Saving lives is one of the most basic and obvious acts of human goodness, and is of paramount importance in Jewish practice. Moreover, the Torah considers saving lives an absolute obligation, and not merely a “good deed.” But how far does the obligation to save lives extend? In this shiur we will examine a passage of the Talmud about saving lives and explore some of the Talmudic literature that answers such key questions as:
- To what extent is a bystander obligated to take proactive measures to save a life?
- Does Judaism require spending money to save a life? If so, up to how much money?
- Who pays the bill for a rescue mission that turns out to be unnecessary?
- Do I have to endanger myself to save someone else who is in danger?