The Diabetic Man's Plight

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    oh brother

    Seeking feedback:

    So, there is this man who is diagnosed with diabetes & his doctor tells him to take a clinically proven medication to treat it. The man decides that he doesn’t need to take the medicine because he has faith that Hashem will take care of him. He goes about doing everything that G-d tells him to do – davening & learning. As time goes on, his doctor keeps watching the high blood sugar levels & warns the man about the serious consequences. The doctor even explains that the government helps pay for a good amount of the diabetes medications, especially for those who can’t afford it. The man continues to insist that medication isn’t necessary, only Hashem. So he continues to do everything that Hashem tells him to do – davening & learning.

    One day he develops a deep “diabetic ulcer” on his leg that worsens until the point that the doctor is forced to amputate the leg. Soon after, he develops severe trouble seeing due to a “diabetic retinopathy.” Ultimately, the man is confined to a wheelchair, is unable to work for a living & goes off on disability. He gets monthly payments from the government. He starts to complain to his family & friends that the pathetic disability payments aren’t enough to live on. He also finds it quite difficult to get around town, so he demands that the government provide free transportation via an ambulette. He complains to his family & friends that the ambulette driver is always late in picking him up. Unable to work, the man finds that he can’t afford to pay for his property taxes. He petitions the government, which finally gives him a 90% tax break. The man protests to his family & friends, saying that there’s so much injustice in the world – “how can a man with such a dismal ‘disability salary’ afford to pay even 10% of the property taxes?”

    His loved ones recommend that the man try to get a job & a car to improve his lot in life. The man becomes irate & screams that he can’t see or walk so he obviously can’t work! He then goes into a tirade that the government always wastes so much money on useless things like parks & theaters, instead of investing the money into inventing a car that can be driven by a nearly blind man in a wheelchair.

    With not much to do, the man spends much of his time at the government-sponsored social center in his neighborhood for people in similar situations. He finds camaraderie amongst friends who he can relate to due to their shared plight. They take up smoking, drinking coffee & talking on their cell phones as they rag on the lousy world that hates them since they are different. “Everyone’s always staring at me because I’m in this stupid wheelchair. And the horrible health care system won’t even pay for the motorized wheelchair instead of this uncomfortable one.” The man’s children feel for their poor father and begin to question Hashem for having put them in this situation. They can’t understand how he ended up this way after doing everything that Hashem told him to do.

    The man becomes more & more depressed as he lives out his days – poor, blind, in a wheelchair & with kids who question Hashem. They may or may not retain their father’s level of faith in Hashem.

    So… for those of you who have stuck with me this long – what are your feelings on this story?


    I think that he should have listened to his doctor in the first place. The doctor was acting as Hashem’s messenger.


    That you forgot the Possuk in this week’s Parsho of Mishpotiem:- veRapo yeRapeh.

    So go & learn your Chumosh, and then observe it.


    If you have Type Two diabetes, you probably can (or could have) reduced almost all the problems by radically reducing your weight and exercise. None of the books from either reputable or not so repspectable sources say otherwise. Even someone who sits and learns, can easily control his diet by eating less and such simple exercise as walking routinely. There are no halachic issues to the contrary, and our gedolim tend to be thin and frequently walk rather than ride (especially the long-lived ones).

    If you have Type One diabetes you are either taking insulin shots or you are dead (before artificial insulin was invented, type one diabetes was inevitably fatal).


    Crazy story. If true, very sad, and I wonder why his family / Rabbi let it happen. If not, very sad that you need to make up such stories.


    A tragic but obviously fictional story. A man with that amount of emunah would never have visited the doctor in the first place, much less allowed the doctor to amputate his leg. If H” wanted his leg to be amputated, it would have fallen off rather than having to have surgery at the hands of men. With sepsis setting in from the ulcer, the resulting blood infection would have killed him (c”vs). End of story.

    Also, if he had made it out of the hospital, with his level of emunah he never would have accepted government disability payments, never would have accepted rides in an ambulette (Hatzolah maybe), and certainly never would have set foot in an government-sponsored social center (with the goyim?? Gasp!). However, since he never took medication, his children’s shidduchim should be fine, since he was housebound and therefore the family was able to hide his illness.

    Now switch doctor with psychiatrist, diabetes meds with anti-depressants, and losing a leg with losing the ability to function/control one’s impulses. Also a tragic story that could have been prevented by recognizing that doctors/psychiatrists are Hashem’s shluchim.


    Too many holes in that story. Anyone with an illness who refuses to follow medical advice because “Gott vett Helfen,” does not believe that we must also do our own histadlus to merit Hashem’s Divine intervention.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    The story might be true. He might have convinced himself that it was bitachon when it was really something else.

    The story is told that the Vilna Gaon heard that a relative went to a doctor, and was unhappy about it. He was asked, “does the peruke not say v’rapo yerapei”? He answered, “yes, but I’m disappointed that someone from our family is on that lower level of bitachon “.

    Needless to say, it’s been several generations since anyone was on that level. In concept, though, v’rapo yerapei is permission, not an obligation.


    WC -“A tragic but obviously fictional story.”

    Obviously, but this guy is trying to make a point. If the point is on this guy himself to look inwards -then fine. If the point is Not to have mercy on this fellow then the CR knows this already. We were taught in the Chumash all about how the Sodomites behaved. As much as his Tzoros is his fault, we still have to have Rachmonus on him.

    oh brother

    Thanks everyone for your responses – now for the controversial part. Please take this as food for thought and NOT as an attack on anyone or any group of people!

