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HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein: “The Vaccine Has The Authority Of Beis Din”

HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchanan and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, publicized a p’sak din halacha on Wednesday on being vaccinated against the coronavirus.

HaRav Zilberstein wrote the p’sak after holding a meeting with Prof. Ron Balicer, a member of the Health Ministry’s advisory team on COVID-19, and other medical experts, on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine.

HaRav Zilberstein wrote that since we currently we don’t have a Beis Din of Rabbanim who are oisek in refuah, the Aruch HaShulchan says that during these times we must rely on doctors who have been approved by the government to practice medicine.

The Rav continued that according to what it says (Mishlei 21, 1) that “‘Lev Melachim V’Sarim b’Yad Hashem'” [Hashem controls the hearts of world leaders] that since we see that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has instilled in the hearts of many ‘kings and ministers’ to be willing to be the first to be vaccinated, this is a sign that the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risk.”

“And therefore, these vaccines are considered as if they have the approval of a Beis Din, and therefore we must listen [to the call to be vaccinated], and it’s as if the Beis Din is saying to be vaccinated.”

“And it’s true that there are those who claim that the risk of the coronavirus is not so high and it doesn’t justify the great risk of being vaccinated. These claims can be answered that in order to evaluate if the risk of the coronavirus is high, it’s not enough to only count the number of fatalities but one must also count the number of patients who were dangerously ill and were healed.”

“As it’s explained in the הגהות מיימוניות that regarding eating on Yom Kippur, there’s no need to worry that someone may die from it but if someone is at risk from not eating, then we give him food. And it’s written in the Shulchan Orech that if a choleh needs to eat, if there’s an expert doctor, even if he is not Jewish, who says that if he doesn’t eat he will be at risk, we give him food and there’s no need to say that he might die.”

“And therefore since throughout the world there were millions of people who became sick and were at risk [of becoming seriously ill], even if they eventually healed, [the coronavirus] is considered an illness that endangered millions of people, and it’s clear that even if the vaccine has some risk, it is like any medication that has some risk.”

“But it’s definite that the risk of the vaccine is not great, unlike the risk of the coronavirus itself. Because if the vaccine was dangerous, the governments wouldn’t allow such a thing – ‘to exchange a cow for a donkey’ [to incur a loss], but are [encouraging vaccines] based on the fact that the risk of the vaccination is much more minimal [than the coronavirus].”

“And if so, then [being vaccinated] is included in what the Torah says ‘רפא ירפא’ that a choleh should take medication for his illness despite the fact that [the medication] has some risk.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

12 Responses

  1. I fail to understand the connection between permission for a doctor to cure and the obligation on me to to take a cure. According to this logic, every adult is obliged to bring his vaccination schedule up to date, every time a new vaccine is released. I would also be obliged to take tylenol for every headache.
    Furthermore, no government has demanded (as yet) that its citizens take this vaccine. So how does the fact that it is available make me obliged to take it?

  2. What about someone who is young and therefore corona doesn’t pose as much of a threat to them, unlike someone with preexisting conditions , or the elderly?

  3. Wow. I feel bad to watch this unfold. At least we were warned by the Gemara to the darkness before Mashiach comes. The doctors are not making a psak on the individuals, rather on the group – a few bad outcomes here and there are acceptable to them.

  4. Healing the sick is very different than giving a vaccine for a healthy person.
    All these wonderful rabbis should take the vaccine so we can watch the side effects , stop telling everyone that it’s a “chiyuv “ to take an experimental drug or vaccine. I’m really sick of the vaccines becoming the idol we need to bow down to. What has become of the Jewish nation? I guess history repeats itself and we have the leaders telling us to bring our children on the alter . I guess it will take a lot of deaths by the vaccine for anyone to wake up. Keep on following the orders, until you realize that you were the experiment .

  5. “ if the vaccine was dangerous the government would not allow it”.
    An experimental drug , that has a new technology , that has never been tested, is not dangerous because the government said so …..hmmmm.

  6. From the FDA’s website:
    An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.

    So this vaccine is not even FDA approved! (It’s an unapproved medical product with an emergency authorization.)

    And as the FDA website explains, the clinical trials are ongoing. This also from their website:
    The agency provides scientific and regulatory advice to vaccine developers and undertakes a rigorous evaluation of the scientific information through all phases of clinical trials, which continues after a vaccine has been approved by FDA or authorized for emergency use.

    So the obvious question is–why continue trials if it’s perfectly safe and effective? It seems rather obvious that it’s not yet clear…

  7. The Rav continued that according to what it says (Mishlei 21, 1) that “‘Lev Melachim V’Sarim b’Yad Hashem’”

    No such Mishlei, “‘Lev Melachim V’Sarim b’Yad Hashem’” is a saying based on that verse but that is not what it says.

    I pray the vaccine causes no trouble

  8. I’m surprised see so many expert epidemiologists in this comments section disrespecting das toirah and Rav zylberstein. I wonder if you all would disrespect him to his face, as well.

  9. It’s amazing and sad to see how many of Acheinu Bais Yisroel are quick to believe the completely undocumented and nonexistent side effects of the vaccine and ignore the proven and demonstrated consequences of Covid. I only wonder if this is the same group that ignored the risks of Covid and went around living as usual, as well.

  10. In presumption that only is need 60-70 % herd immunity and people who have antibody already ( according CDC-15-20% or may be more ) , plus on top therapeutic means what available now , what all this tumult about ? What we left only to have some Bitochon .

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