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Breaking Shabbat To Save Someone Committing Suicide

The Daily Halacha Moment - Breaking Shabbat To Save Someone Committing Suicide ❤️

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Is one obligated to break Shabbat to save someone who wants to commit suicide?


We need to understand that every individual has inherent worth and dignity. Each person possesses their own unique set of talents, perspectives, and potential contributions to society. Life presents us with endless opportunities for personal growth, learning, and self-discovery. It is through challenges, setbacks, and triumphs that we develop resilience, acquire new skills, and find a deeper understanding of our purpose in this world and our relationship to Hashem. While it is important to recognize the significance of life, it is equally important to acknowledge that individuals may face moments of extreme despair or mental health challenges that lead them to consider ending their lives. In these situations, it is crucial to seek help and support from mental health professionals, friends, family, or helplines that can provide assistance and guidance.

Now back to the question, one may violate Shabbat to save a person who is attempting to commit suicide or for a person who put himself in a life-threatening situation as a result of negligence.[1] Similarly, Some instances of psychological disorders can also be considered life-threatening. Therefore, if a person has homicidal or suicidal tendencies and is on medication in order to subdue these tendencies, failure to take this medication is called a life-threatening situation and one may override Shabbat in order to obtain it. [2]

Adapted From R' Yonatan Nacsons "Laws Of Shabbat" vol. 2, p. 286 with some additions.


[1] Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 289; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 151; Yabia Omer, vol. 8, O.C. 37:5; Minchat Yitzchak 5:8; Shulchan Shlomo 318:1; Tzitz Eliezer, vol. 9, 17:2:14; Mishneh Halachot 9:399; Igrot Moshe, O.C. 1:127 and Y.D., vol. 2, 174:3; Kovetz Teshuvot 1:124; Teshuvot VeHanhagot 3:366. Even if the victim resists being helped, one must forcibly help

him against his will (See Mishnah Berurah 328:6).

[2]. Igrot Moshe, E.H. 1:65; Shulchan Shlomo, siman 328, footnote 6.

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