Due to Blogger Format Changes
28 February 2021
27 February 2021
Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Megillat Esther & Victory over Amalek
Did it ever cross your mind that we Jews, the most gifted and clever people on earth, abide by a code of laws which no one understands? We know when to keep the respective mitzvot and how to keep them to the most minute detail, but even the greatest rabbi cannot explain the spiritual essence of any mitzva.
Countless numbers of Jews from time immemorial have sacrificed their lives in defense of their right to keep the Torah, yet not one of them knew why shrimp is prohibited, or why a mikveh drives away tuma, or why leavened bread causes the dire punishment of karet on Pesach.
In order to understand why the Creator demands such non-intellectual adherence to the Torah while at the same time, decreeing that the study of the legal details is of utmost importance, we have to turn to the Midrash Tanchuma (parasha Eikev, chap. 11.). The Midrash relates that when the people sinned with the golden calf, HaShem informed Moshe that He was revoking His decision to give the Torah to Am Yisrael.
Luchot. There then transpired a colossal tug-of-war. Each luach (stone tablet) was six tefachim long (a little more than half a meter) and three tefachim wide. Hashem held the top two tefachim in an attempt to keep the luchot to Himself, while Moshe held the bottom two tefachim, struggling to bring them to earth, and between them the luchot shattered.
What is the meaning of this Midrash?
Here lies the essence of the Torah we received at Sinai, and the answer to our questions regarding the absence of understanding of mitzvot.
Initially, it was Hashem’s intention to give the Torah with full understanding of the mitzvot, and of their spiritual consequences in this world and in the next; but in the wake of the episode of the golden calf, Hashem told Moshe of His decision not to give the Torah to Am Yisrael.
Moshe refused to accept this reversal of world history and thus began the inconceivable struggle between finite man and the infinite Creator. This is characterized in the Midrash with HaShem grasping the top part of the luchot and Moshe, the bottom.
The breaking of the stone tablets symbolizes the compromise agreed upon between the two sides – Am Yisrael would receive the Torah, but without understanding of the profound spiritual nature of the mitzvot. Hence to this day, we keep the mitzvot and yet have no idea what they mean, and what their consequences are beyond the superficial reasons laid forth for them. Kashrut, para aduma, tuma and tahara, etc., are all mysteries enveloped in an enigma.
Of all the mysteries surrounding the Jews and Judaism, the reason for our tragic history, and the question of when will HaShem finally bring about the final redemption of our nation leads the list.
It is interesting to note that the Mishna Berurah, in the section called “bay’ur halacha” chapter 427, discusses the veracity of calendars as they appear in certain halachic books, and he adds that by the year 5708 there will, most likely, no longer be a need to rely on calendars because by then the final redemption will have already come about, and we will declare the new months according to the traditional manner of relying on witnesses. How fascinating that the author, the Chafetz Chaim, chose the year 5708 as the one which, in his holy mind, has relevance to the geula. Because 5708 corresponds to the general year of 1948, the year of the establishment of Medinat Yisrael.
The final redemption did not occur in 1948, although in that year HaShem brought Am Yisrael a giant step closer to our future redemption.
Predicting the future is always a precarious business; but even more so with regard to predicting the future of Am Yisrael, as many prophesiers have found out. But as we draw closer to the “end” the chances of success become greater. I would like to try my hand at predicting the signs of the redemption and the time frame in which it will happen; and in doing so, uncover the camouflaged intentions of chazal.
The Gemara in Megillah 14:a states that Esther argued before the rabbis that the episode of Purim deserved to be recorded in the Tanach. The rabbis initially denied her request, relying on a verse in Mishlei 24,20:
הלא כתבתי לך שלישים במועצת ודעת
Have I not written three sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge?
Which was understood to mean that victory over Amalek is to be mentioned only three times in the Tanach, which are: parashat Beshalach, in the book of Shemot, parashat Ki Ta’tzei in Devarim and in the Book of Shmuel; so the addition of the Purim story would bring it to four times. Subsequently, Esther’s position was vindicated when the rabbis agreed that the two times Amalek is mentioned in the Torah – Beshalach and Ki Ta’tzei are to be considered as one, the Book of Shmuel the second, and Megillat Esther, the third time.
