeling Bar Kamtza’s pain and embarrassment. Tosfos concludes that although it is normally forbidden for one to worry excessively that his actions are unjust (see Gemara Brachos 60a), this does not apply when it comes to hurting the feelings of a fellow yid. On the contrary, a person must be exceedingly careful not to hurt the feeling of a yid, even if on the surface one’s actions seem benign or justified.

In Tosfos’s view, the lesson in the Gemara has nothing to do with sinas chinam. In fact, the Gemara does not mention the term sinas chinam even once. According to this interpretation of the Gemara, the similarity between Kamtza Bar Kamtza 2.0 and Kamatza Bar Kamatza 1.0 could not be more striking. We believe our actions toward “anti-vaxxers” are justified. But as the lesson of Kamtza Bar Kamtza teaches us, we must go beyond our normal call of duty to make sure we are not hurting another yid.

In contrast to Tosfos’s view, Maharsha takes the position in Rashi that the crux of the חטא was related to the sin of sinas chinam. In the Maharsha’s view, the pasuk “אשרי אדם מפחד תמיד” is only going on the other two stories, not the story of Kamtza Bar Kamtza.

Maharsha cites the Gemara in Yoma 9b that asks a poignant question: In the first Beis HaMikdash, Bnei Yisroel committed the three cardinal sins (גילוי עריות ,שפיכות דמים and עבודה זרה) and that caused Churban Bayis Rishon. However, in the second Beis HaMikdash people were engaged in Torah, Mitzvos and Gemilas Chasadim, so what caused Churban Bayis Sheni? On this, the Gemara answers that sinas chinam caused its destruction. The Gemara concludes that transgressing the sin of sinas chinam must be equivalent to transgressing all 3 cardinal sins as it led to Churban Bayis Sheni. Maharsha uses this Gemara to explain the sin in the story Kamtza Bar Kamtza. It is on this p’shat that the letter writer poses the question that the host’s refusal to accept an enormous sum of money could only be motivated by a tremendous level of hate.

However, the writer has two basic misconceptions.

Most importantly, the writer has a basic misconception about what sinas chinam means. Nobody hates for no reason. The definition of sinas chinam is not baseless hatred. It’s unjustified hatred – when the action taken against someone is disproportionate to the offense committed.

What is the barometer for unjustified hatred? Examining our own behavior is the only way to know whether we are guilty of double standards. We say that we are unwilling to expose ourselves to a certain level of risk but do we take similar risks in our everyday lives? Do we take risks that are far, far greater than the risk we’re being exposed to? Do we take those risks even when not absolutely necessary? If the risk of a vaccinated child being exposed to an unvaccinated child was even close to the risk of driving or many of the other risks we take in our lives, I wouldn’t voice my dissatisfaction with the current matzav. In reality, we are talking about a risk that is AT MOST 1/450th of the risks we take every day.

Where does this discrimination come from if not hate?

The writer makes another erroneous assumption that the amount of money offered to the host was significant. However, a casual reading of the story makes it clear that the host was an extremely wealthy individual and Bar Kamtza’s significant offer meant little to him. If so, why does the Gemara mention the details of the offer?

It’s clear to me that if Bar Kamatza was willing to part with so much money to remain at the banquet, the embarrassment he would suffer from being evicted was far greater than the value of the money he offered. If you think the host’s refusal to accept the money was absurd, Bar Kamatz’s willingness to pay such a large sum of money is downright shocking. By sharing these details, the Gemara is trying to impart an important lesson: The host ignored Bar Kamtza’s plea even though he clearly knew how important it was for Bar Kamtza to remain at the party.

 

 אם לזאת קראת חיים אמור נא א-לי מה זה מת

Is Kamtza Bar Kamtza 2.0 as bad as Kamtza Bar Kamtza 1.0? Absolutely not. It is far, far worse.

Kamtza Bar Kamtza 1.0 involved a single individual while Kamtza Bar Kamtza 2.0 involves hundreds of families and thousands of children. Kamtza Bar Kamtza 1.0 was a one time event while in Kamtza Bar Kamtza 2.0, children are being subjected to humiliation every single day and the shame and embarrassment will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Kamtza Bar Kamtza 1.0 was against an adult while Kamtza Bar Kamtza 2.0 targets our tinokos shel beis rabban. The only common denominator is the unjust treatment of a fellow yid.

Dear critic, I ask you; you claim to empathize with the tragic plight of Bar Kamtza who was removed from a single event, yet you are impervious to the pain and humiliation suffered by your next door neighbor everyday. You empathize with the plight of a man who lived 2,000+ years ago, yet you are oblivious to the feelings of thousands of children around you today. If this is not what you consider hate, then I beseech Hashem – אם לזאת קראת אהבה אמור נא א-לי מה זה שנאה.

Regarding your question about Roshei Mosdos, I don’t fault the Roshei Mosdos per se. In fact, I know many of them personally and only have tremendous הערכה for their מסירת נפש on behalf of our children. Unfortunately, a small but vocal group of parents exert unjustified pressure on the Roshei Mosdos to keep unvaccinated children out. My letter was directed at the community. Unless we eradicate this toxic mentality from our hearts it is impossible to rectify the situation.

