The recent African Ebola outbreak has brought about many interesting topics. One such topic is that of medical regiments for dealing with such outbreaks.
This week we saw the Barack Obama administration bringing infected people directly in through the front doors of the USA; people who could have been treated at the place of the outbreak.
The Barack Obama administration also brought in people for a summit who, as far as we know (but who knows), are not infected but yet who are from the very place(s) where the infection is spreading.
We have all heard of the story about that brilliant doctor who argued for the utilization of disinfectant because of invisible little bugs—how quaint. Well, he was right and infection was greatly reduced.
Yet, that was merely just over a century ago and the Barack Obama administration is, this very day, not following the most basic of quarantining procedures.
Well, they may be allowing this strain of Ebola within the US borders in order to get access at the virus and use it for that which they will.
However, our point is that Barack Obama administration and our view of the brilliant good doctor who insisted in invisible little bugs should have learned a lesson about regimented medical procedures from Moses or, rather, from YHVH via Moses.
Indeed, millennia ago the Torah noted the following. It does not deal with Ebola but leprosy but demonstrates a highly sophisticated view of observation and quarantine procedures from which we could still learn today.
Leviticus 13 states:
Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes an infection of leprosy on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. The priest shall look at the mark on the skin of the body, and if the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is an infection of leprosy; when the priest has looked at him, he shall pronounce him unclean.”
This is a straight forward case and the person is considered “unclean” which is an important part of the quarantine, as we shall see.
“But if the bright spot is white on the skin of his body, and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and the hair on it has not turned white, then the priest shall isolate him who has the infection for seven days. The priest shall look at him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the infection has not changed and the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days. The priest shall look at him again on the seventh day, and if the infection has faded and the mark has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only a scab. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean. But if the scab spreads farther on the skin after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again to the priest. The priest shall look, and if the scab has spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is leprosy.”
The priest/doctor is to make the initial observation and engages in a scientific procedure of repeated observation.
There are also ways to determine the severity of the infection.
“When the infection of leprosy is on a man, then he shall be brought to the priest. The priest shall then look, and if there is a white swelling in the skin, and it has turned the hair white, and there is quick raw flesh in the swelling, it is a chronic leprosy on the skin of his body…
If the leprosy breaks out farther on the skin, and the leprosy covers all the skin of him who has the infection from his head even to his feet, as far as the priest can see, then the priest shall look, and behold, if the leprosy has covered all his body, he shall pronounce clean him who has the infection; it has all turned white and he is clean.
But whenever raw flesh appears on him, he shall be unclean. The priest shall look at the raw flesh, and he shall pronounce him unclean; the raw flesh is unclean, it is leprosy. Or if the raw flesh turns again and is changed to white, then he shall come to the priest, and the priest shall look at him, and behold, if the infection has turned to white, then the priest shall pronounce clean him who has the infection; he is clean.”
There are further instructions which include quarantine such as “the priest shall isolate him for seven days” and also specific instructions regarding if there is an infection on the head or beard.
Also included are instructions for the leprous person to stated “Unclean! Unclean!” when other people are around so as to be made aware to keep their distance’ and they were to dwell “outside the camp.”
And we find instructions on how to deal with “a garment has a mark of leprosy in it” which includes, that the “leprous mark and shall be shown to the priest. Then the priest shall look at the mark and shall quarantine the article with the mark for seven days.” If it is determined to be infected, “he shall burn the garment.”
And “if the priest looks, and if the mark has faded after it has been washed, then he shall tear it out of the garment…and if it appears again…it is an outbreak; the article with the mark shall be burned in the fire. The garment, whether the warp or the woof, or any article of leather from which the mark has departed when you washed it, it shall then be washed a second time and will be clean.”
Leviticus 14 continues the instructions, which combine rituals with physical washing, etc.
It also includes how to deal with “a mark of leprosy on a house” at which time:
“The priest shall then command that they empty the house before the priest goes in to look at the mark, so that everything in the house need not become unclean; and afterward the priest shall go in to look at the house…the priest shall come out of the house, to the doorway, and quarantine the house for seven days. The priest shall return on the seventh day and make an inspection.
If the mark has indeed spread in the walls of the house, then the priest shall order them to tear out the stones with the mark in them and throw them away at an unclean place outside the city. He shall have the house scraped all around inside, and they shall dump the plaster that they scrape off at an unclean place outside the city. Then they shall take other stones and replace those stones, and he shall take other plaster and replaster the house.
If, however, the mark breaks out again in the house after he has torn out the stones and scraped the house, and after it has been replastered, then the priest shall come in and make an inspection. If he sees that the mark has indeed spread in the house, it is a malignant mark in the house; it is unclean. He shall therefore tear down the house, its stones, and its timbers, and all the plaster of the house, and he shall take them outside the city to an unclean place. Moreover, whoever goes into the house during the time that he has quarantined it, becomes unclean until evening. Likewise, whoever lies down in the house shall wash his clothes, and whoever eats in the house shall wash his clothes.
If, on the other hand, the priest comes in and makes an inspection and the mark has not indeed spread in the house after the house has been replastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean because the mark has not reappeared….
This is the law for any mark of leprosy—even for a scale, and for the leprous garment or house, and for a swelling, and for a scab, and for a bright spot—to teach when they are unclean and when they are clean. This is the law of leprosy.
These procedures are up to date science. They were written during a time when many cultures would have dealt with the issue by making human sacrifices to false gods, or something. And, they make for good reading to a modern day culture that is importing virus diseases.
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