Letter: A response

Dear TLS and the Lakewood community,

As I read the response from D. Wolf, I confirmed what I had correctly assumed originally, that he is an anti-vaxxer, as some commentators doubted so in the comments to my first response. As I read through the response I noticed some of the points I raised he very conveniently ignored. I encourage those who read his response should read his original letter and my first response.

I’ll address your lengthily 13 anti-vaxxer paragraphs in one fell swoop. That is, despite your lengthily piece, most doctors still don’t agree with you. Period. As I wrote previously, according to halacha we follow most doctors, and not just for eating on Yom Kippur. Your intelligent and crafty way of finding for the anti-vaxxers yet another platform for espousing these types of views impresses me. Just to point out, R’ Moshe Shterbuch isn’t part of Big pharma, and still Paskened vaccines are a chiyuv, and most poskim agree with him, against the Mi’ut that is choilek. It means Da’as Torah says to get vaccinated.

To address the reason why people might be more skeptical about specifically anti-vaxxer views vs other things in the process of shidduchim. I wrote in my previous letter that it was because of it being dangerous. However that was one of the more polite answers that I guess didn’t suffice. So here is the not politically correct answer I wanted to write last time. Anti-vaxxers are conspiracy theorists according the medical community. Being a conspiracy theorist could be a sign of an unhealthy thought process. Whether someone believes in conspiracy theories that claim man never landed on the moon, or that LBJ really killed Kennedy, its all the same red flag. It could also be that the parents are overly anxious people. That is also an unhealthy thought process. Parents that aren’t healthy thinkers can negatively impact their children emotionally.

Instead of debating with you the sugya of kamtza bar kamtza and “hondeling” all the nukudos, and what is pshat, I’ll cut straight to the main point. Is what happened with the non vaccinated children hate without reasonable cause, and was the action taken unjustifiably harsh? In your response, you conveniently forgot about the many immuno-compromised individuals, I’ll quote one of the commentators to my first letter, who was responding to another commentator who seemed to have agreed with your opinion about the safety risks.

“You wrote doctors don’t think having your child in the same class as an unvaccinated child puts them at risk. Let’s think for a moment. My friend’s child was absent almost the entire two years previously due to yenna machla. He was finally cleared to go to school. Then the doctors said he has to stay home because his immune system was shot, it’s too dangerous for him at that point to get vaccinated again, so he cannot be in contact with anyone who was unvaccinated. This was a critical situation. He had to stay home yet again only because of those children. He was so excited to be with his friends again, yet that was short-lived. Once those children were asked to stay home, he got clearance from the doctors to go back to school. Yes, I do believe the schools were really sad to ask the unvaccinated students to stay home, but it must’ve been the lesser of two evils for them ” I heard that exact point raised by a Rosh Mossad himself, that the danger from unvaccinated child during the measles pandemic, is enormous for the immuno-compromised.

I’m certain that their are many many Rabbeim, students, teachers and other staff that unfortunately have compromised immune systems, that you have no idea about because of their wanting privacy. I can see in my minds eye many people nodding as they read the previous sentence. You can call Chai lifeline and RCCS for some statistics, you will be shocked, and cancer isn’t the only illness that can compromise an immune system, as unfortunately there are many more.

During this pandemic we have seen most healthy people recover from Covid 19. Yet the immuno-compromised and elderly have unfortunately died in tremendous numbers. Are their lives worth less, are they unworthy of protection. The potential damage that can come to the immuno-compromised is very visible today. Is even one life of such a person worth risking from the measles. Recently the mosdos were closed for all willingly, to save the immuno-compromised and elderly, it is a consistent standard we apply to ourselves equally. We don’t reserve this treatment for anyone specific because of sinas chinam, we rather embrace this difficult decision for ourselves as well, knowing it is the right thing.

I need not elaborate more about safety risks, but I’m certain their were more safety concerns as well, but at this point it’s irrelevant.

