More Rabbinical Insanity – From the “Council of Torah Sages” – Ultrasounds, If Only Men Carried the Babies…


Haredi rabbi: Don’t do ultrasounds during pregnancy

Rabbi Shalom Cohen, President of the ‘Council of Torah Sages,’ says waiting for the doctor means there’s going to be a blow afterwards.

“Council of Torah Sages” President Rabbi Shalom Cohen on Tuesday told his followers not to do any ultrasounds during pregnancy, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

According to Kikar Hashabbat, former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was also present at the gathering, as were rabbis from the Bonei Olam organization, which helps couples pay for fertility treatments.

“G-d sends the cure before He sends the ailment,” the site quoted Rabbi Cohen as telling a gathering. “‘To send the cure before the ailment’ means that when you make the ‘cure’ ahead of time – you need to make sure that the ailment will not, G-d forbid, follow it.”

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18 thoughts on “More Rabbinical Insanity – From the “Council of Torah Sages” – Ultrasounds, If Only Men Carried the Babies…

  1. You are completely right and accurate to say that ultrasounds allow early detection and correction of fixable conditions. Used in this way, ultrasound is compassionate and necessary.

    It is unfortunate that some people use the ultrasound to decide against birth because of gender. When used to decide whether we want to terminate the pregnancy based on “I only wanted a boy/girl”, it is wrong. This is done more than people know. it is sad.

    • The use of ultrasound to “gender choose” is actually quite rare. And the use of ultrasound wherein unexpected conditions are found and fixed (like hydro-nephratic kidneys found in utero) is far more often. One far outweighs the other. Again and to reiterate, for a rabbi to come out against ultrasound, is a travesty. Ultrasound saved the life of this LM blogger and this LM blogger’s eldest son. There will be little you can say that would make the Rabbi’s commentary on the subject correct from that perspective. Were it not for ultrasound, both would have died. That is the rule for use with ultrasound, not the exception. The community can be free to email this blog for a clearer picture and this LM blogger would be happy to speak live, present live, in a debate with the Rabbinical community on this subject. The men are rabbis, not doctors. Feigning intelligence on one to seemingly increase credibility on the other is destructive for all Jews, particularly the young mothers who should be aware of the things happening within their bodies during the growth of the fetus, particularly if there are unexpected problems. If Male rabbis want to prohibit something for pregnant mothers and expectant fathers, let them pray to Hashem that in his next iteration of human beings, the men be relegated to pregnancy and delivery.

  2. It is not our place in G-d’s Kingdom to decide who will live and who will die based on our own personal wishes. The Rebbe lived and worked in the USA, where personal rights take precedence over community or G-d Himself. The individual is “G-d” in the States. The Rebbe’s philosophy about the prenatal use of ultrasound was in response to the realities of the American culture. As any student of the Lubavitcher Rebbe knows, he was otherwise highly supportive of the art of medicine, being a university-trained person himself. It is the obligation of every skilled, educated believer in HaShem to use his or her abilities to save or enhance lives, not to make our own decisions if who deserves to be helped. It is because of the hardness of many people’s hearts that the Rebbe taught to judge the need or motivation for an ultrasound.

    • So years ago, absent ultrasound, an amniocentesis was the “standard of care” for high risk patients. The risk was ascertained by blood tests, often yielding inaccurate results because they are based upon numerical statistics. Amniosentesis is a highly risky procedure done fairly late in the pregnancy. Ultrasound has advanced medicine so that particular procedure’s necessity is as a last resort. Do you have any idea how many children have been saved invitro because of an ultrasound?

      • Absolutely true! Ultrasound is without question a life saver, both for the mother and fetus.

        The issue is to use it for exactly that — to save or improve a life. It is the obligation of every skilled, educated believer in HaShem to use his or her abilities to save or enhance lives.

