Billions of dollars and countless efforts are being spent on corona virus testing, contact tracing, developing medications and vaccines. The mainstream attitude is that there’s a worldwide epidemic coming from some evil natural force and we need to use our intellect, technological, and medical abilities to overcome it. We will suffer terrible loss of civil liberties, physical illness and death, and financial and psychological damages. These are accepted as necessities to endure until our salvation arrives in some product from a pharmaceutical Messiah.
Our Torah teaches us three levels of health before we even get to the discussion of medical treatment:
1) The spiritual source for the illness. It says in Exodus (15,26) “And He said, If you hearken to the voice of the Lord, your God, and you do what is proper in His eyes, and you listen closely to His commandments and observe all His statutes, all the sicknesses that I have visited upon Egypt I will not visit upon you, for I, the Lord, heal you”. Our great commentaries like Rabeinu Bachya expound on this verse that “God assures us that all sickness which occur in nature and affect mankind will not affect us if we observe the Torah”. The Talmud is replete with examples of various illnesses that result from specific sins (for example see Shabbos 32b). In the ways of the righteous (chapter 8) he describes the callousness and cruelty sinners have for causing these illnesses. He says “All suffering that exists in the world is a result of sin”.
Many of our leaders have diagnosed that the specific sin causing respiratory viruses as we are all suffering from today is the sin of baseless hatred and speaking negatively about others. In scripture we know that such speech caused illness to Miriam (Numbers chapter 12), and it is the main cause for this final exile (Yoma 9b).
2) The natural dietary changes to bring spirituality into our bodies. It says in Exodus (23,25) “And you shall worship the Lord, your God, and He will bless your food and your drink, and I will remove illness from your midst”. Our great commentaries like Rabeinu Bachya expound how many illnesses in nature come through poor diet and changes in the atmosphere. Through eating healthy spiritually blessed food the illness will be cured and we will not need a doctor.
3) The permission for an expert with wisdom of natural treatments of herbs vitamins and minerals to cure the illness. It says in Exodus (21,19) “and he shall provide for his cure”. Our sages teach us from these words that we are instructed to go to a doctor to cure an illness if necessary (Bava kama 85a). The healing of the doctor we’re referring to is by using natural herbs and drugs. We are advised (Pesachim 113a) that this step should only be taken as a last resort. This is for two reasons. 1.