Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Main Cause of Disease

What is the number one cause of ill health in man?

The answer, from The Code of Jewish Law (chpt 32, law 3), may surprise you: "Most disease suffered by man comes from, and from none other than, bad foods, or from filling his belly even with good foods." Note the strong tenor of the assertion. The basis for this ruling comes from Maimonides who stated (De'ot 4, 15), "Most illnesses that afflict man are caused by harmful foods or by overeating, even of healthful foods."

In other words, illness comes from what a person puts into his mouth.

As simple as this sounds, if you think Western culture believes it, think again:

Most people, including most doctors, believe germs cause sickness. This is in direct contradiction to what the Code of Jewish Law asserts, namely that food is the main problem, yet medicine prefers germ theory. This has exceptionally significant ramifications, for if intake of food is the real problem, it follows that a proper dietary regimen could cure or reverse the problem, whereas the germ theory of disease suggests an entirely different approach, in fact one that leaves the bad food habits in place!

In fact, medicine today totally denies the Jewish Law or its implications regarding the healing of illness or seeking cures.

People who are sick, who then visit a doctor who prescribes a pill or a shot, who then put that medicine into their bodies - do so without realizing this "food" they take into them is unnatural and cannot be considered "good", yet the doctor pushes the drug, or the patient swallows the pill, without thinking twice. Depending on the diagnosis, this "treatment" could be an occasional one, or, with degenerative disease, more likely a lifelong "diet".

For the last 100 years, or so, conventional medicine rejected the wisdom of Maimonides. There were doctors in America before that who, in fact, did follow the wisdom of Maimonides, even if they never knew of this sage. To their credit, they derived the knowledge on their own.

Dr. J.H. Tilden, a doctor who practiced medicine for more than 70 years, and lived until the age of 91, wrote in 1921, "The commonest cause of disease is, first, last, and all the time, overindulgence of appetites and passions". Notice how forcefully he states what the Jewish Code of Law also emphatically asserts.

In the late 1800's Louis Pasteur promoted the germ theory of disease. In contrast, Antoine Beauchamp, his contemporary, said, "The primary cause of disease is in us, always in us". In other words, the primary problem was the milieu, the biological terrain. That germs take advantage of this situation is a secondary aspect of the disease.

Whatever the historical reasons, Pasteur's viewpoint overshadowed Beauchamp's and became the holy grail of medical perspective in the West. It prevails until today. Medical education never even broaches a view other than what the establishment prescribes. In fact, the medical curriculum in a U.S. medical school never includes a course in nutrition! Moreover, any attempt to move away from the prevalent viewpoin, to provide therapy based on other premises, immediately draws intense retribution by the powers that be, thus discouraging "unconventional" or alternative medical practice.

Contrast the approach of today's doctor with that of Dr. Tilden, who says:
"As a refutation of the necessity for all the so-called remedies carried into the sick-room - surgery, drugs, prescriptions, vaccination, serum injections; faith, suggestion, and mind cures; the laying on of hands, and every other device known and used as remedial - I offer my simple methods; namely, that of taking nothing into the sick-room, and of doing nothing that can be likened to the modern conception of healing. My methods are devoid of any suggestion of mysticism or supernaturalism, and are not above the understanding of the most commonplace mind, unless its simplicity appears uncanny to distorted understandings.

"I go into the sick-room without a so-called remedy, and, what is best of all, without the need of one. There is no faith cure offered; there is no hocuspocus, legerdemain, nor play on the superstition or credulity of the patient. There is nothing resorted to which may give the impression that unusual or supernatural power is to be used.

"After getting the history of the case, I explain how the patient happened to get sick, how his life differs from nature's requirements, and how he may get well. No drugs, no manipulations - nothing but keep still and don't build disease by foolish acts of mind or body!

"When cause is known, the remedy will be self-suggested to the most commonplace mind. This being as fundamental as truth always is … ."
[From his book: Impaired Health: Its Cause and Cure.]

As I said, Dr. Tilden arrived at his understanding of medical disease from pure, rational thought. Let's listen in on some of his wisdom:

"There is no question about the necessary and beneficial action of the bacteria that are in us and about us all the time. The germs that infest our bodies, our food, our atmosphere, our soil, are necessary to our existence. If they were not, they would not be there. Nature never stultifies herself; there is a reason for everything, and that reason is backed by the logic of the Absolute.

"The weakest point in modern medical science is its teachings on bacteriology. It teaches that germs cause disease. If that could be proved, it would establish demonology
[as if Hashem acts as a demon], and chaos would reign supreme."

Why germs are necessary we can answer another time. But for now, it should be apparent that germ theory of disease survives not because it's the correct view, but in spite of it.