        The problem is when it is being used to decide whether the little person in there is wanted or not wanted. it is not our place to make our own decisions if who deserves to be helped. We are obligated to help in every way we can. Unfortunately, not everyone uses the ultrasound for this purpose, but to decide (believe it or not) whether to kill the fetus based on gender.

        • We have a fundamental disagreement on the belief in whether a mother has the right to end a pregnancy. However, there is NO evidence that early ultrasounds are used as a decision-maker for continuing a pregnancy. Where the ultrasound may be used if it is determined that there is a severe birth defect and a parent decides to end the pregnancy. However, most often that is not where the ultrasound even comes to play except after significant testing. Regardless, for a Rabbi to come forward as opposed to ultrasound – and this is a rabbi who is highly esteemed, is an utter shanda, a travesty of epic proportions in our faith. He is advocating against the use of medicine for fear that in some circumstances the medicine may be used for purposes that are anti-halachic, rather than advocating for using that medicine to protect the health and safety of a community. That is where we take offense.

  3. To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead…Thomas Paine

    • If we are to be concerned about the attitude that “holds humanity in contempt,” then we we need to be concerned about a person’s motivation for using the ultrasound. There truly are people who might want to see by ultrasound whether he/she will want to keep the baby or abort it. If the ultrasound is being used to protect lives or improve fetal viability, then it is the blessing that HaShem requires of us. Yes, the Rebbe was quite rightly opposed to the use of ultrasounds prenatally unless there was a good reason for it. This is a judgement call—- but this is exactly what good medical practice is all about.

      • And why would they want to abort: missing a few limbs, or something unimportant like that? We are not talking about aborting because of the sex of the baby. In Australia, ultrasound is “strongly recommended as standard practice in early pregnancy” in order to detect fetal abnormalities. That is considered by (eg) the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne as being “a good reason”, I wonder what led the rebbe, with his vast medical knowledge, to the contrary view…

        • Ultrasounds detect even more than missing limbs. They can detect other issues that threaten the life of both mother and fetus, and of which, thankfully, early intervention can reverse the situation. Early detection by ultrasound can lead to appropriate follow-up prenatal or delivery care. It is, as you say, our standard practice, and rightly so. Unfortunately, some do indeed abort for the sex of the baby, or make other decisions in favor of or against their favored gender. This is inexcusable. The Rebbe, who was known for his tender concern for all people, was aware of this.

          • Earlier you posted “the Rebbe was quite rightly opposed to the use of ultrasounds prenatally unless there was a good reason for it”.
            Now you write “It is…our standard practice, and rightly so.”
            Do you understand the meaning of the words “standard practice”, because that is exactly what he was against?

            • It is unfortunate that some people use the ultrasound to decide against birth because of gender. It is our standard practice to use ultrasounds to save the life of, or improve the condition of, the fetus and mother. When used to safeguard life, it is being used for “good reason.” When used to decide whether we want to terminate based on gender, it is wrong.

              • It is a statistic anomaly if you look at the numbers (and believe the statistics – which we do) that this is the reason for ultrasound. But, we also disagree with that use of the ultrasound. That said, the rabbis are trying to put a prohibition on the use of ultra-sound for any reason and this should be an abhorrent prohibition.

      • Did you know that an ultrasound early in pregnancy can detect a kidney problem in a baby, a non-functioning kidney. Such detection can allow doctors the opportunity to prepare for dealing witha that kidney problem immediately at birth, rather than having a child die in utero of sepsis or similarly get poisoned post delivery. However, often those types of issues are detected “by chance” because of the use of ultrasounds. The rebbe making such a statement is simply taking away control, control for families and for pregnant mothers, raising the chance of diseases and issues that could be fixed. It was HaShem who gave us the brains and capacity as humans to make these discoveries. It is his oversight that has brought us so far in science. What the Rebbe is in essence doing is overriding playing G-d himself, taking away from the creation by G-d’s creatures. Seems to us, that is taking a bit too much in his hands.

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