SECTION 329 For Whose Sake May the Shabbos Be Desecrated (1-10)

סימן שכט עַל מִי מְחַלְּלִין שַׁבָּת וּבוֹ י' סְעִיפִים:

1 The Shabbos [prohibitions] are suspended1 in all instances of mortal danger. One who acts eagerly and with alacrity [to save a fellow Jew’s life in such a situation] is praiseworthy.2 [Accordingly,] even if a fire broke out in another courtyard, but [one] fears that it will spread to his courtyard and create a mortally dangerous situation, e.g., there is a sick person or minors [in his home] and there is no time to move them before the fire will reach his courtyard, the fire may be extinguished so that it will not spread [into his courtyard]. Even when it is possible to move [the sick person or minors] via an area that is a public domain in the complete sense,3 it is preferable to extinguish [the fire], because extinguishing the fire is a melachah she’einah tzerichah legufah, a forbidden labor which a person performs for a purpose that does not involve the object with which the forbidden labor was performed, as explained in sec. 278[:1].4 Taking out a sick person or minors who cannot walk on their own,5 by contrast, is a forbidden labor in the complete sense, as stated in sec. 308[:81].

א כָּל פִּקּוּחַ נֶפֶשׁ דּוֹחֶה1 אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, וְהַזָּרִיז – הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. א,2

אֲפִלּוּ נָפְלָה דְלֵקָה בְּחָצֵר אַחֶרֶתב וְיָרֵא שֶׁמָּא תַּעֲבוֹר לְחָצֵר זוֹ וְיָבֹא לִידֵי סַכָּנָה,ג כְּגוֹן שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ חוֹלֶה אוֹ קְטַנִּיםד וְאֵין שָׁהוּת לְהַבְרִיחָם טֶרֶם שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ לָהּ הַדְּלֵקָהה – מְכַבִּין כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תַעֲבוֹר.

וַאֲפִלּוּ אֶפְשָׁר לְהַבְרִיחָם דֶּרֶךְ רְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים גְּמוּרָהו,3 – מוּטָב לְכַבּוֹת, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַכִּבּוּי מְלָאכָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְגוּפָהּ הוּא,ז כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן רע"ח,ח,4 וְהוֹצָאַת חוֹלֶה אוֹ קְטַנִּים שֶׁאֵינָם יְכוֹלִים לֵילֵךְ5 הִיא מְלָאכָה גְמוּרָה,ט כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ש"ח:י

2 The ruling with regard to matters of mortal danger is not determined according to the majority [of inhabitants]. Needless to say, if there are nine non-Jews6 and one Jew standing in a courtyard, and a mound of rubble falls on one of them, and it is not known whether it is the Jew or a non-Jew, the rubble should be cleared. [In that instance,] the Jew and the non-Jew are both considered to have established their presence in the courtyard, and whenever [two different entities have both] established their presence [in a given place, the probability] is defined as “half-and-half.”7 [Leniency is, therefore, taken because] whenever there is a doubt concerning a life-threatening situation, we rule leniently.8

Furthermore, even if one of the individuals departs [and goes] to another courtyard and the rubble falls on him there – in which instance, it would be fitting that the ruling be determined according to the majority9 – even so, [in this instance] the rubble may be cleared for that person’s sake. [The rationale is that] since the setting that had been established remains in its place, [i.e., the other people remain in the original courtyard,] (at the time this person departs from the setting), we consider it as if he is [still] part of that fixed setting, because whenever there is a doubt concerning a life-threatening situation, we rule leniently.

If, however, all of [the people] depart [from the courtyard], one after another,10 and when they depart, one of them goes to another courtyard and rubble falls on him, the rubble may not be removed. Since the original setting of people has been uprooted (at the time this person departs), the leniency of considering it as [if he is still part of that] fixed setting is not viable. [Instead, the situation] is determined by the majority [of people in the area], which [in this instance] are non-Jews.11

If, however, all of [the people] leave [the original place], but they are still [proceeding] as one group, if one person departs from them, he is considered to have departed from the original group and the rubble may be cleared for him.

