Opinion: You’ll Never Fix Them | Avi Gutfreund

In recent days, a video was released in which numerous rabbanim from the 5 Towns and Far Rockaway threw their full-throated support behind the Covid-19 vaccines and urged their followers to get them as soon as possible, if they haven’t done so yet.

The rabbanim were unequivocal in their message: get vaccinated. No ifs, ands, or buts.

“We in the community have to realize that if 99 percent of doctors say to take the shot, you take the shot,” Rabbi Yaakov Bender says in the video. “What’s the shaalah over here? Are we playing games?”

One after another, each rav stated clearly that their position, and the position of doctors, is that everyone should be taking a Covid-19 vaccine.

After watching the video, I wondered: why are we not doing this same thing in Lakewood as well? Why don’t we have all our rabbanim, community leaders, and doctors go on video and state their support for the vaccine? This way nobody can lie about what their positions truly are and hopefully more people will get vaccinated.

I went to a highly-respected local rav with this question, and he explained to me that, unfortunately, doing something like that in our community is very unlikely to help, and in fact will probably only create animus towards those who appear on the video. The Rav noted that Rav Chaim Kanievsky, the gadol hador, has said clearly that people should get vaccinated and issued a psak that rebbeim who are not vaccinated should not be allowed to teach.

“Did you see anyone suddenly rushing to get the vaccine after Rav Chaim said they should? No, we didn’t see that at all. Those who are against the vaccine just reinterpreted what Rav Chaim said and finagled their way out,” the rav told me.

“If Rav Chaim could say something, and nearly every doctor agrees, and still people are so stuck in their way of thinking that they’ll convince themselves that they know better, do you really think if I and others put out a video it would make a difference? It wouldn’t. It’s unfortunate, but it wouldn’t matter.”

And that’s where our society is holding. Everyone knows better than the people who are experts, everyone knows better than their rav (or will find a rav who agrees with their preconceived beliefs), and everyone is just flat-out smarter and more knowledgeable than the people to whom we turn to when we get sick.

Keep this in mind when someone tells you they are against taking the Covid-19 vaccine and starts going on about how they know this and they know that. Instead of trying to convince them otherwise, just sit and listen politely – there’s no point getting into an argument. The way people think nowadays is broken, and there’s no way to fix them.

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  1. From one of Reb Chaim’s Eineklach: His Grandfather is very Shvach and hasn’t been talking for a very long time, what happens is that askonim come in ask a Shaileh and Reb Chaim shakes his head which is interpreted however they want (which according to his Einekel is not an accurate response, apparently he’s not in the position to stop it)

  2. My Rav is one of the gedolim and he does not feel that people should vaccinate. So don’t be so judgemental that people who don’t get the Covid vaccine are not listening to daas Torah.

  3. to Huh

    Rav chaim’s daughter said clearly on video in the name of her father that everyone should get vaccinated.
    this video was widely circulated. could not have been more clear.

    by saying what you said from his Einekel,
    you actually just proved the article’s point
    that you will never fix the anti vaxxers regarding the covid vaccine!
    thank you for corroborating this article’s point !

    • That’s definitely something to think about….Reb chaim hasn’t uttered a word in months (as reported by the closest people there) but when no one was around he told his daughter that everyone should vaccinate. As far as that video, Call Rav Uri Sofer Dayan in bnei brak what that video is all about 011-97222-53-310-0170

  4. ……………and rav chaim says to wear payus infront of ears, and not to wear a watch, and to move to Eretz Yisroel no matter what, and to learn up, and ofcourse no smartphones. Please let us know when you are up to par.

    • ……oh yes. and I almost forgot. I saw myself in a video where he agreed that everyone should bring a gun to shul! Let us all know when you are loaded up!

  5. This is not the point of your article but FYI, according to the CDC website, the FDA said themselves when they gave full approval that the long term effects are not known at this time. So why is it being approved?
    That being said, I’m curious to know why the Rabbonim who put out that video didn’t think that being cautious in this situation where this is the fastest time ever a vaccine was fully approved is a good idea and that they didn’t think that everyone should make their own decision on whether the benefits outweigh the risks in each individual situation.

