The irrational response to Covid is part of the Decree from Above

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    Many of us frum Jews are incredulous and even horrified when we look around the world and see the absolute irrational and disproportionate response that many governments are taking to Covid-19 Delta variant. This variant is contagious, but not particularly deadly. Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing is not even one of the symptoms listed as frequently experienced by people who catch it. Most people have no symptoms, or mild, cold-like symptoms. Even a standard cold can lead to pnemonia in elderly or at-risk patients. This is nothing new. We have a vaccine that’s highly effective and available to anyone who wants it, and we have therapeutics that work well. Yet the responses from the governments around the world have been so incrediby extreme, it is causing intense mental agitation and cognitive dissidence to those of us who really don’t understand why.
    It hit me like a lightning bolt today. This is also part of the decree. The insane persecution of of our children, our schools, our places of worship, is part of the decree. The derangement syndrome that hit politicians, non-jewish neighbors, businesses, is also part of the decree. Torah Jews, who by and large have not been hit with this derangement, are confused and bewildered. Why?! We have accepted the decree of Covid when it first started. We understood it was dangerous then, but we also understand that this is a virus. Viruses have always been and will always be part of the human experience. We understand that human beings cannot really control the spread of a virus like this one. It will spread eventually, and the longer it takes the spread, the more time it has to mutate. We need to live normally.
    Why is it that mainly in the places that frum people live, the governments are particularly extreme; New York, California, Israel? We can’t we go about our lives like normal people. We can’t we visit Eretz Yisrael the way we used to. Our children, who’s risk of dying from Covid is nearly zero and who spread Covid at much, much lower rates than adults, must wear a mask on their faces. All because of a virus that’s generally no worse than a cold for most people?! Why is it that other risky behaviors we take every day; driving cars, swimming, flying, drinking alcohol, etc. have not been met with nearly the same degree of caution? Why is it that data is ignored in this particular situation. Why is it that governments keep returning to the same failed efforts to control a virus that we know humans cannot control.
    The only way to understand this rationally is to accept that the irrationality that has gripped the world is also part of the decree of Covid. For many, the suffering that the extreme response is causing is worse than the virus itself. We need to bow into it and accept it, and daven that this too, should end soon. Maybe then, it will be over.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Torah says venishmartem meod lenafshosechem, you should be very careful to protect your flesh, body. It is in plural implying that be careful not to hurt others besides yourself. Appreciate the life given to you and don’t risk it. The CDC uses the available science at the time to protedt us, so we must follow them.


    You joined just to say this??????????????????????????


    Change315 Spot on, and we’ll said. Reb E, ehh…not so much. Absolutely nothing the government-run politic-guided CDC is suggesting has to do with science. Look at the data yourself.

    emes nisht sheker

    You sound very dramatic. Sure there are overreactions and whatnot, but as a frum Jew, who lives their lives with many D’Rabbonim and Chumrhas (e.g. Gebrukts, Kitniyos, etc) kind of funny to criticize some doctors for being nervous about this virus.

    In any case, other than the hypocrisy you exhibit, you clearly don’t understand the science as you are saying things that don’t make sense. Perhaps that is why you think everyone is overreacting and being completely irrational, because you just have no clue what you are talking about. Your question sounds like it is coming from the second son.


    @reb eliezer noone is hurting others enough with this propagandous brainwash thats exactly the mindlesness rhetoric that they are pushing on everyone and you are playing well into their agenda.

    If you are wearing a mask and the mask is effective, then what do you care about what others are doing? And if you are vaccinated and the vaccine is effective, why do you care if others are vaccinated!

    You are talking like everyone is a constant walking virus just waiting to attack you.
    If you are around elderly then yes take extra precaution. But stop disturbing everyones lives.
    And even the precautions you take, make sure they actually help such as wearing the proper mask such as N95 at minimum, and not anything less than that because according to SCIENCE they do nothing to prevent the virus.

