Leprosy to Plague Gossip Capital of the World

“As for those peoples that warred against Yerushalayim, Hashem will smite them with this plague: Their flesh shall rot away while they stand on their feet; their eyes shall rot away in their sockets; their tongues shall rot away in their mouths.” Zechariah 14:12 (The Israel Bible™)

Overrun with homeless, a prominent physician warns that glitzy Hollywood could be hit with an outbreak of leprosy. A closer look at the Biblical origins of this dread diseases may reveal the spiritual roots of the malady that point to the city’s glamorous image as the cause.

Dr. Marc Seigel has impeccable credentials. He is a physician, Fox News medical correspondent, and a columnist for several news outlets including the New York Post and Forbes. He is also an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. He authored two books on pandemics and epidemics.

It is for this reason that Dr. Seigel’s recent article in The Hill concerning the reappearance of certain diseases in Los Angeles is so disturbing. He warned of outbreaks of diseases “that we haven’t commonly seen since the Middle Ages.” He listed recent cases of typhus diagnosed in Los Angeles, attributing the problem to the growing number of homeless people. 

Even more disturbing was the Doctor Seigel’s warning that if the situation continues, Los Angeles may see an outbreak of Hansen’s disease, better known as leprosy. 

“The poor are disproportionately affected by this disease,” Dr. Seigel wrote. “Close quarters, poor sanitation, and lack of prompt diagnosis or treatment easily can convert a disease that should be rare to one that is more common.”

Dr. Seigel noted that according to the Center for Disease Control there are 100-200 new cases of leprosy reported in the U.S. every year. A study from the University of Southern California looked at 187 leprosy patients treated at its clinic from 1973 to 2018 and found that most were Latino, originating from Mexico, where the disease is somewhat more common, and that there was on average a three-year delay in diagnosis, during which time the side effects of the disease — usually irreversible, even with treatment — began to occur.

“Given that, there is certainly the possibility of sporadic cases of leprosy continuing to be brought across our southern border undetected,” Dr. Seigel wrote. “It seems only a matter of time before leprosy could take hold among the homeless population in an area such as Los Angeles County, with close to 60,000 homeless people and 75 percent of those lacking even temporary shelter or adequate hygiene and medical treatment… Leprosy appearing among the homeless in L.A. is a sure recipe for instant public panic.”

Leprosy (tzaraath in Hebrew) was a major theme in the Torah and was mentioned over 20 times. The spiritual cause of this horrific physical ailment was hinted at when Miriam was stricken with tzaraath for her involvement in slandering Moses. 

As the cloud withdrew from the Tent, there was Miriam stricken with snow-white scales! When Aharon turned toward Miriam, he saw that she was stricken with scales. And Aharon said to Moshe, “O my lord, account not to us the sin which we committed in our folly. Numbers 12:10

As home to Hollywood, Los Angeles is labeled the entertainment capital of the world. Hollywood is the world’s oldest national film industry and remains the largest with  2.6 billion tickets sold annually for 1,813 feature films. But Hollywood sells far more than entertainment. The combined revenue for the celebrity gossip industry is estimated at $3 billion.

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, noted the connection between the city’s spiritual state and the impending medical crisis. 

“This has many spiritual sources.,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “It does not matter the size of the city. A city built on communal prayer and worship would never allow such a situation with so many homeless to take hold.”

Tzaraath shows us that something is broken in how the community relates to each other. And the cure was to go to the kohen (a male descendant of Aaron the priest). The Temple was where we all came together three times every year and worshipped hashem (God, literally, ‘the name’).”

“God does not bring disease or troubles without first bringing the cure. We can rest assured that if tzaraath does reappear, it is a sure sign that hashem is going to bring back the cure in the form of the Temple service.” 

Dr. Seigel may be amenable to this type of Biblical advice for coping with pandemics. In an article in the NY Post in 2009 titled I Choose Maimonides Over Obama, Dr. Klein linked former-President Obama’s healthcare reforms to legalized euthanasia. 

“I don’t take guidance on how to practice medicine from presidential decree,” Dr. Klein wrote. “But from the Oath of Maimonides.”

Dr. Seigel is not alone in his concern. In July, celebrity physician Dr. Drew Pinsky warned that the homeless situation in Los Angeles could very well lead to an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague. Another disease, an outbreak of flesh-eating bacteria, has plagued bathers on the Atlantic Coast.