Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Daf Yomi - Yoma 84 - Violating the Shabbos to Save a Life

Daf Yomi - Yoma 84 - Violating the Shabbos to save a life

The Gemara states that one can violate the Shabbos if there is a possibility that ones life will be saved. The Aruch HaShulchan in Orach Chaim 328:3 notes that there is a debate amongst the Rishonim if the violation of Shabbos is totally permitted or if the laws of Shabbos are merely overridden because of the life-threatening situation. This debate would be analogous to the ruling that the laws regarding tumah, ritual impurity, are suspended regarding the community. The Gemara stated earlier that a korban belonging to the community can be offered even if the Kohanim are tamei. The Gemara records a debate regarding the need to find a Kohen who is tahor to perform the avodah. The argument is predicated on the question if the laws of tumah are totally permitted or if they are merely overridden because of the current situation. The same rationale can be applied with regard to saving a life on Shabbos. If saving a life is totally permitted, it is not necessary to seek a means of saving a life in a manner that the Shabbos would not be violated. If, however, we say that saving a life merely overrides the Shabbos prohibitions, then one must first ensure that there is no other means of saving the person’s life before one violates the Shabbos. The commentators wonder according to the opinion that maintains that saving a life on Shabbos is totally permitted, why is there a halacha that one must seek the more lenient prohibition?