Rabbis’ halachic rulings on public health matters not halachic?
When it comes to Jewish law and opinion we know that there is often more than one right answer, that different rabbis will come to different conclusions, and that they are all considered correct if the decision was properly formulated. In fact, the Torah tell us – shiv’im panim la’Torah – there are seventy faces to the Torah.
However, when it comes to public health policy there appears to be only one correct opinion; most rabbis seem to be marching in lockstep with government mandates and any dissenting opinions (welcomed in matters of halacha) are disregarded and even ridiculed.
While our ancestors put their lives in danger in order to pray in secret with a minyan, rabbis today have been quick to close down their minyanim in the name of public health. Did they do their due diligence before agreeing to close down shuls and schools? Information early on showed that Covid-19 wasn’t nearly as deadly as the initial projections declared, that a lot of required measures were without scientific basis, and that the government narrative was not based on facts. Many mitzvos have been disregarded and many halachic lines have been crossed in order to more than comply with questionable government dictates.
This response has caused grievous harm to individuals, to communities, and to freedom of religion. It even diminished people’s trust in G-d. Is this the proper way for rabbis to make decisions, especially those affecting every man, woman, and child in their communities and beyond?
Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver holds rabbis accountable for their actions and inaction. Rabbi Oliver calls on rabbis to do a 180 and apologize for their failure to investigate official Covid claims before issuing rulings.
YouTube transcript below edited for clarity.
Shalom, this is Yehoishophot Oliver coming to you on the 10th of June, the 17th of Sivan.
The truth is coming out more and more. The truth that we were deceived, well many. The world as a whole was consciously being misled, that the whole corona virus is a big hoax, a big lie, a grand deception the likes of which we haven’t seen since 9/11 and far more devastating to the world than 9/11. The truth about New York is coming out. The truth that there was medical malpractice in the hospitals in New York. The truth that the coding for the death certificates was deceptive … that people who died from other causes were classified as having died from Covid-19 when in reality they only died with Covid-19 and so on and so forth. All this truth has been coming out for a very long time but it’s coming out at an ever increasing pace; more and more reports, more and more exposure of what’s really been going on is coming out. The lie is getting harder and harder for the leaders to maintain and for the people to accept. More and more people are waking up that they’ve been a victim of a grand mass mind control operation. So you can only put a lid on the truth for so long. You can’t prevent it completely from coming out, and in fact the evildoers behind this evil plot, they know that. But what they also know is since they control the flow of communication to a large degree, through the censorship and through shaming dissenters, they can, they can issue official denials and they can maintain their image and get away with what they did. We saw that on 9/11, on many occasions, so that’s true of politicians, people who have much more big picture. People who are governors mayors or people who are acting on the more grand scale, they’re more able to cover up what they did.
But I want to talk today about for our Jewish community which is more localized, it’s more small scale. So there were and there still are leaders, supposedly leaders, who accepted the official narrative and promoted it and their actions had consequences on the ground for the people for the communities, for families, for individuals personally. I, personally, had, you know, an experience of how people in my family, it’s not a personal attack with my family but it’s just an expression of the effect that the words of the leaders had on me, and I’m sure many other people had similar experiences. I came out with many statements, you know, exposing the truth. And, completely unprecedented, members of my family would not even discuss it with me, even though they’ve always wanted to discuss things with me and they said, wrote this statement:
“We feel we are morally obligated to strongly distance ourselves from (my views). He’s advised not to practice social distancing is contrary to all the major medical authorities worldwide. Furthermore, the consensus of rabbis around the world, including Chabad rabbis is to adhere to all government directives regarding safety precautions in relation to stemming the spread of the current pandemic. The Torah states ushmartem meod l’nafshosechem, you shall surely guard your health, so the Torah (yes this is true, the Torah) obviously requires us to look after our health which means that there is a biblical injunction to take meticulous care of one’s life and one’s health. We do not concur with the conspiracy theory the government and health authority directives during the pandemic crisis are propaganda for the purpose of sophisticated mind control. We do not concur with a conspiracy theory the governments have a sinister agenda to use the lockdown rules and the soon to be developed vaccines to insert microchips into people and to thus control the masses. We encourage everyone to follow the guidelines of the government and the health authorities to, in order to contain the spread of the tragic covid-19 virus. The guidelines of all the government and of the health authorities have been endorsed by all rabbis worldwide, including all orthodox rabbis and all Chabad rabbis.”
