Scientific Knowledge of the Gedolim

Home Forums Controversial Topics Scientific Knowledge of the Gedolim

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • Author
  • #615416

    Everybody has heard of the famous story of the Chazon Ish, who dictated to doctors who to do complicated heart surgery. I have seen a photocopy of the letter – including an intricately drawn diagram of the heart – to the doctor.

    I never understood this. Where did this knowledge come from? The Chazon Ish never studied Medicine or any divrei chol at all. Everything he knew came from Torah. How is it possible to understand the technicalities of heart surgery from Torah? Exactly which Sefer did the Chazon Ish understand this from?



    Where have you seen this letter? I would love to see it.

    I had always heard it was of the brain


    Never mind. I found it!

    (I love google)


    as it says in pirkei avos hafoch bo vhafoch bo dikulo ba

    Patur Aval Assur

    Is this what you are referring to:

    (I think it’s a brain not a heart, though it’s not relevant to your question.)

    To answer your question, I have seen people claim that R’ Gedalia Nadel and R’ Mordechai Gifter said that the Chazon Ish read medical journals. Google chazon ish read medical journals and you will find these claims. Seeing as neither R’ Gifter nor R’ Nadel is still alive, I don’t know how you can verify the claims, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether to accept them or not.


    B”H we still have a major talmid of the Chazon Ish who writes about this. THe Shevet Halevi who learned by the Chazon Ish for over twenty years. He writes in vol 10 chapter 13 that the Chazon Ish got all of his medical knowledge from his learning Torah and this is something special that is given from above, just like the Ramban and other. He also adds that the Chazon Ish had a ??? for these types of things. He adds that he was correct about 90% of the time.

    May this be a Zechus for the Shevet Halevi and may Shmuel ben Rochel have a complete Refua Shleima.


    He writes in vol 10 chapter 13 that the Chazon Ish got all of his medical knowledge from his learning Torah and this is something special that is given from above, just like the Ramban and other

    Well, was it one or the other? You mixed to different suggestions there. You said he got all his medical knowledge from learning Toarh, and then you decided it was a gift from above like the Ramban. So it wasn’t from Torah? It was some sort of Divine Inspiration that gave him knowledge of things he didn’t know from any natural source?

    If R’ Gifter said what he supposedly was intended to say, and if he was right, then I guess the question falls away.


    I found the Shevet Halevi.


    I was told by a Rebbe of mine (regarding this story) that the Chazon Ish studied certain parts of medicine. However, (as was spoken about in another thread,) he didn’t study it just for the sake of studying medicine. He studied it to better understand certain Gemaras and/or other parts of the Torah. Since that was why he studied medicine, it too was considered learning Torah.


    This allusion to the Chazon Ish having read medical journals or books in his younger years crops up from time to time. My question is: in what language were those books/journals written? It’s hard to imagine there were any Hebrew language medical books at the beginning of the previous century. It’s highly unlikely although I suppose possible that the Chazon Ish read English or German. Medical books in Yiddish? Well, highly unlikely at best. So what sort of books could he have read? I posed this question to a member of the Greinman family a few months ago, and he agreed with my supposition that it was unlikely that the Chazon Ish read any medical books. On the other hand, Rav Gedalia Nadel was extremely close to the Chazon Ish and was in a position to know about this. Maybe Rav Gedalia’s sons know something about this.


    Why is it not possible that the Chazon Ish read and spoke German.

    Belarus was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and German was the spoken Language (As were others). Prior to WW I , German was generally the language of the educated. English did not become the language of the educated until after WW II, when German became disdaned and French lost luster


    my rebbe said that the chazon ish go it from a tosfos in brachos. He also said that he had looked at the tosfos but had no idea how the chazon ish was able to figure out things from there. (He didn’t say which tosfos it was)


    Reading medical journals would give anybody enough proficiency in the topic to advise leading neurologists in complicated brain surgery? I find that hard to believe…

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Okay, let’s say he read medical journals. How many people can claim that they can map out a complex surgery which the biggest doctors, with years of schooling and experience, couldn’t do, by just reading medical journals?

    Yekke2, the answer is zeh v’zeh gorem. Which is true whether or not he read medical journals, we would just say zeh v’zeh v’zeh gorem.

    There are many gedolim about whom nobody claims such medical knowledge. What the Shevet Hakevi is telling us is that certain gedolim were able to draw upon their Torah knowledge to develop medical skills, but he doesn’t claim it about every gadol, even of the same or higher level.

    So what makes the difference? It might be their specific mehalach halimud, it might be innate skills, and perhaps they read medical journals (we certainly know that the Chazon Ish didn’t go to medical school).

    Whichever it is, or even if it’s all three, it doesn’t change the fact that they drew upon their Torah knowledge to develop incredible medical skills.


    Thanks for posting that link (and saving me the trouble), Ubiquitin.


    Is there scientific knowledge of our gedolim?

    I think we should commission a study of them.

Viewing 16 posts - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.