Question:

A father refuses to eat something treif, although the doctors have ordered him to. His son tries to trick him and says that it is not treif. The father says: “So you eat it first yourself!” Should the son do so?

Answer:

In the Sefer Shabbos Shabbason [Rav Zilberstein] pg. 138 he brings that [a variation of] this very question was asked to Rav Yitzchak Saruk of Amsterdam and he responded that he did not know of a source to permit this. Rav Zilberstein explains however that case referred to someone who knew he was in danger and nevertheless wanted to be stringent. However for one who has convinced himself that he is not in danger, and he is mistaken, he is considered a shogeg – unintentional sinner, and for him one may sin to save his life. He compares this to the famous story of Rav Yisrael Salanter who ate on Yom Kippur in front of the entire kehilla to prove to everyone the severity of the danger at hand.

2 Responses to “Treif for pikuach nefsh”

  1. How does this ruling jibe with the Gemara in Shabbos 4, which says that we do not tell someone to do a minor sin (removing dough from an oven) to save someone else from a major sin (baking on Shabbos, which carries the penalty of execution by stoning – i.e., death)?

    How can a healthy person eat treif (a minor sin) in order to save someone else (his father) from the (major) sin of harming his health or causing danger to himself by not eating what he needs to eat?

    • when the “sinner” has not been negligent “poshea” we do in fact perform a sin to save him – see tosfos there

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