The Observant Astronomer

The passing scene as observed by an observant Jew, who daylights as an astronomer.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Rabbi Blumenkrantz and Homeopathy

This is the time of year when the observant American Jew is busy consulting the various guides to kashrus on Pesach. One of the most thorough, and stringent ones, is the annual publication by Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz.

In the chapter on medicine, he devotes two pages to the question of homeopathic remedies. For the most part, this year's text is the same as in previous editions with the following remark on page 11-364 following a full discussion of the extent of the dilutions involved:
Since homeopathy is very effective, nontoxic, cheap, and in most instances easily accessible to the layman without prescription more and more frum people are using it.

This year he adds a new paragraph at the end (page 11-365):
Whenever we wrote that homeopathic medications may be used is[sic] only if at least some of molecules[sic] from the original "medication" are still in existence in the dilution. But if the dilution is such that there is[sic] no molecules left from the "medicine"- then one would NOT be allowed to use it. See Below.

"Below" refers to an article dated Adar 5765, entitled Some Halachic Concerns Regarding "Alternative Health" by Rav Menachem Kelinman, author, Hisna'ari Mal'Ofor which points out the often forbidden roots of various alternative-healing practices, including homeopathy. The prohibitions involved relate to serious issues of Avodah Zarah, kishuf (sorcery) and k'fira.

It appears that Rabbi Blumenkrantz is reconsidering his support for homeopathy. It will be interesting see if the contradiction has been removed from next year's edition.

4 Comments:

Blogger Rebeljew said...

The deep traditional roots of homeopathy are only about 200 years deep. Hanneman created this "science" when ear candling, blood letting and suction cupping were the norm among Euro-Amers. (The native Amers were still using Powa, medicine men.) However, kudos to the very estute Rav on his direction in this matter.

Halachic question: Shouldn't "nothing" be better in terms of Pesach? Homeopathy does not have religious roots. So any 24x or greater solution should be better for pesach, not worse, unless of course, the solvent is grain alcohol.

3:34 PM, April 19, 2005  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

He also comments on naturopathic treatments, and for all I know psychopathic ones.

Particularly interesting was his assertion in Ch 26 that eating onions and garlic will keep away bugs, because of the change of smell. Well, I don't think bugs have olfactory function, Rabbi, but it will keep away many of your friends.

1:15 AM, April 22, 2005  
Blogger The Observer said...

Bugs don't have olfactory senses? Rebel, what have you been smoking? Google:insects+olfactory

1:34 PM, May 02, 2005  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

Whatever it was that I was smoking, it didn't keep the bugs away.

Your post refers to assertions that bugs may have a sense similar to smell, which attracts or repels them. "Off" is a good example. Garlic and Onions? Teh jury is still out.

11:32 PM, May 03, 2005  

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