Saving of Life

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Judaism places the highest value on the preservation of life. In order to save life the precepts of the Torah must be set aside (except for the offences of murder, idolatry, incest, and adultery). If, for example, the doctors order a man to eat on Yom Kippur, otherwise his life may be endangered, he is obliged to eat on this sacred fast day. Every effort must be made to save life. The Talmudic Rabbis interpret the verse: ‘Neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour’ (Leviticus 19: 16) to mean that if a man is in danger of drowning it is the duty of all who can swim to dive in to save him and the same applies to a man held to ransom by bandits or attacked by wild beasts. Included in the obligation to save life is to take adequate care of one's health.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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