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Mishanh Shabbes 2:5

Question:

In the mishnah of shabbes 2:5 it states:
משנה מסכת שבת פרק ב משנה ה
המכבה את הנר מפני שהוא מתירא מפני עובדי כוכבים מפני לסטים מפני רוח רעה ואם בשביל (ונ “א מפני) החולה שיישן פטור כחס על הנר כחס על השמן כחס על הפתילה חייב ורבי יוסי פוטר בכולן חוץ מן הפתילה מפני שהוא עושה פחם

in that case cited by Mishnah can I extinguish the light of a candle or turn off a lamp in shabbes for a sick person or for fear of ruchos?

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

The meforshim on the Mishna explain Ruach Ra not as something spiritual, rather that he is depressed and ne needs to be in the dark for his illness. In general regarding doing melacha for a sick person on Shabbos, the Mishna is referring to a person that there is a fear for his life, or that his ailment will get worse as a result and it will endanger the person’s life.

Aside from this, even if the circumstances warrant turning the light off, if it can be done in a backhanded manner, such as turning it off with one’s elbow, then that is what should be done. This is because if we can minimize the severity of the melacha being done, and it will not endanger the sick person, that is what we are obligated to do. Turning the light off with one’s elbow doesn’t take any extra time, therefore that is what shod be done. Additionally, if it is possible to sk a gentile to turn the light off then we should be ask him to do so, so the Jew doesn’t do it.

Best wishes

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