Does Jewish Law Oblige Doctors to Risk Their Own Health to Heal the Sick?

Those with greater ability to help are called upon to bear greater risk.

April 2, 2020 | Shlomo M. Brody
About the author: Shlomo M. Brody, an Orthodox rabbi and a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, directs the Tikvah Overseas Seminars and serves as a presidential graduate fellow at Bar Ilan University Law School.

Israeli workers transporting the body of a patient who died from complications of coronavirus in Jerusalem on April 1, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images.

Two weeks ago, a woman came to my home in Israel wearing a hazmat suit and swabbed my family of seven for COVID-19. Thank God, we tested negative. In Chicago, at the very same moment, several other strangers—doctors, nurses, orderlies—were treating a beloved family member fighting the coronavirus. (He has thankfully since recovered). While not wearing full-body protective gear, those caretakers at least had the benefit of masks and gloves—worn not for the benefit of my relative, but to protect themselves from infection.

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