Is there a benchmark that one can use when consulting a Rav to discuss the possibility that his observance of certain laws needs to be considered as though he has an illness?

  • 1
    SethJ, could you clarify the question. I would assume much depends on what the illness is and what the mitzva is. If you are referring to those laws which the sages specifically did not decree in cases of illness, that should be clarified as well.
    – YDK
    Jul 8, 2012 at 3:41
  • @YDK I'm wondering for all cases ranging from carrying a medical device on Shabbath with no 'Eiruv to fasting. If there is no universal benchmark, then that's a valid answer. If there are benchmarks used for assessing severity of need for accommodation but they are used differently for different sets of laws, then, assuming it's not a book's worth of information and one can boil it down to a M.Y. sized answer, a good answer of that type would include a breakdown of the criteria used and when.
    – Seth J
    Jul 8, 2012 at 3:49
  • @YDK, again, I'm not looking for a ruling, but some kind of objective (or, possibly, subjective) criterion or set of criteria to bring to a discussion with one's rabbi.
    – Seth J
    Jul 8, 2012 at 3:52
  • I don't really get this question. Is there any benchmark for how sick someone feels before he goes to the doctor? If there is any level of legitimate concern ask a rov.
    – Michoel
    Nov 19, 2012 at 21:59
  • @Michoel Chamira Sakanta meIssura (Not to say you have the wrong conclusion, just that your kal vachomer fails.)
    – Double AA
    Nov 20, 2012 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


The minimum level of illness which modifies observance of certain laws is what is called in the laws of Shabbos “choleh kol gufo” (illness of the whole body) which is dealt with in Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchoso Chapter 33. The first two criteria are:

  • Someone who has to go to bed because of his illness

  • Someone with a high temperature which would keep him at home.

See this section for more details.

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