Selling Suicide

The new euthanasia ads.

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Comments (55)

(55) LADYDI, May 16, 2011 2:13 PM

I understand your reasons to a point, but..........during the Holocaust many many people took their own lives, some by poison while in the cattle cars or in their hiding places, some by throwing themselves on the electrified wires in the camps.... they were just unable to cope with the situation of having to witness or learn that their loved ones were going to be murdered. I personally could not accept the fate of my loved ones....and death would be a blessing. To advertise assisted death, well, if the person realluy wants to die, whats the probnlem...they're miserable in their lives, either emotionally or physically.........its time to end it and they have that right.

(54) Anonymous, July 28, 2010 2:04 AM

well. nice to have these opinions but have you ever been in the position to contemplate how not living might help with pain and to have these thoughts for years? why are you so quick to announce your opinion? how about publicizing help and unconditional support for people who might find the idea of suicide comforting?

(53) Anonymous, July 27, 2010 11:51 AM

I once was considering suicide

I totally agree with Yaakov. If I thought suicide was OK years ago, I may have went through with it. Instead I had a brother whom did commit siucide and from the pain I witness in the family I decided that it cannot be an option for myself. At that time I never thought my life could improve, but with my experience with God now I am so happy I didn't go that direction.

(52) Eddy Ensing, July 24, 2010 3:41 PM

Slippery slope

When Hitler was in power, mercy killing or "euthanasia" was practiced, it started with the old and infirm then the mentally sick, criminals and then Jews, Gypsies and so called inferior races. let us not go down that slippery slope.

(51) Anonymous, July 24, 2010 12:01 AM

Why I am against assisted suicide

If assisted suicide were to become acceptable, I fear that the resources required to support someone's trying to live may be redirected. After all, assisted suicide is so much more cost effective, than say, psychotherapy. The implications of where this attitude could lead us are mind boggling. Imagine a family convincing a relative to die in order to save money on care, or give quicker access to an inheritance. What about hospitals making someone's life miserable in order to encourage them to die, so as to lower costs and free up beds. This is why the majority of doctors I know are against assisted suicide in principle. As a physician, and a Jew, I am very proud to come from a dual tradition which eschews a role where one decides that it is acceptable to "play G-d". Once we decide that suicide is an option, then we also are implicitly (and dare I say, arrogantly) suggesting that we are can place ourselves a position to decide when life is worth living or not. I prefer to belong to a tradition, where one feels that we do not have the right to be involved in such a decision. In fact, I think suicidal thinking is a perversion of sorts, and is best seen as an anomaly. Sure, once in a while, it may seem to be a reasonable option, but it must never be entertained as a legal, mainstream consideration, because then we collude in a type of perverse thinking, where we covertly agree that one can be in a position to judge whether our lives are "worthwhile". And how far away is that kind of thinking, from the immorality that allows one to judge whether others' lives are worthwhile? - an attitude that can rationalize the worst kinds of murder and genocide. I believe that the dangers of potential abuse outweigh the need for assisted suicide to be legalized, and thus the present boundary we have of making suicide illegal is appropriately placed.

(50) Leonard Buckner, July 23, 2010 10:37 PM

Mr

If it's G-d's decision as to death do you find fault with life saving surgery, drugs to alleviate pain, etc all the things that humans due to postpone G-d's will or is it only that particular human act.

(49) Anonymous, July 23, 2010 4:38 PM

The dangers inherent in someone ready to die

When I was in my twenties and not yet married, a boyfriend attempted suicide (not successfully). My friend and Counselor, C. told me, "A person willing to take his own life is ready and willing to take the lives of others.' That has stayed with me. Advertising a way to commit suicide for whatever reason may well give the person so choosing the feeling that he ought to take his family with him, as has happened in my area to two families in the last week.

(48) David Tzvi, July 23, 2010 3:29 PM

Torah Prohibition

Rabbi, Many good discussions to this issue. Please advise where in Torah it is specifically prohibited to kill onself? I agree with comments 17, 23, and 29. Israel just adopted a new DNR form at Hadassah. Isn't having a living will with DNR instructions de facto suicide?

