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Dec 21, 2015

Rav Shlezinger argues about chilul Shabbos for the Duma suspects

We have a concept from the gemara that says regarding situations that are possibly life threatening on Shabbos, one who is quick to go help is praised, one who stops to ask whether he can or cannot is like a murderer, and the one who is asked is despised.

Rav Dov Lior recently issued a psak regarding the young men incarcerated as suspects in the case of the Duma attack on an Arab home in which an 18 month old baby died, followed by the death of the parents shortly after. The psak related to the revelation of the torture the suspects have been undergoing at the hands of the security forces, to the point where one of the suspects has even expressed the possibility of committing suicide rather than undergo more torture.

To that end, Rav Lior paskened that the situation of these young men is one of pikuach nefesh, and lawyers who need to go on Shabbos to help them are able to (using a non-Jewish driver). His psak was not for lawyers to go help them get out of a fine, or to debate whether to allow them to stay in jail another day or two but to get the courts to put an end to the tortuous level of interrogation.

Rav Eliyahu Shlezinger, rav of Gilo in Jerusalem, has rejected Rav Lior's psak and has said that the lawyers of these boys have no allowance to be mechalel shabbos, as it is not clear that they can actually help. The allowance for chilul shabbos in [safek] pikuach nefesh situations is that the person has the ability to help. Rav Shlezinger is not sure if the lawyers have the ability to help and does not think it is a pikuach nefesh situation. Rav Shlezinger adds a caveat that perhaps Rav lior is aware of more details and aspects of the case than he is and therefore was able to say ti is pikuach nefesh.
source: Srugim

I don't know one way or the other and have no inside information, and offer no definitive response to the discussion.

All I can ask is, aren't the concerns of Rav Shlezinger exactly the concerns of the gemara that says in a situation of possible pikuach nefesh, the one who waits and asks is like a murderer but the one who thinks he can help and quickly acts is praiseworthy?

Rav Shlezinger admits that the situation isn't clear [to him] as to whether it is pikuach nefesh or not, or if the lawyers can help or not. Isn't that the definition of a safek pikuach nefesh - the possibility that it might be? And if the lawyers think they can help, perhaps they can get the courts to order a stay in the interrogation or order that methods used should be changed - doesn't it behoove them to try, even on Shabbos, lest they be considered murderers for not trying?

I am unclear as to the objection of Rav Shlezinger, as his very words seem to suggest the opposite of his actual conclusion.


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1 comment:

  1. "the one who waits and asks is like a murderer"

    That only applies to regular people, it doesn't apply to daas Torah (a higher spiritual level and therefore has hidden knowledge from HKB"H).


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