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if a man needs to be brought to the hospital on Shabbat, and another man brings him, is the second man allowed to go back home by car?

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3 Answers 3

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I too must echo YS that this must be discussed with one's own halachic authority if it is a practical concern (as my teacher instructed us when teaching this topic).

Rav Moshe Feinstein zt'l ruled that one may return in order that one is able to assist the next time (I have not studied this inside but a quick glance and the secondary literature would seem to suggest that this leniency might be limited to professionals). Igros Moshe O.C. 4:80

Rabbi Ostroff has said that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbauch zt'l prohibited one from violating a Torah prohibition to return from an emergency call on Shabbos, but permitted violating a Rabbinic prohibition (i.e. instructing a non-Jew to drive oneself home). It would seem that Rav Yitzchak Yosef shlita also prohibits driving home oneself (Yalkut Yosef 328 page 208, cited in Practical Laws of Shabbat Part 2, Rabbi Rafael Cohen Soae, page 224).

One who has gone to retrieve a doctor may return with him to help show the most direct way and/or otherwise assist (Yalkut Yosef 328 page 210).

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This happens to be a Hot Button topic in Hatzalah depending on which branch they follow diffrent Poskim and therfore go with a different Psak so like everything else Ask your local Posek. For more Background stuff see here http://rabbikaganoff.com/archives/28 and I highly suggest Nishmas Avrham

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I would think that it would be forbidden in most circumstance, but I thought of one that might permit it. Here goes. Would it make a difference if the person driving the choleh to the hospital would otherwise not agree to drive him unless it was on condition that he could get a heter to drive back home afterwards? I think that if so, and assuming you couldn't find anyone else to drive the choleh, it would be permissible to let him drive back because otherwise there is a pikuach nefesh problem and he would die, ch"v.

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But if that man is shomer Tora then he must ask himself before the return trip whether it's permissible, no? –  msh210 Feb 20 '12 at 5:59
@msh210 - assuming he wasn't, but still you had to violate Lifnei Iver and tell him it was allowed or else you wouldn't have anyone else to drive. –  Adam Mosheh Feb 20 '12 at 6:00
@msh210 - but why would it make a difference if he was or wasn't? He wanted to be home with his family for whatever reason. Maybe he has a big taavah for driving on shabbos. Whatever it is. –  Adam Mosheh Feb 20 '12 at 6:49
I only said "if that man is shomer Tora" because others presumably won't ask themselves that. –  msh210 Feb 20 '12 at 6:52
Yes, but it is still lifnei iver lo sitein mikhshol... –  Adam Mosheh Feb 20 '12 at 6:55

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