    And why stop with the covid vaccine, why dont you make sure everyone gets the flu shot as well as any other vaccine since they are “endangering” you!


    Is there a “like” button here? This really encapsulates everything many of us have been feeling. Very little needs to be added, except perhaps: Why were such measures never taken in other recent pandemics of similar scope (ex-1918 which was magnitudes-of-order worse than this).

    To answer your questions: Unfortunately this is part of the curse of prosperity … thanks to modern medicine and technology, our lives were so predictable that the idea of something we cannot control simply does not compute for 75% of the population, especially the younger generation. For many this will not be over until the disease is completely eradicated (5yrs? 10yrs? longer? compare timelines of measles, polio, etc.) Imagine living half of your adult life in fear, behind a mask, suspicious of everyone you meet. Is this really the future we want? (Again there are exceptions to every rule – hospitals, nursing homes, etc.)

    And I also wish people would please stop bringing up the tired example of the 1905 Supreme Court ruling, which was a “Hora’as Sha’ah” for a disease with a 30% mortality rate and a proven antidote. If there was such precedent, why do we not see more such rulings since then? (1956 flu, 1968 flu, polio, mumps, measles, etc.)

    R’ Eliezer: Regarding V’nishmartem – until last year, this was reserved for not leaving the pool gate open for little kids to fall in. Or not to jump out of a plane. Never heard much about it before then.

    Reb Eliezer

    What is the purpose of this thread? I think we should do what we can and then daven that iit should bear fruits by protectihg us. It says by Bas Paraoh, vatishlach es amosah, where Rashi says her hand grew. How did she know that her hand will grow? It teaches us to do what we can, our hishtadlus, and than we will be helped and not sit idly by and wait until we will be helped.


    “And why stop with the covid vaccine, why dont you make sure everyone gets the flu shot as well as any other vaccine since they are “endangering” you!”
    I totally agree with Rightwriter. Flu shots should be required, at least for anyone working with elderly or immune endangered individuals. Likewise, positive IQ test results (at least above that of a carrot) should be a prerequisite for posting pseudo-science in the CR. Neither vaccines, masks, social distancing etc. are a universal panacea or 100 percent effective in reducing mortality/morbidity and the CDC and other public health agencies have never made such a claim. However, there is overwhelming evidence they are effective in reducing infection rates and consequently serious illness and death from Covid (along with therapeutics).

    ☕️coffee addict

    Only in America do you have to wear a mask “to protect other people” but you can sell cigarettes, junk food, and even drugs to those people because they can choose for themselves


    Also you can smoke in public exposing everyone to second hand smoke and actually rasing the risk of getting sick, but that’s ok.

    Reb Eliezer

    coffee addict, I agree, someone who is vaccunated should not have to wear a mask when the other person has the optiion to vaccinate.


    Its sad that these issues have been politicized by elected officials on both sides which makes it impossible to focus on a subset of common sense protective measures. Blue states adopted totally irrational and inequitable shutdowns based on absurd definitions of “essential businesses”. Red states are prohibiting ANY mask requirements in the name of “personal liberty” even where local public health officials deem them effective. Cuomo, who was the patron of closures last year now says no closures in a desperate effort to find some popularity to help him avoid impeachment. A well-known Satmar chassid who owns one of the largest nursing home chains in the U.S. has mandated vaccination for all his 75,000 employees following similar ultimatums from some of the nation’s largest employers. There is a common sense “middle-ground”, but politics makes it harder to find it.


    Chanie315, you’re clearly not an educated person. Viruses are something that people can control, look at smallpox, measles and chickenpox. Smallpox has been eradicated, and the incidence of measles and chickenpox has been markedly curtailed. Small minded people, like you, who can’t see past the end of their own noses (“why can’t we go to Eretz Yisroel?”) never appreciate the seriousness of a public health emergency until it affects them directly.