Similarly,12 if an infant is found in a town that is populated by a majority of non-Jews, there are authorities who maintain that the Shabbos should not be desecrated [to save his life. The rationale is that] since every day, [the inhabitants of the town] all depart from the place where they are found, [the ruling] is determined by the majority. (As explained in Even HaEzer, sec. 4, there are authorities who differ [with this ruling]; consult that source).13

ב אֵין הוֹלְכִין בְּפִקּוּחַ נֶפֶשׁ אַחַר הָרֹב.יא אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם הָיוּ תִּשְׁעָה נָכְרִים6 וְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֶחָד עוֹמְדִים בֶּחָצֵר,יב וְנָפְלָה מַפֹּלֶת עַל אֶחָד מֵהֶםיג בְּאוֹתָהּ חָצֵר וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא אִם נָכְרִי,יד שֶׁמְּפַקְּחִין עָלָיו אֶת הַגָּל, שֶׁהֲרֵי הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְהַנָּכְרִי הָיוּ קְבוּעִים בְּאוֹתָהּ חָצֵר, וְכָל הַקָּבוּעַ הוּא כְּמֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה,טו, 7 וּסְפֵק נְפָשׁוֹת לְהָקֵל.טז, 8 אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ פֵּרֵשׁ אֶחָד מֵהֶם לְחָצֵר אַחֶרֶתיז וְשָׁם נָפְלָה עָלָיו מַפֹּלֶת,יח שֶׁהָיָה רָאוּי לֵילֵךְ אַחַר הָרֹביט, 9 – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן מְפַקְּחִין עָלָיו, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּשְׁאָר קְבִיעוּת הָרִאשׁוֹן בִּמְקוֹמוֹכ (בִּשְׁעַת פְּרִישָׁתוֹ מֵהַקְּבִיעוּתכא) – הֲרֵי אָנוּ חוֹשְׁבִין אוֹתוֹ כְּקָבוּעַ עִמָּהֶם לְהָקֵל בִּסְפֵק נְפָשׁוֹת.כב

אֲבָל אִם נֶעֶקְרוּ כֻלָּםכג בְּזֶה אַחַר זֶה,כד,10 וּבִשְׁעַת עֲקִירָתָם פֵּרֵשׁ אֶחָד מֵהֶם לְחָצֵר אַחֶרֶת וְנָפְלָה עָלָיו מַפֹּלֶת – אֵין מְפַקְּחִין עָלָיו, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּעֵר כְּבָר קְבִיעוּת הָרִאשׁוֹן מִמְּקוֹמוֹכה (בִּשְׁעַת פְּרִישָׁתוֹ שֶׁל זֶה) – אִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהָקֵל בּוֹ מִשּׁוּם קָבוּעַ, וְהוֹלְכִין בּוֹ אַחַר הָרֹב שֶׁהֵם נָכְרִים.11

אֲבָל אִם נֶעֶקְרוּ כֻלָּם – הֲרֵי עֲדַיִן הֵם קְבוּעִים בְּיַחַד,כו וּכְשֶׁפֵּרֵשׁ אֶחָד מֵהֶם – הֲרֵי פֵּרֵשׁ מֵהַקָּבוּעַ, וּמְפַקְּחִין עָלָיו.

וְכֵן12 תִּינוֹק שֶׁנִּמְצָא בְּעִיר שֶׁרֻבָּהּ נָכְרִים – יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםכז שֶׁאֵין מְחַלְּלִין עָלָיו אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם פּוֹרְשִׁים כֻּלָּם מִמְּקוֹם קְבִיעוּתָם – הוֹלְכִין אַחַר הָרֹבכח (כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּאֶבֶן הָעֶזֶר סִימָן ד',כט עַיֵּן שָׁםל שֶׁיֵּשׁ חוֹלְקִיןלא):13

3 When a mound of rubble falls on a person and there is a question whether he is alive or already dead, whether he is [still] there or whether he is not there – and even if he is there, it is not known whether he is a Jew or a non-Jew – the rubble may be cleared even if there are many doubts.14 [The rationale is that] the Torah says15 “to live by them.” The implication is that observing the mitzvos should never lead to the death of any Jew.