So, you know, let’s set aside the supposed consensus of the doctors. I don’t want to talk about that right now. What I want to talk about is this idea of rabbis endorsing the opinions of the doctors. So we should listen to the doctors because the rabbi said so and the rabbis agreed on that and because they said so, therefore there’s no discussion of the matter. So these family members simply refuse to discuss the topic with me; they refuse to discuss it. They will not even discuss it. It’s now a forbidden topic of conversation. Obviously it’s controversial, but I’ve never had this experience where a topic is simply out of bounds to discuss. This is an unprecedented level of what I view it as a kind of mind control. The very, this very letter, this very statement is itself proof of the extent of the mind control. When you refuse to discuss something you show that, that this is, that is in fact what it is like; this is the best, this itself is the best proof of the extent of the the mind control that we are the victims of. So the truth is coming out that yes we are victims of a grand deception. That we were lied to, that these health experts weren’t just wrong, they were deceiving us and so, therefore, ultimately these leaders who came out endorsing, and rabbis and lay leaders who came out endorsing the official story, they will have to apologize, they will have to be held accountable for their lack of due diligence.
Now, yes, it has sophisticated mind control, so therefore, in a way it’s understandable that they succumbed to it, but, on the other hand, if they’re the leaders, then we hold them to a higher standard. And, especially now, the truth is coming out more and more and there will have to be an apology from them. And it’s not enough for them to say they were doing their best, doing their best with the information they had, because it’s not so simple, because there was evidence from the outset that the official story was false or at least not straightforward, very fishy. The more and more information came out implying that things were not as they seemed, they were contra indications, right. That means indications that things might be differently from what one thought at first. And, in each community, as far as I’m aware, there have been dissenters – a few in number, but there have been such people. I would say I’m one of them, and I’m friends with others, and those people were sounding the alarm, they were speaking out, they were exposing or trying to expose the people to a, you know, unsanitized true version of the story, to criticism, fact-based criticism of the official narrative.
For example, the basic point of, since when do the government have a monopoly on truth, on medicine, yeah. When when we’re told that the majority and the consensus of the experts is such and such, what we’re really being told is that that’s the official government position. But are there doctors who are dissenting, who are not from the government? Absolutely there are, and there have been. If you automatically accept the government position then you ignore the dissenters because they’re conspiracy theorists, they’re wackos, they’re just crazy homeopathic quacks, but that’s starting from the premise that we can trust the official government public health policy position, it’s trustworthy. And that premise is, should be, on the face of it false or at best highly questionable to anyone who’s done any research on the trustworthiness of government in the matter of public health policy with regard to previous pandemics, alleged pandemics, with regard to past predictions, past models that were made with regard to vaccines, with regard to experiments made on the public, all kinds of things.
Now, these are facts that are taboo to discuss, but the point is if you are taking a position on something, it behooves you to do that research, to dig and find that information before you come out with an opinion on the matter, especially when, yes, lives are at stake, and people’s livelihoods are at stake, and the psychological well-being of the community is at stake. So all the leaders and the rabbis and the lay leaders had to do was to pay attention to what the dissenters were saying, the, which doctors and professionals, researchers were criticizing the official narrative, what were they saying. In particular the, the lockdown was based upon the model made by Neil Ferguson who had a record of giving completely false and exaggerated doomsday predictions. Why was, why was that, why was that not, why did all these supposed doctors and experts not pick that up? So this is, this was negligence, this is a incredible negligence on the part of the leaders to just fall in with the official narrative, to fall for all this fear-mongering of death. If we could save even one life all these measures are necessary – that makes no sense. That makes no sense. You don’t say that about the flu every year – saving even one life. People have an immune system and the issue is the threat assessment, the issue is how great is the danger? Does it rise to the level that would warrant measures, would warrant forcing people to inhibit their freedom for the sake of this greater good?
And that’s the core issue – that the leaders neglected to analyze critically; they fell for the fear-mongering propaganda from the media and from the government. They felt, they did not research the conflicts of interest for example, of Anthony Fauci, the the OU [Orthodox Union of America] rabbis and the one particular rabbi, Rabbi Howar interviewed Dr Fauci as if he’s some kind of savior. He, he literally called him a savior or implied as a savior without considering his record of deception with regard to matters of public health; his connections with big pharma; his connections with the Bill Gates Foundation, foundation, which are a complete conflict of interest; his connections with the vaccine agenda; and that’s majorly neglectful. That is, that is something for which we deserve a public apology.
