(42) But if a white affection streaked with red appears on the bald part in the front or at the back of the head, it is a scaly eruption that is spreading over the bald part in the front or at the back of the head. (43) The priest shall examine him: if the swollen affection on the bald part in the front or at the back of his head is white streaked with red, like the leprosy of body skin in appearance, (44) the man is leprous; he is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean; he has the affection on his head. (45) As for the person with a leprous affection, his clothes shall be rent, his head shall be left bare, and he shall cover over his upper lip; and he shall call out, “Unclean! Unclean!” (46) He shall be unclean as long as the disease is on him. Being unclean, he shall dwell apart; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
(א) וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃ (ב) צַ֚ו אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וִֽישַׁלְּחוּ֙ מִן־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה כָּל־צָר֖וּעַ וְכָל־זָ֑ב וְכֹ֖ל טָמֵ֥א לָנָֽפֶשׁ׃ (ג) מִזָּכָ֤ר עַד־נְקֵבָה֙ תְּשַׁלֵּ֔חוּ אֶל־מִח֥וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה תְּשַׁלְּח֑וּם וְלֹ֤א יְטַמְּאוּ֙ אֶת־מַ֣חֲנֵיהֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י שֹׁכֵ֥ן בְּתוֹכָֽם׃ (ד) וַיַּֽעֲשׂוּ־כֵן֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיְשַׁלְּח֣וּ אוֹתָ֔ם אֶל־מִח֖וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶ֑ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר דִּבֶּ֤ר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה כֵּ֥ן עָשׂ֖וּ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (פ)
(1) The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: (2) Instruct the Israelites to remove from camp anyone with an eruption or a discharge and anyone defiled by a corpse. (3) Remove male and female alike; put them outside the camp so that they do not defile the camp of those in whose midst I dwell. (4) The Israelites did so, putting them outside the camp; as the LORD had spoken to Moses, so the Israelites did.
(6) The LORD sent seraph serpents against the people. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died. (7) The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Intercede with the LORD to take away the serpents from us!” And Moses interceded for the people. (8) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a seraph figure and mount it on a standard. And if anyone who is bitten looks at it, he shall recover.” (9) Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, he would look at the copper serpent and recover.
(15) But if you do not obey the LORD your God to observe faithfully all His commandments and laws which I enjoin upon you this day, all these curses shall come upon you and take effect:
(21) The LORD will make pestilence cling to you, until He has put an end to you in the land that you are entering to possess. (22) The LORD will strike you with consumption, fever, and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew; they shall hound you until you perish.
(ד) וְכֵן עִיר שֶׁיֶּשׁ בָּהּ דֶּבֶר אוֹ מַפֹּלֶת, אוֹתָהּ הָעִיר מִתְעַנָּה וּמַתְרַעַת, וְכָל סְבִיבוֹתֶיהָ מִתְעַנּוֹת וְלֹא מַתְרִיעוֹת. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, מַתְרִיעוֹת וְלֹא מִתְעַנּוֹת. אֵיזֶהוּ דֶבֶר, עִיר הַמּוֹצִיאָה חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת רַגְלִי, וְיָצְאוּ מִמֶּנָּה שְׁלשָׁה מֵתִים בִּשְׁלשָׁה יָמִים זֶה אַחַר זֶה, הֲרֵי זֶה דֶבֶר. פָּחוֹת מִכָּאן, אֵין זֶה דֶבֶר:
(4) And so too a city which has a plague or [its buildings] collapse that city fasts and they sound a blast, but those [in the places] around it fast but do not sound the alarm. Rabbi Akiva says: they sound the alarm but do not fast. What constitutes a plague? If in a city that can supply five hundred foot-soldiers and three deaths occurred on three consecutive days, behold this constitutes a plague, less than this is not a plague.
Abaye responded and said: One should not say this, as it was taught in the school of Rabbi Yishmael that from the verse, “And shall cause him to be thoroughly healed” (Exodus 21:19), from here we derive that permission is granted to a doctor to heal. The practice of medicine is in accordance with the will of God.
The Gemara asks: And Rabbi Yoḥanan, what does he do with this verse: “And your brother shall live with you”? The Gemara answers: He requires the verse for that which is taught in a baraita: If two people were walking on a desolate path and there was a jug [kiton] of water in the possession of one of them, and the situation was such that if both drink from the jug, both will die, as there is not enough water, but if only one of them drinks, he will reach a settled area, there is a dispute as to the halakha. Ben Petora taught: It is preferable that both of them drink and die, and let neither one of them see the death of the other. This was the accepted opinion until Rabbi Akiva came and taught that the verse states: “And your brother shall live with you,” indicating that your life takes precedence over the life of the other.
