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Vaccines, Doctors and Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

In Rebbe Nachman’s time, smallpox was a scourge, but the smallpox vaccine saved lives. What was Rebbe Nachman’s view on this vaccine? Can we apply his advice today?

There are many thoughtful conversations about medicine in general and vaccination in particular going on today, regarding Rebbe Nachman of Breslov’s point of view. It’s easy to take one statement of the Rebbe’s and use it to support a variety of viewpoints.

It’s true that Rebbe Nachman strongly cautioned people about trusting in doctors. (He said to avoid them.) Some view this as a blanket statement for all times, some say that was only spoken about the medical field in his era (late 1700s-early 1800s). Others take a more nuanced, blended approach.

Overall, we must have faith in Hashem the true Rofeh (healer).

Chaya Rivka Z. discusses.

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