24 votes
Accepted

Making a pikuach nefesh phone call on Yom Kippur - mitzva or something to be avoided?

מְפַקְּחִין פִּקּוּחַ נֶפֶשׁ בְּשַׁבָּת וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לִטּל רְשׁוּת מִבֵּית דִּין. וְהַמַּקְדִּים לְהַצִּיל הַנֶּפֶשׁ הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. [All] activities necessary to save a life should be ...
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  • 24.6k
23 votes
Accepted

Can I choose not to violate Shabbos for "pikuach nefesh"?

Short answer: NO. Long answer: also NO. Here's why: Rabbi Yosef Karo writes (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 328:2): מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ חֹלִי שֶׁל סַכָּנָה, מִצְוָה לְחַלֵּל עָלָיו אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת; ...
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  • 18.7k
21 votes
Accepted

Can the 10 commandments be violated to save a life?

A general rule is stated in the Talmud (Ketubot 19a): דאמר מר אין לך דבר שעומד בפני פיקוח נפש אלא עבודת כוכבים וגלוי עריות ושפיכות דמים בלבד for a Master said: 'There is nothing that comes before the ...
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  • 48k
16 votes
Accepted

Is "pikuach nefesh" on shabbos "hutrah" or "dichuya"?

This is a rather large dispute among the Rishonim, the early commentaries. See the Rashba (שו״ת ח"א תרפט): ולי נראה שהכל תלוי במחלוקת אם נאמר שבת דחויה או נאמר שבת הותרה אצל חולה. אם נאמר שבת ...
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15 votes
Accepted

Is an on-call doctor allowed to read non-emergency text messages on Shabbat?

It is a Mitzva to desecrate Shabbat to save lives (OC 328:2), even if it is only doubtful if a life is in danger (329:3), and one should even do this Mitzva with alacrity (329:1). The Shulchan Arukh ...
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  • 95.3k
14 votes
Accepted

Moshe and filicide

R. Avraham Ibn Ezra seems to say that she put him in the river not because that would save him but so that she shouldn't have to witness his death: ויוכבד עשתה זאת כי אמרה אל אראה במות הילד R. ...
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  • 48k
14 votes

Can the 10 commandments be violated to save a life?

I. Among the 10 commandments there are 3 that are not overridden by pikuach nefesh (i.e. יהרג ואל יעבור): Idolatry Murder Forbidden sexual relations II. Additionally, all other commandments cannot ...
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  • 22.2k
13 votes

Pikuach Nefesh and different levels of Halacha

At least with regards to hilchos Shabbos, you should choose the derabannan. See שמירת שבת כהלכתה לב:כז-כח*, who writes that if there is no difference in speed or quality of care, that one should ...
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  • 18.7k
12 votes
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Violating Shabbos for a suicide emergency

Bottom line on top: you should violate Shabbos for all cases of suicide on Shabbos. (R Moshe Feinstein, Tzitz Eliezer); with one (very rare, practically non-existent) exception according to R Shlomo ...
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  • 18.7k
12 votes
Accepted

What should I do if I don't know whether I'm in a pikuach nefesh situation?

This question is discussed by Rabbi Kaganoff “One must desecrate Shabbos even if there is only a slight possibility that the situation is dangerous. One does not need a professional opinion or an ...
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  • 41.9k
11 votes

Is sky-diving forbidden because of the risk to one's life?

This question is related to and emerged from a comment by the OP on whether plastic surgery was allowed. I think the question of which parameters allow us to engage in action/dangerous sports has ...
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  • 43.5k
11 votes
Accepted

Hormonal manipulation: Taharas hamishpacha vs. the woman's health

If I understand correctly, your argument goes something like this: A.) The Halacha is to always wait (>=5) + 7. B.) Doing so on a natural routine can be inconvenient, e.g. for vacations. C.) ...
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  • 127k
10 votes
Accepted

Self-defense in a street fight?

I had this situation once. It actually got physical. Story time folks. For those who want to skip to the psak that answers the question, scroll down to the last paragraph. Boro park in the early ...
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  • 32.3k
9 votes

Rockets from Gaza while praying

this was supposedly asked to Rav Shlomo Aviner What should a person do if he is in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei and hears a warning siren for an incoming missile? A: He should run to the bomb ...
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  • 20.5k
9 votes

Can a couple have relations during dangerous times?

