With the recent tumult of anti-vaxxers going on, we present you with a letter where the Rebbe discusses vaccines in the spiritual sense.
Several decades ago, in the field of medicine, it was discovered that the body can avoid certain illnesses if a person is vaccinated i.e. inoculated with a radically weakened strain of those diseases. Through this process, the body produces antibodies custom-made weapons to guard against the illness.
The principles of healing the body, according to Maimonides, apply equally to remedies of the soul. This can provide us with a positive way of viewing minor difficulties in the execution of an important project. A weak dose of opposition early on in a venture can serve as a “vaccine” against more severe and difficult adversity later on.
(Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe, Vol. 11, p. 58 )
Preventive Medicine –
A lesson from the concept of preventative medicine
.. The connection between medicine and Jewish law is found in Torah itself, as our Sages, of blessed memory, declare: “Torah brings healing to the world.”
This in no way implies that Torah [which itself brings healing] negates medicine in any way; on the contrary, the Torah establishes that in matters of health, one should consult a doctor and obey his instructions.
Understandably, at the same time [that a person uses the services of a doctor,] the person is to remember that G‑d is the true Healer, and the doctor is no more than an agent of G‑d, the “Healer of all flesh and Performer of wonders.”
There are two fundamental approaches to medicine: a) healing through finding a cure; b) preventive medicine.
The first approach involves active intervention when a health problem is brought to the attention of a doctor, while the second approach — and this has become increasingly prevalent in modern times — strives to achieve the maximum degree of public health by seeking to prevent ailments through inoculations, proper public and private hygiene, a nutritional diet, and by other ways and measures.
It goes without saying that while there is no escaping the need to be healed when one is already ill, preventive medicine is the ideal. Long range, it surely is the most desirable, any way you look at it, including cost, not to mention [its role in] preventing illness and suffering, may G‑d protect us.
Additionally, preventive medicine does not require the kind of resources needed to perform extreme measures such as surgery, something that is sometimes unfortunately necessary when healing someone with an existing condition.
In order for preventive medicine to be most beneficial, it requires that one commence prevention at the earliest possible age, beginning with vaccinations, brushing one’s teeth to prevent cavities, a balanced diet, and so on.
With regard to Jewish children, preventive medicine also includes scrupulous observance of the laws of kosher food and drink, as it is known how this matter affects the Jewish child’s spiritual and physical development. …
(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated the 15th of Tammuz, 5746)