(47) Root Cause, July 23, 2010 9:00 AM

Putting Social, Ethical, and Emotional Matters Aside

In order to answer this question, we may need to understand the nature of the Universe first. If we approach this issue with the idea that it is about our society, which is true, we neglect the other issues at play. If we focus on only the legal, ethical, and even religious issues, we push away the societal issues, some of which have been eloquently stated in the comments here. The bottom line is, and always has to be, "Why are we here? What are we supposed to do here? Why is there such a place as here?" When we answer these questions, we can safely answer the very difficult question posed by Rabbi Salomon.

(46) Karin Houston, July 23, 2010 3:14 AM

Physician assisted suicide

is legal in Portland, Oregon. An article I read and agree with made the point that all that was really needed was adequate pain management to ease the suffering of people in their last days of terminal illness. People consider and have obtained lethal perscriptions because of thier fear of unbearable pain in dying. It was documented that when these people received appropriate adequate pain medication they never resorted to utilizing their lethal prescriptions and were able to die naturally and in peace. I would not be in favor of prosecuting a doctor for inadvertently overdosing a patient on pain medication if it was necessary to relieve their pain in their final days of life although they should take every alternative option to avoid doing so.

(45) Jessi Schneider, July 23, 2010 1:49 AM

I Support Euthanasia

I do understand fully what this mans argument is. However; I do believe that by keeping people on life support and going out of your way to prolong someones suffering is just as wrong as ending a life painlessly, although before their "time."

(44) Anonymous, July 22, 2010 6:48 PM

Too Dangerous!

Opening the door for people to volunteer for death before G-d takes them...Opens the door for those same types of people, and others, to be "put out of their misery" without their permission! Once this becomes the "norm", then many will want to get rid of those they think are "putting a financial burden on society" or "just in their way" or "that have the wrong beliefs according to society".

(43) Isaac, July 22, 2010 2:16 PM

To David Waldman

I am sorry for your loss and for the pain that you have experienced through that loss. These issues are not easy to speak about and especially when they touch one so closely. I am not sure how anyone would choose what in those circumstances, but may Hashem have mercy on us. But, I so wish that you would have listened to the Rabbi's message. Maybe I am wrong but his theme was the 3rd option and that was to speak about advertising. The Rabbi showed sensitivity, in spite of his own moral reservations, to the various options. But, again, that was not the theme. I have been a follower of this wonderful man and I have yet to hear him judge someone. He is certainly not a religious nut. Mr. Waldman when you equate your sense of morality with that of the Rabbi in that one sentence you negate it by calling him a religious nut. . I hope that you have peace in your heart. PS Mr. Waldman, note one type of patient the Rabbi was talking about: the depressive. While depressed such people do not have a choice. Who really has a choice and under what circumstances but again, this was not the point the Rabbi was making.

(42) sahrah pock, July 22, 2010 12:34 PM

Where is the JDF's counter ad?

If we need to defend, we need to defend life. If not now, when? Where is the billboard that says,"Only G-d gives life, don't throw away the gift" ?

(41) CDG, Yerushalayim, July 22, 2010 9:11 AM

"Death as an Alternate Lifestyle" ?

This reminds me of a dream I had in the early 1980s shortly after the AIDS epidemic was announced. I was looking at a newspaper on which the headline was my title above, without the quotes and question mark. Since then, I have always had the feeling that it would come to this, but I usually don't discuss it with others. I really don't want to influence them in this direction! The question really seems to be: At whom is this advertisement really directed? Whom does it target? It targets people who are in no position, whether physical or emotional, to fight back. Either the people at Final Exit Network aren't thinking too well, or else they are really pushing at all those vulnerable people who, with relatively minimal help, could live and be active contributors to society the depressed, the bipolar and others like them as well as the injured and aging. That this organization is speaking to the physically defenseless is obvious, but targeting the emotionally susceptible is obscured, and therefore even more nasty and insidious. What happened to "differently abled"? What happened to the efforts to give people a useful existence even while disabled? Basically, targeting any exposed or at-risk population in this manner is immoral and disgusting, period! FEN, "pick on somebody your own size" - as we used to say as children. Even looking up at the sign on the road is likely to get a perfectly healthy person killed, whether s/he chooses it or not!

