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Shabbat 129: Lenient about Shabbat, Strict about Health

To be stringent or lenient when it comes to not quite a case of pikuach nefesh? Note that lenient with regard to Shabbat in this context means being stringent with regard to health – and that is the psak. Also: Bloodletting – seems to have been done frequently, for the sake of basic health, and even nourishment. Look at the extent to which Chazal were focused on health, even if their bloodletting approach does not align with current medical practice. Namely, a fully rounded sage is well-versed in this practice. Plus: A post-partum woman who is no longer at risk to her life, but still within 30 days of having given birth – turn to a non-Jew to do the necessary actions to accomplish what she needs. Note this key distinction between “no danger to life” vs. “a question whether there’s danger to life.” And: what about the baby? What are you allowed to do for the baby upon a Shabbat birth? Answer: everything necessary, which is aligned with an otherwise metaphorical passage from Ezekiel.


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Anne and Yardaena

Anne Gordon is the deputy editor of Ops & Blogs at The Times of Israel. She is a veteran educator, having taught in high school and post-high school institutions in Israel and America for several decades. Yardaena Osband is a pediatrician and teaches in her community and online. They both hail from Boston, proud alumna of Maimonides School, where they first learned Gemara. Talking Talmud is their conversation (via podcast) on the daf yomi. They say: "Learning the daf? We have something for you to think about. Not learning the daf? We have something for you to think about! (Along with a taste of the daf...) Join the conversation with us!"
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