Situations in which a life is threatened; most (though not all), Jewish laws are suspended in order to save a life.

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25
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7answers
2k views

Are you allowed to save a non-Jew's life on shabbos?

Is a Jew allowed to violate shabbos to save a non-Jew's life?
24
votes
1answer
441 views

Setting aside Shabbat to answer the President's call

In an old MSNBC news story about Jack Lew, a Shabbat-observant Jew who was just appointed to be the new White House Chief of Staff, there's a story about his getting a call from President Clinton when ...
23
votes
2answers
340 views

Is it a mitzva to escape the death penalty?

If someone is being led to his death by bes din (a Jewish court), is he supposed to try to escape, since, in general, saving one's own life is paramount? More: normally, we say that if someone is out ...
18
votes
4answers
557 views

Does a Food Mashgiach have to Sacrifice his Life?

Suppose a Mashgiach of a food establishment is threatened to "keep quiet" about some of the questionable behaviors [for purposes of the question, consider both actual non-kosher, and possibly ...
18
votes
2answers
232 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Beer Sheva, Israel where there are presently ongoing rockets fired at us from Gaza. We are warned of an impending rocket by a loud siren that gives us less than a minute to run to a bomb ...
15
votes
2answers
327 views

Can one join an army?

Is one allowed to join an army (let's say not the Israeli one) as doing so is putting oneself in a place of sakana? If one is not allowed to join an army in general, is one allowed to join an army ...
14
votes
3answers
512 views

Is Pork, Camel, and the like Fleishig?

If one somehow consumed meat of a non-kosher species such as camel or pork (e.g. life-threatening illness, or by accident), does s/he become Fleishig? Why or why not?
14
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1answer
300 views

According to Halacha, may we endanger many Jewish lives in order to definitely save one Jew?

For example, what does Halacha say about the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange? "Save" means "free from captivity," although in many cases it's the same thing as saving his\her life (e.g. if we didn't ...
13
votes
3answers
722 views

Is Metzitzah B'peh a must?

There is a lot of talk in the news, etc., about Metzitzah B'peh that employs direct oral contact being dangerous. First: If it is dangerous, shouldn't pikuach nefesh push it off? Second: How ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is a woman allowed to get pregnant?

This should be taken as a bit of a light hearted question (but not a Purim Torah by any means, I am looking for a real analysis), inspired by a discussion in chat. Why is a woman allowed to get ...
11
votes
1answer
126 views

Tahara procedure for a body with an infectious disease

I've heard that one vector for the spread of Ebola is ceremonial contact that family members have with the body of their deceased relative. That led me to think about how Judaism deals with this ...
11
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2answers
163 views

What is the status of a Kli Shemelachto LeIssur that's only used for Pikuach Nefesh?

What is the status of a kli whose primary use would be forbidden on Shabbos, but it is only used in a case of Pikuach Nefesh. Is it a Kli Shemelachto LeIssur or Kli Shemelachto Leheter? Examples: ...
10
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1answer
63 views

Can I choose not to violate Shabbos for “pikuach nefesh”?

According to the Gemara (Yoma 85a-b) and Poskim (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 328, Rambam, Hilchot Shabbos 2 [English Rambam]), one is allowed to violate Shabbos in order to preserve his life. This is ...
9
votes
3answers
112 views

Does learning Torah or doing Mitzvos protect others from enemies?

I know from the gemarah Bava Basra 7b-8a that learning (being a talmid chacham) or doing many mitzvos can protect oneself from enemies (such that when a city is taxed for a wall that was built to ...
8
votes
2answers
269 views

Does one make a blessing if preparing to die al kiddush Hashem?

If one is reasonably sure that he is about to die al kiddush Hashem does he make a blessing before fulfilling this mitzvah? What would the nusach (text) of this blessing be? Note: I realize that even ...
8
votes
2answers
358 views

Are Jews permitted to martyr themselves?

