Thursday, August 31, 2006

Daf Yomi - Yoma 85 - Violate one Shabbos to have many Shabbosos Observed

One opinion in the Gemara derives the source for the law that saving a life overrides the Shabbos laws from the verse that states the children of Israel shall observe the Shabbos in order to perform the Shabbos throughout their generations. This teaches us that one should violate one Shabbos by saving a life so that the person whose life was saved may live to observe many Shabbosos. The implication from the Gemara is that if we know for certain that the person whose life is being saved will not live until the next Shabbos, one is forbidden to violate the Shabbos on his behalf.

The commentators question this theory from the Gemara that we learned earlier (Yoma 71) that states that we allow the Shabbos to be violated even if the person for whom the Shabbos is being violated will only live for a few hours.

It is worth noting that the Ohr HaChaim in Parashas Ki Sisa (31:16) writes that we do not violate the Shabbos to save a life if the person will only live for a few more hours. The ruling of the Ohr HaChaim would appear to contradict the accepted halacha.

The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 32) resolves this issue by writing that we allow the laws of Shabbos to be violated to save a person’s life even for a few hours if a rabbinical prohibition will be violated. Regarding a biblical prohibition, however, we do not allow one to violate the Shabbos laws to save a life for only a few hours. The verse quoted earlier which teaches us that one can violate the Shabbos laws to save ones life so that one will be able to observe many Shabbosos refers to violating biblical prohibitions.

The Minchas Chinuch concludes that the final halacha is that one can violate even the biblical prohibitions of Shabbos to save a life, even if the person whose life is being saved will only live for a few hours. This is based on the exposition of the Gemara that derives the source for saving a life on Shabbos and overriding the laws of Shabbos from the verse that states you shall guard My decrees and My laws that man shall carry out and by which he shall live.