    Please re-read my original post and think about this: This is actually the story of the chareidi plight.

    I understand this is not the perfect mashal/nimshal but… The diabetes is lack of basic secular education. The complications from the diabetes is poverty & associated problems. The medication is basic secular education & working for a living. The doctor is everyone who emphasizes basic secular education and working for a living.

    As snowbunny said: “The doctor was acting as Hashem’s messenger”

    As 147 said: “go & learn your Chumosh, and then observe it.” (the Torah is full of halachot of working, businness and statements about there not being Torah if there isn’t work, etc)

    As Torah613 said: “Crazy story. If true, very sad, and I wonder why his family / Rabbi let it happen”

    As wanderingchana said: “…could have been prevented by recognizing that doctors/psychiatrists are Hashem’s shluchim.”

    As oomis said: “…we must also do our own histadlus to merit Hashem’s Divine intervention.”

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    See, you didn’t talk about the side effects of the medication. You also called the medication clinically proven. You also failed to mention that he was heeding the advice of bigger doctors. And the nimshal is not half blind, or in a wheelchair, b”H. So you’re right, it’s not a great moshol.

    oh brother

    Yes, I already said it’s not a perfect mashal/nimshal but there’s still a very valid point here.

    I find it interesting that when it came to the diabetic man’s story no one would think to say that the man should not take the medication just because there are some side effects. Every medication has side effects but that doesn’t mean you don’t take them. Yes, you can talk to your doctor about choices of medications (choose methods of secular education – like in a yeshiva vs public school setting; should you teach evolution based on a Jewish perspective vs avoid it altogether; etc)

    Also, when it comes to the doctor recommending a particular treatment, it’d be inappropriate to rely entirely on your Rav’s medication simply because he’s not a doctor. A good Rav will understand that he’s not a doctor & doesn’t know medicine well enough to decide. You wanna ask a Rav for his opinion – OK, but that doesn’t detract from what the doctor told you. This is not a question of asking “bigger doctors” because the facts are the facts – Hashem has told us all of the mitzvot regarding work & bussiness for a reason – and that is, to work!

    Two more facts – a good percentage of the chareidi population earns below the poverty line. That’s what makes them eligible for all kinds of government handouts (that they very often then complain about – see the story above). It’s also a fact that statistically you make more money when you have more of an education. Yes, I have read several anecdotes of families who make it work somehow by living simply. However, this is not common. More often than not, the families are stressed by the financial burdens and then they must get the extra funding from others – there are several sources of that “extra funding”: government handouts (my $$ from taxes), yeshiva scholarships (my $$ from increased tuition), reduced taxes such as arnona in Israel and/or minimal income taxes in US & Israel (again, my $$ in increased taxes), Tzedaka (more of my $$), etc.

    Point is, I think it’s important to take the overall picture into consideration, not just the feeling that faith in Hashem will solve all of my problems – just like with the diabetic, Hashem wants us to do our hishtadlus & sometimes we need to see that Hashem sends us different messengers – sometimes a doctor & sometimes a Rav and sometimes both.


    oh brother – Any excuse to put down Charedim. You know why all these complaints against Charedim are ridiculous? I’ll tell you why. Because your so-caled common sense of the common man doesn’t come close to the common sense of Gedolim. This is besides the fact of your generalizations about Charedim/Motzay Shem Ra based on your bias/hatred.

    The first generalization is no Frum/Charedi people get a secular education. I know many that have, including myself. Your next generalization is that’s why Charedim are poor. Another lie. I know many people in this world that have lots of degrees and No Parnossa. Ya know why? Because it’s Hashem who decrees how much money a person has every year.

    And your final lie is that they don’t work because they can’t get a job without a secular education. I know many Charedim here and in EY that do work, and some make a lot of money, without any secular education. So why do you think some Charedim don’t do what I mentioned above that other Charedim do?

    Your posts mention Hashem a few times, but you don’t begin to undestand what Hashem wants from his people.

    Those people that have decided to spend their life learning is because their Daas Torah told them to, not because of any of the things you posted.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Oh brother, we’re talking about spiritual side effects.


    Oh brother: Note that in the case your story was not true, I also said “If not, very sad that you need to make up such stories.”

    I do not appreciate your using my words to support your point, and frankly your analogy is ridiculous.

    Were getting treatment for diabetes to include killing unfortunate Chinese prisoners to get heart transplants, the guy would be forbidden to do so by Jewish law, because it is murder. We cannot transplant other knowledge into our hearts to solve this problem.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕


    You’re misstating the issue.

    Much secular knowledge is valuable and acceptable. Much is harmful and assur; the charedim have avoided even the former. The reason is that during one’s formative years, it is necessary to focus on learning in order to develop properly as a ben Torah, at the expense of what is inherently valuable.


    Once upon a time the nonjews were determined to R”L wipe out those “obsolete” rules and the people who live according to Torah. It’s revolting but one can understand: the very existance and persistance of haredim (or, to use their greek word, pharisees), for their beliefs is a big problem. More recently, new enemies of haredim showed up, they were jewish, but they believed in communism etc. It’s hard to speak nice things about them, but they were sincere, there was nothing deceptive about them. But that supposedly religious jews should focus all their efforts on R”L stamping out haredim? Go ahead, you will fail just like everyone else.

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