And another big point is that rabbis gave into pressure from lay leaders, this is what I understand happened in many cases; it wasn’t so much of the rabbis actually themselves based on the facts and the evidence that they were shown really believed that the danger the risk had risen to the level of a, you know, that, that, that lockdown is necessary. It was more that they were under pressure to make statements and in many cases they signed their name agreeing with statements that were essentially dictated to them by lay leaders, by powerful people in the community who believe that we should follow the government position. And it’s quite possible various lay leaders, as well, were also put under pressure and they made statements taking policy positions that they did not themselves believe, and I would also say that doctors … I have information, second-hand information, reports that there were doctors who signed on statements endorsing, you know, requiring restrictions that went further than the government restrictions, even though those doctors did not actually fully accept or fully believe, based on their, you know, intellectual assessment that these restrictions were necessary; they signed on these statements because they were under pressure to do so. They also owe us an apology.
We also need to consider the great harm to the spiritual well-being of the people from being told this false narrative. If it were really true, well then I guess this, the spiritual harm of not congregating or, you know, not not gathering to learn Torah, or study, or, or to pray, and so on, would be warranted. But since that wasn’t true, so that’s essentially harm that was inflicted . If you tell someone that they have to let’s say wear a cast so, it, there’s a big difference between whether they’re actually injured or they’re not actually injured. If they’re actually injured then you’re helping them, but if they’re not, then you’re unjustifiably inhibiting them. And if you didn’t you do your due diligence, if you gave them false information, you should be held accountable to that and you should apologize for that once you find out that that’s the case.
So these leaders gave into the group think and they issued halachic, the rabbis issued halachic rulings. We say as halachic experts that Torah says Jewish law, says you have to listen to the opinion of the medical experts. Now that’s true, however, those medical experts have to be unbiased, they have to be telling you their genuine opinion. They have to not be acting out of fear for what will happen with, with their professional position if they don’t take a certain position or some other kind of pressure, or acting out of group think. They have to be telling you their careful considered professional position based on their own analysis. What we have in many cases is doctors simply saying “Oh yeah, Neil Ferguson, he’s an expert, we accept his opinion”. But they didn’t investigate it for themselves; in fact they were not able to investigate it for themselves because Neil Ferguson never released the algorithms with which he designed his model. So there was absolutely no way of confirming his model, aside from the fact that his model wasn’t even peer reviewed. How is it that all the great academics in the government and the great rabbis who told us that we have to listen to Neil Ferguson and all the doctors who, who said “yeah, yeah, Neil Ferguson, yeah, he knows what he’s talking about”. They didn’t find out the the fact that the study, that the model that he came out with hadn’t been peer reviewed? Would seem to be something very basic in, in academia. But you know what – isn’t that incredible neglect that we should, we should get an apology for, for not noticing or not investigating or ignoring that fact? And also there’s such naivete about government; it’s hard to believe that people can be so naive to seriously think that the government means your best interest and is telling you the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I had the experience that I was talking to a rapper and I said: “You know, why do you trust the government? I mean, why are you so sure they’re telling you the truth?” And the answer to this is always “Well, I don’t want to go there”. They, they will not answer that question and it’s because they know that it’s a very valid question and they have no answer to that. In reality it’s not just that the views, that the government’s positions are suspect, the government are known liars. It’s just incredible how someone, or a group that is known for deception and lying can be so widely believed; it’s Stockholm Syndrome. It’s, it’s, it’s a some kind of mental illness. I mean, you know I’m not saying that as a professional, but there’s something really bizarre about it to me. They should have known that the opinions they were hearing were biased; they just blindly accept them because, because they’re in the government. They’re the public health officials and they refuse to address the complaints of those people who ask questions. Not only did they refuse to address them, they they condemn them, they, they, you know, don’t listen to those crazy people, those conspiracy theorists. We refuse to endorse any conspiracy theory. When Fauci was told that there’s the conspiracy people who say that that the coding for Covid is, is being exaggerated. He said they’re conspiracy theorists. That’s, that’s on the record, on the video, you can see that on video. Yeah, because conspiracy theory is not so ridiculous at all. It’s perfectly reasonable to think that the government would lie to you and engage in coordinated deception and anyone who brands someone else a conspiracy theorist is probably something to what that person is saying. That’s definitely a lesson.
