Chapter: 28 – Illness That Is Not Life-Threatening

01. Principles of the Halakhot of Sick People

There are three categories of sick people according to halakha: 1) a gravely ill person – one whose life is in danger; 2) a “regular” sick person – one whose whole body is ill but whose life is not in … Continue reading

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02. A Regular Sick Person

As is well known, there are two types of Shabbat prohibitions: Torah prohibitions and rabbinic prohibitions (the latter type is also called shvut). There is a principle that one desecrates Shabbat and performs even melakhot prohibited by Torah law on … Continue reading

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03. A Mildly Sick Person and One Experiencing Discomfort

If one walks around and seems to be healthy, but in fact is mildly sick or experiencing discomfort, his status is the same as that of anyone else. He must observe all the Shabbat prohibitions, including the rabbinic ones. The … Continue reading

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04. The Enactment Against Medicine – Grinding Ingredients

The Sages further enacted that one who is bothered by an ailment or mild illness may not obtain medical treatment on Shabbat. That is, he may not ingest medicine, apply a medicinal ointment, or take any actions designed for the … Continue reading

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05. Modern Medications

Some maintain that one may take modern, mass-produced medications on Shabbat for any type of ache or pain, as there is no real concern that anyone will grind anything in order to produce the medicine. However, most poskim maintain that … Continue reading

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06. Medications Taken in Regular Doses

If one began taking a medication during the week, and it must be taken for several days consecutively so that skipping the Shabbat dose will harm its effectiveness, he may continue taking the medicine on Shabbat. This is because some … Continue reading

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07. Injections, Intravenous Infusion, and Nursing

Sometimes, a regular sick person needs an injection or intravenous (IV) infusion on Shabbat. Since a subcutaneous injection does not necessarily cause bleeding, halakha views it no differently from other types of medicine: it is permitted for a sick person. … Continue reading

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08. Ointments and Compresses

Even when using medicine is permissible, one may not apply topical medication (such as creams or ointments) to a bandage or a wound. If one applies ointment and smoothes its surface to spread it, he violates Torah law, as Memare’aĥ … Continue reading

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09. Adhesive Bandages, Cloth Bandages, and Treating Wounds

One may use an adhesive bandage (“Band-Aid”) to protect a wound or a sensitive area from the friction caused by clothing or other objects. Even one who is bothered by a mild ailment may do so, since an adhesive bandage … Continue reading

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10. Opening Medicine Packages

When it is permissible to take medicine but it is packaged in plastic, paper, or cardboard, one may tear open the packaging in order to get to the medicine. Those who are stringent make sure to destroy the packaging, rendering … Continue reading

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11. Measuring for Medical Purposes and Using a Thermometer

When medically necessary, one may use a regular mercury thermometer to take someone’s temperature. One may also use a manual blood pressure monitor. Although without a significant need one may not measure things on Shabbat, as this is a weekday … Continue reading

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12. Permitted Actions

On Shabbat, one may perform therapeutic treatments that are not normally done with the aid of medications. Since there is no concern that one will come to grind ingredients, such treatment is not included in the prohibition of medicine on … Continue reading

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13. Physical Therapy, Massage, and Acupuncture

Physical therapy exercises are often meant to restore function to limbs or muscles that have atrophied as a result of injury or paralysis. If it is not strictly necessary to do the exercises on Shabbat, one should not do them … Continue reading

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14. Seeing a Non-Observant Doctor

If a sick person whose life is not threatened needs to see a doctor on Shabbat for an examination or treatment, he should try to visit a religious doctor who knows how to avoid melakhot that are prohibited by Torah … Continue reading

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