Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

A friend of mine has a medical condition. Doctors recommend a difficult surgery, which should stop the problem. If he does not undergo that surgery, his situation will deteriorate further, they say, and will severely adversely affect his quality of life (but will not be life threathening). He prefers to not do the surgery for whatever reason.

Is the person obligated to follow the doctors according to Halacha?

Please source.

share|improve this question
It would probably fall under pikuach nefesh, so yes? Does he have any medical reasons not to go through with the surgery? –  rosenjcb Mar 27 at 16:06
you need to consider their age, condition > every case is different. –  sharshi Mar 27 at 20:15

1 Answer 1

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 192:3 has this to say:

הַתּוֹרָה נָתְנָה רְשׁוּת לָרוֹפֵא שֶׁיְרַפֵּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וְרַפֹּא יְרַפֵּא. וְלָכֵן אֵין לוֹ לַחוֹלֶה לִסְמֹךְ עַל הַנֵּס, אֶלָּא חַיָב לְהִתְנַהֵג בְּדֶרֶךְ הָעוֹלָם לִקְרוֹא לְרוֹפֵא שֶׁיְרַפֵּהוּ. וּכְבָר כַּמָה חֲסִידֵי עוֹלָם נִתְרַפְּאוּ עַל יְדֵי רוֹפְאִים. וּמִי שֶׁמּוֹנֵעַ אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִלִּקְרוֹא לָרוֹפֵא, שְׁתַּיִם רָעוֹת הִנֵּהוּ עוֹשֶׂה, הָאַחַת, דְּאָסוּר לִסְמֹךְ עַל הַנֵּס בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁיֵּשׁ סַכָּנָה, וְדָבָר זֶה גּוֹרֵם שֶׁיִזָּכְרוּ עֲוֹנוֹתָיו בִּשְׁעַת חָלְיוֹ. וְעוֹד, דַּהֲוֵי יֻהֲרָא וְגֵאוֹת שֶׁסּוֹמֵךְ עַל צִדְקָתוֹ שֶׁיִתְרַפֵּא בְּדֶרֶךְ הַנֵּס. וְיֶשׁ לוֹ לִקְרוֹא לָרוֹפֵא הַיוֹתֵר מֻמְחֶה, וּבְכָל זֹאת לִבּוֹ יְהֵא לַשָׁמַיִם, וִיבַקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים מֵאֵת הָרוֹפֵא הַנֶּאֱמָן יִתְבָּרַךְ שְׁמוֹ, וְאַךְ בּוֹ יִבְטַח לִבּוֹ (ברכי יוסף) (וְעַיֵּן לְעֵיל סִימָן סא סָעִיף ד).‏

Pertinent points:

  • A person may not rely on mircqales when it comes to his health.
  • A person is obligated to get meidical attention.
  • A person who does not seek medical help is (1) arrogant and (2) relying on miracles which is asking for trouble.
  • A person has to go to the best doctor available for his condition.
  • A person has to keep in mind that it's not the doctor who actually heals; he is simply Hashem's messanger.

In the following paragraphs you will find the laws of which Issurim are permitted to be eaten - even if the sick person's life is not in danger. If one would be allowed to decide to simply live with it then why would Halacha permit one to eat non-Kosher food to heal oneself.

share|improve this answer
I was not referring to pikuach nefesh –  ray Mar 30 at 10:19
@ray - I saw that - and that is why I added the last piece. But I don't think the first piece is talking about Pikuach Nefesh either. –  Danny Schoemann Mar 30 at 11:26
Nahmanides and Ibn Ezra on Exodus 21 clearly disagree with this. –  Baby Seal Mar 30 at 13:14
@BabySeal - in that case your info should be another answer. BTW, IIRC the Kitzur quotes the Rambam almost verbatim on this issue. –  Danny Schoemann Mar 30 at 13:35
@DannySchoemann i wasn't critiquing, just offering more info :) pesach cleaning + college = little time, but i'll try to post soon. –  Baby Seal Mar 30 at 16:33

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.