Encyclopedia Judaica – Medicine
In The Bible: With the one exception of the incurable serpent bite (Num. 21:9), biblical remedies and treatments are all of a rational character and do not involve incantations or magic rites, nor do they include the so-called “filth pharmacy.” Biblical therapeutics consisted of washing; the use of oils, balsams, and bandages for wounds and bone fractures; bathing in therapeutic waters (II Kings 5:10), especially in the case of skin diseases; sun rays, medicated drinks, etc. The modern method of mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration was also known, as testified by the accounts of Elijah and Elisha (I Kings 17:22; II Kings 4:34-35).
The Talmudic Era: The main contribution of talmudic medicine lies not so much in the treatment of illness but rather, as in the Bible, in the prevention of disease and the care of community health. The hygienic measures advocated were of a practical as well as of a religious, ethical nature. A principle which recurs a number of times is that "bodily cleanliness leads to spiritual cleanliness" (Av. Zar. 20b; TJ, Shab. 1:3, 3b).
Hygienic regulations applied among other things to town planning, climatic conditions, social community life, family life, and care of the body. Mention is made of a disinfectant composed of seven ingredients used for cleansing infected clothing (Zev. 95a). A town was required to have a physician and a bathhouse. Clothing had to be changed before eating. Mar Samuel declared that diseases may be carried by caravans from land to land (Ta'an. 21b). Members of a family with a sick person among them were to be avoided. The digging of wells in the neighborhood of cemeteries or refuse dumps was forbidden (Tosef., BB 1:10). It was forbidden to drink uncovered water for fear of snake venom (Av. Zar. 30a). Food had to be fresh and served in clean dishes. Kissing on the mouth was discouraged, and kissing only on the back of the hand was recommended in order to prevent contagion.
During epidemics, the population was advised to avoid crowding in narrow alleyways because of the danger of contagion in the air. For body care, the Talmud recommends physical exercises, massage, sunlight, employment, and above all cleanliness. Mar Samuel states: “The washing of hands and feet in the morning is more effective than any remedy in the world” (Shab. 108b). Excesses of any kind were regarded as harmful. The Talmud also concerned itself with the health of future generations and forbade marriage to epileptics or the mentally retarded (Yev. 64b; 112b).
H.H. Ben Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, p. 486
Animosity and persecution reached their peak during the Black Death, in the massacres of 1348-1349. This plague descended upon Europe… In many places more than half of the population perished within a brief period. Rational explanations of the catastrophe were unknown… In those days scapegoats were sought… The Jews were accused of poisoning the wells in order to destroy the whole of Christendom. In Switzerland, Jews were tortured until they produced the demanded confession. News of the guilt of the Jews was broadcast so rapidly that in some places Jews were exterminated even before the plague arrived.
(ה) צריך ליזהר מליתן מעות בפיו שמא יש עליהן רוק יבש של מוכי שחין ולא יתן פס ידו תחת שחיו שמא נגע ידו במצורע או בסם רע ולא יתן ככר לחם תחת השחי מפני הזיעה ולא יתן תבשיל ולא משקים תחת המטה מפני שרוח רעה שורה עליהם ולא ינעוץ סכין בתוך אתרוג או בתוך צנון שמא יפול אדם על חודה וימות: הגה וכן יזהר מכל דברים המביאים לידי סכנה כי סכנתא חמירא מאיסורא ויש לחוש יותר לספק סכנה מלספק איסור (ב"י בשם הש"ס) ולכן אסרו לילך בכל מקום סכנה כמו תחת קיר נטוי או יחידי בלילה (שם) וכן אסרו לשתות מים מן הנהרות בלילה או להניח פיו על קלוח המים לשתות כי דברים אלו יש בהן חשש סכנה (רמב"ם) ומנהג פשוט שלא לשתות מים בשעת התקופה וכן כתבו הקדמונים ואין לשנות (אבודרהם ומרדכי ס"פ כל שעה רוקח סימן ער"ה ומהרי"ל ומנהגים) עוד כתבו שיש לברוח מן העיר כשדבר בעיר ויש לצאת מן העיר בתחילת הדבר ולא בסופו (תשובת מהרי"ל סי' ל"ה) וכל אלו הדברים הם משום סכנה ושומר נפשו ירחק מהם ואסור לסמוך אנס או לסכן נפשו בכל כיוצא בזה ועיין בחושן משפט סימן תכ"ז:
(5) One must refrain from putting coins in one's mouth, lest it's covered with dried saliva of those afflicted with boils. He should not put the palm of his hand in his arm pit, lest his hand touched a metzorah or a harmful poison. He should not put a loaf of bread under his armpit, because of the sweat. He should not put a cooked item or drinks under the bed, since an evil spirit rests on them. He should not stick a knife in an esrog or a radish, lest one fall on its edge and die. Hagah: Similarly, he should be careful of all things that cause danger, because danger is stricter than transgressions, and one should be more careful with an uncertain danger than with an uncertain issur. They also prohibited to go in a dangerous place, such as under a leaning wall, or alone at night. They also prohibited to drink water from rivers at night or to put one's mouth on a stream of water and drink, because these matters have a concern of danger. It is the widespread custom not to drink water during the equinox, and the early ones wrote this and it is not to be changed. They also wrote to flee from the city when a plague is in the city, and one should leave at the beginning of the plague and not at the end. And all of these things are because of the danger, and a person who guards his soul will distance himself from them and it is prohibited to rely on a miracle in all of these matters.