(40) Daniel, July 22, 2010 6:29 AM

I agree

I concur with Rabbi Solomon who so well articulated a thoughtful, and I believe Daas Torah response, to such an advertisement. We cannot judge those who are in tremendous pain, however such decisions on the part of the patient are private and should kept on an individual basis. This billboard should have no place in the public view

(39) Anonymous, July 22, 2010 5:35 AM

my choice

The billboard advertising is wrong. I hope that when i reach an age where i am ready to die, that it becomes my choice. This is not right for anybody except me. And those who think like me. At the right time in my own opinion, when the time is right, i will extend my arm up to Hashem and hopefully he will extend his hand downward and take me with dignity intact, and peacefully.

(38) David Waldman, July 22, 2010 5:01 AM

Further to my previous comment

After I sent my comment, I realized I had not finished it properly. Please add the following to it: I want to see assisted suicide legalized, and I have the moral right to choose whether I am to suffer or die. Everyone should have that right. If you want to suffer, I will respect that choice.

(37) Anonymous, July 22, 2010 4:37 AM

Suicide is wrong

Believe me, I know what it's like to wish to die- nevertheless, it will just be worse for the person - he'll lose this world - and possibly the next. It is NOT an escape, it's a TRAP.

(36) David Waldman, July 22, 2010 4:28 AM

Rabbi Salomon: You are wrong.

My father had a stroke. After waiting to see if he would recover, his three sons were called in and told by the doctor that he wouldn't, and the only way to prevent pain was to keep him on morphine. He had always told us that he feared he might end up like this, and he wanted to find a way to end his life. In his room, he would look at us and drag his finger across his neck. We agreed to pull out his feeding tubes. He had a strong heart, so it took 2 1/2 weeks for him to die. His suffering from his helplessness, the throat aspirations, everything was torture for him and for us. We asked the doctor to speed up his morphine pump. He wouldn't do it. I said we killed him when we pulled his tubes out, why does he have to suffer like this? The doctor said he couldn't speed up the pump, and if I did so, he would have me charged with murder. I told him that if I found an seriously injured animal by the road, I would put it out of its misery and serve God by killing it. What was achieved by my father's suffering and pain, and our watching it? The answer is NOTHING! Did he go to a higher level of heaven? NO! So why do religious nuts like you feel the need ot tell the rest of us, who are as moral and decent as you, how to live our lives?

(35) e. m. lefrak, July 22, 2010 2:22 AM

the billboard is totally wrong

Actually, those who put it up are totally wrong. Do not put a stumbling block before the blind" . . . It's not up to us when we live and when we die; it's up to us how we live our lives.

(34) Anonymous, July 22, 2010 1:37 AM

pls. don't misunderstand...re: life support

The rabbi was NOT commenting on life support. Steven of Beachwood (comment #7) wrote about extending someone's life who was terminally ill through extraordinary medical acts. There are many points to discuss on that, and I believe that I learned that under certain circumstances it is possible to NOT put a patient on life support. Anyway, it is a whole topic unto itself, and definitely different from the rabbi's main point that we shouldn't advertise death as an option on the side of a road, as there are many fragile folks out there who need help,not a quick, irreversible final fix.

(33) Robert Tabone, July 22, 2010 12:26 AM

Your comments Honor The God of Israel

Well said, with love, gentleness, sensitivity and TRUTH. May the TRue and Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you. Shalome, Bob T

(32) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 9:56 PM

The myth of quality of life

When my mother was unable to speak or swallow after a stroke, I was shocked at the numbers of doctors and other medical staff who pressured us to "pull the plug." My mother, then 84, wanted to live, even if the so-called "quality" of her new life did not meet the standards of many of those providing her care. We were in a constant fight for her life for three years. Most shocking to me was that this battle occurred in a major Orthodox hospital, which should have supported her will to live. Interestingly, I learned that some of the most virulent "plug pullers" had ended the life of one of their own parents. Thus, my mother made them feel guilty. We have a culture today that does not respect life. The new health policy is geared to kill people whose medical care has become too costly. This is exactly the policy that Hitler instituted in September 1939, culling the mentally retarded, mentally ill, crippled, chronically ill, and the old as a budget cutting measure.