Regarding the dating issue, it is certainly anyone’s right to decide what type of person they want to date. You have the right to decide that you only want to marry a learning boy, but we don’t go on air warning everybody not to date a working boy. You have the right to decide to only marry a girl who is younger than you, but we don’t stream videos warning boys to only marry girls younger than them. I could go on and on with examples but the point is this: It is a personal preference, not a public discussion. This is part of a campaign to mold our views and systematically alienate and exclude a certain segment of our community – first from our schools, then from our shuls, then from our restaurants and now from the dating process.

As for your statement regarding autism, you acknowledge that the rate of autism is increasing and dismiss your own observation because “perhaps autism is unfortunately another illness that children are born with when the Ribono Shel Olam wills so.” Perhaps not.

 

THE VACCINE AUTISM LINK

What prompted me to do more research were the reports by thousands of parents from all faiths and backgrounds who claimed that their perfectly healthy child regressed into autism soon after receiving one of the many government mandated vaccines. At first I thought it was coincidental but then an acquaintance shared his personal story. Within days after vaccinating his first child, the child developed a high fever and was hospitalized. The child was never the same again and was diagnosed with autism a short while later. When his next child was born, he was understandably reluctant to get him vaccinated. But after some pep talk by the pediatrician (who dismissed the first incident as a fluke), he agreed to vaccinate his next child. But calamity struck again and the second child regressed within mere days of being vaccinated. It was only after sacrificing two children to vaccines that he refused to vaccinate another child. This person now has many more children, all (but the first two) who are developing normally and healthily.

You might choose to dismiss this incident as a one time (two time?) freak occurrence, but it propelled me to do more research. What do we really know about the safety of vaccines? How is it possible for the science to be so far removed from reality? I decided to scout the scientific literature on my own in search of an answer to these questions.

 

THE DISASTROUS INADEQUACY OF LESSER EVIDENCE

In the mid 20th century a new drug emerged that would relieve women of symptoms of aging. Back in the day, many prominent researchers believed that the symptoms of aging were a disease, akin to diabetes or heart failure and should be treated with hormone replacement therapy (H.R.T). H.R.T evolved into a long-term remedy for the chronic ills of aging and it became one of the most popular prescription drugs in America.

By the mid-1990’s, the American Heart Association, the American College of Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had all concluded that the benefits of H.R.T. were sufficiently well established and could be recommended to older women as a means to ward off heart disease and osteoporosis. By 2001, 15 million women were filling H.R.T. prescriptions annually. It is estimated that 5 million were older women, taking the drug solely with the expectation that it would lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and lead to a longer and healthier life.

All of this changed in the summer of 2002, when new studies overturned the long held belief that hormone replacement therapy cut the risk of heart disease and exposed it as a hazard to human health. How did it all begin and where did we go wrong?

At the center of the recommendation by some of America’s most prestigious institutions to administer H.R.T for heart disease was the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) – a type of study known as a prospective or cohort study. In 1985, the Nurses’ Health Study reported that women taking H.R.T had approximately 35% less heart attacks compared to women who had never taken the drug. This, along with several other observational type studies became the basis of the therapeutic wisdom for more than a decade.

However, this belief was put into question in August of 1998 when a clinical trial called HERS found that hormone therapy increased, rather than decreased, the risk of recurring heart attacks. The belief evaporated entirely in July 2002, when a second trial, the Women’s Health Initiative, or W.H.I., concluded that H.R.T. constituted a potential health risk for all aging women due to elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, cancer and perhaps even dementia. In fact, a study published on August 29, 2019 in The Lancet revealed that almost every type of MHT was associated with excess cancer risk, which increased steadily with duration of use.

Until the summer of 1998, the assumption that H.R.T. prevented heart disease was mostly based on observational evidence, primarily from the Nurses’ Health Study. Since then, the scientific tide has turned and the conventional wisdom has been based on clinical trials – first HERS, which tested H.R.T. against a placebo in 2,700 women with heart disease, and then the Women’s Health Initiative, which tested the therapy against a placebo in 16,500 healthy women. When the Women’s Health Initiative concluded in 2002 that H.R.T. caused far more harm than good, the lesson to be learned, wrote Sackett in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, was about the “disastrous inadequacy of lesser evidence” for shaping medical and public-health policy.

 

GOOD SCIENCE, BAD SCIENCE

The problem with a study like the NHS (or the type of studies cited to disprove the vaccine-autism connection as I will explain shortly) is that no matter how well designed, no matter how good an intention the authors of the study might have, and no matter how many thousands of subjects they might include, they have fundamental limitations. Some of them include selection bias, self selection bias – researchers not being able to control exposure, and loss to follow up bias. While retrospective, prospective and cohort studies all have certain advantages over placebo controlled trials as they are cheap, fast and could include a very large number of subjects, none of this relates to the quality of the data produced. As my mechanic tells me, he does three types of jobs; cheap, quick and good, and I can choose two of the three. A good quick job won’t be cheap. A cheap good job won’t be quick. A quick cheap job won’t be good. A retrospective cohort study is a quick, cheap job, but it isn’t the type of study I’d be willing to risk my child’s life on.