    Ok lets stop replacing logical argument with gaslighting non-sense and name calling. And when I say gas-lighting nonsense, I’m referring to the posts that indicate, that those who don’t agree with their stringency in regards to covid policy simply don’t value human life. I have a simple question. Being that the vaccine is B”H very effective, why should someone who’s not vaccinated have to wear a mask? Because you might infect someone else who’s not vaccinated? They had the option to get the vaccine. Because you might infect someone who is vaccinated? The vaccine is very effective. Effective to the point the the virus is no more dangerous than flu. Perhaps even less than the flu. So again, why should the un-vaccinated, and kol sh’kain the vaccinated be forced to wear a mask?
    This same question can be applied to why anyone should be forced to get the vaccine.
    If anyone has a logical response, i’d love to hear it.

    emes nisht sheker

    tvp – you want a simple answer when the whole issue is extremely complex. You hope people make decisions based on what they believe is the best info they have.

    The answers to your questions are obvious, but because the issues are complex you will have no shortage of responses. So I will offer an answer, but don’t expect me to spend days arguing it back and forth.

    Your question:

    “Being that the vaccine is B”H very effective, why should someone who’s not vaccinated have to wear a mask?”

    1. it is a definite that people unvaccinated can spread this virus easily. With the Delta variant they can spread it to vaccinated people as well. Maybe they should wear a mask to not spread it.

    2. unvaccinated people are more likely to get very sick from getting the virus so they should wear a mask to hopefully reduce the risk of them both getting it and spreading it to other unvaccinated people, so as to minimize the cost to society of hospitalizing people.

    3. From a societal standpoint reducing transmission of the virus until everyone can get vaccinated, including kids, might be a good idea as it may help reduce further mutations.

    So I have given some simple answers. Naturally, you can respond that vaccinated people spread the virus as well. Perhaps this is true, but I think it makes more sense that the virus is found in higher numbers in the throat and chest of unvaccinated people which makes them much more likely to spread it than vaccinated people. But let’s say that vaccinated people and unvaccinated people spread it the same, then you would be correct that for that reason there is perhaps little to argue only one group should wear masks.

    There is plenty more to be said on both sides here, but you can be realistic and realize that knowledge of these things is not perfect so we have people that spend their lives studying this stuff and we hope they can provide guidance based on their best knowledge. For an Orthodox person this is not unlike when we deal in our lives with difficult questions in halacha, where there are serious disputes and real-world consequences. What most of us do is try to seek out the best experts in that area of Halacha and when we get an answer we accept that whether it is the answer we wanted it is the answer we will live by.

    Feel free to respond, but like I said, I have little interest in pointless debate. You asked a simple question you got some reasons. They are not perfect but you will never find perfect answers. Ultimately societies have to have a way of making decisions that may or may not be popular with various individuals or groups. Perhaps politics plays some role in influencing decisions, but that goes both ways. People can scream that it is 1984 or whatever, it does not change that governments have a role to perform and decisions need to be made. I would think in another year or two this will pretty much all be over. At worst perhaps a vaccine mandate. I for one, support vaccine mandates. I see plenty here see vaccine mandates as government infringement on their rights or worse. If that makes me a fascist, communist, who wants to murder babies in the eyes of those who are opposed to vaccines, oh well… as a Jew I am used to many people having an irrational hatred of me already.

    Reb Eliezer

    torahval, get vaccinated to avoid getting sick and ‘dying’.


    “Decree”???? — a bad case of flu that mainly kills old people (and our community are a very low percentage of old people, since we have a high percentage of children). 90% of cases are so minor you might not realize you were diseased unless you went out of your way to get tested. And since most deaths are those older than boomers (in our community, holocaust survivors, an age cohort much reduced by the holocaust), we are less affected than most. An increase in the national death rate from 8 to 9 per 1000 is minor, most industrial countries had a higher death rate before Covid19; the life expectancy fell back to what it was in the dark and horrible period of the 1990s (how did we ever survive).