(יח) אלו דברים צריך נטילה במים. הקם מהמטה והיוצא מבית הכסא. ומבית המרחץ. והנוטל צפורניו. והחולץ מנעליו. והנוגע ברגליו. והחופף ראשו וי"א אף ההולך בין המתים. ומי שנגע במת. ומי שמפליא כליו. והמשמש מטתו. והנוגע בכנה. והנוגע בגופו בידו. ומי שעשה אחת מכל אלו ולא נטל אם ת"ח הוא תלמודו משתכח. ואם אינו ת"ח יוצא מדעתו:
(18) The following things require washing the hands in water [after them]: One who rises from bed, goes out of the bathroom, or of the bath house, one who cuts his nails, takes off his shoes, touches his feet, or washes his head, some say: also one who goes among the dead, or touched the dead, one who cleanses his clothes of lice, has sexual intercourse, touches a louse, or touches his body with his hand. Anyone doing any of these and not washing his hands, if he is a scholar, his studies are forgotten, and if he is not a scholar, he goes out of his mind.
Rabbi Yishmael answered and said that it is stated: “If a thief be found breaking in and be struck so that he dies, there shall be no blood-guiltiness for him” (Exodus 22:1). Now, if this is true for the thief, where there is uncertainty whether he comes to take money or to take lives, and it is known that bloodshed renders the land impure, since it is stated about a murderer: “And you shall not defile the land” (Numbers 35:34), and it causes the Divine Presence to depart from the Jewish people, as the verse continues: “In the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the children of Israel” (Numbers 35:34), and even so the home owner is permitted to save himself at the cost of the thief’s life, then a fortiori saving a life overrides Shabbat.
Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya said: It is stated: “And the children of Israel shall keep Shabbat, to observe Shabbat” (Exodus 31:16).The Torah said: Desecrate one Shabbat on his behalf so he will observe many Shabbatot. Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: If I would have been there among those Sages who debated this question, I would have said that my proof is preferable to theirs, as it states: “You shall keep My statutes and My ordinances, which a person shall do and live by them” (Leviticus 18:5), and not that he should die by them. In all circumstances, one must take care not to die as a result of fulfilling the mitzvot.
(א) על מי מחללין שבת. ובו ט סעיפים:
כל פיקוח נפש דוחה שבת והזריז הרי זה משובח אפילו נפלה דליקה בחצר אחרת וירא שתעבור לחצר זו ויבא לידי סכנה מכבין כדי שלא תעבור:
(1) 1. All cases of saving a life supersede Shabbat, and he who hurries in these matters is praised. Even if there is a fire in a different yard and there is concern that it will move to this yard and cause danger, we put it out to ensure that it does not spread.
(ה) עֻבָּרָה שֶׁהֵרִיחָה, מַאֲכִילִין אוֹתָהּ עַד שֶׁתָּשִׁיב נַפְשָׁהּ. חוֹלֶה מַאֲכִילִין אוֹתוֹ עַל פִּי בְקִיאִין. וְאִם אֵין שָׁם בְּקִיאִין, מַאֲכִילִין אוֹתוֹ עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ, עַד שֶׁיֹּאמַר דָּי:
(5) If a pregnant woman smelled [food on Yom Kippur], they feed her until she feels restored. A sick person is fed at the word of experts. And if no experts are there, they feed him upon his own request until he says: enough.