Another point. When rabbis found out or other lay leaders found out about good news that the even official sources were saying that the disease is not as bad as people thought, you know as it was originally reported, or where I live here in Houston, the woman in charge of the funeral home told me personally that there has been no increase in death that she can notice during the entire the entire, this entire period. So what does that mean? It means there’s no pandemic here in Houston, that’s what. It means there’s nothing going on. There’s nothing to be afraid of. There’s no reason to wear a mask. There’s no reason to social distance. Just, just continue as normal. I mean unless whatever you don’t want to break a law, but the point is nothing to be afraid of. Well why isn’t, why isn’t, why are the leaders telling that to people? They know that they told me that they know. That in fact I went and I told them but they won’t tell others. Why not give good news? Why maintain the, the false narrative aside? Aside from that it’s false, give people good news. Oh it’s not so bad. People can handle the truth. Oh, then people won’t be careful with social distancing. Well why should they be careful with social distancing? If there’s no pandemic here there’s no rational basis for that. Oh people will say, I’m not saying that this is necessarily what they think, but it might be what they think “people will say that we don’t really care about the pandemic”. No. Just report the facts. When you report facts you know you’re on, you’re on the right track. Don’t worry about what people will say when you report the facts the real facts, not the government facts which are all lies. But call up the funeral home. So simply by not giving the good news they’re essentially maintaining a lie and maintaining fear, maintaining the fear among the people who still, for whatever reason, believe the official narrative.
And another point is that based on the rulings, rulings of these rabbis, some people even went to the point where they reported on other Jews to the police for having private prayer gatherings which is an incredible sin, but that was in fact endorsed by some rabbis. Rabbi Leshas in Melbourne, in fact, said that those who violate the directives, should be informed on to the police. And that in fact happened; someone informed on a prayer group to the police. But in fact this prayer group was following the directives of not more than 10 people and social distancing and still these zealous Covid blind believers informed on them to the police, and everybody thought that this minyan, this prayer group, was violating the official rules when in fact they were not. This is what I heard of course, I wasn’t there but, yes, I did see the text that he wrote saying that you should inform to the police. Whoa. That’s a really serious level of certainty about the supposed danger from Covid. What’s that based on? What’s that certainty based on? On blind faith in the government. That is what we need, an apology a complete retraction and complete mea culpa for, from these supposed leaders. They did the opposite. They ridiculed and mocked anyone for not listening to these experts. They might be afraid of being sued, of losing their positions maybe. I don’t know. But it’s still it’s not it’s not an excuse. What is a leader for? To lead the people specifically when there is a crisis, when there is confusion, to show guidance in those times. Not to be, not to lose one’s head.
There’s a line in this poem from Rudyard Kipling called “If ” and he says that what is it, that part of being a man is not to lose your head when everyone about you is losing their head and blaming it on you. That’s, that’s the responsibility of a leader to maintain his cool calm critical analysis of the situation and not let himself be misled by, you know, people with an agenda. People acting or people acting out of emotion or blind faith in government.
They’ve literally viewed anyone who doesn’t social distance, and some still do view people who don’t social distance as, as murderers which is, had no basis in science and it still doesn’t. It was all a lie. So simply saying “oh this is what the officials say,” well you know some people, some people think for themselves. Some people are critical thinkers and they don’t agree that that was necessarily the case. And the ones who really should be analyzing the official report critically should have been and should be the elders, the lay leaders, the rabbis. They’re the ones who should have been much more skeptical and they weren’t, and we, we need them to accept that, to, to admit that. They also didn’t stand up for our religious freedom, our freedom to pray. In many cases there were prayer gatherings that were not in any way dangerous. This is a slightly different thing in a different context but there were people who gathered in cars, Christians who gathered in cars in like a parking lot and played music. Those were shut down. Those gatherings were shut down in, in America in some places. Why didn’t we at least hear from Jewish leaders that, that should be okay? I mean there was no sense that religious freedom was, was a factor at all. Everything became and is still able to be sacrificed because someone claims that there might be a concern for safety. How is that the only possible consideration – as soon as you say safety and you say someone might die then everybody switches their brains off and there are no other considerations?
You know in Russia people risked their lives to go to a a shul, to a secret minyan, and some were caught. And if someone else was caught and then you were, he was tortured, then he could rat out on the other people who are at the minyan and still they did it knowing that, that might happen. Where’s this, where’s the sense of caring about our right to pray? The only thing that matters is that somebody might, might die even though we have no scientific basis for that, but the government said it could be and therefore nothing else matters? That’s a spectacular failure of leadership and judgment on the part of the supposed leaders to, to support. For that we look to them for guidance and unfortunately they’ve been just as deceived as everyone else.
The evidence for foul play, for a sinister agenda behind the lockdowns, behind the masks – it was there from the beginning early on. From, from New York we heard reports of at least the official narrative being fishy. Dr. Cameron Carl Sidel early on said ventilators are causing harm. And we had reports from nurses, second-hand reports and first-hand reports, saying that there is systemic medical malpractice in the hospitals. Still the, the community just pretends like none of that even happened and still we have to do social distancing and masks and lockdowns. We have to go further than the government in, in these harsh measures.
