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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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?
26
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1answer
470 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
366 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
564 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
234 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
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2answers
328 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 ...
15
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2answers
195 views

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

What is the status of a kli (object) whose primary use would be forbidden on Shabbos, but it is only used in a case of Pikuach Nefesh (danger to life, where all Shabbos restrictions become allowed) -- ...
14
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3answers
518 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
303 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 ...
14
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3answers
653 views

Returning after driving someone to the hospital on Shabbat

If a man needs to be brought to the hospital on Shabbat due to a life threatening situation, another man may bring him there even by violating biblical Shabbat prohibitions (e.g. driving a car). Which ...
13
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3answers
728 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 ...
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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
127 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 ...
10
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1answer
120 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
161 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
321 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?
9
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3answers
115 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
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3answers
672 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
271 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
362 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
2answers
162 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)?
8
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1answer
243 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
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1answer
165 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
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1answer
130 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
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1answer
163 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 ...
8
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1answer
176 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
99 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
299 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
1answer
70 views

Pikuach Nefesh and different levels of Halacha

Here's a theoretical: if someone has to save a life and has two equally easy options, both of which violate halacha, one d'oraita and one d'rabbanan. Should he choose the d'oraita or the d'rabbanan?
7
votes
1answer
220 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
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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
46 views

Making a bracha on food which is normally assur, but allowed due to pikuach nefesh

In general, one eating forbidden food does not make a bracha. In certain cases, foods which are usually assur are allowed to be eaten out of a concern of pikuach nefesh -- danger to life. For ...
6
votes
2answers
211 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
1answer
384 views

Medical treatment for pregnant woman that jeopardises pregnancy

I ran into an article about a woman who died shortly after refusing cancer treatment in order to be able to carry out her pregnancy. This isn't an uncommon scenario — I can think of at least three ...
6
votes
4answers
214 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
152 views

Killing gentile under threat of death

If someone points a gun at Reuvein's head and tells him, "Kill this Jew or I'll kill you," the halachah is that Reuvein must let himself be killed. What if someone points a gun at Reuvein's head and ...
6
votes
1answer
229 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
2answers
384 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
540 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
155 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
83 views

How to check blood sugar on Shabbos

Diabetes is a חולי שיש בו סכנה, an illness that poses a danger to life1. As such, everything necessary for caring for diabetes must be done on Shabbos, even if it includes איסורי תורה. (see Shulchan ...
5
votes
1answer
327 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
170 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
103 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
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0answers
44 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
129 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
1answer
233 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
134 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
69 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 ...