Additionally I do believe there were Rabbonim and doctors who were consulted before these decisions were made. Additionally I don’t know any pro-vaxxers that hate anti-vaxxers. I don’t think the Rosh Mosdos hate them either, they simply took the painful step of doing what was advised to them by their Rabbonim and doctors. This isn’t sina’ah, and nor is it b’chinam. It’s called following the advice of those who were entrusted to make these decisions. In other terms it’s called following Da’as Torah. You claim that the Rosh Mosdos were pressured into this, I can personally verify that at least two choshuve mosdos in Lakewood were not, the first was the same Rosh Mossad I mentioned above, the second one I verified it from a relative who confirmed that heard it directly from a Rosh Mosad. As you mentioned, our Rosh Mosdos are choshuv, and apparently they disagree with you about the right course of action. Let us also not forget that anyone who got vaccinated was permitted to return, the parents were given the choice. (I wouldn’t be shocked if there is even enough kids to open a non-vaccinated school.) The restaurant incidents I believe was an isolated incident so it’s irrelevant to the discussion. I would guess that if someone is the Rov of a shul and they announce one should not enter if they weren’t vaccinated, they used their knowledge of halacha to determine it is the correct psak, and it isn’t just sinas chinam like you implied it was.

I want to add in parentheses as a side note, that many people have let emotions about pricking their children stop them from vaccinating them properly. Smallpox was eradicated because of vaccines, I encourage all those not familiar with it to research it and watch some videos of the effects of smallpox, and its destruction through mass vaccinations, instead of allowing emotions prevail against science. Polio Iy”h will soon be eradicated as well. Additionally diseases like Typhus, diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping cough, mumps, measles and more, have been tremendously minimized through vaccinations. These diseases have caused everything from death, to crippling people for life and to fertility issues as well. You can all research the impact that vaccination has had on on life expectancy and quality of life with each disease that was minimized. You can ask anyone above 65/70 about the revelation from Dr. Salk and what the effects of polio were before a vaccine. Iy”h a vaccine for Covid 19 will come out soon, allowing all the immuno-compromised to emerge from their homes. It will be visible again in our days albeit on a smaller scale how many lives vaccines can save.

I hope I was able to address some of the points D. Wolf raised, especially his 13 paragraphs against the medical establishment and Big Pharma.

Yehi ratzon that the Rebono Shel Oilam should bentch us with Refuos and Yeshuos, and Mi Sheamar Leolam Dai Yomar Letzarosainu Dai, and we should be Zoche to the Geulah Shlaimah Be’achdus Uv’shalom Bayachad Bimhairah Beyameinu.

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There are 14 Comments to "Letter: A response"

  • Lakewood lamdan says:

    Reading your letter, I was struck by the thought that you have hit upon an excellent point which would explain why D Wolf and his ilk attribute the actions others take against them as motivated by sinas chinam.
    You point out that non-vaxxers are conspiracy theorists, who are willing to entertain the idea that a great number of people work in cahoots to serve their base desires.
    That same mind frame is what allows D Wolf and his ilk to see all “vaxxers” as acting in cahoots out of sinas chinam.
    Just like they believe there is a conspiracy to convince everytone to vaccinate, motivated by greed of Big Pharma, there is a conspiracy, motivated by sinas chinam, to inflict pain on non-vaxxers by throwing their children out of schools.

  • Lkwdguy says:

    The point that we took the same actions we made the anti-vaxxers take is a great point. Want to say it was payback for what we did to “you”. Ok, maybe Hashem wants us to know what you feel like and maybe now we do. Great, but we don’t have a double standard and are consistent with trying to keep those around us safe, we gave anti-vaxxers a choice in order to protect and we closed the doors on ourselves in order to protect. Stop the blame game. Yaakov avinu said, arur apchem, we don’t dislike you, we just disagree with your behavior.

