Related: Schrödinger's cat and yibbum

That question assumes that Schrödinger's paradox is possible, and that someone can be both dead and alive at the same time.

So, is that actually true in Halacha? Can a person (or anything else) have a status of being both dead and alive at the same time?

What kind of effects would it have if someone was in a dual life state?
Could he count for a minyan? Would it be tumat meit?

I know that the cat is actually reductio ad absurdum, but seems to be taken quite seriously by some people (i have seen it in Stephen Hawking's books, for example).

  • Do you have in mind legal ramifications other than the one you linked? Is there reason to believe that the general answer to this question is not covered by the generalized parts of the yibum question's?
    – WAF
    Dec 24, 2014 at 20:44
  • I did mention a couple of other things. The other question and answers didn't really address, to my knowledge, whether it's actually possible to be both dead and alive.
    – Scimonster
    Dec 24, 2014 at 20:45
  • 2
    What does it mean to have the status other than to have a legal ramification?
    – WAF
    Dec 24, 2014 at 20:46
  • 2
    I think the term you're grasping for is safek.
    – Isaac Moses
    Dec 25, 2014 at 2:29
  • I vaguely remember someone connecting the mishna in Kiddushin, Chapter 3, Mishna 2 to this idea: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=37944&pgnum=302 . The Mishna talks about someone telling a woman that she is betrothed to him on condition that he gives to her within 30 days. If he gives it to her within 30 days, she is betrothed. If not, she is not betrothed. Rabbeinu Ovadya (and others) explain that once he gives the money she is retroactively betrothed. If he does not she is retroactively not betrothed. ------ Within the 30 days, before she receives the money, she is Schrödinger's cat
    – Menachem
    Dec 25, 2014 at 6:01

1 Answer 1


I think that the best you can use in this sort of case of safek (which not append every day ) is use hazakoth... Just like if you have 2 witnesses who are saying dead and 2 who are saying alive. In general witnesses are see the as reality itself. here a example.

I need to find the exact source but in talmud, but there is this case of eshet ish. If 2 are saying that the husband is alive and 2 are saying dead, the wife can't marry someone else because there is the hazaka that she is a eshet ish.

But if she is saying that she knows that is husband is dead, she can marry with one of the witnesses that was also saying that the husband is dead, because that there also a hazaka "wives investigate very well if theirs husbands are dead".

But the "reality" that the husband is dead is only "available" to these 2: this witness and the wife.

edit: So to answer directly to the question, there seem to be in this case 2 realities, opposed but also true, that a person can be dead and alive.

  • It's also relevant to us that we don't say that her children are Mamzerim and we don't execute her. Dec 24, 2014 at 21:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .