(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

FROM:           Russell Hendel (rjhendel@juno.com)
DATE:           Sun, 3 Nov 1996
SUBJECT:        RE: Ritual Impurity vs Disease

There are 4 places where states that the Torah declares Tamay(ritually
impute) are interpreted as diseases:
* Tzarath vs leprosy
* Zav vs Gonorrhea
* Kosher food vs e.g. trichinosis
* Niddah (which has been perceived as an unwell state of the woman)

Possibly we could eliminate the last one since we know what Niddah is and
we know that menstruation is not intrinsically an illness.

It is well known that
* The above 4 connections are all incorrect
* The above 4 connections are part of a general attack on the Divinity of
the Torah -- more specifically, the claim is that Moses was a genius and
knew that leprosy, Gonorrhea and trichinosis was bad for society and
therefore invented Tumah, the concept of religious separation in order
to protect people (However, since today, we are (medically) enlightened
these religious protections are not necessary (and by implication the Torah
could not be Divine since its Author did not know of future medical

Does anyone out there know of a general treatment of this subject (in one
place) with details on the meanings of these categories and detailed
laws showing that the above correspondences between spiritual states
and physical diseases are incorrect.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d, ASA