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 saying to don your own life-jacket first based on the principal of Chayecha Kodmin. Because if it is and that is not Halacha, then I presume most Yiddishe Mamaehs would want their children outfitted first.

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    Solomon P, welcome to Mi Yodeya and thank you for your interesting question. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. Might I suggest you register your account? That will give you access to more of the site's features. Also, note that this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic) advice. Treat information from this site like it came from a crowd of your friends.
    – msh210
    Aug 8, 2012 at 18:28
  • @msh210 neither does the airplane annoucment carry any validity :) thanks for the tip
    – Solomon P
    Aug 8, 2012 at 18:35
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    Don't they tell you to do it that way to maximize the chance of both of you surviving? At worst you can hold a vest-less child above water if you have a vest, but not the reverse. Aug 8, 2012 at 18:55
  • @MonicaCellio could be, gotta think about that
    – Solomon P
    Aug 8, 2012 at 18:56
  • R. Meyer Twersky discusses this in an article he published in Beis Yitzchak, available here: download.yutorah.org/2011/1053/777970.pdf Dec 16, 2014 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


For more questions like this you should read She'elot Uteshuvot Mima'amakim by Rabbi Ephraim Oshry.

It's a collection of halachic responsa to very difficult, and sad, questions that were posed during the holocaust.

I have a pamphlet from JLI with some of the questions there, but I can not find it :(

A parent is permitted to do so for his child, even at the cost of his own life.

My best recollection is that a person is permitted to sacrifice his life to save someone else, but he is discouraged from doing so. I remember definitively that if someone actually does so, then his actions are not criticized.

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    You could look for it in the volumes online: Vol. 1 Vol. 2 Vol. 3 Vol. 4 Vol. 5 (found on Google)
    – b a
    Aug 8, 2012 at 21:02
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    I know it's been a while....have you found this "inside" yet?
    – MTL
    Dec 16, 2014 at 2:44
  • @Ploni They were apparently taken down, but can be found here
    – b a
    Jul 1, 2017 at 21:14

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