(31) Ester Necha, July 21, 2010 8:22 PM

Life Has a Purpose

What bothers me most is the attitude that, because someone is suffering or because they have a terminal illness, their life has no meaning. I had this fight with many family members when my mother (obm) was in her last years and suffering from dementia. All of our lives have a purpose and our mission continues right up to the second of our passing. If we cut the time short, we are cheating ourselves out of our ability to contribute to the repair of the world. We don't have the wisdom to see how that contribution is occurring but we must have faith that it is. It is difficult to watch one we love suffer. It is difficult to endure the suffering. But we must remember that there is one G-d and two worlds. He keeps us here until we have completed our task.

(30) Matityahu, July 21, 2010 8:00 PM

Stick to the request

People need to put aside their own particular issues and answer the question: Should suicide option be advertised? Are we who are in pain so self centered that we can't think of others who THINK they are in pain? I recall as a teen who (THOUGHT) the sky was falling that it was really not falling. Had I committed suicide over this, I would have never learned that it was not falling. Please put aside your selfishness and feel for others, those who THINK the world is ending on them but in truth it is not. Advertisements such as these should be banded...especially since they are hypothetically ILLEGAL. [the legality of the world is afuch.]

(29) Gary Katz, July 21, 2010 6:41 PM

What about living wills?

What if you're dying from cancer and you sign a DNR directive? Thus, if your heart stops, the doctors are supposed to let you go. You didn't take your own life, but you directed others not to artificially prolong it. And what if someone is brain dead from an accident, but in a vegetative state? Are the loved ones obligated to prolong the suffering indefinitely? I'm not suggesting any answers, I'm just curious.

(28) Karen Gordon, July 21, 2010 6:34 PM

Some things should not be advertised

Even if some people do not believe their life comes from G_d and therefore belongs to G_d, they do not need a billboard or other ad suggesting death as a choice. If such a choice is ever to be made by anyone, under any circumstances, it should be a private decision reached from within.

(27) Brian Lowe, July 21, 2010 6:30 PM

Assisted death? What about...

What if someone had a diease that hurt me more than it does them? Obama has mental illness, and he is hurting and killing all of us; we are suffering more than he is. I think someone should assist him; but, then again, it would have to be his choice alone. Maybe someone should ask him.

(26) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 6:05 PM

This isn't about choice. It's about greed! The government only agrees with the right for people to euthanise themselves to spare the new obama health care plan billions of dollars in providing the sick with hopitalization and medicine. So they make sick people feel miserable while putting the evil thought into the patients heads that their lives are no longer worth living. It is an evil and malicious act by our government against the elderly and sick. Shame on them!

(25) Linda, July 21, 2010 5:59 PM

Rabbi is right; sign will lead to pointless suicides

How sad to see something that encourages hopelessness and suicide. I work with the suicidal and all they really need is a little time and encouragement - to live. I get 'thank you's' all the time from those who take my encouragement and go on to live a happier life. I'm the author of When You Don't Know What to Pray.

(24) Kelly, July 21, 2010 5:55 PM

Encouraging Suicide

I work as a nurse in a hospital in Texas. My job requires me to co-ordinate the discharge plans for people who have tried to take their own lives. Many of them with long-standing histories of psychiatric illness. If many of these people were to see such a billboard it would surely encourage them to make another attempt. It should not be allowed. G-d surely is not in agreement with this either.

(23) bernie Rosenberg, July 21, 2010 5:44 PM

sorry, i think your all wet on the subject. "my body ,my choice" there's nothing great as being a vegetable. they didn't know about terminal disease in bibical days. the average life span was 30 40 yrs. there was no poison or other pollutants to give these people horrible pains inthose days. take a visit at cabrini hospice and look around and wake up. as for advertising,remember freedom of speech? i heve seen much,much more offensive writings. p.s. w2atch the documentary on HBO, KEVORKIAN.