Even if it is discovered that the person was crushed [by the rubble – thus, even if he is still alive,] he will only remain alive for a short time afterwards – the rubble should be removed until his nostrils, and he should be checked [for signs of life].16 If he is discovered to be alive, he should be removed so that he may live [even] for that brief period of time. If no sign of life is found in his nostrils, he has certainly died already; this is true even if his [body] is not crushed. [This course of action should be followed] whether [those removing the rubble uncover] his head first or they [uncover] his feet first and see that he has no vital signs in his heart.17 [Even so, those removing the rubble] should nevertheless check [the person’s] nostrils, for the fundamental sign of life is in the nostrils, as it is written:18 “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life.”

ג מִי שֶׁנָּפְלָה עָלָיו מַפֹּלֶת, סָפֵק עוֹדֶנּוּ חַי סָפֵק כְּבָר מֵת, סָפֵק הוּא שָׁם סָפֵק אֵינוֹ שָׁם, אֲפִלּוּ אִם תִּמְצֵי לוֹמַר שֶׁהוּא שָׁם סָפֵק יִשְׂרָאֵל סָפֵק נָכְרִי – מְפַקְּחִין עָלָיו,לב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ כַּמָּה סְפֵקוֹת,לג,14 שֶׁהֲרֵי אָמְרָה תוֹרָהלד,15 "וָחַי בָּהֶם", שֶׁלֹּא יוּכַל לָבֹא בְּשׁוּם עִנְיָן לִידֵי מִיתַת יִשְׂרָאֵללה עַל יְדֵי שְׁמִירַת הַמִּצְווֹת.לו

וַאֲפִלּוּ מְצָאוּהוּ מְרֻצָּץ,לז שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִחְיוֹת אֶלָּא לְפִי שָׁעָהלח – מְפַקְּחִים וּבוֹדְקִים עַד חָטְמוֹ,לט,16 אִם יֵשׁ בּוֹ חַיּוּת – מְפַקְּחִים וּמוֹצִיאִים אוֹתוֹ בִּשְׁבִיל חַיֵּי שָׁעָה, וְאִם לֹא הִרְגִּישׁוּ בְּחָטְמוֹ חַיּוּת – אָז וַדַּאי כְּבָר מֵת,מ אֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ מְרֻצָּץ.מא

בֵּין שֶׁפָּגְעוּ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ תְּחִלָּה וּבֵין שֶׁפָּגְעוּ בְּרַגְלָיו תְּחִלָּה,מב וְרָאוּ שֶׁאֵין חַיּוּת בְּלִבּוֹ17 – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן בּוֹדְקִין עַד חָטְמוֹ,מג כִּי עִקַּר הֶכֵּר חַיּוּת הוּא בְּחֹטֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרמד,18 "כֹּל אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁמַת רוּחַ חַיִּים בְּאַפָּיו":מה

4 Even if it is discovered that the people [trapped] in the upper section of the rubble have died, one should not assume that those in the lower sections [have surely] died. Instead, the rubble should be cleared for their sake, [for] perhaps they are still alive. An incident occurred and, [indeed, those searching through the rubble] found that those in the upper section had died, while those in the lower level were [still] alive.19

ד מָצָא עֶלְיוֹנִים מֵתִים – לֹא יֹאמַר "כְּבָר מֵתוּ הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים", אֶלָּא מְפַקֵּחַ עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁמָּא הֵם חַיִּים.מו מַעֲשֶׂה הָיָה וּמָצְאוּ עֶלְיוֹנִים מֵתִים וְתַחְתּוֹנִים חַיִּים:מז,19

