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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



The Two Forms of Diseases: Degenerative and Infectious

I want to bring out a very interesting observation about disease. Disease comes in two forms: one is called “degenerative” such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. This is a failure of the body within its own systems. Then, there’s what’s called “infectious diseases” which are brought about by viruses, fungi, bacteria, and so on. Why would an individual suffer from either? Some people get cancer, and some get tuberculosis, but what determines that? What you get is predetermined; nothing is by accident. The fact that you get it, as we already know, is because somewhere in your “diary” you did a sin that blocked and diverted the energy of that particular sin, therefore, the body part that corresponds to that is damaged. That’s why it becomes vulnerable to bacteria; that’s how they get in. Otherwise, they can’t. But it’s interesting to look at these two different types of diseases.

We know what an infectious disease is. For most of mankind’s history, most people died from infections,
not from degenerative diseases. They’ve always been around; there’s no question about that, but the
main thing about the killer diseases is their infectious nature, diseases like tuberculosis, typhus, typhoid,
and pathogens overall. In this generation, in the last 130 years, most people are dying not from infections. A lot of that has been cured because of antibodies, antibiotics, and so on. Most people die today from degenerative diseases
such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver; you can go down the list. The question is: what determines if a person will suffer from infectious rather than degenerative disease? It’s very hard to say because only G-d knows how a person is going to be hit related to the entire structure of his being. I believe I have a certain understanding which I’d like to share with you. When a person sins, there is what’s called, the “essential feature of the sin.” One feature is sovereignty. When you sin, you’re going against the sovereignty of G-d. G-d says: don’t do this and you do it, so you’ve defied His sovereignty. You’re not doing what He ordered, right?

I believe that will lead to what is ordained although we don’t know exactly when and how it works
because there are factors created by previous incarnations insofar as G-d takes into account not only
the sin done during the current lifetime. He looks back through all your incarnations and He says: okay,
you gotta pay back. You lived 600 years ago and that sin has never been paid back. I gotta undo what
you did 600 years ago. Only G-d has the view of the totality of your existence; that’s how He can order
the when, where, and how. I believe that infectious diseases will hit, basically, based on sovereignty. You violated sovereignty; you rebelled. He said: don’t do this, but you did it so He gets His “guards,” like viruses, gets these “guys” to go after you. These are the instruments of G-d when you think about that, therefore that person will be struck with an infectious disease. If you think about it, today, people don’t die from infectious diseases, generally. I mean, there are people who obviously do but the real killer of mankind today is degradative, degenerative maladies. The body’s “not making it” because it’s being mistreated whether because of too much sugar, too much
insulin, or cancer.

Cancer: “I’m not interested; I will exist on my own.”

Cancer is a very interesting disease. I’d like to explain how it is I believe that Cancer has its own unique
form of aveiros although we cannot always match it because only G-d can match; we don’t know the
the real history of anybody, really. Cancer is a very interesting disease. It’s when a cell in the body decides to go amok, go rogue, in two ways. People don’t really know why cancer can hit any form of life. Basically, anyone, including animals, gets cancer. Probably the only thing that doesn’t get cancer is cancer. People wonder, scientists wonder, how cancer hits everything. The second thing is that cancer can hit any organ in the body. That’s why there are hundreds of different cancers because any organ can be subject to cancer.
What is it really? One of the very important ideas, and theories, is this: every cell in an organism has to make
a decision either to be a singular organism working for itself or for a collective. Let’s consider a single
cell. It’s a one-cell idea.

So, you have the one-celled animal, the protozoa, the paramecium—I remember those things. They’re
one-celled organisms. They have to do everything by themselves— everything: digest, excrete,
reproduce, you name it; they’ve got to do it because they have “nobody” else to help them perform all
the functions that they have to do to live. They’re called “single-celled” or “single-unit.” They’re single-unit organisms—very interesting. But most organisms are multicellular. Think about that. They don’t have one cell; they have specializations. There are cells devoted to reproduction, cells devoted to digestion, cells devoted to
pumping, or whatever, trillions of cells devoted to different functions. That’s called a “collective.” As
such, what’s interesting could be to ask the cell: what are you working for? You’re working for yourself
or are you working for the collective? Every cell in the human body, basically, is working for the collective.

