Torah For Today! This week: Refusing to vaccinate your children

Torah For Today! This week: Refusing to vaccinate your children

Rabbi Zvi Solomons takes a topical issue and applies an Orthodox Jewish response

Rabbi Zvi Solomons

I was recently approached by someone on Twitter who wished to preach his version of Jewish theology at me. Antisemitism, he claimed, was God’s way of telling us we are not safe in Britain. That’s one viewpoint. And perhaps disease is also God testing
our faith.

Rational approaches to Judaism reject such a supine fatalistic approach approach and encourage us to fight hatred and disease. The latter is done using vaccination.

Recent statistics show elements of the Charedi community to have resisted vaccination of their children with MMR.

This is in fact contrary to halacha. The halacha is that we avoid danger to life and limb, wherever possible. It’s a very basic doctrine of Judaism – our rabbis tell us we are even allowed to break Shabbat to save lives. In the instance the threat is not imminent, we do not need to desecrate the Shabbat. We simply book into a clinic to get our children vaccinated.

Failure may not be serious to our own child but measles kills, mumps emasculates and rubella deforms and maims unborn children. I do not believe that failure to vaccinate, thereby causing death and misery, is an effective way of controlling population numbers.

The only rationale for those avoiding vaccination is fake science (the Wakefield paper is utter fraud) or a misplaced faith in the protection of Hashem, which would preclude any form of medical intervention whatsoever, which is obviously
a false route.

The science is clear. We can wipe out these diseases with vaccination. The risks to any individual from a vaccination are vanishingly small – less than that of crossing a busy road. Claims of autism and other side effects are fakery and alarmism.

The risk is non-vaccination – and the results of this failure mean in some parts of New York and Stamford Hill children are being maimed, going deaf and even dying.

  • Rabbi Zvi Solomons serves JCoB, the Orthodox Jewish Community in Reading
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