  1. Yafeh! I have studied Hilkhoth De'oth over several times alone and in chevruthas, and I have attemtped to go according to those laws with some success, barukh HaShem! I am a Noahide, who observes halakhoth B'nei Noach according to the Mishneh Torah.

    I will preface my statements below that these are thoughts that have not been tested thoroughly for my own knowledge, but are based on common sense logic, some observation of modern medicine, and my own experience. I admit the limits of my knowledge, and understand that the trained physician will possess greater knowledge of the body in many circumstances, in which his expertise is indispensible. A good doctor may very well refute these comments with sound evidence. That having been said, modern methods themselves are worthy of scrutiny, truly any science worthy of the title must be prepared to be examined at any time. The fact that current methods of cure present many health issues of their own deserve questioning, and not merely trust in a person's PhD and acceptance of his own tradition; a tradition which is till new in human history.

    Your comments caused a light to go on in me. If one accepts germ theory, one also accepts the methods to fight harmful microbes - isolated concoctions that are synthesized and/or highly distilled and concetrated from their natural resources. This, as opposed to seeking benefit from the curative substances contained in certain foods, sweet or bitter. The problem this method presents is the problem of micromanagement of the body. There is a hyperfocus on isolated systems, organs, cells, and chemical structures. This is beneficial when treating diseases that are highly peculiar and difficult, but what about simpler ailments? What about ailments that require a more holistic approach? What harm comes when the more holistic view of the body is ignored or lowered against the microscopic? And the microscopic approach has prevailed for many generations now. And are there sound and tested remedies of old that were tossed out by the medical community because they were not cures of clinical scientists, but of "folk healers?" Proof of this problem is that many drugs come with the risk, and even the guarantee, of other harmful affects to the body; even to the point of risking other illnesses, and in some cases death!

    The Rambam, in his medical treatise, presented an order of treatment for illnesses starting with the simplest - foods. The last order of remedies consisted of substances so potent that he warned they could cause harm! Unless I am mistaken, a good doctor will continue the common sense path of cures from least disruptive to most disruptive, the most being the last resort. The problem remains is that he is trained to prescribe chemical substances as part of the first resort.

    When you speak of the problem of germ theory, I realize, then, the problem of employing germ-sized substances honed into microbes to the exclusion of the other functions of the body. And this is where "side effects" result. So why not resort to even simpler (and less profit-driven) methods first? Comments?

  2. Yapheh, shalom.

    First off, the only time I accept "Germ theory" is when these germs have cause to invade the body en masse, as, for example, a big cut on a heavily contaminated blade, or a tuberculous patient sneezing into the face of someone breathing in, where a local part of the body is suddenly overwhelmed with foreign encroachment. But otherwise, I am not a believer, as is "modern" medicine, in the germ as the major problem to be attacked. That was Pasteur's viewpoint, as opposed to Bechampe's, who said the TERRAIN is responsible for health or disease. If a healthy body ingests some microbes, no harm will be done.

    In fact, says Bechampe (the theorist who put forth the idea of pleomorphism), that within us - all the time - exist benign elements that can turn into self-destroyers (destroyers from within). How else would the body "go back to earth"?

    Which is why medicine today, geared towards gaining money at the expense of real care and therefore hiding this path of investigation, is standing on its head. Instead of doing preventive medicine and wholesome research, they only want to channel money into microtechnical research to employ people to become overly concerned in tiny detailed research, and get the whole industry as far away as possible from simple healthy living close to nature. Thus you have few medical schools, tough entry requirements, making doctors into "special" people, staying away from nutrition meanwhile, huge hospitals, syndrome fighters, siphoning off much money into "charity" programs, dumping poisons into fertilizers and earth and water and lying about their harm, as eg flouridating water, etc. making degenerative disease thrive and flourish.

    The other point you raise, about modern medicine using microscopy efficiently, is untrue. They take a snapshot of tissue and do not inspect tissue as they should, in live time, but prefer to "traumatize" the tissue with dyes and based on this still cross-section tell the whole story. Dark-field microscopy of blood is something they shy away from because they will then have to come to completely different conclusions, as their oppression of such microscopists as Rife, Naessens, and others suggests.

    The Rambam, unfortunately, left much of his medical knowledge outside of Mishneh Torah, and those outside works leave much to be desired. The other thing about the Rambam is that the nature of the body has changed since his time, so some of his rulings need reconsideration. And also what he does say in Hilkhoth De'oth needs more understanding. For example, the four words, "and change of habits is the start of disease" (end of 4:21) needs to be better understood.

    I appreciate you input and commend you for being a Noahide!