Questions tagged [pikuachnefesh-danger-life]

Situations in which a life is threatened; most (though not all), Jewish laws are suspended in order to save a life.

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Is it true that abortion is allowed if it endangers the mother's mental health?

I heard this and it makes no sense because then almost every mother would have the excuse to abort; What would the exact parameters of such mental health issues be?
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's trip to Moscow on Shabbat to meet Putin

I am an Italian ben Noach. We have all seen that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett went to Moscow on Shabbat to meet Putin. I believe that, since this trip has been functional to find a solution ...
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Questions on a story about Hillel

It is always possible to pick on even the most inspirational stories, but hopefully in doing so we end up learning something. The Talmud relates this story: Hillel the Elder worked every day to earn ...
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Have electric cars been suggested for those who respond to emergencies on Shabbos?

In a nutshell – and I know this is complicated – the Mishna says that some rabbinic prohibitions were lifted to make life easier on emergency responders after they've provided their assistance on ...
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Why was the "fence of the roof" chosen to represent common danger?

I did some research regarding ancient structures, and it appears that at the time of the conquest (15th century BCE, Bronze age) there were no multi-story structures in Israel (or Canaan cultures). ...
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Is killing a robber by shooting first considered murder?

Apologies if this has already been answered : If someone comes up to you on the street waving a gun and demanding your money and you immediately draw your concealed weapon and shoot and kill them, is ...
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Would cryogenic freezing while still alive be permissible?

As answered here and here, halachic death is defined as an irreversible heart [and/or respiration, and/or brain] cessation. If so, would cryogenically freezing someone while they're still alive1 be ...
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How can heart transplants be permitted?

Are there authorities who hold that a stopped heart constitutes halachic death, but yet permit heart transplants? Stopping and taking out the recipient's heart would seem to be technically considered ...
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Revisit of the trolley problem: High victim imbalance [duplicate]

I would like to revisit the trolley problem. A trolley on a track is out of control and headed to a place where the crash will kill 4 people. You can flip a switch and put it on a different track ...
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Venishmartem Halachic guidelines regarding large gathering of Jews

Following the horrible tragedy at Miron, where 45 Jews lost their lives in a stampede, I wondered that large-scale religious gatherings are very indeed very frequent, especially in Hassidic ...
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When it comes to making Kiddush, what's recommended for someone who is allergic to grapes?

I recently was reading about allergies and discovered examples of where individuals could experience anaphylaxis from ingesting grapes and grape derivatives. I was curious as to what the protocol is ...
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In a life or death situation is breaking the Torah permissible?

In a situation where you could die (or other Jews could), would you be allowed to break the rules in order to survive?
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Do the righteous care too much for their possessions?

The Torah says: Jacob was left alone. [Genesis 32:25] The Talmud adds: Why was he left alone? Because he remained to retrieve some small jugs. From here we derive that the possessions of the ...
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Was it David's custom to go into battle without an armour?

Shmuel I 17:38-39: וַיַּלְבֵּ֨שׁ שָׁא֚וּל אֶת־דָּוִד֙ מַדָּ֔יו וְנָתַ֛ן ק֥וֹבַע נְח֖שֶׁת עַל־רֹאשׁ֑וֹ וַיַּלְבֵּ֥שׁ אֹת֖וֹ שִׁרְיֽוֹן. וַיַּחְגֹּ֣ר דָּוִ֣ד אֶת־חַ֠רְבּוֹ מֵעַ֨ל לְמַדָּ֜יו וַיֹּ֣אֶל ...
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Is there a price too high to pay to prevent secularization in COVID times?

I realize that the closure of Yeshivos has a huge negative impact on Haredi Bachurim, many of my friends complain that since the boys came home, they went "out-of-sync", don't wake up to ...
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What is the source for non-literal understanding of V'Chai Bahem?

The concept of V'Chai Bahem - "do the mitzvos to live by them" (Vayikra 18:5) - is usually understood to refer to one's physical existence (i.e. the mitzvos should not be performed if they ...
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What is the criteria of safek pikuach nefesh?