    People and governments freaked out quite on their own. Harsh measures appropriate to smallpox or plague or Ebola were introduced needlessly. Terrified people flocked to hospitals and undermined medical services; people with real health problems avoided doctors and hospitals out of fear. Indeed, people in many places are dying due to the governments’ shutdowns. We choose our politicians, as do most countries (at least indirectly). So don’t blame Ha-Shem for evil decrees of those we put in power. Just look in the mirror.


    Listening to Ted Cruz this AM in a TV interview make some valid points on federal on excessive ederal mandates on business closures,etc. and instead advocates for allowing each business to make its OWN decisions. Yet, he immediately follows by blasting companies who have made their own decisions to require vaccination in the workplace as a condition of employment, which he says violates “civil rights”. If an employer concludes that the health risks to their employees given prevailing rates of infection, workplace conditions etc dictate having only vaccinated employees, the law clearly allows such mandates and the Courts in at least 7 states (including Texas, Nebraska etc.) have upheld such rules. So has the EEOC which administers federal employment laws. If an employer does not want to impose such a rule than disgruntled employees have the choice to incur the risks or find another job.


    Many of us frum Jews are incredulous and even horrified when we look around the world and see people having zero concern for the health and wellbeing of those who are high risk at getting seriously ill from a highly contagious disease.

    ☕️coffee addict

    “coffee addict, I agree, someone who is vaccunated should not have to wear a mask when the other person has the optiion to vaccinate.”

    Reb eliezer,

    This calls for a kiddush


    RebE > someone who is vaccunated should not have to wear a mask when the other person has the optiion to vaccinate
    coffee > This calls for a kiddush

    No, this calls for retrospection. Coffee, I understand RebE that he does not want to bother protect someone who does not care about himself. I.e. as in a mitzva to help the animal “with the owner”, i.e. only when the owner participates. So, RebE writes off these people from “reecha” .. nothing to celebrate … I would not go that far – not greeting is ok, but not care at all …

    By the way, as I just quoted in another thread, Israeli research showed that out of 40 vaccinated health workers who got infected, ALL were infected by unvaccinated. So, unvaxed remain a threat to others.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    While calculating everyone’s sins it may be worth some retrospection on your part please…
    do you understand the concept of casting someone off as reecha, as you flippantly remark? This covid religion seems to have sucked you in r”l. Religion doesn’t step aside for scary pandemics, it carries us thru.

    Reb Eliezer
    Reb Eliezer

    The Klei Yakar Shemos (23,5) on azov taazov imo says that from here is an answer to some poor persons who do not want to help themselves and scream that their needs were not fulfilled through charity, we are not responsible to give them.


    Syag > do you understand the concept of casting someone off as reecha, as you flippantly remark?

    please address this to RebE who is quoting Kli Yakar. I just explained his position. If I can affect someone’s thinking, I will talk to him. If I dno’t shake someone’s hand, hopefully it might shake him into thinking. Maybe not, but sometimes it is the only thing I can do.

    Not to compare the magnitude: Chofetz Chaim went to a Jewish commissar who was conscripting yeshiva students on Shabbos and said – I do not expect you to do teshuva because I came, but when you come to Olam Habo, you could defend yourself saying, I lived in the same town as Chofetz Chaim and I could have done teshuva were he to tell me. So, I came to take this excuse from you.


    RebE, on the other hand, there is Berdichever – My son, do you not know that you can’t smoke on Shabbos/ Maybe you don’t know that today is Shabbos/See, eibishte, how honest are you children, will admit all aveiros but will not lie …

    So, we have here Jews who are confronted with a new, confusing, situation, using their Jewish independence streak to make stupid decisions. To paraphrase Satmerer, don’t wait for rofeh cholim to daven for them, start at honen hadaas…

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ- i appreciate you trying to emulate the gedolim as you illustrate over and over. Its really a wonderful thing. The problem is th they knew the halachos and wrre qualified to paskin. You repeatedly show that you use your personal agenda and shove it around as if you knew it to be the same Torah they were enforcing. Even within your own stories, the Berditchiver would see only good in people while you call them murderers and wonder how you will ever be able to rise above that judgement. Both the Berditchiver and Chofetz Chsim would have been dancing with joy to find Jews did jews didn’t die in many “careless” shuls but you couldn’t bring yourself to be joyous. You just claimed the deaths were unseen or elsewhere. Disappointed that your self paskined reality wasn’t holding. Please continue learning about these great people, but please stop applying your views to their actions.