(22) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 5:34 PM

You hit the nail on the head Rabbi

Thank you for letting us know that this is becoming part of our common culture. As soon as something goes from being a taboo to being common there is an increase in its use and people have a different way of looking at it. It no longer has a moral standing but rather it takes on a relative standing like everything else. All of a sudden we are made to feel as if we are making our minds up. We are the ones in charge. How ludicrous it is to be thinking this way when it comes to the fact that it is the end of life? But, people are no longer thinking. They can be asked to do almost anything. I am afraid that this will not be stopped. In fact this will become a part of the culture. There will be less and less tolerance of the old and the sick. The West will be learning from China how to handle its population. The sales pitch will be whatever they want it to be whether it is freedom or security or a better life in the short term. It does not matter because under the present system there is no way that the cracks can be plugged. It might be a good time to head for the hills of Judea. Thanks Rabbi.

(21) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 5:15 PM

partly agree

i agree with you religiously, that it is not our life to take, or give, however i strongly feel, that it is not for any gov't or society to constrain or cotrol the abilities of mature adults to make that decision for themselves.

(20) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 5:08 PM

I agree wholeheartedly that advertising this assisted suicide is wrong..

but folks are going to find out about it anyway. Ideally, there are ways to ease pain and suffering....not letting folks be isolated emotionally is pretty key, in my mind. My mother set and example for me when I was 14 of attempting suicide. What a thing to do for a troubled teenage girl with a tumultuous family life. I have a sibling that completed suicide. I know my other siblings have contemplated it seriously and have been self-destructive most of their lives. I, too, have struggled terribly with this inclination. I think it is a commentary on our culture that assisted suicide is being advertised...that human life is just not that valuable. That is why I am so drawn to the Jewish people who value life so much, in contrast to the faith in which I was raised that promotes self-sacrifice to the point of death and gouging out eyes and cutting off hands that offend you. Pretty dangerous ideals for literal teenage minds.

(19) Philippe, July 21, 2010 4:29 PM

I have to trust G-d on this!

Indeed this is a very difficult problem, but agreeing with all those who conclude that my life belong to the One who gave it in the first instance, how can I take it away? I lost my beloved father to Parkinson's, my younger brother is battling the same disease so I do know what it is like to see human suffering very close to me. I am so glad that my father chose to die with great dignity, for he let G-d choose the time. Although he knew the consequences of his disease, being a medical doctor, he never contemplated suicide but instead put his total trust in the Eternal. This problem is too complex for me and without criticizing the proponents of suicide, I am sad that they have chosen this philosophy. The advertising billboards promoting suicide or assisted suicide are so wrong. Many years back, in the throes of severe depression, such advertisement might have pushed me, who knows? I am so glad I was not exposed to such erroneous logic as portrayed by these billboards. Incidentally it is my faith in G-d that helped me to seek help and thus prevent me from dying in a very undignified way and subjecting my family to an unimaginable pain.

(18) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 4:03 PM

I disagree

When someone dies in an accident, we say that it is God's will. When someone is murdered, we condemn the criminal, but we also say that it is God’s will. Why then, if someone commits suicide is it not God’s will? I contend that if God controls everything that happens in our lives, then an act of suicide (though it be the choice of a person), is also God’s will. Furthermore, I have unemotionally decided under what conditions I will take my own life. 1) I will not do it while one of my parents is alive. 2) I will not do it while my children or others depend on me. 3) I will not do it while my contribution to this world is greater than what I take. Beyond that, when I feel that the time is right, I will choose my time of exit (if the choice has not already been made for me). This is not depression, and it is not emotional. It is a rational decision. It is my choice. If someone chooses to advertise to make others aware of their choices, I don’t see a problem.

(17) David, July 21, 2010 3:47 PM

NOT PUBLICIZED??

Dear Rabbi, I have been for years a faithful watcher and reader of your many nuggets of wisdom. yet I do not recall ever putting in my "5 cents worth": As you said, this is a difficult and complex theme, and I do not believe that anyone that has actually had to face such a decision on his own or on behalf of someone close can really make an informed one. However, I must disagree with you on having actually named the organization in question and the specific location where that billboard was placed. I can almost assure you that traffic today and tomorrow in both the website and Rt 22 where they are placed, has multiplied many fold over yesterday and day before. In such a personal, contentious topic, the precise name and location should have been kept unnamed. Other than that, your point is well taken, but unless you are or have gone through the suffering, it is tough to really know. Shalom, and Thank you.

