24 Apr Healing Blemishes; Vayikra-Tazria- PTSD & The Holocaust (Yom HaShoah)
The Book of Vayikra [ Vayikra-Shemini-Tazria-Metzora]
and The Remnants of the Holocaust & PTSD
The Parshas of the Torah that deal with the ‘healing of a blemish’ coincide with Pesach journey out of Mitzrayim and the concept of healing a blemish such as through korbonos (sacrifices) or the healing of the blemishes of tzaraas (loosely translated as leprosy) .The insights that these teachings holds the understand that the journey of healing our individual and collective ‘blemishes’ is integral to bringing about the Final Redemption… Mashiach.
The following comes from publications of R. Yehuda NY Mt Sinai -National Institute of Health, and N.P.F. Kellerman Phd National Israeli Center for Psychosocial Support of Survivors of the Holocaust and the Second Generation amongst other notable publications.
The NIH publish that the ‘descendants of holocaust survivors have altered stress hormones ie Cortsol. The traumatic experience may compromise the abilities of offspring (Children of Survivors, 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation) to bounce back from trauma. As we see, the comorbid ( aka concurrent disorders) number of those survivors affected with PTSD is 91.8% (NIH) with next generation ‘Children of the Holocaust’ at 74%’ PTSD and comorbid disorder. NIH
Comorbid or concurrent disorders means that there is more than a single malady. Regarding PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), comorbid issues may include amongst them; depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, narcissism, Schizophrenia. These stresses can contribute to issues of various forms of Dementia.
‘R.Yehuda Phd, a researcher in the growing field of epigenetics and the intergenerational effects of trauma, and her colleagues have long studied mass trauma survivors and their offspring. Their latest results reveal that descendants of people who survived the Holocaust have different stress hormone profiles than their peers, perhaps predisposing them to anxiety disorders
Most recently, a new study looked at the descendants of the Holocaust survivors. Like their parents, many have low levels of cortisol, particularly if their mothers had PTSD. Yet unlike their parents, they have higher than normal levels of the cortisol-busting enzyme. Yehuda and her colleagues theorize that this adaptation happened in utero. The enzyme is usually present in high levels in the placenta to protect the fetus from the mother’s circulating cortisol. If pregnant survivors had low levels of the enzyme in the placenta, a greater amount of cortisol could make its way to the fetus, which would then develop high levels of the enzyme to protect itself.’ nih
‘Numerous studies have examined how the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been passed on to the children of Holocaust survivors. New research now indicates that transmission of these traits is passed on through genes from the parents of survivors to children.
So-called “intergenerational trauma” has been identified in academic literature before, but Rachel Yehuda, PhD, director of the traumatic stress studies division at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and colleagues demonstrate that “epigenetic changes,” or changes in the genome, can be passed on from parent to child. psychiatry advisor. (cortisol levels are effected.’) nih
Of those who may have been indirectly affected; The Chodlren of the Holocaust’ and the following generation May have been raised (unconsciously) in an environment of fear and oppression that once haunted those who survived the holocaust. The issues of mental, emotional and even compromised body chemistry (ie cortisol levels) have led to further generations’ dysfunction.
Having been in the addiction community for over 19 years I estimate that there is an alarming number of Jewish addicts (70% + ) that have had exposure to the Holocaust by a parent or grandparent.
The damage did not end because the Holocaust ended. We remain with work to do… with blemishes to heal.
Leib Getzel (Lawrence) Lax
Addictions and Counseling