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May 22, 2012

Is Judaism Really A Religion Of Peace?

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef finger pointThe issue of a Jewish doctor violating the Shabbat to treat a non-Jew has come up again in Israel. The Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that one of Israel’s prominent rabbis, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was quoted as telling his students during a class that, "If a gentile were to get injured in a car accident during Sabbath, and he is brought to the hospital – Israel must not treat him." He then goes on to explain loopholes in the law that would allow a Jewish doctor to treat a non-Jewish patient on the Shabbat under certain conditions.

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef finger point
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Judaism a religion of peace – for some
Law that forbids doctors from treating gentiles on Shabbat has been used by anti-religious radicals to discredit Judaism
Rabbi Levi Brackman • Ynet   

The issue of a Jewish doctor violating the Shabbat to treat a non-Jew has come up again in Israel. The Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that one of Israel’s prominent rabbis, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, was quoted as telling his students during a class that, "If a gentile were to get injured in a car accident during Sabbath, and he is brought to the hospital – Israel must not treat him." He then goes on to explain loop holes in the law that would allow a Jewish doctor to treat a non-Jewish patient on the Shabbat under certain conditions.
 
It is certainly unfortunate that this law was expounded upon in the way by Rabbi Yosef – if in fact the quote represents correctly and fully what he actually said, something that I find doubtful.
 
Far be it for me to argue with Rabbi Yosef on issues of Jewish law. However, this law has been used –erroneously in my view – for centuries by the opponents of the Jewish people and by anti-religious radicals to discredit my religion.
 
The most notable case of this was in 1965 when Professor Israel Shahak claimed that he witnessed a religious Jew who refused to allow his phone to be used to call an ambulance for a non-Jew on the Shabbat. Shahak himself, only a year later, admitted that he fabricated the story and that no such incidence had occurred. More recently, however, that story was revived by the late Christopher Hitchins in his book, “God is not Great.” Hitchins was apparently unaware of the fact that Shahak’s story had been discredited by Shahak himself. But in the tradition of all good mythology, the story persists. The fact that the only story used by opponents of Judaism to prove their point is a discredited one, talks volumes.
 
It has been my observation that religions, dogmas and philosophies do not make people good or bad. Rather, good people will focus of positive dogmas and philosophies and bad people will find the negative elements and stress those. This case is no different. There is a long list of prominent rabbis both past and present who disagree strongly with Rabbi Yosef’s position on this.
 
The most notable authority to expressly obligate Jewish doctors to treat non-Jews on the Shabbat was the great rabbinic decider of the previous century Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Iggrot Moshe, Orech Hayim, 4:79). In addition the former Chief Rabbi of Israel Chief Rabbi I. J. Unterman has explicitly ruled that all Jewish doctors are obligated to treat non-Jewish patients even on the Shabbat.
 
In fact this is a cardinal Jewish principle. Jewish sages have long accepted as an overarching Jewish principle that “All the ways (of the Torah) are the ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace,” (Proverbs, 3:17).
 
Rabbis throughout the ages saw this principle as an ethical concern that guided their enactment of laws. Thus, in this case in order to “operate an ethical corrective” the rabbis used “a bold and ingenious” legal maneuver to completely override the Biblical law that seems to disallow the treatment of non-Jews by Jewish doctors on the Shabbat, (Words in quotations taken from an article by former British Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, Tradition, Summer 1966 – 8:2).
 
According to this view Judaism not only allows Jewish doctors to treat non-Jews on Shabbat, it obligates them to do so. There may be some who do not think that the principles of “peace and pleasantness” are absolutely paramount in Judaism. But, make no mistake; their view speaks nothing of the Judaism I love and believe in.

The actual halakha according to some haredi rabbis is that you only break Shabbat law to save a non-Jew's life when not doing that will be seen by non-Jews, reported in the media, etc.

These rabbis hold that darkei shalom, the ways of peace, the "ethical corrective” Jacobovits wrote about, only applies when non-Jews know what we've done (or haven't done). But when they canot know, it does not apply.

To pretend this line of reasoning in halakha does not exist or that is not normative in haredi society  is dishonest.