    Reb Eliezer

    AAQ, thanks for the vort from the Satmerer ztz’l whidh sounds like him.


    a good question whether we transfer knowledge correctly. I can’t project how would Berdichever react to the smoker were he shown effects of second-hand smoking. Chofetz Chaim both combines positive feelings toward imperfect Yidden, and also sometimes castigates those who are wrong. In the commissar story, he does not sound too positive with the pshat – he came (presumably at some personal risk) to deny the person his only defense in olam habo condemning him to gehinom. Of course, you can read this as a desperate attempt to shock the guy into a teshuva, despite all odds.

    But I don’t think you argue with me on judgment, you simply argue on facts. It sounds like if you were to see people getting sick right when you pass them coughing, you would stop. You simply claim that nobody got sick in your kehilla (except that you did), and multitudes of people were coughing but then went to test and all had common cold. Shoyn. May Hashem continue protecting your miraculous community thanks to whatever zehus you have. This is, unfortunately, not the case in the places I know more about.


    RebE, to clarify “matir asurim” quip is from Satmerer, “honen haddas” is my poor imitation.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    “But I don’t think you argue with me on judgment, you simply argue on facts.”

    Let’s try this in all caps.


    Syag, thanks for trying. CAPS do not seem to help. I zoomed in further. Same ting.

    in law, there are 2 parts – facts and opinions. I hope we agree that it is not OK to endangering yourself and other people. You simply disagree with me on facts. OK, as I said, my town seems not to hold at the same level as yours. I am grappling how to deal with people in my town who play frum, even if they had friends and relatives sick or died from COVID. If considerations of previous generations are not impressive to you, and you need direct guidance, Avi K just quoted above a contemporary Rav who is well versed in medicine.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ- im talking about you, not covid. Im talking about your comments and flippant remarks about religion, not covid. Im talking about your unwillingness to see how disrespectful you sometimes are toward religion and mesorah, not covid. Religion isn’t a fast food, self serve, “ill take religion but hold the rules and daas torah please” establishment. And when you hear that you start freaking about the anti Modern comments tho you are flowing with anti chareidi comments. DoDon’you know Modern orthodoxy as a movement has killed more people than covid?

    We won’t agree on anything if you continue to see Hashem as Gd only when He agrees with you.


    Syag, did you see me rage about evils of monks in Tibet? Not much, as this is something we can’t do much about. As we all care about Torah and Jewish people, we all might have strong opinions about it.

    As I explained above, I have daas Torah that rejects a modern idea of Daas Torah and clings to more traditional Yiddishkeit, so I am somewhat stuck. I am not sure what you mean by modern/chareidi – I am not advocating women Rabbis or liberal Tikkun Olam. My kids do not go to fine modernishe schools that are available here. You are just positioning your own view as “charedi” and anyone disagreeing as “modern”. One of my daughters sounded like that while in BY, you are surely more mature than that!

    Some of my views on need for people to work and to know math are social questions that had different opinions over course of Jewish history. Other comments about school failures apply to those school that fail, and do not apply to those who do not and have nothing to do with charedi/modern divide.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    “As I explained above, I have daas Torah that rejects a modern idea of Daas Torah and clings to more traditional Yiddishkeit,”

    No idea what that means.

    “I am not sure what you mean by modern/chareidi – I am not advocating women Rabbis or liberal Tikkun Olam. ” Baruch Hashem. Good to hear.