Question: The rabbis were undecided as to the number of times that victory over Amalek already appears in the Tanach – two or three, however, they all accepted King Shlomo’s dictate that it may not appear a fourth time. Why not destroy Amalek 10 or 20 times in the Tanach?
I suggest that by the verse in Mishlei, which limits the number of times the victory over Amalek may be mentioned in the Tanach to three, Shlomo Hamelech is telling us that the final redemption of the Jewish people will come about in a limited period of time (let’s say 100 years) when Amalek is defeated the same number of times that their defeat is mentioned in the Tanach – three. But Esther’s request that the Megillah be included in the Tanach meant that a fourth defeat of Amalek had to be accomplished within that one period.
This, King Shlomo was telling future generations, would place an unnecessary burden upon history and delay the redemption of Am Yisrael. However, Esther convinced the rabbis that the addition of the Megillah to the Tanach would be the third mention of Amalek not the fourth, which is in accordance with King Shlomo’s guideline.
The Jewish people have a long record of defeating enemies, beginning with the ancient Egyptians, and continuing with the Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, etc. But not even two defeats of our enemies ever occurred within 100 years, much less three times.
But there is one generation in which the potential for this to happen exists – our generation! In 1945 we witnessed the destruction of Nazi Germany and 46 years later in 1991 the dissolution of the Soviet Union; two deserving candidates for the infamous status of Amalek. These two nations could be considered in the larger picture as one, because of their ethnic and racial connections as Europeans, which therefore will require two more defeats of Amalek – or they are considered as two unrelated defeats, which will invite only one more.
In the time frame of 100 years beginning with 1945, the end date will be the year 2045. Before then we can expect to see the downfall of Amalek Christianity and/or Amalek Islam. A major candidate for the infamous badge of evil is Iran/Persia.
Be that as it is, all Jews living in any of those countries would do well to leave as soon as possible.
There are additional signs of our long-awaited geula (redemption). The prophet Yechezkel in 36,8 offers as a sign: the reappearance of Eretz Yisrael as a blooming garden of agricultural produce after being a fallow desert. Just go into the marketplace in any town in the country and become engulfed in the variety of colors and types of our produce.
In my view, a most heartening sign of the geula are the young men and woman of the land, who by their Torah study and adherence to its mitzvot, are ridding themselves of the scars of 2000 years of galut as they dedicate their lives to renewing our holy bond with HaShem by defending and rebuilding the land and its people and our unshakeable loyalty to the Torah.
May we all witness the enormous miracles which will accompany the grand finale of this stage of world history, and usher in a new era of world peace which will be centered on the city of Yerushalayim and the Bet HaMikdash.
JLMM Jewish Lives Matter More
Chag Purim Sameach & Shabbat Shalom,
Copyright © 5781/2021 Nachman Kahana
Purim Mask added by me
26 February 2021
Pesach is coming fast, and it’s all in the preparation. The more you put into Pesach, the more you get out of it, especially when it comes to the Seder and the Haggadah. Join Rabbi Winston next week, Tuesday March 2, 7:30 Israel / 12:30 EST, for the first session of the “Haggadah Webinar,” which will transform your vision of what a Pesach Seder is really about. To register, go to https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JQ5WCFSPDTVXC. You will also receive the PDF version of “Redemption to Redemption: The very deep and intimate connection between the holidays of Purim and Pesach,” as well as a 25% discount off the softcover book. Look forward to seeing you there, b”H. As always, the video link will be sent out after each session, especially for those who cannot make the live session.
MOST OF the Jewish world will celebrate Purim on Erev Shabbos, the 14th of Adar. Shabbos itself however will be Purim for Jews living in cities that were walled back at the time of Yehoshua bin Nun. They won’t celebrate Purim on Shabbos only because the rabbis didn’t want people carrying their Megillas Esther on Shabbos in places lacking an eiruv.
So, instead, the people of Jerusalem will read the Megillah at the same time everyone else does, on Thursday night and Friday morning. They will also give their Matanos L’Evyonim on Friday, because as the Talmud says, it is connected to the reading of the Megillah. But that is all the Purim they will celebrate before Shabbos, on which they will add “Al HaNissim” in their bentching since it is technically Purim for them.
