Discussion:
Jewish View of Suicide
(too old to reply)
KarenElizabeth
2007-02-26 20:53:47 UTC
Permalink
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.

Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.

So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?

Karen Elizabeth
tovmeod
2007-02-27 03:03:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by KarenElizabeth
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.
Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.
So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?
Karen Elizabeth
we can't commit suicide because is murder not because it harms, we
can't murder anyone, including ourselves

anyway I know a doctor (jew btw) that claims that no people actually
commits suicide, usually people that do that are disturbed and not
thinking straight.
his claim is that since the person didn't realize what was doing, so
we couldn't condemn them in such a way that they are buried in a
separate area.

asking your question, people who commits suicide usually stay at a
separate area of the cemetery (protitutes also stay in the same area),
jewish cemetery of course, never heard of going to a different
cemetery for that reason.

anyway, here in rio de janeiro, brasil some ashkenaziot (polish I
think) that worked with prostitution (can't remember exactly when,
maybe a little before the shoa) had an association which created
their own cemetery (for jewish that worked in this area and their
family etc), I don't think it was because they were forbidden, but
because they didn't want to be discriminated (they would only bury
them in these separate area)

marcel
b***@vms.huji.ac.il
2007-02-27 03:05:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by KarenElizabeth
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.
Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.
So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?
The Talmudic sources for the laws regarding a suicide are found in
Semachot (chapter 2) and Evel Rabati. The Meiri (Moed Katan 29a) reiterates
that an intentional suicide is defined by one who announces in advance of his
intentions. Nor is any form of suicide in a minor considered intentional.
Nor is suicide engendered by fear or emotional instability considered
intentional.

This is likewise codified by the Rambam (Hilchot Avel 1:11) and the TUR
Yoreh Deah 345 and by later poskim (She'elot Utshuvot Chatam Sofer YD 326;
Sdei Chemed AVEILUT).

Both the Shach and Beer Heitev (YD 345) quote the Meharshal that if one
heard from the person about to commit suicide that he is about to jump from
the roof but you didn't actually see him do this, the suicide is NOT
considered intentional (and all laws of mourning apply). The Bet Lechem
Yehuda (YD 345) also deems that one who commits suicide to escape torture
is not considered an intentional suicide. The Pitchei Tshuva (YD 345)
indicates that any doubt, even slight, regarding the motives of the suicide
would deem it not intentional.

The Tur Yoreh Deah 345 follows the definitions of willful
suicide as it appears in the gemara (Semachot 2:2). The person
has to exclaim out loud "I am doing the following so that I
may die". The TUR excludes a minor from this category even if
he/she made the declaration. Nor is suicide under unusual
circumstances included in the definition.

See also Shulchan Aruch YD 345:2, the Pitchei Tshuva there s"k 2
who brings extensive examples. Another qualification is that people
have to witness the suicide. Another extenuating leniency is perhaps
at the last second (too late) the person repented.



Josh
Post by KarenElizabeth
Karen Elizabeth
Art Werschulz
2007-02-27 03:34:04 UTC
Permalink
Hi.
Post by b***@vms.huji.ac.il
The Tur Yoreh Deah 345 follows the definitions of willful
suicide as it appears in the gemara (Semachot 2:2). The person
has to exclaim out loud "I am doing the following so that I
may die".
Given what we know about suicides today, wouldn't such a person be non
compos mentis? In that case, would not such a person be accorded the
usual burial rights?
--
Art Werschulz (agw STRUDEL comcast.net)
207 Stoughton Ave Cranford NJ 07016
(908) 272-1146
maxine in ri
2007-02-27 03:39:23 UTC
Permalink
Would an ill person, facing, say, terminal cancer or other exceedingly
unpleasant drawn out death, who chose to take an overdose of pills, be
considered not in their right mind, or commiting murder?

Or the opposite: if a person refuses medication that might save their
life, is that murder?

These are some of the possibilities my husband and I have considered,
after watching our parents go through lengthy declines.

maxine in ri
Abe Kohen
2007-03-05 03:10:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by maxine in ri
Would an ill person, facing, say, terminal cancer or other exceedingly
unpleasant drawn out death, who chose to take an overdose of pills, be
considered not in their right mind, or commiting murder?
Or the opposite: if a person refuses medication that might save their
life, is that murder?
These are some of the possibilities my husband and I have considered,
after watching our parents go through lengthy declines.
My wife and I have also made attempts at discussing the issue - which I find
very difficult to discuss - mainly because I want there to be hope.What if
tomorrow they come up with a cure or a miracle drug. Don't you want a chance
at that?