One study cited by the orthodox medical establishment to refute the vaccine-autism link examined the incidence of ASD in 95,727 children with older siblings using a private insurance database. Of the 95,757 children, 994 (1.04%) were diagnosed with ASD. 1929 (2.02%) children had an older sibling with ASD. Of those with older siblings with ASD, 134 (6.9%) had ASD, vs 860 (0.9%) children with unaffected siblings. In other words, children who had an older sibling with ASD were approximately 700% (6.9% vs. 0.9%) more likely to develop autism than children without an older affected sibling. For children with unaffected older siblings, 84% (n = 78,549) of children had received at least 1 dose of MMR by age two and 92% (n = 86,063) by age 5. For children with affected older siblings, 73% (n = 1409) received  one dose by age two and 86% (n = 1660) by age 5. According to the conclusion of the authors, receipt of the MMR vaccine was not associated with increased risk of ASD.

The fact that Anjali Jain, MD, who performed the study is affiliated with The Lewin Group, an organization with deep ties to pharmaceutical firms and companies distributing vaccines (Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Novo Nordisk) is almost irrelevant here because the rest of the science is so flawed, as I will explain shortly.

A study titled “Pilot comparative study on the health of vaccinated and unvaccinated 6- to 12-year-old U.S. children,” examined the prevalence of neurodevelopmental (NDD) and chronic disorders in 666 homeschooled children ages 6-12. Children were either classified as unvaccinated (i.e., no previous vaccinations), partially vaccinated (received some but not all recommended vaccinations) and fully vaccinated (received all recommended age-appropriate vaccines). With regard to vaccination status, 261 (39%) were unvaccinated, 208 (31%) were partially vaccinated, and 197 (30%) had received all of the recommended vaccinations. When it came to acute illnesses, vaccinated (N = 405) were less likely to have had chickenpox, whooping cough and rubella. However, the vaccinated were significantly more likely than the unvaccinated to have been diagnosed with otitis media and pneumonia. Additionally, vaccinated children were significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, other allergies, eczema, myringotomy with tube placement (eight-fold increase), a  learning disability, ADHD, ASD and any chronic illness.

Partially vaccinated children had an intermediate position between the fully vaccinated and unvaccinated in regard to several but not all health conditions. For instance, the partially vaccinated had an intermediate (detrimental) position in terms of allergic rhinitis, ASD, ADHD, eczema, and learning disability. In the unvaccinated group, 3 out of 261 (1.2%) children were diagnosed with ASD. In the partially vaccinated group 11 out of 208 (5.3%) children were diagnosed with ASD. And in the fully vaccinated group 8 out of 197 (4.6%) children were diagnosed with ASD.

Whether you choose to accept the conclusion of this study (that fully vaccinated children are 500% more likely to develop autism than completely unvaccinated children or that vaccinated children are more likely to suffer from neurodevelopmental and chronic disorders) is irrelevant at this point. What’s important is the difference in ASD diagnoses between the fully and partially vaccinated children. One would expect that if vaccines are a true catalyst of autism then the fully vaccinated group would suffer from a lot of autism, the partially vaccinated group would suffer from a little less autism, and the completely unvaccinated group would suffer from a lot less autism. But that wasn’t the case. Children who were partially vaccinated were approximately 20% more likely to develop autism compared to the fully vaccinated children. What is responsible for this bizzare outcome?

In a normal and rational world, if a parent sees that their healthy child starts developing signs of autism after getting any one of the many vaccine doses given to their child, they’re likely to stop giving the child any additional vaccines. Thus, if you were to analyze partially vaccinated children vs. fully vaccinated children the result would be that the partially vaccinated children would have significantly more autism than the fully vaccinated children. Had we only been presented with the data of the partially vaccinated vs. fully vaccinated children, one might erroneously conclude that vaccines actually protect us against autism. But the data from the completely unvaccinated group suggests that those who are either partially or fully vaccinated are in fact 5x more likely to develop autism than those who are completely unvaccinated. Granted, this was a small study and wasn’t double blind or placebo controlled but it is the ONLY study I’m aware of  that compared completely unvaccinated children to fully vaccinated children.

If there’s one thing I could impress upon you, it’s that bad science (such as the NHS’ and the trials presented to refute the vaccine-autism link) are not just inadequate or weak, they’re deceptively misleading. To borrow a phrase from Donald Trump on the campaign trail about Hillary Clinton, “She has experience, but it’s bad experience.”

While, as previously discussed, there are numerous potential confounding factors and flaws with the MMR study, I wish to focus on the specific flaw – in that in a retrospective cohort study exposure is determined by self selection. It’s the participants who choose if and when to give vaccines and investigators just observe the outcomes. This study only compared partially vaccinated children to fully vaccinated children. Data on fully unvaccinated children is conveniently absent.

When examining the data closely, the study reinforces the self selection bias flaw. 84% of children with an unaffected older sibling received at least 1 dose of MMR by age two but only 73% of children with an affected sibling received at least 1 dose of MMR by age two. This means that children with an affected older sibling were about 13% less likely to get the MMR at all. Parents who already had a child with ASD were significantly less likely to give the MMR to their second child.

One would expect this pattern to continue through age 5, but when comparing the data of children with or without an older sibling with ASD the gap shrinks to approximately 6.5%. What is responsible for this discrepancy? Although parents with a child affected by ASD are likely to withhold vaccines, once they feel reasonably assured that their second child is in the “safe zone” they’re more likely to give vaccines at that point.

If parents of a child with ASD are 13% more likely to withhold the MMR to a sibling, what percentage of parents are going to stop giving vaccines to a child who himself starts developing signs of regression after receiving one of the mandated vaccines? Certainly, much higher than 13%. Thus, we are to assume that a significant number of children in the partially vaccinated group didn’t get the MMR because they themselves started showing signs of regression by age two from any one of the vaccines previously administered.

