Medical Emergency on Shabbat

You are here:
< Back

Dear Rabbi Simon,

Suppose someone feels unwell on Friday night/Shabbat morning and calls Hatzola. They decide to transfer the person to the Royal Free (A&E) and the husband/wife accompanies the patient in the ambulance. After some tests, the doctors discharge the patient but tell him/her to take medication and rest. Does the patient, who obviously cannot walk back home, have to stay in hospital till motzei Shabbat or would he/she be allowed to go home by minicab (called by hospital reception of course)? What about the husband/wife? Can they also go home in the minicab or do they have to walk home?


Dear David,

In most cases, it is possible to avoid melachah min ha-Torah in riding in a car (or other vehicle) on Shabbos. This being the case, I would say that one could accompany one’s spouse in the car if his/her presence would be helpful or reassuring to the patient. If, however, there is no compelling need for him to assist her (or her to assist him, as the case may be) the robust spouse should stay or walk.

Best to limit medical emergencies to weekdays, but this is not always possible!

Good health


Questions & Answers
this week

Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
Events / Calendar