Are Jews permitted to martyr themselves? For example, if it is a question of converting or being killed, is the Jew permitted to sacrifice himself rather than convert? Separately: which would be ...
8
votes
1answer
317 views

Are “things we don't do because of danger” also dangerous to non-Jews?

There are some things that we don't do because of the danger. Things we do not do because of Danger has a list of some of them. Are these things dangerous to non-Jews as well?
8
votes
1answer
216 views

“Torturing for Information” in Halacha

Would torture to extract information to save lives (eg in the Ticking time bomb case) be permitted according to Judaism? What's the status of torture in Halacha? And if it is permitted in certain ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

On “he who saved one life saves the world”

According to Talmud (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a), Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it ...
8
votes
1answer
159 views

Sharp sword on the throat

The Gemara says Berachot 10a אפי' חרב חדה מונחת על צוארו של אדם אל ימנע עצמו מן הרחמים Even if a sharp sword is resting on one's thought he shouldn't hold back from (asking for) mercy." Why ...
8
votes
1answer
129 views

Volunteering for certain harm

During the Fukushima nuclear disaster elderly people volunteered to work in high radiation environments to fix the problem, because they felt less concerned about dying. Either they were more ...
8
votes
1answer
174 views

Does a Rabbi have to sink with his ship?

There is a famous story (mentioned in his wikipedia article) that R' Elchonon Wasserman visited the United States before the war. He had the option to stay, but he refused since (as I heard) "A leader ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

Should someone who is falsely convicted by a relgious court attempt to avoid the death penalty?

This question discusses whether one may attempt to escape the death penalty imposed by a Beis Din for a capital offense. The answer to this question seemed to be that the person should not try to ...
7
votes
3answers
291 views

Saving a Life During Tefillah

If one is in middle of Shemoneh Esrei (which is the only part of Tefillah, I could think of where there might be a problem), and there is a life to be saved, is he/she allowed to interrupt the ...
7
votes
3answers
652 views

If my home is on fire on Shabbos or Yom Tov, what can I do?

G-d forbid, but let's say that my house catches fire either on Shabbos or a Yom Tov. Can I call 911 or must I find a non-Jewish neighbor to call? We have an eruv. Can I take my car keys, cell phone ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

Is it permissible to be mechalel shabbos to save a fetus?

Is it muttar to set aside the rules of shabbos to save a fetus? If so, how is it possible to reconcile that with the permissibility of killing a fetus (abortion)?
7
votes
1answer
218 views

Is the prohibition of swimming during the nine-days because of danger or bathing for pleasure?

Is the prohibition of swimming during the nine days because of an increased danger during the nine days or is it because of the fact that you cant bathe for pleasure during the nine days? Or is it a ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Whom does one save first?

As a follow up to the controversy regarding the Costa Concordia If a ship is in danger of sinking, is the captain allowed to save himself first, or must he be the last man off the ship? Do the men ...
7
votes
1answer
149 views

Is a person endangering others always* a Rodef?

Does a person endangering others inherently* have a Din of a Rodef? Related: Is a speeding driver who causes damage exempt from paying due to his status as a Roidef? *Leave aside for purposes of the ...
7
votes
1answer
148 views

Is Chayecha Kodmin a Chiyuv or a right

If one is presented with a case of either save himself or his friend, he is permitted to save himself. Does he have to? I saw this thread which set my mind going, are the usual airplane guidelines ...
6
votes
2answers
202 views

Can I defend my animals with lethal force?

We know that it is permitted, in self-defense, to kill one who is trying to kill you, and I have heard that this applies to other people too (I see someone trying to kill someone else and I ...
6
votes
4answers
213 views

Is it a mitzvah to escape the death penalty from a secular court?

This question addresses whether it is a mitzvah to attempt to escape the death penalty if it is imposed by a Jewish court. The answer to this question seemed to be that it is not a mitzvah to attempt ...
5
votes
2answers
381 views

Under what circumstances may one eat or drink on a fast day?