Of course you are free to interpret the data however you want, but so is everyone else. Until the CDC agrees to conduct a real double blind placebo controlled trial you have no right to force someone to accept the type of evidence that has a history of giving precisely the wrong answer.

 

OF FIRE & FURY

Perhaps one of the most striking revelations from the Gemara Yoma 9b (see above) is the inescapable conclusion that there can be an abundance of Torah, Mitzvos and גמילות חסדים yet at the same time we can still be plagued with sinas chinam. B’H our generation has more לימוד תורה  than our parents and grandparents ever imagined would be possible. We have a plethora of G’machim and chesed organizations but we must still face the frightening possibility that we too suffer from sinas chinam.

The Netziv observes that we find a great deal of shefichas damim at the time of the second Beis HaMikdash. Why then does the Gemara say that there was no shefichas damim? The Netziv provides a frightening answer. During בית שני, people didn’t kill because they were evil. They killed only in the name of good and with holy intentions. They believed (just like we do) that those who they killed deserved it because they were not performing the Mitzvos properly. The Netziv explains that the people themselves were unaware that they committed a crime as it was righteous and justified in their minds.

In the tefilah of נחם on תשעה באב we say “כי אתה ד’ באש הצתה ובאש אתה עתיד לבנותה” – it is through fire that the Beis HaMikdash was consumed and it will be rebuilt through fire. Perhaps the tefilah is alluding to the fire of machlokes and sinas chinam that caused the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash. Perhaps it is the fire of love and אהבת חינם that will bring about the rebuilding of the third and final Beis HaMikdash.

May we soon be zoche to the time that the שכינה dwells amongst us when we can all say – ויעשו כולם אגודה אחת לעשות רצונך בלבב שלם

Respectfully,

D. Wolf/design by freepik.

For questions or feedback please contact D. Wolf at: ddwolf109@gmail.com

(TLS welcomes your letters by submitting them to letters@thelakewoodscoop.com)

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There are 39 Comments to "Kamtza Bar Kamtza 101: A Thought-Provoking Response"

  • SB says:

    What confuses me is how many pro vaxxers are letting their kids mingle around town even though they aren’t sure they have anti bodies or even got the virus. Aren’t they afraid they will catch it from someone? There are people still testing positive. Why is this different from allowing non vaccinated kids into school? If your alright with one, you should be with the other.

  • yasher koach! says:

    I agree with everything this letter-writer wrote. For those who WANT to be educated there is plenty that you can read online. If you do, you will realize that vaccines have not been adequately tested for safety and that even top govt officials, like former NIH director Bernadine Healy, said that it is possible that vaccines can cause autism and more studies needed to be done.

    Dr. Stanley Plotkin, leading world authority on vaccines, said under oath that science has not proven one way or the other whether vaccines do or do not cause autism. You can google Dr. Stanley Plotkin deposition and read this for yourself.

    Former CDC head Julie Gerberding said that it is possible for vaccines to cause autism-like symptoms in children.

    Dr John Walker-Smith, Dr Wakefield’s partner in the Lancet MMR Study, got his medical license back because he had insurance to fight in court and he won. The judge said he and the others had not done anything fraudulent. You can google this too.

    Realize that doctors follow the CDC and the WHO guidelines. Most of them do not have time to do their own research.

    Question: After this coronavirus situation, do you still have blind faith in the CDC and the WHO? Do you feel they have your best interests in mind? If not, then think about why some pediatricians have done their own research on vaccines and have come to different conclusions than the CDC and the WHO.

    And if you really want an eye-opening event, go to youtube.com and google “the highwire with del bigtree W.H.O. Global Vaccine Safety Summit” (look for the video that says “WHO caught on Camera.”

    I challenge anyone to watch that video and then post on this website that you still believe vaccines have been adequately tested for safety.

    So the bottom line is those parents who do not want to vaccinate their children with any or some vaccines are EDUCATED on the topic. They are not just following the advice of “quacks.” They have done their research and have come to their conclusions.

    Of course I understand how pediatricians cannot think about the fact that some of their patients may have been harmed from vaccines. They have to follow what they are told by the CDC and the WHO. But parents are responsible for the health of their children so they are obligated to do their due diligence on this subject. And these parents should NOT be subjected to sinas chinam by those who have not done their due diligence.

    Additionally, if you did research you would understand that unvaccinated children pose very little risk to your vaccinated children. As a matter of fact those children who get the DtaP vaccine may be more likely to spread pertussis to other children than those who did not get the vaccine. Why? Because they may harbor the pertussis pathogen and not know it (and thus pass it on to others) because they do not have any symptoms bec they were vaccinated. Grandparents are told to get the Tdap vaccine to prevent giving their grandchildren pertussis. But did you know that by doing so, the grandparents can transmit the illness to their grandchildren for the same reason – they may be harboring the illness but not show any symptoms? (whereas an unvaccinated grandparent will get the cough with the infection and know to stay away from family members). As an aside the Tdap vaccine has not been tested in pregnant women, certainly not especially when pregnant women are told to get it EACH time they are pregnant!

    Did you know that a study shows children who get the DTap vaccine are more likely to get pertussis in the future? You can google that also.

    So the sinas chinam being directed to families who have a different opinion is based on your lack of adequate information. Do your due diligence on this subject and you will see how unwarranted your sinas chinam is.