So we want to hear an apology, a sincere apology for the failure of judgment to blindly accept the official media story, the official government story, for persecuting those who dissent from it. And instead I’m afraid what we’re going to see is, not only will they not admit that they were wrong and try to make amends for their mistake, but they will double down and take the community further and further down this path to enslavement to the state. What we want to hear is them doing a 180. They need to condemn masks, especially on children, but on anyone, and they need to especially condemn contact tracing that is ushering in a communist police state. I mean, it’s already pretty bad but it’s greatly expanding it. We need them to stand up for our rights and our freedoms. We need them to be critical of government from here on. We also want an apology from them for twisting Jewish law and saying the Jewish law says and they are saying with their rabbinical authority the Jewish law says that we have to listen to and obey whatever the government tells us in matters of public health which is what we were told from Rabbi Braun in Crown Heights, Rabbi Osdoba in Crown Heights, and the OU, and the rabbis in Melbourne and all over the world that is not a true and accurate representation of Jewish law. Jewish law does not say that we must listen to anyone who claims to be an expert; it says you must listen to someone who is an expert, who is giving their unbiased, a freely given opinion. But if there is reason to think that they have a conflict of interest then we’re under no obligation to accept their words as authoritative.
And this ties into the issue of vaccines. Many rabbis came out mandating vaccines, supporting vaccine mandates for children because medical authority says so and we have to obey medical authority, supposedly because Jewish law says so. Jewish law doesn’t say to obey vaccine mandate for children or, never mind, to go even further than the government and to not allow religious exemptions when they exist. That’s not Jewish law. The, the, the official position of the government is suspect and, really, when it comes to medical matters it’s on the individual to decide for themselves based on their own research. Yeah sure they should seek out the advice and opinion of doctors, professionals, but they should not think that the truth will lie in some kind of edict given by a community leader who is really speaking outside of his field of authority. It’s not their place to make rulings about medical matters or to endorse one medical position, one opinion over another; to say “oh the truth lies with the officially approved government-endorsed experts and not with those quacks who disagree with what the government is saying”. That’s not their place. That’s not the place of a rabbi. It’s not the place of a lay leader. It’s not the place of an MD. Each individual should be entitled for themselves to decide whether vaccines in general or a particular vaccine is appropriate for them … for their children . And, so too, to decide whether to follow a measure, whether these measures are necessary. I’m not saying to disobey the government but two different things – whether you obey the government or whether you believe the government position.
So it’s not up to leaders who are not medical professionals to take a position on that matter. It’s not, it’s none of their business. They did not, the lay leaders didn’t study medicine and the rabbis didn’t study medicine, so therefore it’s not their place to to issue a ruling or or take a policy position on the matter if it’s not, if it’s not their fields, not their area of authority. The business of a rabbi is rabbinics, Jewish law. There are things that are clearly matters of, that are for the rabbis to decide because they relate to Jewish law. That’s their area of expertise. That’s what they study in yeshiva for … to, to, to guide the public on. They should also be guiding the public on matters of morality and just standing up for truth and justice in general. But when there’s something that’s not straightforward, if they’re going to be taking position, it should come after research that is truly thorough.
Another point is people have put far too much trust in government based on the rabbi’s endorsement of the government’s position and to some degree this is, this detracts from people, people’s fear of G-d, trust in G-d. Instead, put their faith in doctors, in public health officials, government, instead of understanding that G-d runs the world. Again, I’m not saying that the opinion of true medical experts doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is that this automatic blind acceptance of a medical, you know, officially approved medical position- this is, shows a lack of faith. This unwillingness to criticize it, to, to consider any dissenting opinion from it – that shows a lack of faith. That undermines faith in G-d. G-d is the One who is truly to be trusted. The only One to be trusted with, with, with our lives and with our safety, ultimately.
So the rabbis really need to under, other lay leaders need to atone for this, need to beg our forgiveness. They need to stop, do whatever they can to not be involved with vaccine mandates on children based on official government positions which anyone who researches that should know that there’s extreme bias and conflict of interest in those positions. There are many very valid criticisms from many doctors and professionals on the official doctrine of vaccine mandates and we need them to do a 180. They need to come out against these measures. They need to speak out for freedom of speech in criticizing the government. They need to call out the lies. They need to apologize for their failure of leadership and from now on they need to say they won’t cooperate with mandatory vaccines that are coming up. They need not to cooperate with mandatory testing which is a terrible problem because it gives false positives and all people, all these people are marked as, as, you know, infected with the dreaded disease when in fact they’re perfectly healthy and then they have to be suffer quarantine all for no reason. They need to realize that since this is a lie this is something, if they’re the leaders, they need to speak out against. They certainly shouldn’t be cooperating with it.
G-d bless. Thanks for listening. We should hear good news.