    “My kids do not go to fine modernishe schools that are available here. ” great. Hope all is going well

    “You are just positioning your own view as “charedi” and anyone disagreeing as “modern”. ”

    That for sure is not true. Ask Joseph who acused me for being modern all the time.

    “One of my daughters sounded like that while in BY, you are surely more mature than that!”

    See, theres no real reason to add the BY part other than to tie it to the context. This is what i was talking about. Anti Modern is an insult but your trashing of bais yakov…?

    Thank you tho for pretty much disregarding my point completely and deflecting to barely a tangent.


    >> “As I explained above, I have daas Torah that rejects a modern idea of Daas Torah and clings to more traditional Yiddishkeit,”

    > No idea what that means.

    It means I have learnt from a respected Rav, not some extreme activists, that Daas Torah is not in the Talmud (yes, he heard of Emunat Chachamim), and most times I am asking a non-trivial life Shaila (rather than a refernce to Sh’A), I am told that he is giving me an advice, not a psak. In truth, I get similar non-psak from the pro-Daas-Torah Rav. So, if I accept Daas Torah, I will be not accepting what I learned from my Teacher. I am really in a tough spot.

    > theres no real reason to add the BY part other than to tie it to the context.

    there is. They were teaching kids that “modern” is a swear word and kids would look what humros are not done in the house, instead of helping their mother. If your BY is not affecting kids like that, that is great.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    There isn’t. Except to imply this is a BY thing. Which it isn’t. You could have said my daughter’s school, some of my daughter’s teachers. You chose to stick it in as a swear word, not different at all as what you accuse. I’m sorry you can’t see that.

    Having said that, i am sorry the specific staff/school treated you that way. There is no excuse for it.

    Additionally, Modern is not a swear word, but modern orthodoxy has done damage to yiddishkeit and being offended by that isn’t right. I never liked that either, and some feel wrongly that they can put their heart into insulting anyone affiliated with it, but they are also wrong. But that doesn’t make the abbreviated version right. It’s not for you to stand where you are and decide only they are wrong. We all have what to fix.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    There is also a need to be brrutally honest with ourselves when we feel defensive. Perhaps that wasn’t quite what was taught but was very much how it felt. Still valid pain, but not the end of the line.


    Syag, I agree on honesty. I don’t think we have the answers yet. When someone asked R Steinsaltz to explain halacha of electricity on shabbos, he said give us another hundred years to. come up with a definite halacha, we are an old religion, not in a hurry …. Kal vehomer a whole modernity thing. Mendelssohn was sincere but. not successful… Initial haredi approach also: you can’t just blame those bundists and Zionists.. There was a reason so many Jews went there, not satisfied what the community offered them. Right now on US, we have 2 mln of both chareidi and modern communities doing relatively well, along 4 millions who won track to assimilating


    Sukkah 32 – we reject s possible candidate for Hadas because it is poisonous because darkei Torah are darkei Naom. So, those who think we should fulfil mitzvos by doing things that are dangerous for your health, please review rishonim at this page – maybe they allow such behavior under some conditions.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    And maybe they didn’t use your opinion to determine qhat is actually dangerous


    Syag, simple reading is that Hashem would not give us mitzvos that can hurt us. And I am asking if someone could look up what is the definition of danger here.

    There is definitely time for mesiras nefesh during the time of prosecution, but my sense of this Gemora is that Hashem does not give us mitzvos that their ordinary performance is bad for us. There are extra-ordinary examples of, say Rabbi Chaninah making the snake bite him and the snake dies, but I don’t think we are called to emulate him.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    that’s not the simple reading. you said nothing of the sort. you were giving musser, not asking a question. You have determined what is dangerous based on your faith in yourself, and use that as an absolute. Then you decide that since you are correct, anyone not following those parameters are acting dangerously. And then you say they should look it up and see if this dangerous (self proclaimed) behavior is acceptable.
    That is the simple reading.

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