(16) Anonymous, July 21, 2010 3:38 PM

Assisted Suicide

Rabbis Yaakov comments a very valid, for him. This is an issue between the sick and suffering and G-d. I believe that the government has enough intrusion on the life of private citizens already. There is no right or wrong answer. A person is suffering and wants to end his/her suffering it is its choice. What right does religion or the government in prolonging this at the end he/she is going to die, not that there is another option. Not an easy topic.

(15) Ad Hammingh, July 21, 2010 3:28 PM

I agree, that we have no right to end our lives.

Now a days the palliative care is so good possible, that we need not to stop our lives because of unbearable pain.

(14) Christian, July 21, 2010 3:25 PM

We Do Not Own Ourselves

I don't believe that I own myself, as some libertarians do. I did not give myself life, and it is not mine to take. As much as I have pondered suicide in my past, I can say that this knowledge has stayed my hand from the proverbial knife. To advertise this is just wrong. It does provide a gateway for folks who would otherwise be forced to reconsider ending their lives, and promotes an amoral sense of self-ownership. Even a secular mind ought to realize that this is ludicrous. But we're in dark times, and this sort of profit off of suffering is certainly a sign of a darker apocalypse approaching.

(13) Yechiel-Vietnam, July 21, 2010 3:23 PM

Pain is part of life and part of Hashem's plan

We are told that when we receive bad news or we receive good news, we should thank G-d. It reminds me of a story. A man and a woman were married about 25 years. They had children and they were all basically grown and out of the house. The Husband however, as happens in some marriages, felt that he was "falling" out of love with his wife. This was obviously devastating news to everyone in the family. The couple decided to get a divorce, however they had not let anyone know this news. About the same time the wife's 82 year old mother, who had grown as close to the Husband as she was to her daughter, had been diagnosed with severe Alzheimer's. The couple knew that they must move the mother into their home. Her mother would come in and out of reality and was severely traumatized as one could only imagine. The couple were now working together again to support her mother in her time of need. After several years living in the couples care her mother passed away on the couples 35th wedding anniversary. While the couple were sitting Shiva together and comforting each other, the husband knew that his decision to divorce was wrong and that he had actually always loved his wife. Had this tragic event not happened, there might have been another tragedy which would have effected everyone in the family. It is unfortunate sometimes terrible things happen to us and to those we love. However, there is always a greater meaning behind it. I hope the short-sided thinkers behind the billboards, will reconsider their tragic message.

(12) Susan, July 21, 2010 3:15 PM

My Mom lived almost 10 years

My Mom had a massive stroke (the kind Ariel Sharon had) in Oregon the first state with the euthenasia law. The doctor spent a half an hour trying to convince me not to feed her. She lived almost 10 years after that (never walked again) but gave tons of pleasure to a lot of people. I was downtown with her and an ex-nurse from the home said to her "Rosi how are you?" I said "Mom you know more people than I do." They had a table of 4 "Rose"s and they were tickeled like crazy. She had a good life after her stroke and so did I.

(11) Sondra Gail, July 21, 2010 2:58 PM

Yes, and

While I believe it is wrong to commit suicide, I also believe it is wrong to tell another how to live their lives. If they ask, that's one thing, but to tell someone who is suffering that they must live by the rules I choose to follow without being asked is not my way. When you first quoted the billboard my heart was suddenly filled with fear for all the sad, depressed people who might see that and think they have found a solution. But I think this service exists because it is wanted and therefore has the right to advertise. I wish they would be less direct. Perhaps, "When there are no other options..." which might make one think about the options rather than their service, but still get their name out there. To understand a person, it helps to know their history. My mother was paralyzed from the neck down by cancer for the last 4 years of her life.