On Sunday, they will finally have their “Mishteh,” before which they will have to fulfill their obligation of Mishloach Manos. They will not say “Al HaNissim” however in their prayers or bentching because it will already be the 16th of Adar, and no longer Purim. Hence the name “Purim Meshulash,” which basically means “Purim in three parts.”
So, for all intents-and-purposes, Shabbos is normal. In Jerusalem, they will read “And Amalek came” for Maftir, and the Haftarah of Parashas Zachor again. But non-walled cities will actually get to read the regular Haftarah of Tetzaveh, which only happens every couple of years.
Nevertheless, there is a connection to Purim in the parsha as well. A central part of the parsha deals with the clothing of the Kohen Gadol, and that shows up here in the story of Purim as well:
“When he showed the riches of his glorious— kevod—kingdom and the honor of his majestic—tifferes—greatness” (Esther 1:4).
Rebi Yosi bar Chanina said: “This teaches that [Achashveros] wore the priestly clothing. [Proof is how the same terms are written with regard to the priestly vestments, as] it is written here: “The riches of his glorious—kevod—kingdom and the honor of his majestic—tifferes—greatness.” And it is written there [regarding the priestly clothing]: “For glory—kavod—and for majesty—tifferes” (Shemos 28:2). (Megillah 12a)
Was Achashveros just being a despotic boor by taunting a downtrodden people whose loyalty he needed? Or was something else more profound going on, and tied to this week’s parsha, that even he didn’t realize or understand?
CLOTHES MAKE the man, or so the expression goes. But when it comes to the bigdei kehunah, it was a lot more than that. The clothing itself was part of the service of the Kohen Gadol, part of the process of interceding on behalf of Klal Yisroel, as the Talmud explains:
Why was the section [in the Torah that discusses] offerings juxtaposed to the section [that discusses the] priestly clothing? To tell you that just as offerings effect atonement, so too, priestly vestments effect atonement. The kesones—tunic—atones for bloodshed…The michnsayim—trousers—atone for forbidden sexual relations…The mitznefes—mitre—atones for the arrogant…The avneit—belt—atones for thought of the heart…The choshen—breastplate—of the High Priest atones for improper judgments…The ephod of the High Priest atones for idol worship…The me’il—robe—of the High Priest atones for malicious speech…The tzitz—diadem—of the High Priest atones for brazenness… (Zevachim 88b)
Thus, even though the clothing of the Kohen Gadol was made to honor his office, it was also made to allow the Kohen Gadol to intercede on behalf of the Jewish people. While the Kohen Gadol wore his unique and holy clothing, atonement occurred for the Jewish people on an hour-to-hour basis. It wasn’t something to rely upon when committing a sin, but it was something to fall back on if sin happened to occur.
But that was only while a worthy Kohen Gadol wore them. The clothing itself was ineffective if worn by an unworthy kohen, and how much more so by a boorish gentile king.
But then again, was this not the message that the king was in fact sending to his Jewish constituents? “Eat, drink, and be merry!” Achashveros insisted, “since you’ve lost your special status, and can no longer atone for your sins, like the rest of us! So blend in and become part of the Persian family!”
It’s a good thing that Achashveros didn’t learn Talmud, especially Tractate Megillah. That’s where it says:
Regarding Avraham it is written: “And he said, ‘G–D, how shall I know that I will inherit it?’” (Bereishis 15:8). Avraham said before The Holy One, Blessed Is He: “Master of the Universe! Perhaps, G–D forbid, the Jewish people will sin before You, and You will do to them as You did to the generation of the Flood, and as You did to the generation of the Dispersion”
G–D told him: “No, I will not do that.”
Avraham then said before Him: “Master of the Universe! How will I know this?”
G–D told him: “Take Me a heifer of three years old (Bereishis 15:9).”
With this, G–D intimated to Avraham that even if his descendants will sin, they will be able to achieve atonement through sacrificing offerings.
Avraham said before Him: “Master of the Universe! This works out well when the Temple is standing, and offerings can be brought to achieve atonement. But when the Temple will no longer be standing, what will become of them?”