An expert in a particular field (a doctor, an actuary, etc.) can advise on the risk of mortality from a specific activity of anywhere between 0% and 100%. At what threshold of risk would the halacha ...
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What are the parameters of shomer pesaim Hashem?

While the Torah forbids one to place himself into a situation of danger, some degree of slightly risky behavior is allowable under the concept of shomer pesaim Hashem. Are the parameters of this ...
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Why is Tzaara'as considered a Sakana?

The Shulchan Aruch in Orach Chaim 173:2 writes: בין בשר לדגים חובה ליטול משום דקשה לדבר אחר וחמירא סכנתא מאיסורא There is an obligation to wash one's hands between fish and meat because it causes &...
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Can one volunteer to be put in a situation which will require breaking shabbos?

I know that pikuach nefesh, saving a life, can push off Shabbat (which I understand to mean, can excuse breaking rules on Shabbat). If I am one of a group of Jews who could do the life saving, should ...
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Would marriage really not solve this man's problem?

Another question on pikuach nefesh. The Talmud [Sanhedrin 75a] recounts this story: There was an incident involving a certain man who set his eyes upon a certain woman and passion rose in his heart [...
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Are you allowed to risk dying to save others?

I would like some clarification about the risks of trying to save someone's life by breaking a commandment, or pikuach nefesh. In Bava Metzia 62a, Rabbi Akiva ruled that your life has priority over ...
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Timing of pikuach nefesh

What is the halacha on how imminent the danger of death has to be for you to be allowed to invoke pikuach nefesh and break a commandment to save a life? Obviously if someone is drowning before your ...
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Are you liable for infecting others?

The Talmud says: One who injures another becomes liable for five things: damages, pain, medical expenses, incapacitation, and mental anguish. [Bava Kamma 83b] It does not spell out HOW or WHY the ...
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Jewish life during the times of the Black Death [closed]

I'm looking for any sources (if possible maybe even first-hand written accounts) of how Jews who lived in Western Europe at that time handled this particular period. Anything goes, matter of fact ...
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Pikuach nefesh and matzoh shopping [closed]

Apropos of this viral post: https://twitter.com/Dr_Ophelian/status/1247386646317633536. My understanding is that the principle of pikuach nefesh is not applied like this, but I am not certain why. ...
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4 votes
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Does the COVID19 epidemic in NYC qualify as "Dever B'ir - a Plague in the City"?

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 576) defines dever r"l or pestilence as an epidemic killing 3 people in 3 days (not 3 people in 4 days; not 3 people in 2 days) for a city of 500 working age men. How is ...
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What is the difference between a sickness and a plague?

Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, Siman 576) discusses fasting and praying for Dever (a plague), and also for a sickness (choli). What is the difference between sickness and plague?
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Chayecha Kodmin - Your own life comes first for countries

Although I am loath to ask a Covid 19 related question, one particular current debate caught my attention. Most readers are probably aware of the gemara in Bava Metzia 62a where we find the rule one ...
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If having a beard is potentially dangerous to life, should a Jew shave it off?

There are reports that men with beards may have problems using face masks effectively or getting hooked up to a ventilator correctly. Given the danger posed by the COVID-19 virus, should Jewish men ...
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Who can invoke pikuach nefesh?

In today's news (18 March 2020), the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel ruled that Jews may use their cellphones on Shabbat to receive developments and alerts regarding the coronavirus. This is an ...
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The Heinz Dilemma in Halacha [duplicate]

A famous Kohlberg dilemma goes something like this: Heinz’s wife is dying and there’s a drug that may be able to save her. Jack cannot afford the drug. Can Heinz steal the drug to treat his wife? ...
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Was Nazi sadism a case of "surrender your life if they're trying to stamp out religion"?

The Gemara Sanhedrin 74b reads: נכרי דאמר ליה להאי ישראל קטול אספסתא בשבתא ושדי לחיותא ואי לא קטילנא לך ליקטיל ולא לקטליה שדי לנהרא ליקטליה ולא ליקטול מ"ט לעבורי מילתא קא בעי If a non-Jew tells ...
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What are the time parameters of "pikuach nefesh" on Shabbos?

