What is the Jewish view on euthanasia?

euthanasia

Have you heard about euthanasia? Euthanasia is the painless killing of an individual who is in extreme pain. It is basically done to relieve an individual who is facing extreme pain or dealing with some severe illness or in an irreversible coma. It is intentional killing of an individual. In some countries, it is legal while in other countries it is not. According to Jewish laws, the practice of euthanasia is forbidden. If a patient is ill since long and about to die in some days or hours, the killing of such person is considered as murder. Euthanasia is also forbidden by the traditional rabbinic authorities.

In the Jewish law, the prevention of the human life is considered as the most important and supreme moral value. Choosing euthanasia may shorten somebody’s precious life. Under the Jewish ethics, the natural death is accepted. The Jewish law-making authorities say that it is a totally wrong act to shorten the life of a human life. This is because according to Judaism, our life is not ours, God has gifted this body to every one of us. The body of the human is an image of the God. Moreover, saving a person from the pain is not a reason to kill him/her. It is the duty of a person and looks after that ill person to keep an individual alive.

The duty of the person is to ask the God to heal the pain and illnesses that a person is suffering from instead of asking doctors to kill them by giving artificial death. We, humans, have no right to kill ourselves. Nobody can take this action to speed up their own death. Even if they are mentally ill or stable and have the choice to take the decision of death.

A section of Talmud tells a story of Rabbi Chanina ben Teradion. He was burned by the Romans alive in the fire. His pupils pushed him to finish his pain immediately by opening his mouth and breathing the flames. He replied, “It is better that He who gave [me my soul] should take it rather than I should cause injury to myself.”

Ari Afilalo is a French Moroccan immigrant and a son of a Jewish Moroccan family, who grew up in France. He is an activist of West Side Sephardic Synagogue. He lives in NYC and believes in Judaism ideology. To know more about the euthanasia, click here.

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