Pikuach nefesh

Hello, I was reading the quran when I stumbled upon an ayah (Ch:7, Ver:163), which made me wonder if Jewish people are not allowed to work on Shabbat then what do the doctors, police officers do if there is an emergency? Do they strictly adhere to their religion and refuse to work during say a road accident. Thank you!!

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL Sahih International – Ayah: 7:16

Today’s question is quite a common one and it is one I am going to explain in a bit of detail. For anyone reading wondering why your question isn’t answered yet – I got three questions that go into quite some depth and I have not yet to have time to research them. Quite good questions as they go into both Judaism as a race and skin colours.

For those that do not know, the lines in the Qu’ran above is as follows.

And ask them about the town that was by the sea – when they transgressed in [the matter of] the sabbath – when their fish came to them openly on their sabbath day, and the day they had no sabbath they did not come to them. Thus did We give them trial because they were defiantly disobedient.

In Judaism there is something that is very important and honestly one of the most important things to worry about – the idea that Jews are to save other lives where possible (Pikuach nefesh) and this also applies to most laws and that includes many of the Sabbath ones.

Before I go on, it is worth saying defaming G’ds name is never allowed, forbidden sexual acts, murder (excluding self defence where it is NOT possible to do so otherwise), or to trade your own life for another (risking it however is fine).

So let’s get to the question. Can doctors, police officers (and in fact anyone) break the Sabbath in order to answer to an emergency? It all depends on what the emergency is. If it was something that is not threatening someone’s life. So if there was a crash and urgent medical care is needed then yes, there is an obligation to help within your means. In general practice there will be many other doctors, police officers and such that it is unlikely a Jew would need to work on the Sabbath but if they were needed urgently because there was no one else and someone will die if not, then the answer would be yes.

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