Medical Truths

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The following is a freely-translated excerpt from a letter by the Rebbe addressed to “the meeting committee for religious doctors of New York” dated  “2nd Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, 5715” (June 21, 1955):[9]

It was with pleasure that I received the news about your meeting, whose purpose is to organize an association of religious doctors. If the assembly of G-d-fearing individuals is a positive thing at any time, how much more so is this the case in our generation, a generation deeply confused as a result of the convulsive events [it has experienced] which have brought about in many an utter disappointment in the false doctrines and ideologies they held and which have aroused them to embark on an earnest search for the truth.

An association of religious doctors can encourage this tendency by publicizing its views on several matters regarding which there is much error and confusion:

[As scientists:] to declare that true science, whose sole purpose is to learn the truth, cannot be in contradiction with our Torah, which is the “Torah of truth.” On the contrary: the deeper science delves, the more it corroborates the principles, as well as the particulars, of our faith, the faith of Israel.

Specifically as doctors: to utterly refute the “materialist” school of thought, in light of the extent to which the health of the body is dependent upon the health of the soul. If in earlier times the medical adage stressed “a healthy soul in a healthy body,” in our day it has been recognized how much a slight flaw in the soul is the cause of a great flaw in the body; that the healthier the soul, the greater its control of the body and the greater its ability to repair the body’s deficiencies; that many physical remedies are far more effective and successful in healing the body if they are accompanied by a strong will and spiritual fortitude on the part of the one being healed.

This principle of the supremacy of spirit (quality) over matter (quantity) is also emphasized by the fact that even in regard to purely physical processes, the emerging consensus is that quantity is of limited significance. The things most vital to the functions of the body—the glands, the hormones they produce, the vitamins, etc.—are all of minute quantity.

Also note that [the verse declares], “From my own flesh, I perceive G-d”[10]: from a recognition of the sovereignty of the soul over the body (the micro-universe[11]) is but a small step to recognizing the sovereignty of G-d over the world (the macro-body). In the words of our sages: “In the same way that the soul fills the body … bears it … sees but is not seen … so does G-d fill the world … bear it … sees but is not seen.”[12]

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber


[9]. Igrot Kodesh, vol. XI, pp. 202-203.

[10]. Job 19:26.

[11]. “Man is a miniature universe”—Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei 3.

[12]. Talmud, Berachot 10a; Midrash Tehillim, 103:5.

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