  • Yoni says:

    So do we trust a tzadik like Dr. Shanik or D.Wolf? I’m going with Dr.Shanik. I won’t make believe I fully understand the science behind this, I’ll leave that to a doctor who went to 8 years of medical school and 4 years of residency.

    As long as Dr. Shanik (or any of the many other local frum tzadik doctors) strongly support vaccination, I’m on board.

    As Reb Uren Reich has publicly stated, people need to learn to listen to authority. That goes for your local rav and doctor. Learn to listen to those more knowledgeable than you and you’ll be better off.

    • B says:

      There are many local and not local rabbanim who do not advocate vaccinating.

      Perhaps there are people who don’t vaccinate and they are not following someone else’s local rav or doctor, nor Reb Uren Reich’s local rav or doctor. But they are following a rav and/or doctor
      .
      In every machlokes each side “knows” they are correct. Perhaps we can put out the sinaas chinam fire and ignite the ahavas chinam fire.

      Can’t we allow each individual to follow a rav/ doctor of their choosing without being subjected to Kamtza/Bar Kamtza type of actions?

      • Yoni says:

        I just can’t imagine that it’s accurate that there are “many” rabbonim and doctors that advocate not vaccinating children.

        It’s been my experience (not a scientific poll) since I’m a child, from the time I have lived in Eretz Yisroel to today, I have had the zchus to be serviced by good, frum, erliche doctors whom I feel really care about me. They have all strongly advocated vaccination. These are not people that are being “paid off” by the pharmaceutical companies, these are good, caring and honest people. And I have yet to come across a rav that advocates against listening to medical advice. There may be one or two but I have never met them.

        My experience has been that the local people that advocate this are well meaning but misguided people. Why would anyone trust someone with little medical knowledge who has done a few google searches over our local esteemed doctors?

        I don’t have any sina for anyone, just rachmonis on misguided people who have chosen to foolishly ignore competent medical advice and follow some bloggers instead.

        Wishing health and hatzlocha to all!

    • nyj says:

      Dr. Shanik wrote years ago, that he follows the AAP (american academy of pediatrics). As a pediatrician, he goes according to that organization. He did not do any of his own research on vaccines.

    • Common Sense says:

      Yoni:

      It depends. If you are going to “trust” someone you should probably trust Dr. Shanik (who in turn trusts the CDC). “D Wolf” is not asking for your trust. He’s simply presenting the data so you can see for yourself how misplaced our trust in the safety of vaccines is. He IS asking for a little but of common sense and critical thinking. But if you don’t have any, by all means you should trust the doctor.

  • Oiber says:

    TLS please furnish a response from Dr. Robrerts to make this a bit more interesting.

    Mr. Wolf –

    While you write long letters mostly plagiarizing text from pseudo-studies , you really don’t seem to understand what the word study means. You consider ‘studies’ without understanding what is the process needed for a study to be viable, what is the process of review, what are the required credentials and experience of the study’s authors to be accepted by the medical community.

    it’s a real shame you didn’t bother posting the links to the studies quoted so people can analyze that or present that to nay sane medical professional who can give them a clear idea of why this is not considered a real study.

    I can’t post the links for some reason, but anyone can copy and paste any of the info posted in the ‘studies’ mentioned and just see for yourself. Check out the quotes in the footnotes from every conspiracy theorist available in the crazies market.

    • Joe says:

      Oiber, you are so clueless. You say that the author quotes “pseudo-studies” which are therefore not to be taken seriously. The problem is that there are no double blind placebo studies! There are no studies that compare unvaccinated to vaccinated children with a placebo and double blind. None. Nada. As to the sources, how about doing what Yasher Koach says above: Go to the Highwire and watch the video of the WHO admitting that there were no studies done that compare unvaccinated to vaccinated. Watch how they admit that they do not have the necessary data to state conclusively that there is no link between autism and vaccines. Did you watch it? I did. It’s terrifying to think about the amount of people who are suffering based on an intentionally told mistruth. Before you knock the character and research of the author, educate yourself so you don’t sound like an Oiber…….

  • In a nut shell says:

    Agenda
    Agenda
    Agenda

    Gaavah
    Gaavah
    Gaavah

    Gaavah Agenda
    Gaavah Agenda
    Gaavah Agenda

    Agenda Gaavah
    Agenda Gaavah
    Agenda Gaavah

    • whisleblower says:

      nut
      nut
      nut

      shell
      shell
      shell

      nut shell
      nut shell
      nut shell

      shell nut
      shell nut
      shell nut

  • Revelation says:

    Let the truth be heard to all the pro vaxxers. I and many others can share how healthy are kids are without these precious vaccines that save lives.My children have never had an ear infection nor strep in their lives nor antibiotic for that matter and my oldest is five. Should you say they are still young my 10 year old brother got his first dose of antibiotic last year BC the doc misdiagnosed the deadly measles that he survived bh. I want more personal stories from mom like me and less studies then the truth will shout out who is truly healthy.

    • Lakewood lamdan says:

      I have many children. Not one of them has had an ear infection nor strep in over 15 years.
      And I vaccinated all of them.

  • FrumStatistician says:

    Dear D. Wolf,

    You are throwing around statistical jargon in order to impress others with your apparent knowledge of statistics, when it is obvious to anyone who actually does know statistics that you have no clue.

