Friday, June 18, 2021

"we are machmir on pikuach nefesh" does not mean there are no rules

The slogan that "we are machmir on pikuach nefesh" that I've heard again and again to justify any and all covid related measure is, like all slogans, a simplistic reduction.  It's catchy rhetoric with little substance.  I would submit that someone who has a slight sore throat on shabbos but says, "99.999999% likely it's just a cold, but hey, we're machmir on pikuach nefesh, so let me drive to the hospital and get checked out," is a mechalel shabbos.  There are gedarim to what a choleh is, what sakana is, what we allow and don't allow.  

The argument that we should adopt the harshest restrictions in order to make everyone comfortable, just like if we make a dinner (to take an analogy that one Rabbi used) we should cater to the strictest kashrus standards so everyone may eat, is also a simplistic reduction that does not reflect reality.  One of my daughters is a vegetarian.  She is free to cook what she likes and eat what she likes, but it does not mean that the entire rest of the family has to give up meat to accommodate her.  If meeting the standards of a minority imposes an undue burden on the majority, or if those standards are unreasonable, then, to put it bluntly, tough on them.  The question is what constitutes an "undue" burden, what makes for a "reasonable" request,  and at what point does accommodation become an imposition.  There is certainly room for reasonable people to disagree about these issues, which is why simple rules do not work.

1 comment:

  1. Like all the stupid and irrational and non scientific corona restrictions