G–D answered him: “I have already established for them the order of offerings. Whenever they read those portions, I will deem it as if they sacrificed an offering before Me, and I will pardon them for all of their iniquities.” (Megil-lah 31b)
It was G–D’s failsafe plan for the Jewish people, effective anywhere in the world and in every generation. It’s the reason why we’re still here, and Achashveros is not. The Torah wasn’t kidding when it referred to the entire Jewish people as “a nation of kohanim.”
PERHAPS THIS is the most important message of the story of Purim, and the clothing of the Kohen Gadol. It was also what drove Mordechai to put everything on the line, and take the incredible chances he did to spark the redemption.
It is the lack of understanding of this message that is responsible for the general spiritual malaise of the Jewish people today, and why so few people are driven today to do what Mordechai did back then. It doesn’t matter that it was a different period of history, and that prophets still remained then and not today.
He’s the same G–D He has always been, running His world by the same Torah He always has, and we are the same people He chose back at the beginning, over three millennia ago. Not as much has changed as we think it has, just how distant our minds have become from our hearts.
If our hearts were closer to our minds, then we’d feel how G–D is right there, despite the hester panim. We’d believe that, though our world seems to have drifted so far away from a Torah one, that G–D took this into account when He first gave Torah to the Jewish people. Just as the mitzvos are as relevant today as ever, so is the Torah’s narrative, of which we also are a part.
And not only is our period of history, with all of its modern insanities, part of the Torah narrative for redemption, it is the end of it. The redemption it predicted millennia ago is in our time. When the prophets, thousands of years ago, made predictions about the End-of-Days, they saw us. The only question they may have had was how many of us will see Him…Him behind the politics, Him behind the crises, and Him behind the successes and “natural” miracles.
Wherever the Jewish people go, G–D goes with them. Whenever they are ready to do teshuva, He is ready to receive it. Whenever we need to atone, the means always exist. We just have to recall this, believe it, and then take advantage of it.
ONE OF the most heart-wrenching pictures I ever saw was of a curtain of shul Aron HaKodesh over the door of a gas chamber. It was the Nazi’s way of mocking the Jewish people one last time as they passed under it on their way to certain death.
Was this a cruel joke by G–D, or His way of telling His people that their deaths were to Him like a Sefer Torah being returned to its Aron HaKodesh? Did G–D use the Nazi’s obsessive desire to degrade Jews to express His “obsessive” love of His people, and the eternal reward He had prepared for them? Unquestionably the latter.
Similarly, when the very unholy Achashveros donned the very holy vestments of the Kohen Gadol, he had his own message in mind. But THE King just took advantage of that to send His own message to the Jewish people: You may not see Me, but I am here with you. You may not believe in Me, but I still believe in you. When you’re ready to come home, I will be waiting for you.
Perhaps this is another reason for the absence of Moshe’s name in this week’s parsha. In fact, Moshe Rabbeinu probably had no problem writing himself out of it, because it put the entire spotlight on G–D and His relationship with His people…without any intermediary. On the surface of it, Parashas Tetzaveh and Purim may seem worlds apart. But below that surface, they teach and encourage the very same message about G–D and His people.
25 February 2021
בגדי כהונה חוצץ תפילין של יד.
לכן לא הניחו אלא תפילין של ראש בלבד.
ולדעה שאין חציצה פוסלת בתפילין ומותר להניח על בגד, לא הניחו משום ש שתפילין צריכין להיות במקום מצומצם ואם התפילין זזין ממקומם כאילו לובש בגד מיותר, ועובר על איסור יתור בגד.
כי התפילין שליד צריך להיות מכון לב ממש (ר' אחא היה מצמם נגד הלב לקיים והיו הדברים האלה על ללבך, וכן כתב בש"ע הרב משש נגד הלב, לפי זה הגאונים פסלו להניח חלק הבית שלא כנג הלב אפילו בקיבורת, עולת תמיד, והגר"א חולק על הגאונים שכל הקיבורת כשר (לולי דברי הסמ"ק).
