If someone cut their finger (lo aleinu!) on Shabbos in a way that wasn't going to threaten them however is a fairly deep cut may they get stitches put in by a non-Jew on Shabbos? Theoretically they could simply put on a bandage and wait until after Shabbos. Even though they might have a lot of pain from this, not necessarily would the pain be relieved from the stitches. As well with the bandage perhaps there is not a concern for bacteria getting in now.

The shailo could be broken down by first determining if this is a problem "tefira" (sewing -- which is normally ossur on Shabbos) by a person? If it is, perhaps since it won't be there for a long time it could be there is also a heter.

Keep in mind this is all being done with a goy, the question is is this a malacha at all in regards to putting stitches on a person. Perhaps it is but only a d'rabbanan and would have more room to allow this by using a non-Jew.

  • 1
    If it involves going to the emergency room, DO. LIKE. TUESDAY.
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 0:50

2 Answers 2


If an injury is serious enough to require stitches, it's serious enough to require them on Shabbath.

Now, how seriously one needs to personally violate Shabbath (driving, calling an ambulance, signing forms, etc.) to see a doctor to perform the procedure may depend on the severity and one's ability to circumvent Shabbath violations in the course of pursuing medical treatment.

But if it's just a question of having a non-Jew stitch a cut, again, any cut requiring stitches is severe enough to permit.

There are other considerations besides pain or even blood-loss, by the way, such as risk of infection, and in the case of a finger (and other extremities) nerve damage, to name just two of many. A small bandage might not be able to prevent infection if the cut is severe.

For practical guidance, CYLOR and CYLMD.

Source: My LOR and LMD.

  • Even a cut on ones finger that perhaps only needs a few stitches?
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 11:25
  • @Yehoshua, most cuts don't require stitches at all. If one does, however, that is a severe enough cut to seek medical attention even on Shabbath.
    – Seth J
    Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 12:34

R Yisroel Pinchos Bodner (Halachos of refuah on Shabbos, pp. 335-37) answers your question as follows

According to many Poskim, sewing/suturing a wound on Shabbos is a possible violation of a Torah prohibition (tefira). Therefore

Accordingly, one's wound may not be sutured by a Jewish doctor unless it is a Life-Threatening situation (for example, if waiting until after Shabbos will pose a risk of a possible Life-Threatening infection).

  1. No Risk of Life-Threatening Infection

In most situations, if a wound is only moderately deep (i.e., it does not penetrate beyond the full thickness of skin into the fatty tissue or muscle tissue), and if it is properly cleaned and bandaged, it is not an emergency to have the wound sutured immediately. One can delay suturing until after Shabbos without causing any ill effect.

  1. Possible Risk of Life-Threatening Infection

However, if the wound is deep (i.e., it penetrates beyond the full thickness of skin into the fatty tissue or muscle tissue), it should be considered a medical emergency. In such cases, waiting until after Shabbos will pose a risk of infection which could possibly become Life-Threatening.

There are also cases, when the wound has not penetrated the full thickness of the skin, but — due to the nature of the wound or due to the circumstances — a doctor may feel that a delay could pose a risk of Life-Threatening infection. In such cases of infection risk, if a non-Jewish doctor is not available, the suturing may be performed on Shabbos by a Jewish doctor.

If a wound appears to be gaping open, and one does not know if it poses an infection risk, he should treat it as a potentially Life-Threatening condition, and not hesitate because of Shabbos

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the bleeding is pulsating or does not stop within ten minutes, it is possible that an artery has been cut and the victim will need emergency medical assistance. One should not hesitate at all because of Shabbos.

  1. To Save Victim from an Unsightly Scar

According to some Poskim, if stitches are needed to save a victim from having an unsightly scar, and it cannot wait until after Shabbos, the wound may be sutured by a non-Jewish doctor.

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