Rabbi Avi Weinstein

Archive for the ‘epidemics’ Category

Swine Flu In the Talmud…or a pig flu by any other name is not a Mexican flu.

In epidemics, fasting, swine flu, Talmud on April 28, 2009 at 3:49 am

Timing is too strange for comfort. While innocently perusing a page of Gemara, I just happened upon the following quotation:

Once Rav Yehudah was informed that pestilence was raging among the swine and he ordained a fast. Can it then be concluded from this that Rav Yehudah is of the opinion that a plague scourging one species of animals is likely to attack also other species?

No, the case of the swine is exceptional, because their intestines are like those of human beings.
(Ta’anit 21b)

Unlike their Israeli counterparts, the sages had no problem calling a pig pestilence, a pig pestilence. No Mexican flu for them! The only question for them was “When does this flu become a fast flu”?