    • Anonymous,
      Where on the CDC website. Oh, It’s not there! What it does say is,
      “Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are EXTREMELY unlikely following ANY vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination.”
      And now, I leave it to the next “all knowing” commentator to write how the CDC knows nothing.

  6. It’s funny, you only quote the rabanim when they agree with your point of view. Does your wife where the shaitels that where banned by rabanim. And Reb chaim also says to grow a beard. Do u have a beard? Reb chaim also says it’s assur to where a watch, do you where a watch? So don’t bring rabanim in only when it’s convenient for you.

      • He may spelled a word wrong, but it does not mean HE is wrong.

        A person has to go according to their own daas Torah, and we do NOT go according to R’ Chaim Kanievsky for everything.

        The covid vaccine is the same way. Ask your own shaila to your own rav.

        (Does your lack of education that spell check would not have flagged a word that is spelled correctly, but is just the wrong word, show anything about your ability to have valid opinions?)

  7. Where does the CDC write that. As always, aside from being uneducated incredibly stupid people – Anti-Vaxxers are blatant liars. And who knows whether they, by abstaining from the vaccine, are actively causing avoidable sickness and DEATH, by preventing her immunity in our community. Years ago they would have been banished by the rabbonim. The CDC writes on their website “Serious side effects that could cause a long term health problem are EXTREMELY UNLIKELY following ANY vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination”. The next writer will predictably write how the CDC knows nothing. Which may be true or not. However, remember what these garbagecans say first – that the CDC themselves ar Anti-Vaxxers= Liars.

  8. Most of Klal Yisroel today are chasidim: they are a frum, kind, sweet, hard working people, HaShem likes them.
    Many are constantly vaccinated and don’t buy all of that therapeutic garbage; But many listen to bad advice and are anti vaxxers, anti medication etc instead the vitamin shoppes are millionaires from them, therapeutics doctors and therapists whom are nothing but crooks are multi-millionaires from them.
    My friend is in the Eyecare industry and by the shabbos table he described how chasidishe kids are prescribed unnecessary Prisms and Bifocals by crooks, they struggle and get headaches from their crazy eyeglasses, but trying to convince the parents not to fill it and to get a normal prescription is like trying to convince a suicidal bomber not to kill himself that his leaders are lier’s..
    Many of these anti vaxxers are constantly dying from the flu and other diseases of which their communities hide.
    Hopefully they’ll wake up one day.

  9. I’m not against vaccines but I do have questions …why is Israel who vaccinated almost whole nation and were sort of an experiment to Pfizer vaccine a red state and dabbling about lockdown, why should they be in that situation if billions of people vaccinated? My next question is why are people who are vaccinated and wearing masks still petrified of getting the COVID ? Shouldnt they feel protected ? I’m not trying to instigate anything cause I didn’t do research at all for the vaccine of pro or against …I really do wonder about these questions …would love to hear answers
    From anonymous

  10. Enough with newspaper/media proclamations of certain “halacha”. Everyone should ask their own personal rav. No media outlet should replace your LOR.

  11. The vast majority of Lakewood follows their Rav or Rosh yeshiva in Lakewood. Lakewood Daas Torah has not came out and told everyone to vaccinate. If they would do so, we definitely would still have some people that are as you described. You’re correct that there are many “knowitalls” in our community. But the majority of Lakewood would follow their Rav and vaccinate if told to.

    • So true. If the Lakewood roshei yeshiva would say to do it, then most people here (connected to yeshiva) would listen.

      This is the crux of the whole matter. Everyone needs to listen to their OWN daas Torah. And the Lakewood daas Torah did not say to vaccinate.

