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The Placebo Effect

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Miscellaneous » Health Issues » Medical Ethics | Subscribe | What is RSS?


It’s a well-documented medical reality: a patient’s symptoms can be alleviated by a bogus medication or treatment, simply because the individual expects and believes that it will work.

My limited research into this subject (special thanks to revealed that placeboes are most effective in the “treatment” of subjective symptoms, such as pain or depression, which are largely dependent on the patient’s evaluation of the situation.

They do little to actually heal illnesses whose symptoms can be objectively monitored. In addition, the placebo’s healing powers do not measure up to the real thing. In order for a new medication to be approved by the FDA, its manufacturer must demonstrate through clinical trials that it is significantly more effective than a placebo.

Critical to the physical health of every limb of the body is the maintenance of healthy channels which link to its life-source. This is the nervous system that connects the limb to the brain, and blood vessels which allow for the unimpeded flow of life-giving blood to and from the heart.

The health of the soul, too, is dependent on its maintaining a strong connection to its Divine life-source. This connection is maintained through a balanced diet of Torah and a regular regimen of mitzvah exercise
When, G-d forbid, these channels are impaired, a) the functionality of the limb is compromised or even completely paralyzed, and b) the affected limb suffers great pain. Whereas a placebo might allay the pain, one needs to undergo real medical treatment to remedy the underlying problem.

The health of the soul, too, is dependent on its maintaining a strong connection to its Divine life-source. This connection is maintained through a balanced diet of Torah and a regular regimen of Mitzvah exercise. If this connection is compromised due to neglect, the person loses spiritual functionality.

A Jewish soul is placed in this world in order to fashion a divine abode of himself and his surroundings. When the spiritual lifelines are clogged, implementation of this mission is impossible. Furthermore, this condition invariably causes a Jew great emotional and psychological pain. The soul’s throbbing is acutely felt by the individual—although he is often unaware of its cause.

This pain drives many a person to experiment with many different varieties of placeboes; alternative spiritual disciplines and causes intended to alleviate the soul’s pain.

Often, these placebos offer some measure of relief from the painful symptoms of the spiritual malaise—but their success rate pales in comparison to the real treatment. More importantly, they certainly do nothing to restore functionality to the ailing soul.

So don’t settle for anything less than the real deal. Speak to your local spiritual medical practitioner (a.k.a. “rabbi,” “Rebbetzin,” or other spiritual mentor), and sign up for the treatment which has been boasting a 100% success rate for more than three millennium!  


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Philosophy » Soul
Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » Other Religions - Missionaries

(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.
Rabbi's wife.