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Changed My Mind On Covid Vaccine

Thank you for publishing my teacher Rav Hershel Schachter’s halachic conclusion that it is an obligation to take the COVID-19 vaccine (July 9) and my friend Rav Daniel Z. Feldman’s article explaining why (“Yes, One Is Halachically Obligated to Get the Covid Vaccine,” August 20). Normally, I find that these types of articles don’t convince anyone, but these articles changed my mind.

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I had previously thought that taking the vaccine was a good and smart thing but not halachically required for someone young and healthy. After seeing Rav Schachter’s statement I deferred to his greater knowledge and after reading Rav Feldman’s article, I gained a better appreciation of why this vaccination is a halachic obligation.

Other poskim may or may not reach different conclusions, but I find Rav Feldman’s article about Rav Schachter’s view to be well argued and convincing. After seeing the hospitals overflow with patients last year, and seeing friends and family die prematurely during the pandemic, I thank Hashem for sending us the vaccine that greatly reduces the risk of the disease. I pray that we all take advantage of the vaccine with which we were blessed.

Rabbi Gil Student
Brooklyn, NY

 

All Hashem Ever Asks Of Us

The Jewish Press should be commended for printing Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman’s cogent analysis in favor of the Covid vaccination.

Rabbi Feldman articulates an argument I had not heard before when he writes,

“One might suggest that from a religious perspective, the question is even more straightforward. If one perceives that, rather than seeing his own decisions as determinative of his fate, Divine providence is guiding the result, then considering that there’s a halachic mandate to follow professional medical advice…the conclusion is most clearly in line with the dominant medical consensus. In other words, Hashem decides what will happen, and our responsibility is to adhere to the process dictated by halacha and by medical instruction.”

Brilliantly put. All we can ever do in life – and all Hashem ever asks of us – is to follow the guidelines laid out to us by the Torah. This includes following the doctors and scientists of the time. After that, it is up to Hashem.

Menucha Cohen
Israel

 

An Agenda For NY’s First Female Governor

Thank you for your latest article by Marc Gronich on the exciting victory for women everywhere, as New York welcomes Governor Kathy Hochul (“Kathy Hochul: The Accidental Governor,” August 20). Hochul is the first female governor of New York, and needs to assist the Jewish community of New York in three areas: religious freedom, combating anti-Semitism, and funding Jewish day schools and yeshivas. Furthermore, her agenda should also include creating jobs, putting more police on the streets, and lowering taxes on a state and city level.

Raquel Boujo
Via email

 

Impressed By Devotion

Kol hakavod on the wonderful and moving article by Juby Shapiro-Charnowitz, documenting how her father-in-law (“He Could Have Been a Contender,” August 20). I was impressed by his devotion to Yiddishkeit and his refusal to even consider playing baseball on Shabbos.

As the article concludes: “In the eyes of his family, he has achieved greatness.”

Robert Einstein
Jerusalem, Israel

 

The Fool On The Hill

The Jewish Press’s August 18th editorial questions whether Biden is willing to do what it takes to reverse current world opinion that the U.S. is a paper tiger. By the reactions of many people in government and the media, Biden’s mishandling of the Afghanistan situation also seems to be a matter of incompetence.

French Parliamentarian Nathalie Loiseau lamented: “We lived a little bit of the great illusion [in earlier praise of Biden]. We thought America was back, while in fact, America withdraws.”

Newsweek: “European Union and U.K. leaders have voiced their criticism of how U.S. President Joe Biden handled America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

The Guardian, a Left leaning publication: “Joe Biden has come under fire from senior British politicians over his defense for withdrawing forces from Afghanistan, with Keir Starmer calling it a ‘catastrophic error of judgment.'”

And CNN deplores the dishonesty of Biden, writing, Biden’s “comments did not square with conditions witnessed by CNN on the ground….”

No one likes to look like the fool President Joe Biden currently does. There can be no question that if Biden had any inkling as to how to deal with the current Afghanistan calamity he would already have done so. It hasn’t happened because Biden and his administration are obviously clueless.

But you can’t really blame Biden. The blame falls on the American fools who put this guy into office. Biden is basically a third term of another clueless human being, Barack Obama. They were both put into office for some of the same reasons.

First, many people had an irrational hatred for Donald Trump. Then there was an often-heard phrase: “He talks so nice.” My plumber talks nice, but I don’t think he’d make a good president. Unless there are a lot of (plumbing) leaks in the White House.

Going from the relative calm and prosperous days of Donald Trump to the complete reversal of any sense of optimism in only a half year under Joe Biden confirms something many of us already knew – Donald Trump was the greatest president we’ve ever had.

Josh Greenberger
Brooklyn, NY

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