Medical Miracles

Our six-year-old son – our first child – is starting first grade in September. He enjoyed his preschool kindergarten, but we worry if he will fit in easily at school, where everything is more regimented. How can we help him prepare for this big change? B.N., Trenton, New Jersey, US

It certainly hasn’t reached the dimensions of the Ten Biblical Plagues, but leishmaniasis – dubbed “Rose of Jericho” because of the red rash it can cause – is a potentially disfiguring but not life-threatening skin disease. It is endemic to the Middle East, Latin America, southern Europe and other hot regions and is spreading, causing concern to Israeli parasitologists and dermatologists.  

Religions do not regard gluttony (from the Latin word for “gulping down”) as a virtue. According to the list compiled by the great Middle Ages Jewish scholar and physician Maimonides (the Rambam), of the 613 commandments that Jews must observe, excessive eating or drinking is prohibited (and is listed as #169). In Christianity too, overindulgence at the dinner table is regarded as a transgression and even one of the Seven Deadly Sins.