  12. Does Hashem get a say in this whole discussion? What about the disgrace that we bring to His name by taking a vaccine when He already created the original vaccine– THE IMMUNE SYSTEM. Did Hashem mess up somehow? Do doctors not remember that G-d is the ultimate healer and ONLY healer? It is imperative that anyone in the medical field stay humble and connected to Hashem. Where in the Torah does it discuss injecting our bodies with foreign chemicals? No where does it say to follow harm. The Torah teaches us to think for ourselves. Who is paying and bribing the Jewish medical and educational institutions to believe and speak up for the NEED to get the jab? Bribery blinds. Beware who you believe. Hashem created our brains and our bodies. He created healthy food, herbs, and healing modalities that build and assist the body– if someone can say that chemicals heal and tell me that Hashem’s medicine is not good anymore– tell me, what is TRULY wrong with people and their current mindset? I think everything here is a little too twisted. We need to come back to the basics and to the truth and to THE SOURCE. Which is G-d and how He truly intended us to live– in wholesomeness, connectedness and HIS truth (not medical $ and their non truths).

    • You are right about some of the things you said, and very wrong about others.

      Yes, there is shochad going on.

      But you cannot say that Hashem is not the one who created vaccines, which have saved countless lives. Hashem is the one who does EVERYTHING. No medical advancement was without Hashem putting the idea into some scientist’s mind.
      So many more people would die without all the medical advancements we have today.
      Hashem made vaccines for a reason, just like He made all the plants and herbs and the immune system and electricity for a reason.
      (And there are “naturally-Hashem-created” plants that can kill a person too. Those, also, are put into the world for a reason.)

      None of this is to say that the covid vaccine should be taken by everyone as a blanket rule. But yes, even the covid vaccine is in this world for a reason, we may not know what the reason is… It may even be saving some people.

    • Is this drivel homemade or did your homeopathic doctor tell you this stuff? It smacks of kefirah. Do you eat? What a disgrace! Do you wear a seatbelt? What a disgrace? Do you wash yourself and brush your teeth? What a disgrace!
      Have you ever read the Torah? Virapo Yirapeh. The Gemarah says this means permission was granted to doctors to heal. Not voodoo practitioners and witch doctors, but true doctors. If you would like to know the halachic definition of doctors, please speak to your LOR. Doctors have halachic authority, and if your doctor tells you to eat on Yom Kippur, you must obey.

      • TO SQUARE:

        How do you know which doctors the gemara is referencing?

        Was there antibiotics and vaccines at the time that the gemara was written? No. They used herbs and natural remedies to heal people. So if you’re going strictly according to the gemara…

  13. We have antibodies Better than the vaccine Show me one study otherwise Stop bothering us! Yes, I just checked a week ago! There’s one small study that was done before Delta that showed a lower risk of people getting covid if they had both – a vaccine AND Covid! Show me the study that shows antibodies is not as good as a vaccine! Did you get your pox vaccine? No, because you had chicken pox aka You have antibodies. What happened to medical science? The study which the CDC proudly posted says nothing what happened to the people that got covid – were they even symptomatic? Again the study was done before Delta was a predominant strain And it’s still not showing a vaccine alone is as good as having antibodies! So please take your ideas elsewhere. Besides, studies are showing amongst the vaccinated the vaccine is working below 50 percent. And we don’t even know much about these 50 percent that it’s supposably working on – maybe they actually got covid and they were asymptomatic!

  14. Can we please stop gaslighting people who have intensely researched for hundreds of hours on the matter? Can we ease up the pressure to get injected with experimental questionable substances? Can we for once see articles promoting love and achdus no matter where one stands on the subject? We are not living in normal times right now. These are the birthpangs of mashiach and now more than ever, we must all be united as one nation.

  15. The vaccine and the cdc are not the savior.you see how we need 2 shots plus a booster and you can still catch it and spread it! So getting the heilige vaccine whether you are pro or anti is not helping the situation. Trust in Hashem,daven open your eyes and all will be well.

