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If a group of people are in mortal danger, all of the same gender (cf. Horayot 13a; some suggest that the Mishnah on Horayot is not discussing a case of rescuing from physical danger, cf. Tziz Eliezer vol. 18 §1) and age group, and are not all able to be rescued simultaneously, accordingly to the Halachah how is it determined who to rescue first?

An example of such a situation, and the decision that inspired this question, is the current situation of the young Thai soccer team who are submerged in a maze of caves filled with water with escalating water levels and decreasing oxygen supply. Media outlets reported that the governor of Chiang Rai ordered that the healthier players will be rescued first.

According to this essay, it would seem that R. Eliashiv would instruct that a lottery be drawn in such a situation. From a responsum of R. Feinstein (Iggros Moshe vol. 7, CM §73:2) it would seem that the individuals who have a higher chance of living should be rescued first. However, in our particular case, at least in our hypothetical, none of the members are terminally ill.

Related: partial reasoning of R. Feinstein's opinion on this case

Related: a broader question

  • 1
    Your "According…" paragraph sounds like it should be an answer post rather than in the question. – msh210 Jul 10 '18 at 5:37
  • I'm looking for a more sourced and thorough answer, which that cited essay falls short of. (Even R. Feinstein's resp., which isn't entirely comparable, is mainly m'svara d'nafshe.) – Oliver Jul 10 '18 at 14:49
  • @Oliver - In this case there were at least two more factors to consider. 1 -There was also a danger in the evacuation itself. 2 - There was a chance to strengthen the boys left behind and lower their risk. Would this change the comparison to Rav Elyashiv and Rav Moshe? – פרי זהב Jul 10 '18 at 20:51
  • @פריזהב 1. Not sure how this would affect our essential question; it's related to a question about putting oneself in danger to save other/s. 2. Indeed, that's part of why I don't think those opinions are comparable. – Oliver Jul 10 '18 at 21:00
  • Who's one to decide? If the boys - everyone rightfully claims my life first! If the crew - they have no way of properly evaluating them. – Al Berko Jul 10 '18 at 21:27

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