5 When a person was breaking [into a home] in a situation where no one would be liable for killing him, and [moreover,] it is permitted [for the homeowner] to do so,20 if rubble fell on [the person] there,21 it should not be cleared for his sake22 (because we are not obligated to maintain his life).23

ה הַבָּא בַּמַּחְתֶּרֶת בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁאֵין לוֹ דָּם וּמֻתָּר לְהָרְגוֹ,20 וְנָפְלָה עָלָיו מַפֹּלֶת שָׁם21 – אֵין מְפַקְּחִין עָלָיומח,22 (שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין מְצֻוִּין לְהַחֲיוֹתוֹמט):23

6 The following laws apply] when non-Jews take up arms against Jewish towns:24 If [the non-Jews] come [to attack the towns] for financial gain, the Shabbos may not be desecrated because of them.25 If, however, [the non-Jews] come to kill, and even if they come with no expressed intent, but there is concern that perhaps they come to kill, one should confront [the non-Jews] while armed and desecrate the Shabbos because of them.26 [Indeed, these steps may be taken] not only when their arrival is imminent, but even if [the non-Jews] are merely threatening to come.

In a town that is near the border, even if [the non-Jews] only seek to come for matters concerning hay and straw, the Shabbos may be desecrated because of them, lest they capture the town, and from there, the [entire] land will be easier for them to conquer.27

ו נָכְרִים שֶׁצָּרוּ עַל עֲיָרוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל,24 אִם בָּאוּ עַל עִסְקֵי מָמוֹן – אֵין מְחַלְּלִין עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת.נ,25

וְאִם בָּאוּ עַל עִסְקֵי נְפָשׁוֹת,נא וַאֲפִלּוּ בָּאוּ סְתָםנב וְיֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ שֶׁמָּא בָּאוּ עַל עִסְקֵי נְפָשׁוֹת,נג וַאֲפִלּוּ עֲדַיִן לֹא בָאוּנד אֶלָּא מְמַשְׁמְשִׁים לָבֹאנה – יוֹצְאִים עֲלֵיהֶם בִּכְלֵי זַיִן וּמְחַלְּלִין עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת.נו,26

וּבְעִיר הַסְּמוּכָה לַסְּפָר, אֲפִלּוּ אֵינָן רוֹצִים לָבֹאנז אֶלָּא עַל עִסְקֵי תֶּבֶן וְקַשׁ – מְחַלְּלִין עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת,נח שֶׁמָּא יִלְכְּדוּ הָעִיר וּמִשָּׁם תְּהֵא הָאָרֶץ נוֹחָה לִכָּבֵשׁ לִפְנֵיהֶם:נט,27

7 There are authorities28 who maintain that in the present era, when we live among non-Jewish nations who plunder and murder, even if non-Jews come merely because of monetary matters, the Shabbos may be desecrated because of them, for if a Jew does not allow [the non-Jews] to plunder and loot, they will kill him. It can be assumed that [there will be Jews who will resist, for] there is a presumption that a person does not remain passive when his money [is at stake], and there is concern that one [of the Jews] will oppose [the non-Jews], and they will kill him. Thus, the matter involves [a potential threat] to life. Nevertheless, every instance should be judged according to its particulars.29

[The above applies to a community.] When, by contrast, [thieves] come to take an individual’s money,30 he should allow them to take everything he has and not desecrate the Shabbos, not even [by overstepping] a Rabbinic safeguard, conducting himself according to [the guidelines] explained in sec. 301[:39-40].31

ז יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםס,28 שֶׁבִּזְמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁאָנוּ דָרִין בֵּין הָאֻמּוֹת שֶׁשּׁוֹלְלִין וְהוֹרְגִין,סא אֲפִלּוּ אִם לֹא בָאוּ אֶלָּא עַל עִסְקֵי מָמוֹן – מְחַלְּלִין עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, לְפִי שֶׁאִם לֹא יַנִּיחֶנּוּ הַיִּשְׂרָאֵל לִשְׁלוֹל וְלָבֹז – יַהַרְגֶנּוּ,סב וַחֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵין אָדָם מַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ עַל מָמוֹנוֹ, וְיֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ שֶׁמָּא יַעֲמוֹד אֶחָד נֶגְדָּם וְיֵהָרֵג,סג וַהֲרֵי זֶה עֵסֶק נְפָשׁוֹת.סד וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, הַכֹּל לְפִי הָעִנְיָן.סה,29