לכן לא לבשו תפילין שלל יד. (עיין שו"ת מעדני יו"ט ח)
וקשה שאין ללבשו של ראש בלי ש"י שדרשו והיו לטטפת בין עיניך לשון רבים תחילה של יד ואח"כ ש"ר כדי שיהיה של ראש שני לו.
והנה במנחות (למ"ד לילה זמן תפילין) אסור לכתחילה להניח תפילין בלילה שמא ישן בהם אבל אם הניחם מבעוד יום אין חיוב להורידן בצאת הכוכבים עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק (או עד שעת שינה) וכן נהגו בתימן בתעניות ללבוש תפילין במנחה עד פרשת ציצית של ערבית.
לפ"ז יתכן שהכהן הניח של ידבגדו במקון מצומצם ואח"כ של ראש, ובשעת עבודה הוריד של יד שלא יזיז ממקומ המצומצם, (ועי"ז לא יעבור על יתור בגד בתפילין שלא במקומם)
WAKING FROM A BAD DREAM
Is rain in Israel such a big deal?
“Mashiv haruach u’morid hageshem …. He makes the wind blow and the rain descend.”
Egypt is watered by the Nile. No one has think about it. It just happens every year. The River floods and live-giving water revives the land. No prayer required.
In the Northeast United States, where I grew up, rain is usually abundant twelve months a year. One hardly thinks about it. No prayer required.
In Israel, levhavdil, each drop of rain is a miracle. We need to pray.
“For the Land to which you come, to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt that you left, where you would plant your seed and water it on foot like a vegetable garden, but the Land to which you cross over to possess it is a Land of hills and valleys; from the rain of heaven will it drink water …” (Dvarim 11:10) Do we not say twice a day that Hashem provides “rain for your land in its proper time, the early and late rains?”
But this is only as long as we are living by the Torah.
“Beware, lest your heart be seduced and you turn astray and serve gods of others and bow to them. Then the wrath of Hashem will blaze against you. He will restrain the heaven so there will be no rain….” (ibid 11:17)
In Israel, rain depends upon our loyalty to the Torah.
I don’t have to tell you that this year the world has turned dark. I am referring not only to the worldwide plague, not only to increasing anti-Semitism, but to Am Yisroel itself, which has suffered the loss of leaders and guides, great rabbis, who carried the torch of Torah in the darkness of exile.
The story of Purim takes place in a dark world, a world in which we are welcome to partake in a luxurious alien culture. We are invited into the king’s palace and everything is made “kosher” for us!
It is a trap.
My wife and I visited Germany years ago. We traveled there to locate my great grandfather’s burial place. We were told a story that we never forgot, how German Jews were spiritually strong for centuries, willing even to give up their lives al Kiddush Hashem … for the sake of Heaven. Only when the doors to the ghettoes were unlocked did their strength fail and the tsunami of assimilation wash over them.
“No decree against our people ever caused as much havoc as the proclamation by Napoleon of equal rights for all and the Toleranzedict (Edict of Tolerance) of the Emperor Joseph II. All throughout Europe, there now began an upheaval in Jewish communities. In central and western Europe, assimilation and intermarriage became rampant. Conversion to Christianity was now a frequent phenomenon.”
After the ghetto doors were opened and we were invited to join their society, that is when perhaps the greatest evil ever unleashed in the history of mankind erupted in a volcano of torture and hatred
Before Purim, we fast. That is how Queen Esther turned everything around.
“This fast was an atonement for the sin of enjoying Ahasuerus’ banquet.” (Meam Loez quoted by Artscroll) Am Yisroel had to understand that we are sustained by our unique relationship with the Ruler of the Universe, not the gastronomic pleasures of the surrounding culture.
This year, Eretz Yisroel had rain shortly after Sukkos, but the following months were dry. Since Rosh Chodesh Shevat, however, Hashem had mercy on us. The Land of Israel was blessed with major rains. Last week, the skies opened for four days straight. Snow – a rarity – fell in higher elevations. The Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee, is rising, and the Kinneret waters all of Israel.
Hashem is showing us that He is with us in the darkness.
“There is an inner power in the heart of a Jew which does not allow him to give up. However numerous and grievous the hurts and persecutions that we suffer and have suffered for thousands of years, we do not give up ….