Comments

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the writer is being a little dishonest as FM pointed out. You can desecrate shabbos to save a gentile but only because it might endanger Jews if one does not do that, no because simply it is the right thing to do


If I remember correctly there is even a question of saving a none religious Jew. and the reason given why you can desecrate shabbos for them, is because they might in the future keep shabbos

of course a simple answer could be that when the original halacha was written it was a different world and simply should not apply in today’s time. But of course the orthodox will never use that reasoning

To pretend this line of reasoning in halakha does not exist or that is not normative in haredi society is dishonest.

the writer of this ynet article, is a chabadnik (that specialise in masking his identity under the guise of pretending to be a 'liberal' MO), and is dishonest in accordance with the tenets of his faith!

A chassidic rebbe with whom I once had an audience told me 30 years ago exactly what Rabbi Jakobovits said, in slightly different words. He said that according to tradition "Shalom" (peace) is "one of the names of God" so when the halacha says that we do something "mipnei darkei shalom" (for the sake of peace) what it is really saying is that we are doing it because that is the way of God, and that those who would say that it is merely a subterfuge to avoid arousing the animosity of the gentiles are mistaken.

Of course I wouldn't - god forbid - be so bold as to presume that a hassidic rebbe who went through the holocaust and who "learned Toyreh" in Yiddish, no less, knew more about the true meaning of Judaism than the author of this blog.

Posted by: Gevezener Chusid | May 22, 2012 at 04:21 PM


maybe that is the way he felt and belived howver, one just needs to look up many writings by many great rebbies of the past to see what FM says is what many belived

The frumma (Chabad) doctors I know would definitely tend to non-Jewish patients on Shabbat and I have seen them take phone calls (after allowing answering machine to answer so they can hear the message) or treat them when the patient turned up to their home.

That being said, I have absolutely no doubt that many hard-core Charedim would be prepared to see non-Jews or non-religious Jews suffer or die rather than supposedly break Shabbos by calling an emergency service (fire, police, ambulance). Sooner or later they will get caught out if they do this and the consequences will be profound.

GC, your Chassidic Rebbe was being disingenuous. One follows the plain language of halacha on such issues.

Only last year I heard a holocaust survivor charedi rabbi (admittedly not that senior) state that one must in no circumstances whatsoever be mechalel shabbos by an issur derisah to save a goy on shabbos. The mere fact that failing to save a non Jewish life would lead to opprobrium does not justify being mechallel shabbos; only the real risk of the Jewish death. Since in America, Western Europe and Israel such a risk can not honestly be said to exist, then there cannot be any circumstances to justify saving a goy on shabbos. This rabbi concluded that following halacha can never be a chillul hashem.

כתב הרמב"ם (בפרק ו' מהלכות תלמוד תורה) עוון גדול לבזות את החכמים או לשנאותן, ולא חרבה ירושלים עד שבזו בה תלמידי חכמים, שנאמר (בספר דברי הימים לו.) ויהיו מלעיגים במלאכי האלוקים ובוזים דבריו, כלומר בוזים לומדי דבריו שהם התלמידי חכמים.
ובמשנה במסכת סנהדרין (דף צ.) שנינו, כל ישראל יש להם חלק לעולם הבא, ואלו שאין להם חלק לעולם הבא, האומר אין תחיית המתים מן התורה, ואין תורה מן השמים, ואפיקורס. (ועוד) ובגמרא שם (דף צט) פירשו, רב ורבי חנינא אמרו שניהם אפיקורס זה המבזה תלמידי חכמים. נמצא אם כן שהמבזה תלמידי חכמים אין לו חלק לעולם הבא.

The frumma wouldn't mind seeing a nonJew or non-religious Jew suffer and die even on a weekday, so how much more so would they enjoy seeing a goy or a non-religious Jew suffer and die on their Holy Shabbos.

Shmarya,

This a story you may want follow up on:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/05/21/cash-strapped-rockland-county-school-district-close-to-eliminating-kindergarten/#respond

The comments at the CBS web site are more interesting than the story itself. It looks like the non-Hasidic residents may start to fight back, or maybe they will simply give up and move. I never heard of public schools in the US canceling kindergarten for lack of money but it may happen in the East Ramapo School District. My guess is that the district includes the Hasidic village of New Square, NY. Is it true that many religious folks in New Square get their homes re-classified as houses of worship so that they don't have to pay real estate taxes?