    First, you bring one example where a “restrospective cohort study” was flawed. You then imply that we therefore cannot trust any such study. Now, I am not going to get into the complexities of heart attack risk and HRT for menopausal and post-menopausal women which is far more complex than you imply (there are a number of other studies that show no increased risk and even lower risk in some cases, especially for different dosages and different hormones i.e. estrogen vs progesterone etc.), but the fact that one such study may have been flawed does not show that all such studies are incorrect.

    Now, as to vaccines and autism, you quote one study and then simply dismiss it because one author may have some second degree connections to pharma companies but have no substantive critique of the data or methodology beyond that “retrospective cohort studies are bad”, though you have no clue why beyond using some jargon about different statistical biases without actually showing that any of those biases exist for this study. Furthermore, there are a lot of studies from a number of different countries covering different time periods, age groups, types of vaccines etc, and all show no difference in autism between vaccinated and unvaccinated children, so pro-vax people are not relying on that one study.

    Now to the other study you mention that you claim shows higher autism in vaccinated children. I looked at that study when it was first published a few years ago, but I recall thinking at the time that if one of the undergrads I used to teach had submitted that paper to me for a project I would have failed them on the spot. You talk about biases in studies. What about the fact that this study was a completely anonymous online survey? In other words anyone could have responded and with multiple different answers.
    Additionally, survey was asking parents of 6-12 year old children about childhood vaccinations, so no actual medical records or confirmations of vaccinations or diagnoses, meanwhile you complain about a study that used actual medical records data obtained from a major insurance company.
    Now, the request to join the survey was sent out to parents who homeschool through a specific homeschooling organization. Yet no data was provided on how many people had received the request, so we have no clue what the survey response rate is. And I think it is obvious that homeschooling parents are not going to be a representative sample. In fact there is other data showing that parents who both homeschool and don’t vaccinate are less likely to take their children to the doctor. And guess what, if you don’t take your children to the doctor and you homeschool – so no doctors or educators are seeing your child and their behaviors – then a shocking thing happens (sarcasm), your children don’t get diagnosed with neurological developmental disorders even if they do have them. And in a study in which only 9 children had diagnosed autism and only 47 had any sort of diagnosed neurological disorder, even a small change in the data can have a large change on your results.
    And then there is the fact that they claim their study also had no correlation between preterm birth and neurological disorders – and there is a lot of evidence that preterm births are highly correlated with neurological disorders – once again implying a problematic sample. This is especially problematic given that their “strongest” results appear to be mainly driven by children who were both preterm and vaccinated , but not solely one or the other.
    I am not even getting into all of the technical/statistical issues with the paper including an extremely large confidence interval for their odds ratios, which in general implies a problematic sample, and a number other statistical issues that get even more technical, that would take too much time to explain, but just what I have mentioned so far shows that this study is completely worthless and can’t be used as evidence for anything at all, let alone a claim as strong as an autism-vaccine link.

    • whisleblower says:

      Mr. Stats PHD, in your carrier did you ever hear about any scientific study data manipulation to get to predetermined conclusion? Maybe “men made global warning” rings a bell or two?
      How often does $$$ play major role in the outcome?
      Who pays for all these studies? Can you do one on your own?
      Is CDC a bureaucracy? How about WHO?
      When you teach you students statistics, do you encourage them to do their on google research or is it all by the book?
      Did you ever try to research vaccine safety on your own?
      Why did congress pass vaccine injury act in1986?
      Why in NJ autism rate is highest in the country? (1 in 35)
      Why does it keep going up? Why are our kids less healthy than us?
      Did you know that VICP paid out 4.15 billion dollars so far to vaccine injury victims? Do you know that 90% of vaccine injuries don’t even get reported according to CDC estimates?

  • Freedom fighter says:

    I hope that the corona virus vaccine race will be a wake up call to all of the pro vaccine parents out there. After declaring Modernas vaccine a success, the real data was leaked to the public. 20% of those getting the 250 mcg dose had SEVERE reactions.
    Many of the vaccines our children get contain 250 mcg of the aluninum adjuvant. (Some combination doses contain as much as 850mcg)
    For how many years are the vaccines studied?
    Hep B trial is 4 or 5 DAYS (depending on the manufacturer!! And this is for a vaccine given at birth.
    Wake up guys! And do the research. If you don’t protect your children, no one else will

  • For Yoni says:

    Yoni, If you are able to, please watch the video that was mentioned (Highwire with Del WHO Global Vaccine Safety Summit). Do you believe the WHO tells the truth? Then you should know that, among other startling statements, the WHO believes that we need more scientific studies on the safety of vaccines! That we are using “old science” that is not useful now! Please check out the video and report back on here. Thanks!

    • Yoni says:

      This is exactly the point. Why would I go watch a speech from someone somewhere on the internet when I have my own very fine local trustworthy doctors to rely on? I know that I don’t have medical knowledge and I rely on those who do to weed out the good information from the trash that’s out there. Why trust someone who doesn’t know you or care for you over someone who knows you and cares a great deal about you?

      • Joe says:

        The reason why, Yoni, is because the video is not about “someone who doesn’t know you or care about you” telling you anything. The video is of a meeting where the very people who your doctor is relying on for his information admit on camera that they do not know and can not confirm everything that your doctor is quoting them to be saying. Is your doctor God? Is he omniscient? Has he ever made a mistake? All that is being suggested is that you watch the video where the people in charge of testing the vaccine that they approved as being safe admit that they did not test it appropriately and that more testing is needed. What is wrong with that suggestion, and why wouldn’t you be interested in watching it?

