This letter is in response to the letter written by Doniel Behar in last week’s edition of the Queens Jewish Link. The letter struck a chord with me as it is illustrative of the internal struggle that exists for people such as me who consider themselves b’nei Torah who respect daas Torah yet are educated in secular matters, as well. (For purposes of this letter, I am excluding professional conspiracy theorists, as well as those who unfortunately do not respect rabbinic authority.)
The issue people like me are grappling with is the lack of transparency, as well as the highly questionable stances our elected (President Biden) and unelected (Dr. Fauci) officials have taken while our rabbinic leaders often follow verbatim what our governing leaders have stated.
For instance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently promulgated a vaccine mandate on all businesses of 100+ people. The stated reason for this by our president was to combat the pandemic. A thinking person might wonder why this would be mandated only on big businesses when they tend to have more office space and room to spread out while smaller businesses tend to have more crowding of employees. A more cynical person might wonder why, if the president’s stated goal is to combat the pandemic, this mandate applies only to working people and is not tied into receiving food stamps, unemployment benefits, or disability payments.
Another issue is the attempt to eradicate COVID through mass vaccination of everyone, which has been a failure. One need look no further than Israel, where a far greater percentage of the population has been vaccinated and they are now about to lock down the country yet again from outside travel. The consensus among medical experts appears to be that the vaccines are effective for about 4-6 months. The response to this has been to push boosters. I’m not a research scientist but I think it’s fair to question: Has anyone studied the long-term effects of perpetual boosters on the human body? To date, I have not seen a published study on the topic.
In contrast to the questionable statements and positions our health leaders have made that have gone largely unchallenged, let’s examine how halachah is formulated. One cannot simply state that the halachah is X or the halachah follows Rabbi X without ample support. The written Torah, the oral Torah, the Rishonim, the Acharonim, the Shulchan Aruch, etc. must all be considered before arriving at a conclusion. We see within the Talmud itself robust discussion, give and take, endless challenges and proofs to assertions before arriving at a conclusion. No conclusion can be reached until all sides of an issue have been examined and all angles have been scrutinized.
Given the rigorous debate our Rabbis are accustomed to, it’s questionable why in many instances there is no daylight between the unsupported positions of the CDC and those that our communal rabbis have taken. I have seen advertisements in the local newspapers imploring everyone to get vaccinated. The names of many distinguished rabbis appear at the bottom of the ad. But where is the evidence that it is necessary for tender-age children to get vaccinated? The CDC has presented none. Where is the evidence for vaccinating people who have already been infected? Again, scant evidence of this is available other than the trite “The vaccines are FDA-approved and therefore safe for everyone,” trotted out by supporters.
The knee-jerk support by the majority of our community for all pronouncements made by our health leaders, despite the fact that these leaders often cannot substantiate their views and over time have been proven wrong on so many issues related to public health, is deeply disturbing.
Our shul, Khal Degel Israel in Kew Gardens Hills, and klal Yisrael, have been orphaned by the p’tirah of HaGaon HaRav Shmaryahu Shulman zt”l. He was one of the great talmidei chachamim who was raised in the USA during a generation that did not promote such a lifestyle. Our shul, as many others, had the z’chus of his presence, shiurim, and divrei Torah every Shabbos for over half a century. Rav Shulman started his shiur at the request of the Rav zt”l, Moreinu HaRav HaGaon Rav Shaul David HaKohen Margulies (niftar February 25, 1988), with whom he had a close relationship. Rav Shulman was present and delivered divrei Torah every week at shalosh s’udos. Together with his rebbetzin, they raised a family of talmidei chachamim and y’rei’ei Hashem.
Rabbi Dovid Z. Sheinfeld
Khal Degel Israel
Kew Gardens Hills, New York
Natural Immunity And Vaccines
I want to commend Mr. Behar for his well-written, common-sense letter, as well as the Queens Jewish Link for the courage to publish it. There is a disturbing trend of “vaccine shaming” and labeling of “anti-vaxxer” to anyone questioning the government’s narrative regarding vaccines.
One of Mr. Behar’s points focused on the lack of a distinction drawn by our infectious disease leaders between those who have been infected with COVID, and thus have natural immunity as a result, and those who have not.
For those of you who are unaware, on September 2, the law firm of Siri and Glimstad filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Centers for Disease Control and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) seeking:
“Documents reflecting any documented case of an individual who 1) never received a COVID-19 vaccine; 2) was infected with COVID-19 once, recovered and then later became infected again; and 3) transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to another person when reinfected.”
On November 5, the FOIA request was answered with the following response:
“A search of our records failed to reveal any documents pertaining to your request. The CDC Emergency Operations Center conveyed that this information is not collected.”
This shocking admission by the agency certainly calls into question the claims made by our health leaders that everyone, including those who were previously infected, needs to be vaccinated. Why should we the public trust those who are completely dismissive of natural immunity when the agency charged with researching disease and infection that is funded with billions of dollars doesn’t collect the data points and can’t substantiate their claims?!