The benign and grandfatherly Chafetz Chaim harshly castigates Jewish doctors who violate Biblical prohibitions in saving the lives of gentiles on Shabbos:

"Know that the doctors in our time, even the most observant, are not careful about this at all, for every Sabbath they travel beyond the borders of the Sabbath domain to heal those who worship the stars, and they write [prescriptions], and grind substances [to prepare medicines] -- and they violate the Sabbath willfully and completely, G-d save us." (Mishnah Berurah, 330, subsection 8)

Being that this was written a century ago it is clear that the reference to "those who worship the stars" is not referring to ancient pagans, as some apologists try to explain. It clearly refers to contemporary Christians.

Rabbi Y.Y. Weinberg (1885-1966), who wrote the Seridei Eish, was a scion and gadol of Modern Orthodoxy. He studied in Mir and Slabodka before WWI, became the Rosh Yeshiva of the Orthodox rabbinical seminary in Germany set up by Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, survived the concentration camps and spent the remainder of his very unhappy life in Switzerland from where he wrote his highly regarded responsa to questions from all over the world. He was very unhappy and was afraid to be honest about his innermost feelings with most of his colleagues and correspondents except for his good friend, Professor Samuel Atlas, a Reform Rabbi. An article by Prof. Marc Shapiro containing this correspondence was published a few years in a YU journal and caused a considerable ruckus. You can see the article here: http://www.yutorah.org/_shiurim/TU7_Shapiro.pdf. See especially the 8th page (pg 112) and the 14th page (pg 118). Rabbi Weinberg painfully concludes that that our discriminatory halachos and dehumanizing attitudes toward gentiles have contributed to the anti-Semitism we have suffered from throughout the ages. Rabbi Weinberg agonizes over the issue but is too honest to dismiss it with clever hermeneutics, which he was certainly capable of doing. Instead he leaves the issue unresolved and with deep pain says, "God knows I have written this with the blood of my heart, the blood of my soul".

Most Jews are benignly ignorant of these problems. They assume halacha and menshlechkiet are basically synonymous and compatible. Those who know better often try to deflect our problematic laws with apologetic arguments that rarely stand up under closer scrutiny. For charaidim this is not a problem as halacha clearly trumps our human subjective sense of morality. For non-Orthodox Jews, who have already abandoned halacha, this is also not a problem. Centrist Orthodox Jews seem to choose to blind themselves to the apparent incompatibility between our modern sense of morality and halacha.

A number of years ago I asked Rabbi Wachsman, the prominent speaker at Sunday’s asifa, if it was permissible to respond to a mailing soliciting relief aid for victims of the 2004 tsunami disaster. He said that although it wasn’t a Jewish cause it was nonetheless a humanitarian disaster and it was appropriate for me to send them a contribution. I then told him that I had posed this same question to Reb Dovid Feinstein and the Matesdorfer Rav and they both said I would be violating the biblical prohibition of Lo Sichanaym, that a Jew isn’t allowed to do a gratuitous act of kindness to a gentile unless there is something in it for us, i.e. creating good will or averting ill will towards Jews. Rabbi Wachsman then retracting his initial ruling and concurred with the other poskim. I told him, “Your initial response was based on your human decency while your second response was based on halacha. Do you think you could convince any intelligent and decent young person to become a Baal Teshuva if you told them the halacha of Lo Sichanaym?” He told me, “It wouldn’t be the first thing I would tell them.”

It is this Jewish supremacy, and the valuing of Jew qua Jew over non-Jew, that is for me one of the most offensive, inhumane, and embarrassing things about normative orthodoxy.

I assert it is wrong. Full stop.

It is morally, ethically, and spiritually corrupt. It is ignorant and ugly.

People who support it, and who engage in apologetics for it, are simply acting immorally. It is not acceptable in any form. It is wrong.

zaidyatrisk:

This is precisely the issue with kiruv. It is almost always bait-and-switch. If ba'alei teshuva knew what they were really buying, they would run as fast as they could anywhere else.

