Friday, October 18, 2013

SHABBAT and life threatening situations

As we have previously explained, a life threatening situation requires that the Laws of Shabbat be suspended, and therefore we are allowed (or obligated) to do anything we believe is necessary to try to save a life, even if that implies violating the sanctity of Shabbat (see here).

1. In a situation where one estimates that Shabbat should be violated in order to save a life, it is forbidden to ask for a rabbinic opinion, because the time spent in that consultation might be essential to save a life (Yalqut Yosef, 191). Therefore it is a Mitsva for every Jew to help and assist a person when we suspect that a life is in danger. 

2. In a case where a person has violated Shabbat trying to save a life and then, the patient died, or the patient suddenly recovered. Or if, for example, one brings his car to take a patient to the hospital and when he gets there he sees that someone else has already taken the patient to the hospital, in all these and similar cases, the person who violated Shabbat trying to save a life has done a Mitsva. Even thought he did not succeed in saving a life or even when he found out in hindsight that his assistance was unnecessary.  This person will be rewarded by God for his good intention and, needless to say, he does not need to do Teshuba for violating Shabbat (Yalqut Yosef, 199).  

3. In a case of a life threatening situation (hole sheyesh bo sakana) there is no need to perform the forbidden activities (melakhot) in an unusual way ('al yede shinuy) to attenuate the status of the violation. Because in life threatening situations the observance of Shabbat is suspended (hutra) and not just deferred (dehuya). 
Candle lighting in NYC:      5:52pm
Shabbat ends in NYC:          6:50pm

7 questions on Perashat vaYera

Each one of these seven questions is meant to be read before the Aliya reading begins.  The answer to each question should be found in the plain Biblical text. These simple questions should encourage us to follow the Tora reading, paying more attention to its content. 

BEFORE 1st Aliya
What food did Abraham promise to give to his guests and what did he actually give them? What does this act say about Abraham?

BEFORE 2nd Aliya
Which number is inconsistent with the other numbers in Abraham's bargain with HaShem? What do you think is the reason for this inconsistency?  

BEFORE 3rd Aliya
What did the angels do to the mob that tried to break into Lot's home? 

BEFORE 4th Aliya
Who destroyed the cities of Sedom and Amora, HaShem or the angels? Quote a verse to support your contention. 

BEFORE 5th Aliya
Why would the rabbis say that Sara's level of prophecy was higher than Abraham's? 

BEFORE 6th Aliya
What was Abimelekh response when Abraham informed him about the stolen wells? 

BEFORE 7th Aliya
Do you think that Yitshaq knew what were Abraham's intentions? On what words or pasuq are you basing your opinion?