  • Sammy says:

    very well written.
    Your point about conspiracy theorists is very true.
    However, we must be dan lekaf zechus that most of those who SHOW INTEREST in this arent actual conspiracy theorists.
    It just so happens to be that the medical community DOES cover over things to make them seem more appealing to the general public, even though in the actual scientific community its an issue, just that its a “benefit vs. risk” situation.
    Take hydroxychloroquine as an example.
    the nay-sayers jumped on the “its dangerous” bandwagon, why? because in SOME instances it can be. But thats only 1% of the story, the fact is, it is routinely prescribed for people. Including family of mine, for years.
    Same with the anti vax community, they get disillusioned by the very real aspect of possible side affects that are hushed up. Failing to realize the secret was about perception, not about facts.

    • search 4 truth says:

      This is hardly true. People who are prescribed hydroxychloroquine are carefully screened prior to starting the medication. During the COVID outbreak people were prescribed a potentially dangerous medication without checking to see if it was too dangerous for them.

      Laypeople do not have the medical knowledge and therefore make false assumptions. Medical professionals carefully consider the potential side effects of a medication before telling their patient to take it. A known potentially dangerous medication weighed against a questionable benefit left many healthcare providers deciding that the risk wasn’t worth it.

      What are the very real possible side effects of vaccines? How can you downplay a known dangerous side effect of a medication and in the same argument promote a fictitious side effect? You say you know hydroxychloroquine is safe because a family member of yours takes it for years, but you don’t feel the same way about vaccines? We all know thousands of people who have been vaccinated without any adverse effects. Because you haven’t met anyone that has had a bad reaction to hydroxychloroquine, that makes it safe?

      Your lack of medical education shouldn’t give you reason to doubt the advice of a doctor.

      Finally, anti-vaxxers are conspiracy theorists. They believe that people who are smart enough to go to medical school and caring enough to dedicate their lives to helping children be healthy are duped by the pharmaceutical companies into endangering the lives of their patients. A person holding a belief that is contrary to logic is the definition of a cnospiracy theorist.

  • Pony says:

    Great letter, very well articulated. Thank you for speaking up for the silent majority despite the louder voices of the minority.

  • Simplistic response says:

    Anonymous letter writer, your response is very simplistic and narrow minded. It seems that you have very little knowledge of the issue at hand. You resort to name-calling using misnomers such as “anti-vaxxers” and “conspiracy theorists”. You make broad assumptions and sweeping statements like: -all anti vaxxers are conspiracy theorists, – doctors are all good and wise and all-knowing, -there can’t be another side, – science is absolute and irrefutable, -All rabbonim agree with the cdc and so on. True ahava is taking the time to truly understand the other person’s point of view. Please do so before writing a response that is filled with derision and contempt.

    • the terrible anonymous letter says:

      Yes I am the guy who wrote this letter,
      First i would like to apologize if I offended you, the main purpose of this letter wasn’t to name call or denigrate anyone. It was for one main purpose, that being to respond to the main point of the letter by D wolf. His letter claimed that what happened to during the measles epidemic to non- vaccinated kids was sinas chinam, and a very unjustified reaction. He claimed that the Coronavirus epidemic is (at least partially,) divine retribution for the way it was dealt with. The main purpose of my letter wasn’t to promote pro vaccine views, it was to defend the majority of our community and our Rosh mosdos against what I believe was a very inaccurate assessment. It was definitely not my intention to write a letter to just deride people, it is to defend people for taking painful action in a time of danger. I might even argue that D Wolf’s accusation was quite a bit bit more of a “contempt filled” letter than mine, yet I doubt you wrote that in the comments section to his letter’s. I felt I can’t remain silent.
      Please check wikipedia’s definition of conspiracy theory, according to it anti-vaxxers are conspiracy theorists. My choice of words is accurate.
      Respecting and loving anti-vaxxers doesn’t minimize the danger of having their children in school during the measles epidemic. I hope you can understand this.
      I do think for myself, I do my own research and the results are the same, I still vaccinate.
      I just felt that an accusation of this such shouldn’t be met with silence’ sincerely, the same yid

  • Simplistic response says:

