The Gemara* in Sanhedrin 74A discusses the situations in which a Jew must martyr himself rather than violate the Torah. Under ordinary circumstances, most mitzvos are temporarily pushed aside to save a life. There are three notable exceptions: idolatry, sexual immorality, and murder. These are hills to die on.
The Gemara provides scriptural sources for the obligation to martyr oneself rather than commit idolatry or sexual immorality. The Gemara then asks how we know the same obligation applies when it comes to murder. The answer is as follows:
It is logical. A man came before Rabba and said to him, “The master of my village said to me ‘Go kill a certain man, and if not, I will kill you.’” [Rabba] said to him, “They should kill you, but don’t murder. Who says that your blood is more red than his blood? Maybe the blood of that man is more red.”
Rashi elaborates that if it is inevitable that a life will be lost, the general allowance to transgress a mitzvah to save a life no longer applies. After all, who can possibly know that his life is more precious to his Creator than the life of his fellow? Therefore, the word of God not to murder cannot be pushed aside in order to save a different life.
This fundamental Gemara, with its irrefutable logic, obliterates pretty much the entire moral foundations of modern science and modern medicine. The Torah’s objective morality – which is the only morality that doesn’t inevitably lead to tyranny – is predicated on the fundamental truth that God created the world and is the Master of all life. That simple fact alone makes it inconceivable for one man to take the life of another to save his own. There is nothing to discuss, no calculations to be made. We don’t get to decide that our blood is more red than the next person’s, no matter what – and vice versa.
Today we have an entire field called “medical ethics”, which tends to be little more than a sanitized term for eugenics. After all, the people who refer to themselves as medical ethicists (based on what?) exist primarily to rationalize medical experimentation, killing those deemed unfit to continue living, and other horrors for the presumed benefit to society and even the victims themselves.
This is a page straight out of Amalek’s book – casting doubt on God’s basic truth, eroding people’s morality with “practical considerations”, normalizing deviant behavior, corrupting society, and creating an army of monsters who commit atrocities. It always seems benign in the beginning, with cheerful catchphrases and lofty promises, and it always brings nothing but ruin in the end.
This sinister ideology of medical ethics, with its heretical foundation of calculating whose blood is more red, has infiltrated the Jewish people as well. We have people who call themselves rabbis and also call themselves ethicists. This is a contradiction in terms. Rabbis, like all Jews, are supposed to base their decisions only on the Torah and Jewish law. The understanding and application of these to specific cases might vary within certain inviolable boundaries, but there is no separate field of “ethics” to decide “moral dilemmas”.
In Judaism there is no such thing as an ethicist. There is no such thing as “moral values”. These are secular concepts. Judaism has the Torah and Jewish law, period.
This is not a matter of mere semantics, but a critical point. Because our rabbinic establishment, organizations, and media have been deeply corrupted, the notion of harming one person to save another has become normalized within the Jewish people. The Erev Rav among us – and there are a lot of them – have normalized the notion of calculating whose life is more valuable, whose blood is more red.
In recent times they told us we must do all of the following that directly and definitely destroy lives for the speculative hope of lessening the spread of an illness, bad as it might potentially be.
We must close shuls and Jewish schools – a spiritual death sentence for countless adults and children.
We must place everyone under house arrest, devastate small businesses, and cease the normal functioning of society – a slow-acting death sentence for many people, in many ways.
We must wear masks, which can harm us physically and otherwise in numerous ways.
We must be injected with potentially lethal pharmaceutical products, even if it maims or kills us, because it’s for the good of society.
We must force people to take these shots against their will, even if it maims or kills them, for the same reason. This is the definition of human sacrifice.
We should force perfectly healthy children to be injected with potentially lethal pharmaceutical products – starting from birth – because the ethicists crunched the numbers and decided it’s for the greater good.
We should force children who are at essentially no risk from an illness to be given potentially lethal injections because theoretically it might reduce the chance of other people getting sick. This is the definition of child sacrifice.
Dissenters should be demonized and have their lives destroyed. Their blood is definitely less red than everyone else’s.
This is nothing short of normalizing murder, even mass murder. Rabbis who claim that any of this is in accordance with the Torah are frauds, irrespective of their scholarship, and have betrayed the Jewish people.
The Torah is very clear and consistent about this. As every life is unique and belongs to God, we are not allowed to actively endanger a life – even our own – to save another. We are allowed to rescue people from danger, even if this means assuming some personal risk, but this does not translate to the imposition of medical decrees.
Two people are in the wilderness and one of them has a flask of water. If he shares it with his companion, both will die. If he keeps it for himself, he will make it to civilization. The “ethical” suggestion is for him to share the water, but the Jewish law is that his own life comes first (Bava Metzia 62A). We do not sacrifice our life to save another, whether by giving up water or by taking a shot.
A group of Jews is given an ultimatum: surrender one person to be executed, or all of them will be killed. To the ethicist, this is a no-brainer. Of course they should sacrifice one to save the others. They should sacrifice as many as necessary to save even one!
But the Jewish law is different. Unless the attackers specify a particular individual by name, which complicates matters, we do not turn over a Jew to be executed in order to save the others (Terumos Chapter 8 Halacha 4, Rambam Yesodei HaTorah 5:5, Rema Yoreh De’ah 157:1).
The nations of the world offer Israel a trillion dollars to executea single Jew. The ethicist would say to sacrifice an elderly person, a sick person on the verge of death, a child born with severe medical problems. Or even a perfectly healthy one! Imagine all the good that could be done with a trillion dollars, all the lives that could be saved!
The Torah says no. Each human life is unique, infinite, and belongs to God. We don’t make these calculations.
All of Israel’s enemies offer permanent peace – and they really mean it. All Israel has to do is sacrifice a single Jew. One more for the road, that’s it, and peace forever. No more terrorism. No more wars. Iran will destroy its nuclear program. The ethicist would tear the Jew to shreds with his bare hands, but the Torah says no.
The ethicist would argue that we should harvest the organs of one perfectly healthy person to benefit numerous recipients. The Torah says this is an atrocity.
The ethicist says we should murder babies to advance science and medicine. The Torah says this is horrific.
So when the same ethicist demands that we inject everyone with their junk, knowing that it will harm some people, to potentially benefit others, the answer is clear – even if they come dressed as rabbis and shriek about saving lives.
Who says the blood of those you save is more red than the blood of those you kill? Who says these lives are more precious to God than those?
* The Gemara is a collection of scholarly discussions on Jewish law dating from around 200 to 500AD.
Rabbi Chananya Weissman is the author of hundreds of articles and seven books on a wide range of subjects. He is also the director and producer of a documentary, Single Jewish Male, and a series of short films. His work can be found at chananyaweissman.com and rumble.com/c/c-782463. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.