        Once again just to be clear: Nobody here is saying that they were proven to be unsafe. And nobody wants you to watch the video to convince you of their lack of safety. But if watching the video will put a Safek in your mind, would you be willing to humiliate and embarrass children and their families based on that Safek?

        Watch the video. What do you have to lose?

        • Who is paying? says:

          The AAP gets funding from the CDC and from vaccine manufacturers. The CDC gets funding from vaccine manufacturers. You can read more at “The unofficial vaccine educators: are CDC-funded non-profits sufficiently independent?

          Imagine if a mashgiach in a manufacturing plant is getting money from the manufacturer. Would you trust the mashgiach to be honest?

      • nyj says:

        again, Dr Shanik wrote that he follows the AAP (american academy of pediatrics). Whatever they tell him, he does.

  • Shepsil says:

    I’m not taking sides in the vax/antivax debate. I just hope people realize that pediatricians like Dr. Shanik don’t have the time to do in-depth research of issues like vaccines. This is a very complicated area of medical science that takes many hours of study to get a grasp of. Dr. Shanik undoubtedly relies on the CDC & APA for guidance regarding the safety of vaccines. I personally vaccinate my children beginning the year before they start school. This is not a subject a local pediatrition would be an expert in regardless of how big a tzadik he is.

    • heshy says:

      However, most people need to feel that they are relying on someone in order to feel that they are safe and that they are doing the right thing.
      Dr. Shanik is that someone for a large majority of Lakewood. So regardless of whether he himself has spent a lot of time researching a specific medical subject, most people do trust him blind.

      And like the majority of doctors, he relies on the CDC.

    • nyj says:

      Yes, Dr. Shanik wrote in an article that he goes according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. He follows their guidelines. He does not have time to do any of his own research on vaccines.

  • Joe says:

    Mr. Wolf, I guess your few hours of Google are worth more than the years of education and experience that the majority of respected professionals and experts obtain from Medical School, years of practice, and continuing medical education.

  • Seeking truth says:

    The argument about unvaccinated children posing a threat to immune compromised children are unfounded. I have a close relative who had a transplant and asked her visitors if they vaccinated their children, listen, their children, in the last few days (don’t remember the amount). The live vaccines pose a risk of transmitting the disease as the body sheds the virus.
    So children after getting shots pose a risk for immune compromised children. Healthy unvaccinated children (who barely get sick) do not pos ed any risk. We need to use our common sense.

    • zelig says:

      its interesting to watch how people manipulate things in their favor, if i am not mistaken the vaccine that that can be is only a live virus vaccine (please google the difference between the Salk and Sabin vaccines far an example of this), this safety warning something that the”evil” CDC specifically warned about being a risk immediately after being vaccinated for certain specific vaccines, your ignorance is astounding, the danger of a measles infection for an immuno compromised individual is not minimized by the safety warnings of certain vaccines to the immuno compromised individual

  • trust above says:

    According to the CDC, way more people in the USA die yearly due to second hand smoke than to any vaccine related illness.
    If people, were really worried about their health, logic would dictate to exclude smokers from shuls and schools. Anyone seeing this discrepency should realize that theres a hidden agenda with excluding unvax people from communities, when they clearly don’t pose a danger like the smoker near you.

    • Fidel Castroviski says:

      Passiv Rauchen (AKA second hand smoke) was invented by the Nazis in the 1930s. It is pure nonsense. I smoke Cuban cigars, but when not at home I smoke only outdoors. And I have to put up with people saying Feh, Yuch, etc. and giving me nasty looks. These people are Kfooy Tovah; they get to inhale the Cuban cigar smoke for nothing, zero, not a cent, while I pay good money. Anyone seeing this discrepency should realize that there’s a hidden agenda with excluding smokers from communites, when they clearly don’t pose a danger like the vaxxers near you.

  • momofnine says:

    This is a long & complex discussion, and both sides are passionate. I’m coming from a basic point of view. Most people are not allergic to pollen, most people are not allergic to bee-stings, most people do not have severe reactions to peanuts. However for the minority that does, these things can be life-threatening/altering. It’s not hard to understand how for the majority of the public, vaccines are only positive, but for a small minority they might cause an adverse reaction which can have life long impact. Everyone is aware of the autism question, however another milder reaction which has been linked is stammering. Maybe a parent should vaccinate anyway, it’s better to be alive and stuttering, than chas v’shalom the opposite. We have first hand experience with how vaccinating young and on schedule caused speech issues, and how vaccinating when the children were older and able to handle it better, did not. It’s not scientific, the pediatrician did not agree, but the results speak for themselves. In my opinion if a family member has shown an severe reaction to vaccinations, the parents should not be forced to vaccinate the rest l’toeles harabim.

  • revelation 2! says:

    Yes Revelation 1! I can attest to what you said. I personally know a few relatives who are not vaccinated and they are the happiest healthiest kids! Also, I made the mistake of giving my child the MMR last year during the “outbreak” and saw clear changes in the child after. My friends kids who vaccinate get sick all the time. Kids aren’t supposed to be on antibiotics every other month. And forget about all the allergies! Another topic… Everyone can make their own decisions though. We need to respect everyone and can’t put down doctors.