Like Mr. Behar, I too am not an anti-vaxxer; I have taken the flu vaccine in the past and my kids are all up to date with their vaccine schedules. I am, however, someone who is not afraid to question authority and go against what has become popular opinion when we are clearly not getting the complete information (either intentionally or through malfeasance) from our health leaders.
Moshe Hill’s article last week on prosecutors was very important and on point. However, it should be noted that while Melinda Katz was certainly preferable to Tiffany Cabán for the office of Queens DA, Katz is going far left for fear of being primaried by another AOC-endorsed far leftist in her next race. She has decriminalized many crimes and she’ll likely go even farther left.
This would be the case with any Democratic DA – or any other elected office for that matter. Notice how left Grace Meng has gone for the same reason.
The only hope to save New York City is to elect Republicans – especially for the office of DA. Currently, it is downright dangerous to have a Democrat in this role.
Forest Hills, New York
The life and stories of Rabbi Shmaryahu Shulman zt”l is worth a book or at least a four-page article. His vast geonic Torah learning, his friendship with g’dolei Yisrael, his effect on the Queens community, his knowledge and his midos were huge, even monumental. (Full disclosure: He is my second cousin, a first cousin of my father shlita).Your article needs a few minor corrections. Rabbi Shulman was brought up in Pine Brook, New Jersey (not Brooklyn), and later in Washington, DC. His final home was in Ateret Avot in Brooklyn, He is missed in Queens and in the world.
Y’hi zichro baruch. Zichro yagein aleinu.
President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, House Speaker Pelosi, along with their respective Democratic House and Senate caucus members, claim that both the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and $1.75 trillion Build Back America bills are fully paid for. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the first bill would add $228 billion and the second bill $367 billion to our $29 trillion and growing national debt over the next ten years. If they are so confident of this financing scheme, let them all put up their respective future pensions, 401k’s, stocks, bonds, jewelry, automobiles, mortgaged homes and property assets, and social security as collateral. Place all of these assets in a blind trust on behalf of taxpayers. This can serve as a small down payment to cover the inevitable multibillion-dollar shortfall in anticipated revenues to pay for both bills over the coming years. Ask their spouses or significant others to do the same.
Biden, Schumer, Pelosi, and company remind me of J. Wellington Wimpy, who famously said, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Tuesday may never come for taxpayers who have to pay for all the goodies promised by them within their lifetime.
I would like to respond to Warren Hecht’s article, “Silence Is Deafening.” Warren implies that the Republicans are hypocrites because they claim that they are “staunch supporters of law enforcement” but they do not support the FBI. As I said previously, the FBI has been weaponized by the Democratic Party to go after Republicans. Peter Strock, the main FBI investigator of the Russian hoax, stated that he hates Republicans so much that he can smell them whenever he goes into a Walmart. This is very similar to what the Nazis said about the Jews. It should be noted that the Democratic Congress praised Strock for his statements and suggested that he should get the Purple Heart for his bravery.
Warren keeps on repeating the January 6 lie that Trump supporters violently attacked the Capitol. What he ignores is that there were two groups. One group came to listen to Trump speak and held a largely peaceful rally. Another group showed up and began violently breaking windows and damaging property. These violent protesters were not charged. The suggestion is that these were FBI agents who were there to make the Trump supporters look bad. The FBI charged Trump supporters who simply walked in and took selfies of themselves after they were invited in. They were given abnormally high sentences because of political reasons. The Republicans in Congress argued that these Trump supporters should not be treated differently just because they are not politically correct. The violent Black Lives Matter protestors were not charged and were even praised by the Democrats. The Republicans are not arguing against law and order; they are arguing against a double standard of justice. The FBI is now going after parents who object to their children being taught about Transgender Rights and Critical Race Theory. The FBI has now reached a new low and raided the office of Project Veritas because they are Republican.
Warren also suggests that Flynn is an anti-Semite because he supports “one religion under G-d.” I do not agree with Flynn’s statements. Having said that, I must state that all Christians believe that their religion is the correct one and that someday all people will agree with them. Flynn never suggested that those who disagree with him should be discriminated against. As a Jew, I also believe that Judaism is the one true religion. Please do not compare Flynn to Ilhan Omar, who said that Israel is a terrorist state and Jews who support Israel are not loyal to America. Flynn is very supportive of Israel, and he calls Israel our “one true ally in the Middle East.” Flynn hates Iran and loves Israel, while the Democrats support Iran and hate Israel. The Republicans are not the hypocrites; it is the Democrats and their supporters who have earned that title.
It appears that Warren gets his “news” from the fake media. The fake media consists of CNN, MSNBC, and ABC. They do not report news; they just make it up. A perfect example is the Kyle Rittenhouse case. The fake media claimed that Rittenhouse is a White supremist who gunned down three model citizens because they were Black. The truth is that Kyle is not even White. He is of mixed race. In addition, Kyle did not gun down anyone. He shot three White people who were about to murder him. These three “victims” had long rap sheets and were dangerous criminals. Our esteemed president, along with the Democratic Party, agreed with the media narrative that Kyle is a White supremacist. The sooner we vote out this corrupt party and their senile leader, the better. I advise Warren to get his news from other sources.