    I agree that “Anti-vaxxers” may be conspiracy theorists, but most people I know who don’t vaccinate are not “Anti-vaxxers” (anti- people who vaccinate), but rather are non-vaxxers, partial-vaxxers, or pro-vaccine choice. These non-vaxxers have analyzed the risks versus the benefits of vaccinating and believe it is in their child’s best interest not to vaccinate. So the real question is: Are children who are not fully vaccinated an actual risk to other children? For decades, (until the last couple of years) vaccinated kids and non-vaccinated kids have happily and safely gone to school and camp together without incident. What suddenly changed in the last 2-5 years that healthy kids became a danger? Can the media campaign to marginalize and censor non-vaxxers have anything to do with it? (Yes, Google has censored most pro vaccine choice websites. This, in free America).
    If I vaccinate as part of my hishtadlus, is it also part of my hishtadlus to worry about other parents’ personal choices or is that fear coming out of an atheistic, G-dless mindset?
    If I don’t vaccinate out of health concerns, am I halachically allowed to put my child at risk of side effects for some remote possibility of preventing another child from possibly getting sick?
    Do all Rabbonim and roshei mosdos really fear the danger of having unvaccinated kids in our midst or are they under political pressure from the medical board and fearful parents?
    Why can a not-fully vaccinated immunocompromised child with yeneh machlah be allowed to endanger other kids in school but a healthy unvaccinated child can’t attend school?
    Now that the measles “epidemic” is over why can’t unvaccinated kids be a part of school?
    Thanks for responding.

  • Show us the research says:

    You say you have done your own research and still vaccinate. Please show us the research you have done, do you expect us to just trust you and not want to see with our own eyes the studies you have relied on making your decision?
    Also please consider how painful your letter is to a family who experienced a real vaccine injury… is that how you are demonstrating ahavas yisroel? Vaccine injuries are real even the most pro vaccine doctor acknowledges this, the debate is about numbers and how common these are. Is it impossible that at the very least one child in our community was injured by vaccines? Your letter can cause that already suffering family untold additional pain.

    Finally, show me the studies that show that unvaccinated children have even once caused a vaccinated person to become sick… this is an assumption/propaganda by pharma as I have yet to see the scientific data to back this up… sure you May say it makes sense to you but that is not science and since parents who have witnessed their children become ill immediately after receiving vaccines are not allowed to conclude that the vaccine caused the injury … you must be held to the same standard of proof to show us unequivocally with scientific studies that unvaccinated children harm vaccinated children… theories are not acceptable in this conversation….

    • zelig says:

      last I checked this isn’t a forum to discuss benefits vs risks of vaccines, the question here was if this was comparable to kamtza bar kamtza or not, unless you had a difficult time reading the letter that this was responding to

  • Revelation says:

    What I want this letter writer to realise is that most of us have vaccinated our kids at first and would gladly run to vaccinate if it would actually be safe. I think we moms have done many more hours of research than our local doctors have. I do not say that when I don’t vaccinate I am not scared of polio or tetanus nor menagitis just that I fear the repercussions of taking these vaccines that are not YET proven safe. I am not here to put down dr’s I am sure that had they had the time and resources they may say differently. Just know dr’s are not trained to be researchers on pharmaceutical products more than any other profession. A builder may know which tool are good to fix but is not involved in safety studies of his tools.
    Dr’s have our best interest in mind and we should always respect them however every person should have the right to keep his body safe his own way.
    Just for argument’s sake if polio is eradicated why are we still getting a shot for that? If tetanus shot works why do we have to get one every time a person hurts themselves?
    Diphtheria is an illness in third world countries where sewage is rampant.

    • anonymous says:

      Polio is ALMOST eradicated, it will be when there are no reported cases in the world for a specific amount of time, until then there is a chance of it making a comeback if immunity isn’t kept up to a certain level.

  • Revelation says:

    Sorry but I could not resist this; which other company uses these words for their ads “vaccines do not cause autism”
    Never have I seen coca cola write “coca cola does not cause hyperactivity or holes in teeth”

  • Of course says:

    Search for truth: You ask what are the real side effects of vaccines. Just take a look at the vaccine insert in the pediatrician’s office. It’s not rocket science.