Clearly I don't have the answer or even an answer.
Post by maxine in ri
maxine in ri
Purim Sa-may-ach,

Abe

R'foo-ah shlay-ma l' Zahava Fruma bat Miriam
R'foo-ah shlay-ma to all victims of Islamofascist terror

KarenElizabeth
2007-02-27 04:19:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@vms.huji.ac.il
Post by KarenElizabeth
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.
Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.
So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?
The Talmudic sources for the laws regarding a suicide are found in
Semachot (chapter 2) and Evel Rabati. The Meiri (Moed Katan 29a) reiterates
that an intentional suicide is defined by one who announces in advance of his
intentions. Nor is any form of suicide in a minor considered intentional.
Nor is suicide engendered by fear or emotional instability considered
intentional.
SNIP
Thanks, Josh.

Am I getting this straight -- if a person is emotionally unstable,
they can be forgiven, but if not, they can't?

This is very helpful.

Karen Elizabeth
b***@vms.huji.ac.il
2007-02-27 12:27:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by KarenElizabeth
Post by b***@vms.huji.ac.il
Post by KarenElizabeth
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.
Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.
So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?
The Talmudic sources for the laws regarding a suicide are found in
Semachot (chapter 2) and Evel Rabati. The Meiri (Moed Katan 29a) reiterates
that an intentional suicide is defined by one who announces in advance of his
intentions. Nor is any form of suicide in a minor considered intentional.
Nor is suicide engendered by fear or emotional instability considered
intentional.
SNIP
Thanks, Josh.
Am I getting this straight -- if a person is emotionally unstable,
they can be forgiven, but if not, they can't?
Sort of. It's a Catch-2 situation.
Post by KarenElizabeth
This is very helpful.
Josh
Post by KarenElizabeth
Karen Elizabeth
Wilhelm Daimler Gottlieb
2007-02-28 03:09:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@vms.huji.ac.il
Post by KarenElizabeth
Post by b***@vms.huji.ac.il
Post by KarenElizabeth
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.
Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.
So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?
The Talmudic sources for the laws regarding a suicide are found in
Semachot (chapter 2) and Evel Rabati. The Meiri (Moed Katan 29a) reiterates
that an intentional suicide is defined by one who announces in advance of his
intentions. Nor is any form of suicide in a minor considered
intentional.
Nor is suicide engendered by fear or emotional instability considered
intentional.
SNIP
Thanks, Josh.
Am I getting this straight -- if a person is emotionally unstable,
they can be forgiven, but if not, they can't?
Sort of. It's a Catch-2 situation.
Post by KarenElizabeth
This is very helpful.
Josh
Post by KarenElizabeth
Karen Elizabeth
So let's consider the "intentional" suicides of the Zealots of Masada, Eretz
Israel. The Zealots were certainly righteous in their actions.



1. The Zealots deprived the Romans of the satisfaction of
being able to imprison and enslave the Zealots.

2. By committing suicide the Zealots became Martyrs since the
Torah states as follows:



Bereshith 27:29



29. Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you; be lord over your
brothers, and let your mother's sons bow down to you; cursed be every one
who curses you, and blessed be he who blesses you.



In that verse we read where the Torah says "BE LORD OVER YOUR BROTHERS"



By the Zealots committing suicide they became Martyrs by depriving the
Romans of the ability to subjugate the Zealots and make of them slaves. The
Romans would have taken the Zealots as prisoners. The Zealots would not
have be able to live the blessing of "being Lord over their brothers" as
captives. Also the victory of the Zealots showed the Romans that the
concept of "might makes right" is not a way of life that Jews condone
therefore when the Zealots intentionally committed suicide they proved their
honor as that of Jews and not of Gentiles that condone the "concept of might
makes right" and willingly force their corrupt notions on those of us that
truly desire to live in peace. Since the Zealots died their memories live
on in the heart, mind and soul of all Jews that observe the Mitzvoth of
"Being Lord over your brothers."



In the long & short of it, it is the duty of the Jewish people to rule over
non-Jews. It is not the duty of non-Jews to rule over the Jewish people.
Therefore for any of us that have faced or could face in the future
incarceration at the hands of non-Jews, considering the extreme amount of
mental and physical suffering Jews endure when incarcerated with and/or by
non-Jews, suicide could be a blessing, but suicide is not a Mitzvah, as Josh
shows us in his post. That we were to justify suicide as a Mitzvah we would
be negating the purpose of the Torah that is to give those who observe her
Mitzvoth good life and well being as opposed to those who intentionally
abrogate her Mitzvoth as persons that live to die instead of Jews that live
to live.
--
W. Gottlieb
Friendly Frum Fanatics
***@lycos.com
chsw
2007-02-27 22:41:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by KarenElizabeth
Post by b***@vms.huji.ac.il
Post by KarenElizabeth
I'm curious as to the Jewish view of suicide.
Obviously, I'm aware that since you're not supposed to harm yourself
except in certain very limited circumstances, so its forbidden. But
there are times when, notwithstanding that prohibition, a person makes
a rational (or what seems to him to be rational) decision that the
pain and burdens of life are too much too handle, and/or concludes
that his family would be better off without him.
So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
person when the Moshiach comes?
The Talmudic sources for the laws regarding a suicide are found in
Semachot (chapter 2) and Evel Rabati. The Meiri (Moed Katan 29a) reiterates
that an intentional suicide is defined by one who announces in advance of his
intentions. Nor is any form of suicide in a minor considered intentional.
Nor is suicide engendered by fear or emotional instability considered
intentional.
SNIP
Thanks, Josh.
Am I getting this straight -- if a person is emotionally unstable,
they can be forgiven, but if not, they can't?
This is very helpful.
Karen Elizabeth
This sounds like this may have been someone close to you.
Whatever the halacha may be about burial and shiva, YOU have
suffered a loss. Whether this is recent or long past, we should
all extend our sympathies to you.

