I have heard many times that there will always be at least one illness that is uncurable. Is this a Jewish idea? What is its source?

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    There is an uncurable illness? Doesn't sound very Jewish to me. We believe that God always sends the cure before the disease (Megillah 13b). So this is quite the opposite of a Jewish belief. – Double AA Jun 1 '12 at 4:06
  • @DoubleAA: Although the title does say "unknown cure" – Menachem Jun 1 '12 at 4:36
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    @DoubleAA: I always interpreted "Makdim Refuah LeMakeh" that cure exists for the illness, even if it hasn't been discovered yet. A perfect example is small pox. Small Pox was around from the beginning of time (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox), but the Refuah wasn't discovered until late 1700s (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smallpox_vaccine). The vaccine was from cowpox, which had also been around forever. So G-d provided the cure from the beginning, but it wasn't discovered until centuries later. If so, the question is, will there always be undiscovered cures in the world? – Menachem Jun 1 '12 at 6:20
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    @DoubleAA: I've never heard the saying, but my point was that I can understand the question if we say there will always be a disease with an undiscovered cure, since we see many instances where the cure to a sickness was discovered long after the sickness itself, and there are still sicknesses today that have no known cure. – Menachem Jun 1 '12 at 6:43
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    This is not an answer, which is why I'm not posting it as such, but there's a story (the veracity of which I can in no way vouch for) that the Chazon Ish claimed that he could cure cancer (presumably through his genius, by discovering the cure, though I've seen some interpret it as meaning that he could divine the cure through ruach hakodesh; in any event) but he did not do so because God would simply send along another illness as bad. This story is mentioned (in one of its variants) at parsha.blogspot.com/2009/07/… for example. – msh210 Jun 6 '12 at 22:27

I'm thinking no because in Sefer Nishmat Avraham- Orach Chaim Siman 1 it is written: "Indeed, Chazal stated: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: There is no illness for which a complete cure is not already present.

The footnote says(I'm translating from Hebrew) Tanchumah Yitro Chet

  • see the comments on the question. That doesn't necessarily answer the question asked. – Menachem Jul 21 '13 at 7:33
  • @Menachem I've read through the comments. Can you tell me what I am missing in regard to what the questioner wants? – Bochur613 Jul 21 '13 at 14:57
  • I think the question is will there ever be a time when all diseases have known cures, or will there always be diseases with unknown cures. – Menachem Jul 21 '13 at 15:04
  • @Menachem Well I think that based on the statement I posted as an answer, the first statement you made seems true; just will take a very long time. In regard to the second statement (again based off my answer), unknown cures means that it is not currently known; doesn't mean we will never know. – Bochur613 Jul 21 '13 at 15:11
  • @Menachem It seems to me that the only acceptable answer to the question would be 'yes' since it would be impossible to prove that no Jew ever said this. I assume the implication of the question is "is this idea consistent with the classic, reputable, conventional sources?" in which case the g'mara cited by DoubleAA and the midrash quoted here would indeed incline towards "no". – WAF Jul 21 '13 at 19:30

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