The Talmud (Taanit 11a) proscribes marital relations during a famine. (See Tosfot and Rambam regarding if this is an obligation or supererogatory.) The Shulchan Aruch rules this way in OC 240:12 and ...
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  • 95.3k
9 votes
Accepted

Stealing cigarettes

The Peirush "Shiurei Bracha" on Yoreh Deah 241 (brings a Zohar) that asks why our mother Rachel did not merit to enjoy many stages of parenthood? The answer is that she caused her father pain by ...
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  • 10.4k
9 votes

Back to orthodoxy, can't stop violating a commandment for the sake of someone's life

A similar question was asked to the Melamed LeHoil (R' Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann): A child was being forced to write in school on Shabbos by his father, the child didn't want to (break Shabbos). The ...
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  • 39.9k
9 votes

Can one extinguish Shabbat candles after dark if you a worried about an animal knocking it over and causing a fire?

The practice of lighting shabbat candles is a rabbinic requirement (see, e.g. Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat 25b; Rambam Laws of Shabbat 5:1), to honor the Shabbat and create a pleasant and ...
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  • 17.2k
9 votes

Would marriage really not solve this man's problem?

This question is based on a misquote of the Talmud. Here is the actual text: ולינסבה מינסב לא מייתבה דעתיה כדר' יצחק דא"ר יצחק מיום שחרב בית המקדש ניטלה טעם ביאה וניתנה לעוברי עבירה שנאמר (משלי ט, ...
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  • 6,375
9 votes

Was it David's custom to go into battle without an armour?

I wrote an essay a couple of years ago that dealt, in part, with these questions. The answer to your first question is: Yes and no. David's military uniform depended on which weapon he was using in ...
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  • 20.5k
8 votes
Accepted

Making a bracha on food which is normally assur, but allowed due to pikuach nefesh

The Shulchan Aruch writes explicitly in O"C 204:9 that if one eats foods that are normally forbidden but are now permitted, one does say a Bracha on it. אכל מאכל או משקה של איסור מפני הסכנה מברך ...
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  • 6,683
8 votes
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How to say Tefilas HaDerech while on the road alone

If you have a mechanism (such as Bluetooth) for safely talking on a cellphone in your car: There's a service I once heard of (in the United States) that is provided for precisely this purpose. In ...
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  • 38.2k
8 votes

Mosaic Law and ISIS

אם בא להרגך - השכם להרגו - literally: If someone is coming to kill you, rise early and kill him (במדבר רבה פרשה כא פסקה ד; מדרש תנחומא, פנחס, פרק ג‏. - Medrash) Also, scripture is replete with ...
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  • 17.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Does Yehareg v’al Yaavor apply to lo sa’amod?

Tosfos (Sanhedrin 74b s.v. והא אסתר) says: ורוצח גופיה כי מיחייב למסור עצמו ה"מ קודם שיהרג בידים אבל היכא דלא עביד מעשה כגון שמשליכין אותו על התינוק ומתמעך מסתברא שאין חייב למסור עצמו דמצי אמר ...
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  • 31.3k
8 votes
Accepted

Can you kill person A to protect yourself from B?

First, the concept of killing a non-guilty party in self defense is learned from the Gemara in Sanhedrin 82a. (See also the commentary of the Rosh to this Gemara; 9:4) When Pinchas was (doing the ...
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  • 10.4k
7 votes

Tahara procedure for a body with an infectious disease

Regarding the spread of COVID-19, the National Association of Chevra Kadisha headed by Rav Elchonon Zohn stated the following guidelines: The following are suggested guidelines and precautions ...
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  • 12.5k
7 votes

Tahara procedure for a body with an infectious disease

I asked a member of the Greater Washington [DC] Chevra Kadisha about this, and she told me that when they receive a deceased person who had an infectious disease, they can be directed to do a ...
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  • 46.8k
7 votes
Accepted

How to check blood sugar on Shabbos

Since this is a how-to question, I will answer it with practical advice. Questions about the particular halachos mentioned in passing may be asked separately. Here's what I've been told to do, with ...
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  • 18.7k
7 votes
Accepted

Medical treatment for pregnant woman that jeopardises pregnancy

In Judaism (as codified in the earliest of sources - the Mishna Ohalos (7:6) (HT Double AA for the English link)) the mother's life comes first, no matter how late in the pregnancy. Only once the baby ...
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  • 31.3k
7 votes

What's a better choice: Treif meat or human flesh?

To add to mevaqesh's answer: R/Dr Alan Brill (Edah Journal, "Worlds Destroyed, Worlds Rebuilt: The Religious Thought of Rabbi Yehudah Amital") retells "two stories of moral challenges ...
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  • 8,690

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