Question:

I was watching rabbi Weisenfeld’s shiur on refuah on shabbos. He mentioned that we can’t take pills because we might come to grinding. Even if you won’t come to grinding, there might be another reason chazal assured it. Have any of the rabbanim come up with another reason that taking an Advil on shabbos might come too? If I take a bottle of Advil and open it up take a pill, am I really oiver a d’rabanan? I’m not asking chas vesholom to cause problems, I just want to know. Thank You

Answer:

I didn’t see his shiur, but from what you are saying, I assume that he was talking about the question, that nowadays we are not going to grind herbs to make medicine, so maybe the whole gezeira shouldn’t apply? In essence this is a question that comes up often, whenever there is a gezeira d’rabonon whose reason appears to no longer be applicable. To this, one of the answers given (see Pe’as Hashulchan 2- ftnt. 32 from the Vilna Gaon) is that when chazal instituted prohibitions, there were numerous reasons for it, many of them hidden; therefore we can’t just say that the reason is no longer applicable and therefore it is permitted. Besides this, some say that when there is a gezeira from a beis din, we need can’t go against it unless we have another beis din as knowledgeable and large as the first one, and nowadays we surely don’t have sages as big as they were then.

On our specific instance it happens to be that in recent years that homeopathic medicine is getting more in style, and not all medicine is produced chemically by a pharmaceutical company, the possibility of using herbs is more common.

Aside from this, even medicines that come from companies can have issues of losh, if the person making them will use only a little bit of water.

I don’t really understand the other part of your question; if taking a cough medicine is not permitted because of this gezeira, why do you have a hard time understanding taking Advil?

Sources:

Ktzos Hashulchan 137-4, and 134-7 (2), Tzitz Eliezer 8-15 chap. 15- 4.

Tags: medication Shabbos

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