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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Lend a Helping Hand

Yoma 85

How far must we go to help others in life?

One must violate the rules of Shabbat in order to save a life.  The Mishnah says that if a building collapsed and we suspect that there are survivors, we may clear away the rubble on Shabbat.  If they found someone alive, they must continue to clear away the rubble to rescue him. 

Asks the Gemara: Isn’t that obvious?  We are allowed to violate the laws of Shabbat to potentially save a life and here we have a definite life to save!  Answers the Gemara: The Mishnah is teaching us that we must even save a person who is dying and thus the salvation will be short-lived.  Nevertheless, even those final few moments are precious and worthy of violating Shabbos. 

Look at how far the Torah would allow us to go to help someone even for a few extra breaths of life!  If we are obligated to go so far as to break Shabbos for someone who is hardly  conscious and is not going to make it, then think about what G-d truly expects of us in terms of helping others!  Most situations don’t entail breaking any laws and in most cases, the people that need our help are not half-dead. 


We have countless opportunities each day to help other human beings.   Are we doing our very best to do whatever we can to assist others who need our help?