We say, [in Psalm 126] ‘When Hashem returned the captivity of Tzion, we were as dreamers.’ The evil we experienced in the long night of Exile, and which we thought at the time so real and so fearsome, will turn out to have been nothing but a bad dream. The reality, as we shall then see, is and always was nothing but goodness and love….”
May we soon awake to the day filled with laughter, when all our external and internal enemies are overthrown, and we will laugh with a full and open heart!
“When Hashem will return the captivity of Tzion we will be like dreamers. Then our mouth will be filled with laughter and our tongue with glad song…. Those who tearfully sow will reap in glad song.” May we see it soon in our days!
Lehavdil: in contrast
 Rabbi Avigdor Miller, Divine Madness, p. 99
 Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, Strive for Truth, Volume 1
 Psalm 126
24 February 2021
So why isn’t this spray being mass-disseminated amoung the most susceptible population??
Health Officials Push Pregnant Women to Get COVID Shots, Despite Known Risks
With no data showing COVID vaccines are safe for pregnant women, and despite reports of miscarriages among women who have received the experimental Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Fauci and other health officials advise pregnant women to get the vaccine.
In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization to two messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines against COVID-19. Because the unapproved vaccines’ status is investigational, anyone who gets an injection (whether they realize it or not) is agreeing to participate in an ongoing experiment.
Recognizing that there are many unknowns, many Americans have refused the experimental jab, including members of the armed forces and healthcare workers, but with one notable exception: healthcare providers who are pregnant.
Even without data from Pfizer or Moderna sufficient “to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy,” expectant doctors, nurses and others appear eager for the shots, perhaps influenced by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which states that neither a conversation with a clinician nor even a pregnancy test are necessary prerequisites.
Do these individuals know that as of Feb. 12, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) had already received 111 reports of adverse events experienced by women who were pregnant at the time of their Pfizer or Moderna injection?
The first such report was submitted Dec. 22, just 10 days after authorization of the Pfizer vaccine. Nearly a third (31%) of the women had miscarriages or preterm births, which occurred within as little as one day of injection — the majority after a single dose of vaccine.
The descriptions of miscarriages and premature births accompanying the VAERS reports are tragic and hair-raising.
For example, a 37-year-old who received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at 28 weeks of pregnancy, just after an ultrasound showed a healthy placenta, was discovered to have “significant placenta issues just one week later.” A repeat ultrasound showed that the placenta had “calcified and aged prematurely,” leading to recommended hospitalization for the duration of her pregnancy.
A 35-year-old, also vaccinated at around 29 weeks of pregnancy, “noticed decreased motion of the baby” two days after receiving the Pfizer injection. The following day, “the baby was found to not have a heartbeat.”
Two Pfizer vaccine recipients in earlier stages of pregnancy (first trimester) had miscarriages after experiencing “intolerable” abdominal pain and uterine bleeding extensive enough, in one case, to require “emergency surgery and a blood transfusion.”
At least some of the individuals submitting these reports — taking stock of the tight temporal relationship between vaccination and adverse event — clearly judged it premature to rule out vaccine causality, especially in cases where the women were otherwise healthy and taking no other drugs or vaccines.
Fauci’s willingness to make light of potential COVID vaccine risks for pregnant women, only two months into the rollout of experimental vaccines, defies logic. Fauci is not only the Biden administration’s chief medical advisor but the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (which holds patents and will receive royalties for the Moderna vaccine).
Fauci surely knows that without substantive data — including birth registry data, medical records and complete information about all trimesters of pregnancy and birth outcomes for all of the vaccinated women and as-yet unborn babies receiving the unapproved vaccines — it is impossible to claim that risks are either known, or that they even have been evaluated.
Moderna’s fact sheet states that the company is enrolling vaccinated women into a “pregnancy exposure registry.” The University of Washington is doing the same for COVID vaccine recipients who are either “pregnant, postpartum, lactating and/or contemplating pregnancy.”
However, neither entity is anywhere close to being able to issue pronouncements about their findings.
Interestingly, the World Health Organization on Jan. 27 issued guidance advising against pregnant women getting Moderna’s COVID vaccine — only to reverse that guidance two days later, as The New York Times reported.
