.. You conclude your letter writing about your son sheyichye, that he has received and continues to receive antibiotics on a daily basis:

You are surely aware that in the United States the enthusiasm and ardor to give antibiotics has dampened, and doctors are beginning to have serious reservations about their excessive use.

You understand, of course, that this is only a general observation, and is meant merely to encourage and point out to you that it would be worthwhile to speak to the doctor who is caring for your son that he carefully consider and rethink whether it is sensible to continue prescribing these antibiotics on a daily basis.

It would be particularly beneficial for you to encourage him to check this out specifically with those who have been actively researching this matter, since by and large practicing doctors do not have too much time for research. [This is] particularly so, since the drug companies that manufacture these antibiotics are not at all interested in such research, as can readily be understood, [as it would lower their sales, etc.].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 104)

Salk Polio Vaccine

In reply to your letter about my opinion regarding the Salk vaccine [which is used] to provide protection for the children shlita [against polio]:1

This vaccine is customarily used in many countries; in the United States almost all children are successfully vaccinated. Thus, it is proper for you to do so as well.

With regard to your question as to whether the inoculations should be done with the vaccine that comes from outside of Eretz Yisrael or [with one that is] produced locally:

Understandably, this depends on the reliability of the drug manufacturers; many reliable ones are found [in the United States] and I am sure that the same applies to Eretz Yisrael as well.

Therefore, make your final decision after you have learned all the details [about the quality of the various producers] and which is of better quality. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 238)

.. Regarding your question as to the use of the Salk vaccine with which children are now beginning to be inoculated [in Eretz Yisrael]:

For many months now individuals here [in the United States] have been doing so, and this includes those who belong to the most G‑d-fearing and pious segments of the community. This is to say that there is no question as to the kashrus [of the vaccine] and the like. Understandably, however, one should first ascertain that the vaccine was produced by an upstanding and reliable manufacturer.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 108)

Inoculating Against Illness

In reply to your letter ... in which you ask whether it is only permissible for a doctor to heal someone and use medications after a person is ill, or whether it is permissible to use those medications that prevent illness, e.g., inoculating against disease [and other forms of preventive medicine]:

Preventive medicine has been employed by distinguished Jewish greats and leaders on a regular basis. See also chapter 4 of Rambam, Hilchos Deos. Moreover, there is an explicit verse,2 “No illness shall befall you, for I am G‑d your healer,” [which is to say,] that preventive medicine is also a legitimate form of healing.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 107)

Kashrus of Injections and Vaccines

.. [You also ask] whether one may use those medications that are injected within the body:

It would seem that your concern lies with those medications that are made from non-kosher ingredients.

With regard to this as well, G‑d-fearing and pious individuals [take these injections] on an everyday basis without the slightest hesitation. For one may derive benefit from those substances that are prohibited to be eaten, but are permissible to derive pleasure therefrom (asurim b’achilah u’mutarim b’hanaah). ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 108)


.. Regarding your question about inoculations against disease:

I am surprised by your question, since so many individuals from Eretz Yisrael have asked me about this and I have answered them in the affirmative, since the overwhelming majority of individuals do so successfully.

Understandably, if there are inoculations that are produced by various drug-manufacturing companies, you should use the ones whose safety is tried and proven.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 357)


.. Regarding your question about inoculations against disease and that which unfortunately transpired in the United States some time back:

The event that occurred in the United States was at the beginning of the use of these vaccines, before the [exact] medical compound was definitively established. This is not the case at present after months of experience with the vaccine.

Therefore once a vaccine’s reliability is firmly established, there should be no hesitation in giving these inoculations. To the contrary, [their use should be encouraged].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 343)

Potency of Various Medications

I acknowledge the receipt of your letter from the 20th of Sivan with its enclosures. However, I completely fail to understand what pills you are referring to in the attached letter.

Generally in such situations, the pills given are those that are not dangerous at all; they are merely meant to control blood pressure and the like. Maybe in this case the doctor used other types of medication, for which reason you write about them in such a [negative] manner.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXVI, p. 3343 )

Sending Medicines Abroad

.. You write that you received a letter from Russia in which they ask for certain medications. After some investigation here, you discovered that since these are potent medications they cannot be given without the doctor first seeing the patient.

There have already been many such similar instances. Customarily, the leaflet that describes the manner of using the medicine and when the use of this medicine is indicated is sent along together with the medication itself.

Such leaflets can be obtained by a doctor friend from the manufacturing plant that produces these medications, or through the journals of physician associations and the like. You surely know many doctors in your locale; you can receive all the above information through them and send it along with the medicines.

Additionally, many of the medical journals are received there as well. If together with the medications you also notify the recipient where in these journals these medications are discussed, it is quite possible that the doctor in Russia will be able to obtain the journal. Clearly, however, it is best to send the journal itself from here. ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXI, p. 356)

Importing Medications

.. With regard to the pills from Switzerland:

I believe I have already written to you that they must be taken under the supervision of a doctor and according to his directives regarding the quantity [of medicine to take].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XXI, p. 433)

Use of Hydrocortisone

In reply to your letter of the 28th of Shvat, in which you write about the possibility of [your wife] taking the new medication Mitycortin — and that there are still some reservations whether this drug should be used:

In my opinion, you should ask the doctor’s opinion about using the popular drug hydrocortisone, which is of the cortisone family, but superior to them. Therefore there is much less reason for hesitation about using it; in fact, it has been used here for many months in recognized situations — although I don’t know whether all the above is relevant to your wife’s health situation and her healing.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 329)

Determining the Efficacy of Medications

.. Begin taking the new medications and make your final determination [as to whether to continue taking them,] based on the results [you observe] from the first days of your taking them. ...

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 9 Kislev, 5745)

Side-Effects of Medications

I just received your letter — which you wrote in a highly emotional and agitated manner — about the health of your wife tichye.

However, in the interim I also received reports over the phone from Anash sheyichyu that her health situation has improved; may G‑d will it that by the time you receive this letter she is even better.

Although your agitation is seemingly understandable, it is a bit surprising: difficulties in speech, etc., are quite often a result of the medications that are given — an incidental and temporary effect [that soon dissipates].

This is to say that when the dosage is reduced and then finally stopped, the above phenomenon [regarding your wife’s speech] will cease as well. Consequently, there is no foundation for your anxiety.

Understandably, the doctors take [the side-effects of the medication] into consideration as well, but sometimes the positive effects of the medication overcome the considerations of the above negative effects.

Moreover, it is not always possible to precisely determine the effects that particular medications will have on an ill individual, particularly those medications that the individual is not used to taking.

This is all in addition to the main point, that each individual is a world unto himself, and all the general principles regarding healing and remedies — in the words of the well-known expression — “speak to the majority of instances.”

Surely all the above was explained to you in even more detail [by the doctors]. Nevertheless I am writing to you as well, because of the agitation [you demonstrated] in your letter to me. ...

(From a letter of the Rebbe, dated 14 Elul, 5732)