Monday, May 21, 2012

Israeli rabbi says that helping Gentiles injured in accidents violates the Sabbath

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Luke 10:25-37

But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Luke 11:42

Things don't seem to have changed much since our Lord's time on Earth. As reported by Ynet News, May 17, 2012:

What should religious doctors do if a gentile is injured in a car accident on Shabbat and is rushed to the hospital? According to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, this does not warrant violating the sanctity of the Sabbath.

During a class on Sabbath halacha relating to religious physicians, the spiritual leader of Shas said that while doctors are expected to do everything in their power – even if it requires violating the Sabbath – in order to save Jews whose lives are in danger, the same does not apply for gentiles.

"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 said, explaining that "if the particular procedures come from rabbis (de-rabbanan), then they might be permitted, but if they stem from prohibitions in the Torah (de-'oraita), then they are not allowed, as the Torah forbids to violate the Sabbath for gentiles."

Rabbi Yosef expounded on the problem, saying that the Mishnah Berurah explicitly says that "all religious physicians who treat gentiles on the Sabbath or violating the Sabbath; however, in reality the patients are brought to the hospital and must be treated. The doctors' license says they must treat all patients without distinction of faith or race, and if they don’t, the State could revoke their license and also punish them. So what should the poor doctors do?"

The rabbi offered a halachic solution that follows a rule by which if a single person is doing the act, he is violating the Sabbath, while if two people are doing it together, they are exempt.

"The doctor who needs to operate will call on another doctor, or nurse, to hold the scalpel together and make the incision," said Rabbi Yosef, saying that "it is necessary in order for religious physicians to refrain from being put on trial for distinguishing between a Jew and a gentile on Sabbath."

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