I'm sure this has happened to lots of people: you somehow injure a bug (or some other animal).

I have always heard that this is a case of Tzaar Baalei Chaim, and that you should kill the bug to prevent it from further suffering.

Is this true? What is the correct course of action in this case?

  • 2
    I would assume that we are talking about a level of injury that is truly a Tzaar. Even then, I've often seen non-domesticated animals with missing or broken limbs who seem to be able to get on easily. This beings to encroach on the same topics as deciding when or whether to end life support in that can one b certain that there is no chance of recovery? (Although Halacha holds humans above animals so the psak shouldn't be comparable, it's only that the ideas appear similar to me). Dec 8, 2011 at 15:06
  • to answer this question affirmatively, one would need to claim that a bug has real tzaar and that one is supposed to "save" a bug from it.
    – Ariel K
    Dec 8, 2011 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


The Iggerot Moshe (Helek Bet Hoshen Mishpat 47) writes that if you have a bug, and it bothers you, you may kill, but preferably not by hand. He says there is no ISUR. Since there is no problem in killing a bug, I would assume since Saar Bale Hayim Deorayta, I would assume that you should kill him.

EDIT: I asked a big Talmid Hacham, and he said according to the Peshat (simple explanation) it is Mutar, and according to the Ari it is not permitted (I understand if it's talking about a situation where he is not in pain).

EDIT: The Mishna Berura siman 533 writes that on Hol HaMoed one may kill a bug.

Also HaRav Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvot WeHanagot vol. 2 siman 756) that there is no Isur (if it is bother you- just like the Igerot Moshe).

  • 1
    Who is the big Talmid Hacham?
    – Naftali
    Dec 12, 2011 at 16:23
  • 1
    Rav Meir Eliyahu Shelita Dec 12, 2011 at 16:25
  • While this answer raises a lot of valid sources about related issues, you still have yet to have a source for my original question: should I kill it? You write: "I would assume...". Any source for that?
    – yydl
    Dec 21, 2011 at 18:55
  • In my first edit I said you should. Dec 21, 2011 at 19:47
  • @YYDL you should kill it. Dec 23, 2011 at 15:55

This website says (I think it's a book):

אולם חיי בעלי חיים אינם יקרים כל כך, והעיקר הוא שלא לגרום להם צער. לכן אדם שיש לו חתול או כלב שסובלים ממחלה קשה, או שנפגעו על ידי מכונית, ואין להם סיכוי להבריא, וניכר עליהם שהם מתייסרים מאוד – במצב כזה עדיף להמיתם בדרך שאינה מכאיבה כדי למנוע מהם צער וסבל.

If an animal is badly injured and they are in intense pain you should kill them in the least painful way possible.

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