Hands off no more?
Historically, pregnant women have been cautious about getting vaccinated or participating in vaccine clinical trials. In turn, vaccine developers have excluded them from trials, acknowledging the difficulty of tallying risks versus benefits.
Documented risks of vaccination during pregnancy include miscarriage as well as neurodevelopmental problems arising from maternal immune activation (an inflammatory response in the mother that can harm fetal brain development).
However, as psychiatrist Peter Breggin has written (describing the seven-decade-old branch of public health science focused on fear appeals), behavioral scientists know that “fear is a powerful motivator and can drive humans to be more easily manipulated into doing things they would ordinarily resist doing.”
Understood in this context, it is easy to see how two decades of badgering from the pharmaceutical-industry-funded and Gates-funded media about exotic health threats — including H1N1 influenza in 2009, Zika in 2015-16 and now COVID-19 — might wear down the protective instincts of mothers-to-be, and especially those of younger women with less life experience.
In addition to capitalizing on the media attention created by sporadic epidemics, public health officials and vaccine manufacturers have also successfully used outbreaks of illnesses like influenza and pertussis as wedges to spur a “paradigm shift in vaccine research and development as well as … policy regarding immunization in pregnancy,” according to “Who’s the Target? Mother or Baby”?
In the mid-2000s, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stirred up concern about flu and pertussis and aggressively stepped up its recommendations for routine vaccination of pregnant women.
As a result, roughly three out of five American women now receive either influenza or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) shots during pregnancy, while two out of five receive both.
And Tdap vaccines contain neurotoxic aluminum. While the developmental consequences of such widespread fetal exposure to aluminum can be suspected, they are difficult to pinpoint. That’s partly because most Tdap “safety” studies are short-term (and focus on pertussis disease rather than developmental outcomes) and also because babies immediately encounter an “absurdly high” load of aluminum in their early childhood vaccines.
However, placental tissues and miscarried fetuses display high concentrations of aluminum, and high blood aluminum in the mother is associated with a risk of birth defects.
The package insert for one of the leading brands of Tdap describes outcomes ranging from miscarriage to stillbirth, and major birth defects in women exposed to the vaccine before the third trimester.
In 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act established a Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women. With the task force in place, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now appears willing to ignore the ethical principles that historically have required researchers to put special research safeguards in place for pregnant women.
Instead, virtuously advocating for “greater inclusion” of pregnant women in COVID vaccine clinical trials, the NIH is making the convoluted case that it is better to “protect” pregnant women “through research rather than from research.”
No sooner said than done: Pfizer and partner BioNTech just announced (on Feb. 19) the launch of a trial that will formally test their COVID vaccine in 4,000 pregnant women.
There are multiple reasons why pregnant women might question the push for “inclusion” — not least are the concerns about possible infertility outlined in a petition filed with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Dec. 1.
According to the petition’s authors — Dr. Michael Yeadon (one-time head of respiratory research at Pfizer) and Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg (former head of the German public health department) — there is plausible evidence to suggest that the spike proteins in the mRNA vaccines could trigger an immune reaction against syncytin-1, a protein “responsible for the development of a placenta in mammals and humans” that is “an essential prerequisite for a successful pregnancy.”
When a COVID vaccine recipient’s placenta has been verified through ultrasound as healthy and normal at the time of vaccination, but within a week shows up as “calcified” and prematurely aged, shouldn’t that raise a “red flag”?
The push to vaccinate all pregnant women also highlights another subtle and even more disturbing issue, one that is a central focus of a lawsuit filed in federal court in December. As the attorneys leading the lawsuit point out, “control groups are necessary to the scientific method” — and particularly essential when it comes to assessing both the short- and long-term risks of vaccination.
The attorneys represent The Control Group, which completed a pilot survey showing “1,248% better health for unvaccinated adults and 1,099% better health for unvaccinated children” compared with their vaccinated counterparts.
If regulators and an acquiescent public continue with the willy-nilly “experimental biological alteration of the human immune system” — not only vaccinating “cradle to grave” but also pre-cradle — there will soon be no healthy, unvaccinated group left to compare against those who have been vaccinated.