This article says: Any procedure which is necessary to perform for the patient, but it is clear that it does not at all need to be performed on Shabbat, should be delayed until after Shabbat. How ...
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Making a pikuach nefesh phone call on Yom Kippur - mitzva or something to be avoided?

Outside of our synagogue on Yom Kippur, someone fainted and a doctor present decided to call an ambulance. At that time, there were multiple people present and one phone. Should people have jumped to ...
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Is one allowed to endanger his life for learning Torah like Hillel did?

The famous story about Hillel's devotion to Torah learning, in Yoma 25b, tells that Hillel endangered his life by trying to listen to Shmayah and Avtalyon in extremely cold weather until he fell ...
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Differential Pikuach Nefesh according to Shmayah and Avtalyon?

The famous story about Hillel's devotion to Torah learning in Yoma 25b tells that Hillel endangered his life by trying to listen to Shmayah and Avtalyon in extremely cold weather until he fell ...
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Can you attempt to rescue someone if you're outgunned?

Principle : Yehareg velo yaavor for murder - you can't kill a person to save your life. Reason : We don't know whose life is more important ('whose blood is redder'). Implication: You can't kill ...
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Can one extinguish Shabbat candles after dark if you a worried about an animal knocking it over and causing a fire?

If one lit Shabbat candles before dark, had them burning during dinner, and now wants to go to bed, but is worried that a cat or a dog might knock them over and cause a house fire; is it permissible ...
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Custom to specifically have whiskey after fish because of danger

The Rema (YD 116:3) says to eat something and drink something between having fish and meat. Many have the custom to specifically make a lechaim between fish and meat, meaning they have something ...
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7 votes
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Desecrating Shabbos to ask a Gadol to daven for a patient?

Can you desecrate Shabbos by sending a letter/leaving the Techum to ask a Gadol to daven for a patient whose life is in immediate danger?
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8 votes
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How much effort should be expended searching for the missing?

Say a Jewish person gets pulled out to sea while rescuing someone from drowning and goes missing, lost at sea. And then a search for him or his body by the Jewish community, supplementing official ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Pikuach Nefesh on Shabbos priorities: efficiency vs transgressions

When in a life-endangering situation on Shabbos, what takes precedence - efficiency or amount of transgressions? For example: in Jerusalem, one can call an Arab taxi driver and wait for 5-10 min or ...
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8 votes
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Old fashioned telephone vs. Uber App on Shabbos

From Rabbi Moshe Heinemann: Riding to the Hospital A woman need not spend Shabbos/Yom Tov at a location close to the hospital or arrive at the hospital before labor starts to avoid riding on ...
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2 votes
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Saving a non-Jew from drowning

Some Boston-area yeshivah students recently saved a man from drowning who they didn't know was a Nazi supporter. In a comment on the story, someone claimed that the Halakhah (i.e. Jewish law) says to ...
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Stealing an idol-worshipper's only food to save yourself

In a desert where there is no water, can one take (steal) water from an idol worshipper causing him to very likely die, to be able to stay alive? I know the answer when one has no personal use for ...
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4 votes
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Is grinder biohacking permissible?

Grinder biohacking involves implanting DIY cybernetics or chemicals into one’s own body which ostensibly give one superhuman abilities. For example, some companies sell implantable NFC/RFID chips to ...
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2 votes
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May a E.R. responder or on-call cop be a Shat"z?

Is a shul allowed to ask an on-call cop or E.R. worker, etc. to be a shat"z (shaliach tzibbur) if there is a fairly high likelihood that may be asked to leave on an emergency in the middle of davening?...
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2 votes
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Does a child's life take precedence over a parent's life?

The Talmud in Bava Metzia 62a brings a scenario where if two people were traveling in the desert and one has a flask of water but there's only enough water for one of them to reach civilization alive: ...
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6 votes
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What determines whether things which are forbidden because of a danger are still prohibited once we know there's no danger?

There are certain things which are prohibited because of danger, many of which are listed here. A good number of them are confirmed by modern science to not cause any (physical) harm (ex. meat and ...
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