  16. One more thing, all this article is doing is cresting more hatred among us.its deviding us into anti and pro,my rav,your rav,your a rash I’m a traffic. Just accept everyone for their decision in life. Do you believe there is a God who runs this world? If He wants you to stay healthy you will and if not not. Ask your rav,doctor,use your brain if it makes sense and the rest is in Hashems hands. Love your fellow jew no matter what. In my opinion these rabbanim are causing more hatred amongst us.

  17. I’m not antivax but I have antibodies that did not go away I’ve tested multiple times so my doc says I’m good . Study from Israel shows that natural immunity is working better than the vaccine so what would be the purpose of getting it?

  18. Where did someone get the idea that most of Klal Yisroel are Chasidim? That’s not even true in the Frum world and they are a small minority when you look at gantz Klal Yisroel.

    • What your saying was true in the 1950’s .
      Today Chasidim are easily the majority of Klal Yisroel: The population of the Chasidishe world is 6 times greater than the population of the entire Litvische/Yeshivishe world. To name a few: Lubavitch, Breslov, Satmar, Ger, Belz, Viznitz, Skver are all tremendous, plus many other chadidisus.
      The birth rates of all chasidus’s are כע״ה very high. Where else is there population: Reform/Conservative are shrinking, dozens of temples are closing, Chabad are being mekaruv some of them. The birth rates among the modern orthodox are quite low. Most of Europe, South America, Australia are all Chasidish. Kein Yirbu.

  19. Why does the Scoop allow comments on these opinion pieces that just promote Loshon Horah against the community and Rabbanim. Regardless which way someone holds, being mevazeh rabbanim is assur.

  20. With all due respect, I’m also a highly respected local rabbi (IMAO) and that is not why rabbonim are not signing such a letter. The real reason is because rabbonim no longer trust the medical establishment’s recommendations, which are subject to change several times a week, and the rabbonim do not have the time or ability to conduct their own scientific research on the matter. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to back the claim that antibodies may be even more effective at blocking the variants than vaccines, and no conclusive studies have proven otherwise. Any study that did not differentiate between symptomatic and asymptomatic corona patients is not scientific.

  21. Highly respected rabbi,
    What a joke. He posts anonymously.
    That you don’t have the ability we all know. But you – a “highly respected rabbi” don’t have the time!!!
    You fell off your cuckoos nest!
    People are sick, dying, poor, and miserable! Yes, Lakewood BH is doing well ( may hashem continue watching over us) but go out to where Yidden are working. It’s hard. Very hard. And you don’t have time. Shame on you.
    As a descendant of Gedolei Hador I can tell you my ancestors would not sleep at night from this situation.
    You should be ashamed of yourself. Your not highly, you should not be respected, and you are surely no rabbi.

  22. In regards to the study out of Israel on natural immunity. It is important to note that it was only a preprint study with limitations, and it was not peer-reviewed. The study also showed that getting the vaccine after prior infection added significant protection. So I can’t understand why people wouldn’t want better protection especially in the wake of Delta.

    • because the vaccines are very risky and have thousands of reported deaths and injuries so the added protection is not worth it… It’s also not verified to be true… it’s still being researched and more studies need to be don. There are other things you could do if you are worrie about delta.

  23. Rabbi,
    Thaw only thing I agree with is that crazy Fauci did a tremendous disservice to our community by changing his “mind” every few seconds. However, Mayo, Cleveland, Penn, NYU, mount sinai, John Hopkins, Stanford, Harvard, etc. etc. etc. all incredible medical establishments ALL agree that a. Vaccines can prevent further harm, and b long term effects would be EXTREMELY rare.
    Rabbonim don’thave time! I can tell you as a descendant of gedolei hador they wouldn’t sleep at night to get us out of this situation.

    And what it exactly is your point that natural immunity is more effective than vaccines. – Not everyone – the symptomatic” ( which is most people) will survive. You may be symptomatic. What about the others.

  24. Please email my gmail account covidpreventionBSD if you would like prevention and treatment information for covid that has been put together by people who followed hundreds of covid cases and saw what works and what doesn’t. Stay well.

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