It is no coincidence that a very large percentage of American Buddhists are Jews. Torah and the halacha have the potential to be a spiritual and ethical vehicle for Jews seeking humane and fulfilling connection to the divine, but, what one finds after they make it past the parlor is ugly and primitive, irrational and inhumane.

It's heartbreaking.

As a physician I can confidently say we would treat first to the best of our ability and worry after if we did something wrong.
And the next time we'd do the same thing.

How does one even train to become a doctor today without being mechalel Shabbos? Don't virually all residency programs require doctors in training to work on Shabbos and Yom Tov?

Beautifully said

zaidyatrisk | May 22, 2012 at 05:09 PM

and

Yaakov | May 22, 2012 at 05:14 PM

I too find all this deeply troubling. I personally don't believe there has to be a disconnect between basic morality and Torah Judaism and where one exists, it comes from the false interpretations of the Rabbis and not Hashem.

simply but never really done one can say that this halacha ( as well as mesira) was written in a completely different environment, when not only Jews but all has different values, morality and so on. Therefore, we need to reevaluate and look at it with today environment and see if it still applies .

but that will never happen unless the rebbie is conservative or reform and or some radical frum rebbie.


I think there was one but his books where banned and is mentioned in the book

Untold Tales of the Hasidim: Crisis and Discontent in the History of Hasidism (Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry) chapter 6 about rabbi menahem Friedman

Posted by: Bill | May 22, 2012 at 05:38 PM

what is done and what is halacha might be two diffrent things

I agree with Yaakov, David, and zaidyatrisk. I know some Modern Orthodox, including rabbis, who don't buy into this anti-goy stuff, but we can't pretend it doesn't exist or use mental gymnastics to justify it. The ethical MO should grow a pair, and tell the fanatics where to stuff it, but that won't happen because they want to be accepted by them. It's very frustrating to those of us who care about the tradition but reject the supremacist aspects of it.

zaidyatrisk-

you beat me to it with the quote from the chofetz chaim. well said, and great story about wachsman.

as far as the writings of Rabbi Levi Brackman, it is filled with dishonesty.he calls it "unfortunate that this law was expounded upon in the way by Rabbi Yosef – if in fact the quote represents correctly and fully what he actually said, something that I find doubtful."
he is looking to deny that yosef ever said this, and then calls it unfortunate even if he did. i do not doubt that he DID say it because IT IS THE HALACHA. brackman can try to pretend it isnt but it still is. and what he considers unfortunate is that it was spoken of in public or recieved coverage in the media.

However, this law has been used –erroneously in my view – for centuries by the opponents of the Jewish people and by anti-religious radicals to discredit my religion.

its not erroneous, and it does discredit your religion. the anti-religious are correct. and calling them radicals to marginalize them doesnt weaken their valid point.
next he uses hitchens story as a strawman. i havent checked my signed copy of his book yet, but it really DOESNT MATTER. the source and derivation for the halacha is the torah,gemara and mishneh brura. the halacha is fact regardless of whether shahak made up a story about it.
and no one should fall for the apologists claims that there are some poskim who permit a jew to save a non-jew on shabbos as proof that this is a non-issue. the fact is that the gemara is clear that if a building collapsed on shabbos you may only remove the rubble if you think one of the victims is jewish. if its known there are none, and a jew violated shabbos anyway, the jew could be put to death for his efforts if given proper warning. (rambam hilchos shabbos 2:21) and in the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, paragraph 329, section 3.

the intention of the author of the torah, as well as chazal and the rambam are all plainly and painfully clear. that some rabbis along the way used loopholes to subvert the halachic mesora changes little.
the torah is immoral.
at most, one can say that there are strains of judaism that have realized that the torah is often immoral and that rabbinic judaism is more of the same and have therefore rejected much of it in favor of a more humanistic and moral approach. and they should be applauded for it. but that would refer to conservative and reform judaism, not the orthodoxy or charedism being defended by brackman. for them there is no defense.

Ditto YL and all above (although I've got a beef with YL for planting Lola in my head...won't go away).
What I do find a bit disturbing in Brackman's article, however, is this about religion: "good people will focus of positive dogmas and philosophies and bad people will find the negative elements and stress those."
This is the sort of non-critical acceptance, black and white world, that leads to racist gibberish.

