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Don’t Mess With Mother Nature?

As with most science, medical technology can be both a blessing and a curse. Our charge is to use such technology for good and not ill. The problem, of course, is that choosing a course that does “good” and not “ill” is not always clear.

Take for example the recent report that Seattle doctors treated a severely disabled six year old with estrogen therapy to stunt her growth. This will make it easier for her to be cared for longer by her parents in her own home where she can be included lovingly as part of her family. That is a good thing. But is it “ill” to mess with Mother Nature?


As Jews, we believe our bodies belong to God. We are thus obligated not to wound ourselves or others. Concurrently we are also obligated to heal ourselves and others. Our rabbinic sages understood that this sometimes entails wounding in order to heal. The classic example they give is amputating a limb to save someone’s life. Is the case of this young girl similar?

In complicated cases, like the one above, Jewish law has preferred to deal with such questions on a case by case basis to allow the particular conditions of the case to be considered. If a rabbi had been consulted, he or she may have asked some of the following questions: What is the effect of this therapy on the girl’s mental development? If it stunted her mental development, that would be an ancillary form of wounding that would make it difficult to justify the therapy. Does the therapy really make it more likely that the girl will have a better and longer quality of life (possibly a legitimate reason for the therapy) or will it just make it easier for the parents (not a legitimate reason for the therapy under Jewish law)?


While we must always be wary of the slippery slope, and while we also must be wary of protecting the value of all life as God gave it, there are times when we can utilize the gifts God has granted us to use our world to do good. If this therapy does help this young girl and not only her parents, and if it does her no other harm than keep her small, I can understand, and approve, of what these Seattle doctors did in their own efforts to do good and not harm.

— Posted by Rabbi Susan Grossman

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alberto fraga

posted January 17, 2007 at 9:41 pm

A long time ago, they said that Presidents should not declare against a war that is going on, and he declare for the first time, against the war. That is clomsley, and ingenious or a stupidity that rank not for ex President and his experience. If we loose the war, Afganistan, maybe will be the first aim of Alqaida, and Israel is going to have more enemies in the region not only that she is a democracy but the old religion that has torn the region with beieng enemies when it should not be. He should declare that it was a mistake to tell that in Public and apologize to President Bush that he needs that ideological feedback and solidarity in the same goal. He is along and Congress gave him 21,000 soldier in an effort to rescue so kind of help to the Irak so that the could stabilize that country. Jeaulosy and Politican could not blind us in stake of a war that need us vertically and not to degenarete in the US in faction and not a Party rivalry. If I was him I would declare that it was not intent to do that and tell President that he is willing to put back all the words and assit him in his lonely effort to try to rescue that country at defend that war that casue a lot of blood. We can not revive the soldiers that die, but is not the same to compare that country to Viet Nam that was lost more years ago, and tell them that we are so chicken that we want them to come back. War is war, and sometimes is not easy to fight and it could have some set back. I don’t think that he said that for a bad purpose but is completly naive to be a ex President and not be courage to the troop that risking theire lifes in that effort. I hope that we will win, and at the end all will be satisfaid having a democrazcy in that region. Afganistan, Irak and Israel. Alberto Fraga.

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