What does that mean? If, suddenly, the cell is not working for whatever reason, the body somehow tells
the cell: I’m sorry but you’ve got to drop dead; you’ve got to commit suicide. That’s called “apoptosis,” a
form of programmed cell death. It’s a real thing, a real function. That means the cell has to give up on its
life and commit suicide, literally, because the cell is not working for itself; it’s working for the collective,
for the organism. Every cell in the human body is working for the benefit of the organism and, therefore,
apoptosis is part of the property of every cell for its benefit. Nobody knows how cells have learned how to give up. They work for the body, not for themselves. So, if they’re asked by the brain, or whatever communicative means: I’m sorry but you’re harming us; you’ve got to go, that cell commits suicide in whatever form. There’s an entire mechanism for the way they do that. How the body does that is beyond belief.

The key concept I want to illustrate is that a cell has to make a decision, either: I tell the collective to
jump in the lake because I’m not going to commit suicide, or the cell says: okay, and it commits suicide.
Therefore, every cell in the human body has the potential to become singular, and can “go rogue.” It can
rebel—interesting—telling the rest of the body: you know where you can all go! and not do away with
itself. That’s what a cancer cell is; it takes from every other cell; it steals, and that’s how a person dies;
he “starves” to death. A cancer cell is a cell that used to be part of the collective and now it’s become a rebel, singular. So, it does two things. It takes whatever it can get and it couldn’t care less about any other cell, robbing and stealing all the nutrients so the person ultimately starves to death. The second thing is that it reproduces endlessly, and doesn’t stop. It’s immortal, which is astounding! Somehow, cancer cells have evaded
mortality. That’s the classic concept, that such cells reproduce on and on and on. It’s like a paramecium
that can reproduce, as far as I know, over and over and over; it doesn’t stop. In a certain sense, it’s
immortal. There was a very famous woman who died in the 50’s and they still have her cancer cells reproducing
thousands of times. Henrietta Lacks, I think that’s her name, a very famous woman. She died from uterine
cancer. She allowed the culturing of her cells. They’ve been growing for the last seventy-five years.
Anybody who works in the field of biology knows, that cancer cells are immortal. They defy the

What causes cancer?

Basically, it’s an abuse by the cell where the cell says: I gotta stop this nonsense.
I’m being abused all the time or I’m being mutated. I’m getting out of the collective and I’m becoming
singular. Bingo! You got cancer. You have to hope the cell is benign in that it won’t make colonies but, if
it’s malignant, it makes colonies. The essential concept of a cancer cell is that it rebels against the
collective, becomes a singular unit, and destroys the human body. That’s why it can appear in any cell in
the body and in any organism because every cell has the potential to rebel—a very interesting concept.
How does it originate? What are the metaphysical originations? Whatever sin you’ve done that
prevents the ohr of that sefira from energizing any particular organ where the cancer will grow is not a
sin of rebellion; it’s a sin of denial because that’s what a cancer cell does. It denies the organism, it says:
I’m not interested; I will exist on my own. So, I feel, in some way, that we don’t know really how the
origin of a cancer cell is really a denial of the collective. We don’t understand it, really, because the
person can say: hey, I never denied the existence of G-d. Maybe it’s a previous gilgul. We have no way to
determine the transgression that caused it, but the cancer rises from a denial of G-d’s existence. It
becomes singular expressing: hey, don’t bother me. I’m not interested in being part of the collective of
Creation. Therefore, “he” blocks whatever the sefira is in that particular organ and will, therefore,
develop a disease based on that particular sin.

By Yoeri Schepens

Sources: Weekly Hashkafa Shiur #131 given on May 16, 2023 by Rabbi Mendel Kessin @

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