Is Judaism Really A Religion Of Peace?

Yes.

I sent an inquiry on the topic to an old friend who's an MO rabbi. his response was: The halacha is clear- we don't violate shabbos to save a goy's life. In our times, since we often live among a goyish majority, we allow it as an issue of pikuach nefesh. If we don't save their lives, they won't save ours.

For heaven's sakes, can't you quote a rabbi who's less than 90 years old and who has made the transformation into the 21st century? I am getting very tired of this site's proclivity to cite rabbonim who are slightly beyond their prime.

The only "Orthodox" hook to get out of this mess, and I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it in this thread so far, is to go by the Meiri, who says of the mishnah about the building falling on the goy (and almost every other discriminatory halachah), it only applied to the ancient savage non-Jews, not the non-Jews of his day (13th Century France). Then you follow Ruv Kook (the father, not the son), who said that on all matters relating to non-Jews today, we should follow the Meiri. Of course, with all his lost writings, it's strange to be following the Meiri on any major halachic issue; the Hatam Sofer said the Meiri was a forgery; no other modern "gadol" has said anything as explicit about following the Meiri as Ruv Kook... But if you want your hook, you've got it. It worked for me until I abandoned the whole Orthodoxy gig.

I have absolutely no doubt that many hard-core Charedim would be prepared to see non-Jews or non-religious Jews suffer or die rather than supposedly break Shabbos by calling an emergency service
------------------------------------

No doubts: it is amazing the confidence that some people will have about things they have no experience with.

I have absolutely no doubt that many hard-core Charedim would be prepared to see non-Jews or non-religious Jews suffer or die rather than supposedly break Shabbos by calling an emergency service
------------------------------------

No doubts: it is amazing the confidence that some people will have about things they have no experience with.

Posted by: Yoel Mechanic | May 22, 2012 at 08:57 PM

lets get real most Charedim would not think for a second and would be mechalel shabbos to save a life regardless of the halacha at least the ones I know and in the USa the nuts in isreal I do not know

human insticts would take over

A good discussion of this topic has been done in this series at http://rationalistmedicalhalacha.blogspot.com/2010/11/treating-gentile-on-shabbos.html
This topic has been discussed extensively in the past for obvious reasons but if you read the last post in the series http://rationalistmedicalhalacha.blogspot.com/2010/12/is-it-only-bdieved.html
If you arn't only looking for negatives in Halachah there are alternative ways at looking at it (eg Ramban)and so you should choose your Rav carefully

why does following the torah , talmud, rambam and chofetz chayim require tricks, excuses and loopholes to do whats moral and right? cant the orthos and charedim see that ? the rabbis who made up these loopholes obviously realized the torah was immoral and sought to rectify it. that should eliminate any notion that the torah and halacha are eternal nor should be any guide towards moral behavior. rulings to find loopholes are not an orthodox or charedi tool anymore. they just accept whatever theyve been taught. todays conservative jews are closer in this regard to the heroes of the fundies.

"the Hatam Sofer said the Meiri was a forgery..."

Wasn't he the same "sage" who said "chodosh" ("new") is forbidden by the Torah? That's the problem with Orthodoxy today- the most hardline fanatics become the popes.

YL you are confusing orthodoxy with charedism

- see they have succeeded into convincing people that they represent the only Torah true religion
(I realize you know the difference)

Posted by: Yaakov | May 22, 2012 at 05:14 PM

I disagree with your usage of the word "supremacy", which connotes a right to rule. Although, I do agree, (although it pains me) that judaism treats non-jews as if they are inferior to jews.

reb chaim:
It "just happens to be" that the Haredim exalt these rabbis are not less than 90 years old and who haven't made the transformation into the 21st century and treat them as their leadership.
For some reason a lot of MO also look up to these "gedolim".
Shmarya didn't create this reality, he is just commenting on it

anti-agenda arguments:

I don't understand your objection. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary of the American Language, we find:

supremacy |səˈpreməsē, so͞o-|

noun, the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status: the supremacy of the king.

