Live by them, the Commandments, teaches Moses (Leviticus 18:5). The Rabbis teach (Talmud, Sanhedrin 74a): and don’t die by them. This is a most important Torah principle. It’s not a loophole to allow for things the Torah would have forbidden–it is essential and basic. The hallmark of a holy life, Moses teaches, is to seek life (Deuteronomy 30:19).
The Sages also teach us, based on Exodus 21:19, that we are allowed – no: must – seek medical help. One can’t say: but if people got ill, G^d willed them to be ill and we must not go against His will. No! We don’t always know why difficult things happen but we know for sure that G^d wants us to help resolve – and better: prevent – unfortunate situations.
This is the core of the famous story of the man who went to the second floor because there was a flood. Came people in a boat. A miracle, we found you. Get in! He refuses. I’ve been a righteous man all my life–G^d will save me.
The water rises and he goes to the attack. Came people in a hovercraft. A miracle, we found you. Get in! He refuses. I’ve been a righteous man all my life–G^d will save me.
The water rises and he goes sit on the ridge of the roof. Came people in a helicopter. A miracle, we found you. Get in! He refuses. I’ve been a righteous man all my life–G^d will save me.
The water rises and he drowns. He was right. He was a righteous man all his life and goes straight to Heaven. Furious, he storms to the Heavenly Throne. You betrayed me! Well, says the Almighty, I did send you a boat, a hovercraft and a helicopter …
People often claim that G^d saves those that save themselves. I don’t know about that. Rather, He expects us to team up with Him. And what He does might save the day rather than what we did. But that doesn’t leave us off the hook. We must do what we can and after that, the rest is up to Him.
G^d wanted to save Lot but gave Abraham the opportunity to instrumental in his rescue (Genesis 18:17). Abraham didn’t change G^d’s mind, perish the thought. Rather, he lived up to His expectation.
Living among Gentiles always endangers the purity of the Jewish message. We can learn a lot of wisdom from the non-Jews, and we have. But we should not delude our Heritage, that saving a life almost pushes away any other rule. (For details, ask your rabbi.)
There are worthy traditions and religions that see things differently. Whatever will happen will happen. G^d is great and we are insignificant. Leave it up to Him. But Jews must not go there. Even not when we are desperate. Especially not when we are desperate. Only after we did all we could may we resign and surrender our lot to G^d’s mercy.
And not only do we perpetuate misery when we don’t grasp chances we have to improve things; we degrade and shame what people think of us–and if we are Jewish, what they think about Jews, Judaism and G^d. Jews have a mission to show all people what G^d wants from people. Judaism knows no greater sin than making light of this mission.
So, when Jews team up with others who have overly passive or archaic ideas about medicine or morality, we violate the whole reason for the existence of the Jewish People. It’s ethnic cleansing. Everyone waits for the Jews to be a guiding light. We must.
Not to accept that our children are vaccinated with known vaccines may kill people. Not only our own children but also others who are not vaccinated yet. You want to leave this world knowing that you endangered or even killed people? For nothing! Really? There is no greater theft and disgrace of Jews and G^d than committing murder.
Everyone is entitled to believe whatever old wives’ tales (my excuses to old wives) circulate on the Internet. But not to the extent that you commit suicide or murder. That goes beyond doing your own thing. Murder is a hard thing to correct. Listen to your physician. Ask questions if you must. Get another (but real) doc if you don’t trust yours.
The Torah is a tree of life for those who hold on to her and satisfies those who hold her up (Proverbs 3:18). For sure, He wants everyone to have a good life. Don’t waste it.