Vaccination and Rabbinic Authority: Part 2

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(Daas Torah part 4)

Conspiracy theories and skepticism, negativity in some Orthodox circles against science and the anti-vaxxer movement. Very few people alive remember the serious toll measles and other infectious diseases took in previous generations. How these factors have affected the recent measles outbreaks.

Should a person be compelled to vaccinate their children? Should schools be allowed to reject unvaccinated students?

In the 1700’s they would inoculate against smallpox by infecting people with actual smallpox in the hope they would develop that immunity. Can you purposely infect yourself with smallpox to avoid possible risk later on?

The obligation to take active steps to protect oneself and others from danger and “שומר פתאים השם”: Vaccination itself may have risks but they are minimal and therefore for those minimal risks we employ the maxim of “שומר פתאים השם”

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Delivered at the OU Israel Center, May 16th, 2019, 10 Iyar 5779
The shiur is sponsored anonymously in memory of רחל בת זאב צבי on her Yahrzeit.