May your memories of better times spent with this person balm
your sorrow. May Hashem comfort you among the mourners of Zion
and Jerusalem.

chsw
Micha Berger
2007-02-27 11:16:58 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, Feb 26, 2007 at 08:53:47PM +0000, KarenElizabeth wrote:
: So ... what if a person kills himself? Can he still be buried in a
: Jewish cemetary? Does the family sit shiva? What happens to that
: person when the Moshiach comes?

In theory, suicide is the same prohibition as murder. Someone who kills
another, someone who kills themself, both are taking a life which is
G-d's property.

In practice, suicide is rarely committed by someone of sound mind who
can be held culpable for their actions. Therefore, we are lenient on
a family who are going through a very difficult time, and assume that
*every* suicide is a victim, not a sinner.

So in practice, the family is told to sit shiv'ah.

Aside: I think in war time it is possible to err in when one is allowed to
risk one's life, and thereby be a suicide by accident. That's different
than mental instability, but still not brazen murder.

I think in the last question you're asking about the resurrection. How
the person is judged is up to the True Judge. He alone knows minds
and motivations.


But there is little indication that the resurrection is supposed to
happen when mashiach comes. According to the position of the tanna
Shemuel, which the Rambam follows, "there is no difference between this
world and the days of the messiah except [our] subjugation [to other]
governments alone." That would rule out miraculous things like the
resurrection being part of the messianic era.

And yet Maimonides does require belief in the resurrection as the last
of his articles of "belief" (really: trust that something is true).
It would seem he considers the messianic era and the post resurrection
era to be at different times.

This is also implied by R' Yehudah's millenian week. Six millenia of
regular history, after which mashiach comes. Although one is obligated to
start Shabbos before the last minute, so by parallel we would expect the
redemption BEFORE the year 5,999 ends. Then, after one "day of rest",
the cycle begins anew on the next level. It could well be that the
resurrection is after that millenium of Shabbos.

Tir'u baTov!
-mi
--
Micha Berger When faced, with a decision, ask yourself,
***@aishdas.org "How would I decide if it were Ne'ilah now,
http://www.aishdas.org at the closing moments of Yom Kippur?"
Fax: (270) 514-1507 - Rav Yisrael Salanter
D.M. Procida
2007-02-28 05:41:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Micha Berger
In practice, suicide is rarely committed by someone of sound mind who
can be held culpable for their actions. Therefore, we are lenient on
a family who are going through a very difficult time, and assume that
*every* suicide is a victim, not a sinner.
Er, Mohamed Atta?

In a more grey-shaded case, a couple of years ago a driver committed
suicide by parking his car on a railway line at a level-crossing, to be
hit by a train. Six other people died.

Daniele
Tilly
2007-03-02 08:44:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by D.M. Procida
Post by Micha Berger
In practice, suicide is rarely committed by someone of sound mind
who can be held culpable for their actions. Therefore, we are
lenient on a family who are going through a very difficult time,
and assume that *every* suicide is a victim, not a sinner.
Er, Mohamed Atta?
Relevance? Atta wasn't Jewish.
In Islam they are called 'martyrs' rather than kamikazis or suiciders.


<clipped>
--
***@Removethis.gmail.com
D.M. Procida
2007-03-02 22:44:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tilly
Post by D.M. Procida
Post by Micha Berger
In practice, suicide is rarely committed by someone of sound mind
who can be held culpable for their actions. Therefore, we are
lenient on a family who are going through a very difficult time,
and assume that *every* suicide is a victim, not a sinner.
Er, Mohamed Atta?
Relevance? Atta wasn't Jewish.
In Islam they are called 'martyrs' rather than kamikazis or suiciders.
If, as Micha said, the prohibition against suicide is the same as that
against murder, then it applies to non-Jews in a way that eating ham
sandwiches does not.

But my point was that every time you turn on the news you see an example
of a suicide which isn't just an act of self-murder, but something else
as well.

Atta would be an extreme example, but the example of the selfish (rather
than wilfully evil suicide) is there too: the person who in committing
suicide manages to take a few people with them too because of the way
they did it.

Daniele
Continue reading on narkive:
Loading...