This is completely consonant with the beliefs I hear expressed by orthodox Jews, vis-à-vis post-Messianic times. You might complain it doesn't properly capture the additional problem of superiority, but it is the constantly flogged inherent superiority of the Jews that is the basis for the supremacy, as with other supremacists groups, and so I am using the term quite consciously.

Truth, decency, morality, etc. are always straight smooth paths that don't require convoluted explanations and excuses.

Great wisdom needs relatively few words, such as the Gettysburg Address, the Bill of Rights, the Golden Rule, and the Ten Commandments, to be crystal clear.

And so, when frum halachic rulings require numerous opinions, lengthy essays and explanations, etc., that about says it all.

The ethical MO should grow a pair, and tell the fanatics where to stuff it, but that won't happen because they want to be accepted by them.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | May 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM

Yep. The only people out there who are really trying (of whom I'm aware) are Avi Weiss and his students, and Baruch Herzfeld of Ohev Sholom in DC - and no one in Orthodoxy is listening to them.


"the Hatam Sofer said the Meiri was a forgery..."

Wasn't he the same "sage" who said "chodosh" ("new") is forbidden by the Torah? That's the problem with Orthodoxy today- the most hardline fanatics become the popes.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | May 22, 2012 at 09:34 PM

Also, yep.

This is the reason it's entirely irrelevant to me, Yochanan. You grew up in that world and have happy associations with it, so you care about it and want to salvage what can be salvaged. I didn't, and what associations I've had have decidedly not been happy ones.

I'm a baby-and-bath-water guy, I guess. For me, the entire thing is unsalvageable.

In addition to what many of you are saying about Brackman's denial - and I agree with you - for me, the most poignant thing about the article is this:

It is certainly unfortunate that this law was expounded upon in the way by Rabbi Yosef – if in fact the quote represents correctly and fully what he actually said, something that I find doubtful.

In the end, they always try to defend and make excuses for these guys. Always.

Yis, there are many poskim besides rav Kook who paskened like the Meiri. do a search on the internet and you can find them.

Here is some straight, undeniable, by the Books halacha:

Goy filth don't really have souls.
The best we've ever gotten from the goy filth is trash.
A Jew can change the universe, but a goy can't.
The goy filth are only here to be the slaves of the Jewish Master Race.
All goyim are donkey-fuckers and homosexual rapists.
If goy filth accidentally kill a Jew they don't get legal defense, and they are killed. If a member of the Master Race murders a soulless goy he gets every consideration.
If you find something belonging to goy filth don't bother to give it back.
When you fight goy filth kill all men, children and most of them women. Save a few pretty shiksas to rape the shit out of.

...but put on a fake smile and try to hide your hatred of goyim so they'll treat us better.

Shlomo1: Your point is well taken. Chareidism is a separate religion. So is Chabad, and non-Chabad chassidut.

Jeff: Actually, I grew up Reform and became interested in traditional Judaism as a teenager. But you're basically correct- I have good memories and want to salvage it. (I also have bad memories of Lanner and others). But you might be ultimately correct that it may be too late.

Personally I believe that most Haredim who I know would take their chances with God, even if they knew the halacha and interpreted it as the hard-liners do - and do the right thing, despite what the books said.

But most of the Haredim I know are Chassidim who, perhaps surprisingly, are much more laid back and open minded (yes they most certainly are!) than the Litvak Lakewood crowd.


To Yis

Rabbi YY Weinberg does beg the Roshei Yeshiva to teach students to follow the Meieri. But to no avail

But you might be ultimately correct that it may be too late.

Posted by: Yochanan Lavie | May 23, 2012 at 10:08 AM

I think it is too late. When I meet someone like one of Avi Weiss' kids, I try not to discourage him - but I think there's very little hope.

Here's one I met online the other day (Actually, he isn't a kid; I think he's in his thirties or forties. I think he took on the rabbinate as a second career.):

Davening Among the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes.

Naturally, a couple of trolls showed up to give him a hard time - one was Moshe Averick, who's a colossal jerk, and the other was Garnel (I don't know what his problem is lately). I had a brief email exchange with him. Nice guy. He agrees they need a Modern Orthodoxy that isn't Hared-dependent. What am I going to tell him - "Don't waste your time"?