    • R says:

      I dont mean to disregard your experience but there are lots of factors that can contribute to kids being on antibiotics and allergies. My youngest is not vaccinated but my older kids are. She had just as many ear infections as her siblings. My friends son (she does not vaccinate) is always coming down with something. The vaccines are not researched well enough but they are not the cause of everything out there.
      There is so much more to it.

      • nyj says:

        In the Pro Vaccine Rally in Monsey, someone asked about comparing the health of non vaccinated kids with vaccinated kids She said that the comparison won’t work, because “Non vaccinated families engage in healthy behaviors!”

  • To Shepsil says:

    Does Dr. Shanik know about CDC whistleblower scientist Dr. William Thompson who was secretly recorded by Dr. Brian Hooker?

    Among other damaging statements, Dr. Thompson said, “I have great shame now when I meet families of kids with autism because I have been part of the problem.”…”There is biological plausibility right now to say that thimerosal causes autism-like features.”

    To read other incredulous statements google “Timeline of events in the William Thompson #CDC Whistleblower Scandal.”

  • yidinneh says:

    why is the onus upon the schools? it is the parents who are choosing not to vaccinate their children, not the schools. the law states that every school child must be vaccinated. open your own schools and do things your way, but how dare you put my children’s health at stake or risking the schools from continuing to operate? how dare you blame the schools for your personal decisions?

    • Joe says:

      Unfortunately, misguided is a word that can be applied to both sides at times. The current law in NJ DOES NOT require parents to vaccinate if they have a medical or religious exemption. The parents who sent their kids to school without vaccines did so legally and %100 according to the law. The state of NJ would not have fined the schools nor taken any action against them as they were all withing their legal rights. The decision to remove children from school was not forced upon the school but a choice that many schools made based on the doctors advise or Rabbinic guidance based on the doctors advise. Please learn the facts before you accuse others.

      As to the risk to your vaccinated children, this has already been discussed if you read the posts above. It is easy to just quote the talking points of either side. It is much harder to actually do research and seek out the truth.

  • Lakewood lamdan says:

    D Wolf:
    You make the argument that: since pro-vaxxers expose themselves and their children to greater risks than having their children in the same schools as non-vaxxers, therefore, if they don’t allow non–vaxxed kids in their kid’s schools this must be motivated by…
    HATRED, aka sinas chinam.
    You have no other explanation for this.
    Perhaps you can entertain another perspective?
    Maybe people can be concerned about their health in one area and not in another? Do you know people who vaccinate their children, but drive recklessly or smoke? To what will you attribute THAT?
    They must be crazy?
    No, they are inconsistent. But that is what most of us are. Flawed, imperfect inconsistent hypocrites.
    So when someone drives a car, but does not want his child in a school with unvaccinated children, he may be acting out of sinas chinam, as you claim, or he may be acting out of concern for the health of his child although eh is inconsistent about this.
    On the other hand, lshitascha you are acting out of hate, too.
    Because let me ask you a question:
    Why are only you entitled to your own opinion about health, and others are not?
    How do you allow yourself to form an unbiased opinion for the protection of your children, because of your own decisions based on what you read on Google, but you don’t allow others to form their own opinion that they want your children out of school because they are concerned about their children’s safety?
    Are you also nichshal in sinas chinam?
    Lastly, pro-vaxers who want your children out of school may be acting out of somethong else other than hate.
    If there is nothing detrimental about vaccines, then someone who does not vaccinate is a parasite: he is willing to enjoy the benefits if living in a society that is free of many dangerous diseases, but is not willing to do his share in making society free of these diseases. A parasite is one who says let everyone else to the work while Ill enjoy the benfits of their work.
    Since pro-vaxxers believe that the non-vaxxers are misguided quacks who rely on junk information to form their own opinion, they view them as parasites, and do not fargin them the enjoyment of living in a disease-free world at someone else’s expense.
    Think about that.

  • learn to use your own wisdom says:

    If there’s one thing we can all agree on, is that this world is a false world, a true exile and that in itself often explains the confusion and misguided information of many in the population. The fact that the non-vaxxers are the minority is not a proof that they are wrong. there is truth in so many things that is often not seen by the public eye; learn history and understand how many various things were skewed because of many corrupt intentions. There is never a point where someone can just blindly rely on an outside factor, doctor etc. If you took one moment to even consider the side of non-vaccinating— and think— what if there was a huge monetary agenda? Can that be possible? And if yes, wouldn’t those very organizations and corrupt systems work very hard to hide it? So that you must either unfortunately have first hand and experience with vaccine injury, or actually use your own wisdom and tools to discover— perhaps there exists more research than you’ve been given, and want to know what that is. Why do you think doctors that have/ do speak up are shunned? I personally know too many people who have been vaccine injured, and the more research I do, the more I honestly feel very sympathetic to anyone whose has not been given the gift of enlightenment. Remember that truth is often small, the Torah was given on a tiny mountain, Dovid was the king that everyone thought was the lowly shepherd……. the truth is seen for those who choose to think and to really access true daas , and then will be given the gift to know…..

    • Lakewood lamdan says:

      These are the same talking points you can use to support:
      – the Lev Tahor cult
      – the Shalim cult
      – the Na-Nach cult
      They will tell you the same thing: they are people who think for themselves, the truth is always with the minority, everyone else is biased, driven by greed, power, or lust…