Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eating non-kosher to save one's life


"Rabbi Abba bar Zamina did tailoring work for a Roman. The Roman brought him a piece of non-kosher meat, and said, 'Eat!' He replied, 'I will not eat.'

"The Roman said, 'Eat; if not, I will kill you!' He replied, 'If you wish to kill me, kill me, for I will not eat the non-kosher meat.'

"The Roman said, 'How did you know that if you would have eaten, I would have killed you? One must either be a Jew, or a Roman!'

"Rabbi Mana said: Had Rabbi Abba bar Zamina heard the words of the sages [that one should eat non-kosher in order to save his life, if it is not a public situation], then he would have eaten."

(Talmud Yerushalmi, Sheviit 4:2)

המצפה לישועה,


  1. Wouldn't a fourth generation amora from Eretz Yisrael, especially if exiled in Rome qualify for living beshe'as hashmad? Is R' Mana saying that even during shmad, one should save one's life rather than violate an issur if in private?

  2. Replies
    1. I did. Are you assume R' Zei'ra et al are talking bishe'as hashmad? I took it as a general statement about a single person asking someone to violate an issur, and not in the special circumstances of a program of attack on Judaism.

  3. As I understand it, R' Mana is saying that even in a time of שמד, one should perform the issur if one is in private.