I highly recommend the writings of Dr. Israel Shahak.
The issue is one that has been, in parliamentary parlance, "asked and answered."

Ovadiah is wrong and illegally ignorant. The obligation for a physician on duty to treat is in the kosher laws of humanity. If there is a non jew who is in his care, he must treat that person. If he is not on call its not his or her issue. Ovadiah makes this planet a place for purse snatchers.

Anon - there are no others; his (apparently imaginary) distinction between savage and enlightened non-Jews is unique and there is no other early source allowing a Jew to violate the Sabbath to save a non-Jew's life for non-utilitarian reasons. If I am wrong, let's see your sources ...

The heter is available in that there is no failsafe way to determine whether a person is Jewish or not. Even the person in question may not know of their Jewish roots. The Chabad Rebbe used this reasoning to say that there were many more Jews in Russia than were previously thought, most of which did not even know that they are halachically Jewish.

In the case of pikuach nefesh, you do not have to discern. If there is even a minute chance, you save first and ask questions later. This is only a theoretical question today.

human instincts would take over

Posted by: seymour | May 22, 2012 at 09:23 PM
--------------------------
Seymour, thanks for you logical and reasoned input.

RebelJew-you know of an actual Orthodox psak using that reasoning, from the rebbe or anyone else? Show us, with a citation... And ironically that still would not solve the ethical problem...

I think RebelJew is correct... I am having trouble remembering the Rabbi's name, the last name began with an H... hm... But I do recall a responsa saying something about this. The logic I recall was that to preserve peace with other nations, one should break Shabbos to save them too. Quite reasonable. Obviously you are not saving them so they will continue to observe more Shabbatot. But he was simply giving a reason to save them too. These are, of course, interesting theoretical discussions and exercises in legal reasoning.

Yoel - you are referring to a separate argument, that some of the rabbis who simply mentioned that the non-Jew can be saved for "Darche Shalom" COULD HAVE meant that term in a non-utilitarian sense. I think that argument is pretty weak, looking at the history of the term "Darche Shalom"; preserving peace usually just meant so they won't hate and kill us. Regardless, it's all conjecture. If you want to find a pre-modern source which clearly indicates that non-Jews can be saved for non-utilitarian reasons, you are stuck with the Meiri telling us those nasty mishnas and gemaras all referred to ancient savages but not civilized goyim, whatever the heck he was basing that on, assuming he really meant it. It's a pretty slender reed, and without it I may have abandoned Orthodoxy long before I did. Still, I hope that those who still are Orthodox follow the Meiri...

There are Jewish doctors around the world who regulaly treat non Jews on the sabbath. Many Torah observant ones also treat non Jews. Their rational is Hillel's answer when asked to explain the Torah while standing on one foot. His answer was something like "what is hateful to you refrain from doing to others, the rest is commentary. Now go and study!"

I hope that's true, Suzanne, but regardless Hillel's statement is not halacha and I'm sure many Orthodox doctors feel bound by halacha...

When I am offered a contract to sign, I read it. If there is a provision in the contract which I find objectionable, I point it out and negotiate about it.

Occasionally, someone will hand me a "standard" contract and it will have a provision which is completely unacceptable. When I point this out, I am told "oh yes, well we never actually do that". So, I put a line through it, and have them initial it. Sometimes they say, "wait, what are you doing?" and I explain that if I am going to sign a contract it has to reflect what they actually do, and if they don't do it then it has no business in the contract I sign.

The argument that the halacha is a certain way but we don't actually do that is unacceptable to me. So long as people insist that the "right" way is one thing but there are loopholes, I will say "no, I do not accept that". The right way is the one I am going to do, and if you claim that some text at odds with that is "right", I say you are wrong.

Either do what you claim the halacha is and live with the consequences or admit that the halacha is what you actually do and stop pretending you are somehow being true to an ancient tradition that your own actions show to be dead and obsolete. The duplicity has to stop.

I have been a BT for 38 years and not once have I taken R. Ovadia Yosef seriously in matters of p'sak halakha.

The Rambam was court physician to the Sultan in Cairo. I'd like to know what he would have said to R. Yosef.

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