When and for what health reasons should we break our fasts? (assume the person is not elderly or pregnant.)
5
votes
2answers
534 views

Can a couple have relations during dangerous times?

May a couple, living in Israel during a war or when Israel is under a constant barrage of rocket and other types of terrorist attacks, engage in marital relations? May a couple living outside of ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

At what cost must one perform a mitzvah?

To what lengths must one go to fulfill a positive commandment, or avoid transgressing a negative one? Obviously, with few exceptions, one must not go so far as to die in order to fulfill a ...
5
votes
1answer
323 views

Circumcision when danger to life, born Jews and potential gerim

In this post, Skylar refers to teshuvos from the Seride Esh and R. AY Kook which rule that a male non-Jew may not convert if he is unable to undergo milah. Does pikuach nefesh completely push off the ...
5
votes
2answers
168 views

Firefighting on shabbat

Is one allowed to be a firefighter if he might be required to work on Shabbat? or is he allowed to, in order to save lives?
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Cholim she'yesh bahem sakanah

Are there rabbinical sources on what qualifies someone as a choleh she'yesh bo sakanah - a sick person whose life is in danger? Is it strictly a medical decision? Are there circumstances in which ...
5
votes
1answer
202 views

Buying non-Kosher food for home Emergency Kits

The United States federal government, American Red Cross, and surely countless other governments and NGOs recommend that families have Emergency Survival Kits in their homes in case of a natural or ...
5
votes
0answers
43 views

During the nine days, can we do something “slightly dangerous” in order to fulfill a mitzvah?

During the nine days, many hold that we refrain from activities that are considered even slightly dangerous; for example, air travel. However, I have read that R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (who ...
5
votes
2answers
106 views

May a surgeon who needs to do surgery on Shabbat correct the time on his watch?

According to the various sources mentioned in this article one is not allowed to set a stopped watch on Shabbat. Suppose that a surgeon is scheduled to operate on a patient on Shabbat afternoon. ...
4
votes
2answers
130 views

Wearing reflective armband in place without an eiruv

In SA OC Siman 301 it's discussed many of the things a person can and can't go out with on Shabbos in a place where there is no eiruv. Is one allowed to wear a armband or wristband on Shabbos with ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

Moving nails better than burning them?

It says in the Gemara that one who buries his nails is a Tzaddik (he did what he should, to avoid a pregnant woman from stepping on them) while someone who burns his nails is a chossid (Tosfos ...
4
votes
2answers
317 views

Saving a non-Jew's life on Shabbat

I understand that, as per the halakha, a Jew is absolutely obligated to save the life of a non-Jew, even if doing so requires of him that he desecrate Shabbat. (See, for example, this answer.) My ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Melacha vs breaking a fast on Yom Kippur

If a person is in a life threatening situation and can be saved by either doing a melacha or eating/drinking on Yom Kippur, what should he do?
3
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2answers
330 views

Shabbat restrictions in the Army

Are there any Shabbat restrictions in the army during basic training? If this is only basic training and not war-time is this still considered pekuach-nefesh?
3
votes
1answer
123 views

To what extent would a 17th-century observant Jew purposefully violate Halacha to save lives?

I’m writing an alternate-history story set in the 1630s and this topic touches on one of the plot points. My character is attempting to avert the various massacres of the 17th–20th centuries by ...
3
votes
2answers
214 views

Can one go on a boat during the 9 Days?

I had heard that one should not go on a boat during the 9 Days because going on the water is dangerous and one should not go on a dangerous trip during the 9 Days. Is there any truth to any ...
3
votes
1answer
221 views

Is it permissible to be mechalel Shabbos to save the life of an animal or pet?

Is it permissible to be mechalel Shabbos to save the life of an animal, such as a family pet? Could minchag, chumras, and/or purely Rabbinical prohibitions be relaxed in such a situation, and to what ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

Yaakov's Stone Pillow

Yaakov placed twelve stones around his head to protect him from animals. Why was he not scared that animals would attack the rest of his body and how would those small stones, which were small enough ...