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Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Save don't destroy!

I was going through a fragment of a guide for Hatzalah members.
What jumps off the pages are the extraordinary leniencies accorded to save lives.
While it makes sense and we’ve all learned that saving a life takes precedence over almost any prohibition, it is nevertheless very interesting to see how far Hatzalah personnel is permitted to transgress the Shabbes, even in cases of doubt.
Any suspicion of something serious that may have happened is good enough to pick up a phone and ride an ambulance while various ‘melachaos” are set aside for the sake of human lives.
I have so much admiration for these people.
Yes it’s wonderful that for no compensation whatsoever they will run towards a person in need regardless of the time and day.
But this isn’t the only thing I admire.
I know how awful it is to have to transgress the Shabbes for medical reasons.
And while it’s mandated to do the necessary when ill ח״ש to get better, there’s this disagreeable feeling that’s hard to push aside.
And yet there they go, Shabbes, Yom Tov, day or night, always shaking off whatever feels unpleasant and focus on the person in need.

Now if Rabbonim universally agree that saving a life in the physical sense is important enough to set all Halachos temporarily aside, then why is destroying lives in the emotional sense so rampant?
How come someone who wouldn’t dream of transgressing the Shabbes (even in private) would so easily ‘kill’ a fellow Jew?
How come that orthodox people have to face so many traumas, directly linked to way communities function?

I believe that the Torah teaches us that saving a life is a bigger Mitzvah than all others, then surely destroying one, albeit not physically, has to be the worse Averah (sin) possible.

So true...

Yet think about ourselves. When we have a physical ailment we are far more uncomfortable than when we have an emotional ailment.

It requires a sense of self honesty into one's own emotional wellbeing to be in touch with others' too. Non-physical problems are so much easier to brush under the carpet as they are so much harder to deal with.

It is our job to have a self awareness but so many don't...and they do so much damage.
Just the other day a friend of mine told me how it was to be on 24/7 call as a doctor. it's really life in another dimension.
As a child, I remember my bubby, who was ultra Orthodox, was walking down the street. She fell on Shabbos, and refused to enter our car to pick her up. Still, to this day, I do not understand why she responded in this way, but she did. I guess her level of observence outweighted her personal physical discomfort to break the Shabbos laws.
exsem-It's true that what's hidden is easier to pretend doesn't exist.
Yet I still think that there's a greater reluctance to disperse physical blows, because people do not realize that stick and stones hurt the bones but that words do too.

batya- While I appreciate all that (good ) Doctors do for humanity, bear in mind that Hatzalah is completely non profit.
Barbara- Maybe she thought that her injury did not warranty violating the Shabbes.
It's permitted nay mandated to violate the Shabbes sin case of emergency, however if something can wait till after the Shabbes, then obviously that's the preferred course of action.

So do you have good memories of your grandmother?
I think it's easier to refrain from hurting others physically - because it's something you can touch, see, feel. Emotional or psychological pain that one incurs upon another is much more abstract, and not always apparent. The emotional abuse that a husband rains upon his wife is often much deeper, but much more difficult to prove than physical violence. And since people don't always react the same ways to the same stimuli, it's often not known what effect there is from our actions.

All this being said, it's certainly not justifiable to harm people, in any way. We all need to make the effort to be more careful with the pain we inflict upon others.
I agree with shoshana. It is clear cut when it is physical. Very hard to have guidelines for emotional hurt and pain. Yes physical can usually be repaired and emotional many times cannot be repaired. One wrong word can damage a soul for life. Wish people would take your words and theirs more seriously. Nice post.
barb your bubby didnt know the shabbos laws too well
but i think she wanted to make a statement that she is disgusted by you not keeping shabbos
Hatzalah truly is one of the great orginizations of our time. A friend of mine is in Hatzalah and i tell him all the time how much i admire him. That being said there are orginizations to help through emotional problems as well. these less heralded but just as important orginizations deserve much recognition as well.
well said. I agree. It is sad to realize that acts that can destroy someone emotionally are the ones performed even by the frumest of Jews. (loshon horah, embaressment, etc.) It doesn't do me much emotional damage but should I really be looked at with a dirty look if I am wearing open toe shoes in a Chasidish neigborhood? Are the people that are giving me looks so perfect in their avodas Hashem that they can begin to critisize others? I highly doubt it...
ex sem girl- I am often in much more pain when it is an emotional ailment than a physical one. Especially when the emotional pain is caused by someone I love, that hurts more than any broken bone.
interesting. I would also like to thank the Hatzalah members of all they do. I would not be able to give myself as much as these selfless individuals do. BRAVO!
That being said someone who is emotionally abused doesnt even realize it half the time. It is very sad to see how many husbands truly abuse there wives emotionally. PLease, if you feel you cant control your urge to imprison your wife, seek help!
Shoshana- You’re right, if consequences of emotional abuse showed as clearly as bruises and the like then the assaulters would think twice before striking.

Socialworker- In think people would if it’d be as clear cut Halachically that saving someone emotionally is as important and valuable.

YY- Or she felt it wasn’t so bad as to warrant being mechalel Shabbes.

Beingjewish- Thanks for passing by.
I think it’s a great idea to tell your friend. Many if the volunteers feel unappreciated and only get a compliment when they actually save someone.
I believe that organization that caters to the emotionally hurt should indeed be just as renowned and supported.
Do you know any in particular?

Rebecca- Most probably most of them are guilty of worse thing,.
And it’s definitely wrong to look down on you.
The biggest problem today is that people have the priorities pertaining to being frum all mixed up.

Chaverah- That could be an explanation, yet I’m afraid some people; who use physical force are not always completely cognizant about that either.
Good post! Pointing out what hatzalah members are all about, esp when its voluntary.
(I have two uncles who work in hatzalah and they are great caring guys.)

Its truly is sad how people destroy others lives especialy jewish people, I dont know about rampant though there are plenty of laws regarding this, hurting or embarasing a fellow jew... yet this is more of a personal issue for each person on his own to love and respect his jewish brothers and sisters.
Prag, once again you are spot on.

I know of so many people who go off the derech because of the callous remarks and treatment by supposedly frum people. Spiritually and emotionally saving lives should take as great of a precedence as saving someone physically.
Chasidische- I think that perhaps some do it for the glory but in my opinion most members are caring, kind and generous people.

There are Halachos on emotional hurt, the Gemarah even brings payment as compensation for someone who experienced shame
And Lashon Harah is ‘advertised’ as the greatest evil around, but I have yet to find the importance of not hurting people emotionally, stressed by example of leniencies to avoid this as is the case when someone could suffer physical damage.

Kasamba- The hat and gartel have to work with the wordss coming out of the moth, otherwise indeed what to think about religious people?
I find myself shocked by what supposedly ‘respected’ people of the community do and say.
Right but that would never happen. By definition emotion can not be defined concretely as a physical ailment.
That's one thing that has always bothered me about the most ultra-Orthodox of Jews (not all of them, of course). They will be so careful with the most minute aspects of many laws yet when it comes to "ve'ahavta le'reyecha kamocha," they blow it.
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