Thursday, January 15, 2009

Desecrate dead to save lives? - Barzily Hospital

Bartley Kulp wrote:

I first saw this issue in the news about a month ago. My question is why there was no ruling a lot sooner. Why no Haredi Rabbis expressed any opinions on this issue quickly considering that the hospital has already been hit by rockets? There should have been a very rapid heter given and if not a reason why? Are we a society that is more concerned with setting up batei dinim for inspecting woman's clothing than tackling life or death issues.

Here's the article;JPost

Halachic ruling: Lives more important than bones

Protecting Jews from Hamas's Grad rockets is more important than respecting the rest of the dead. Hospital patients and their... Hospital patients and their families wait in a bomb shelter in Ashkelon Barzily hospital, Saturday.

That is the unsurprising halachic decision issued Wednesday by the two chief rabbis of Israel regarding the ongoing controversy surrounding foundation construction at Ashkelon's Barzilai Medical Center.

The construction is designed to fortify the hospital against Grad rockets fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, by adding an underground operation room.

But the necessary digging will disinter Roman- or Byzantine-era graves, an act that is prohibited according to Jewish law if the bodies are Jewish - which is unclear.

Last week Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger reasoned that since the digging is aimed at saving lives, and since there is a doubt whether the bones are Jewish, building the underground room takes precedence over not disturbing the deceased.

The Chief Rabbinate's Governing Council ratified Metzger's decision, which was also backed by Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar.

The Health Ministry announced the ruling on Wednesday night. [...]


  1. read "The Crucible" and you'll know why.
    Joel Rich

  2. This is a no question according to halacha.
    Pikuach Nefesh overrides sanctity of the dead.


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