אֲבָל יָחִיד שֶׁבָּאוּ עָלָיו לִקַּח מָמוֹנוֹ – יַנִּיחַ לָהֶם לִטּוֹל כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ, וְלֹא יְחַלֵּל שַׁבָּתסו אֲפִלּוּ בְּאִסּוּר דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,30 אֶלָּא עַל דֶּרֶךְ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ש"א:סז,31

8 When one sees a boat on which a Jew is traveling floundering at sea, or [he sees] a flooding river, or an individual being pursued by a non-Jew, it is a mitzvah32 for every person to desecrate the Shabbos in an effort to save them,33 even if it is doubtful that he will [be able to] save [them].34

Nevertheless, if there is [mortal] danger involved [to his own person in attempting to save those in danger], he should not endanger himself to save them, since at present, he himself is not in [mortal] danger [and he is not obligated to place himself in that situation. This applies] even if he sees the other person dying. Even though there is only a question [whether his life would be endangered] and the other person is definitely [in mortal danger], nevertheless, it is said, “to live by them.” [Implied is that one] should not place himself in a situation where there is a question of mortal danger35 through fulfilling [the commandment],36 “Do not stand [idly by] while your fellow man’s blood [is at risk].”

ח הָרוֹאֶה סְפִינָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמְטֹרֶפֶת בַּיָּם, וְכֵן נָהָר שׁוֹטֵף, וְכֵן יָחִיד הַנִּרְדָּף מִפְּנֵי נָכְרִי – מִצְוָה32 עַל כָּל אָדָם לְחַלֵּל עֲלֵיהֶם שַׁבָּת כְּדֵי לְהַצִּילָם,סח,33 וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא סָפֵק אִם יַצִּיל.סט,34

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִם יֵשׁ סַכָּנָה – אֵין לוֹ לְסַכֵּן עַצְמוֹ כְּדֵי לְהַצִּיל אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ, מֵאַחַר שֶׁהוּא חוּץ מִן הַסַּכָּנָה. וְאַף שֶׁרוֹאֶה בְּמִיתַת חֲבֵרוֹ,ע וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא סָפֵק וַחֲבֵרוֹ וַדַּאי, מִכָּל מָקוֹם הֲרֵי נֶאֱמַרעא,15 "וָחַי בָּהֶם", וְלֹא שֶׁיָּבֹא לִידֵי סְפֵק מִיתָה35 עַל יְדֵי שֶׁיְּקַיֵּםעב מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַרעג,36 "לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל דַּם רֵעֶךָ":עד

9 All those who leave their place [armed with weapons] to save [their fellow Jews] may return to their place with their weapons if they are afraid to spend the Shabbos in the place where they saved [their brethren], because of the non-Jews,37 as will be explained in sec. 407[:3].

ט כָּל הַיּוֹצְאִים לְהַצִּיל – חוֹזְרִים בִּכְלֵי זֵינָם לִמְקוֹמָםעה אִם מִתְפַּחֲדִים מִפְּנֵי הַנָּכְרִים לִשְׁבּוֹת בַּמָקוֹם שֶׁהִצִּילוּ,37 כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ת"ז:עו

10 Whether it is permitted to desecrate [the Shabbos] to save a person whom non-Jews wish to compel to abandon [his faith] is explained in sec. 306[:29].38

י מִי שֶׁרוֹצִים נָכְרִים לְאָנְסוֹ לְהָמִיר, אִם מְחַלְּלִין עָלָיו לְהַצִּילוֹעז – נִתְבָּאֵר בְּסוֹף סִימָן ש"ו:38