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The Gemoro in Kiddushin 81b brings down the following (shortened version of the) story:

Rabbi Chiya Bar Ashi used to say 'May God save me from the Yetzer Hora'! When his wife overheard him she said he is anyway old already, why does he need to pray such? She dressed herself up as a prostitute and paraded in front of him. She told him she was a famous protistute who had just returned from overseas. He requested relations with her and she said 'first fetch me that pomegranate'. Meanwhile she dissappeard. When he came home he went and sat in the oven. When his wife asked him what he was doing he told her the story. She then told him not to worry because it was herself anyway, and he only believed her after she proved it with Simonim. However he fasted the rest of his life to repent on trying to do an aveirah.

Rashi says why did he sit himself in the oven? 'To kill himself'!

Can we deduce from here that Rabbi Chiya Bar Ashi held it is permitted to kill oneself to atone for a sin? If so, would it follow that he would hold it is permitted to kill oneself prior to sinning in order to avoid a sin if that is the only way?

Please note that all Halachic decisors from later generations to today agree that the Halacha is that it is forbidden to kill oneself, and no one should assume the law is otherwise based on this story. This question is to understand the implication of R' Chiya Bar Ashi's actions only!

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I think the site should be very careful about posting a question like this -- it has the potential to be very dangerous. – Curiouser Jul 12 '12 at 21:40
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Good question, and of course CYLOR for practical halakha. – Adam Mosheh Jul 12 '12 at 21:57
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You answered part one at the end. You can cite those sources and write it up as answer to your own question if you'd like. As for part two, it would not follow. – Seth J Jul 12 '12 at 22:16
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I also don't think it benefits either site to cross-post material from one to the other. -1 from me. – Seth J Jul 12 '12 at 22:19
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@Yehuda I don't see the humor in your comment about a lifeline number; and the idea that Adam Mosheh recommends CYLOR is tragically obtuse. – Curiouser Jul 13 '12 at 0:29

This is an important question, there are several examples of Rabbis that "Teshuva killed them". We see the case cited (BTW, in the Translation it seems to lakes the end of the statement "עד שמת באותה מיתה", "until he died from this death"). The case of the nevew of Rabbi Yosse Ben Yoezer Ish Tsereda Bereshit Rabba 65, 22, the case or Rabbi Eliezer Ben Dordea Masechet Avoda Zara 17b and the case of the Coves (fuller) Masechet Ketubot 103b

  1. See this post in the paragraph "cases of suicide directed by Teshuva";
  2. See this post in the paragraph "a surprising Gemara in Ketubot" with the note number 4;

The issue is that in some situations for a righteous man, some errors are very painfull and they do not continue to live. Nobody as said that they need to commit suicide as a positive act. The suicide is a testimony of how many truth was deep within him, how many painfull was the remotness from truth. If truth was a very sensitive issue, this demonstrate that they was great men, but suicide was a "side effect".

There are cases of shame, even if the "suicided" has not commited any error; Berachot 23a:

For a certain student once left his tefillin in a hole adjoining the public way, and a harlot passed by and took them, and she came to the Beth ha-Midrash and said: See what So-and-so gave me for my hire, and when the student heard it, he went to the top of a roof and threw himself down and killed himself.

But it seems that the Gemara in Kiddushin shows a mixture of Teshuva and shame not necessarily linked with teshuva. But he was a big Tsadik and the rule of Kaf zechut obvioulsy shows that he died d.t. Teshuva.

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In yesterday's daf yomi I think was mentioned the shlah proves from this gemara you can commit suicide to attain atonement.

The wife was obviously pretty stupid.

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When you write "yesterday's daf yomi" think about readers 2 months from now ... do you mean Kiddushin 80? (not even sure since I don't what time zone you are in) – mbloch Jun 2 at 8:25

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