(10) Asher, July 21, 2010 2:40 PM

One more day of Life is still better than today commit suicide

Dear Reb Yaakov, It is hard for me to believe that there are organizations being formed and helping people commit suicide. Haven't these people heard the stories of yesteryear when Men, Women & Children were in the cattle cars on their way to Aushwitz, Buchenwald, etc and they were seeing their friends die right there and they just wanted to live. There is a story of a women with a very severe illness in a hospital room and she waits to be changed just enough to be able to have a glass of water so she may make a brocha on it and drink it. She was asked don't you wish with all your pain to be put out of your pain and her answer was clearly NO < as she would love to be able to be here for another day so that she may wake up in the morning and say another Modai Ani and another Brocha, etc I can understand that the pain that terminal illness patients go through is a real gehenim on this world but Hashem is the Master and he with his quill in his hand produces the beautiful tapestry what we call life and he decides what is best for each and every one of us. So I believe it best to leave it to him to decide when and where each of us will die. May all who have any pain or are nebach sick or hospitalized or have terminal illness may they have a refuah sheleyma and may we all see the coming of Moshiach~~~ shortly in our lifetime.

(9) Mary, July 21, 2010 2:22 PM

Ad should be banned

I agree with you, Rabbi. In a society that is being brainwashed daily into thinking we can't be happy without popping pills, and with an increasing number of people (including teenagers) taking powerful cocktails of psychiatric meds that carry the side-effect of suicide, this ad can be dangerous. My mom had Alzheimer's 10 years and we suffered just seeing her deteriorate for so long, but we knew in our hearts that only G-d reserved the right to take her. When I meet someone who is suicidal due to hardship I tell them this: If you kill yourself today, how will you know what great things will happen to you tomorrow? They surely will, because life never stays the same. Thank you for informing us through this video.

(8) Melissa, July 20, 2010 2:55 PM

What's the purpose in our suffering?

While it is true I've never, thank G-d, had to face such a painful choice as assisted suicide, I do know that we suffer emotionally and physically for a reason. There are times we may not agree with Halacha, but I have faith that G-d is all good and acts only for our benefit. G-d does not allow us to suffer even one millisecond more than we need to. We have an opportunity here on earth, due to G-d's love and compassion, to right our wrongs from this life and from previous lives. This is our tikkun. Our sages say that a lifetime of suffering in this world is better than even a moment of suffering in the next. By making a patient's quality life as comfortable as possible is compassionate. Hastening it is not. We don't know what takes place during those final moments of life in this world. But a person can always do teshuva even at that last second. To deny someone that opportunity to do teshuva is not a mitzvah. True compassion is to allow our loved ones to complete their tikkun and allow them to pass on to the next world having fulfilled their mission here on earth.

(7) steven of beachwood, July 20, 2010 12:00 PM

sucide is always wrong

but taking extraoranayt medical acts to save the life of a person who is terminal is also wrong... (yes you can say that life is terminal to begin with)... I do not understand putting a person on life support knowing that she or he is already in that next place....

(6) Anonymous, July 19, 2010 7:38 PM

assisting in suicide is wrong!

I am completely shocked. I've never heard of such a thing! I went through a stage in life where I was faced with a challenge that makes me understand entirely why people would want to commit suicide- but looking back on it now, I am so happy to be where I am today, alive and well. Advertising is a form of persuasion- I believe that advertising the free choice to die is practically convincing people undergoing challenges like clinical depression to commit suicide- suicide is wrong, but taking responsibility for supporting it is murder!

(5) Anonymous, July 19, 2010 5:32 PM

Euthanasia vs. Assisted Suicide

Dear Rabbi, Also on Aish.com this week is a very good story about Hospice care.Now that my husband has Parkinson's (and I realize I didn't get to say "Goodbye" before his mind "changed") I found the Hospice story very comforting. I thought That is a Good way to die. Maybe if people spent more time in making the end of life less painful , more bearable, we wouldn't have assisted suicide organizations.

(4) Rena, July 19, 2010 2:41 AM

they have it wrong

it is not 'my life' - noone who is alive today or ever before CHOSE to be born - our lives are G-d's - He alone decides when we should be born and He alone should decide when our time is up in this world. Even if you don't believe in G-d you have to agree that no one chose to be born so what gives you the right to choose when to die no matter the suffering. With that said I am not without empathy for those who wish to end their lives due to unbearable suffering.

(3) eileen, July 18, 2010 10:54 PM

I agree

I suffer from fibromyalgia and know of many people who do. Though it is not a terimal disease there are some days you just do not want to do this anymore. I think some one having one of those days and seeing that billboard would make a very bad chioce that as you said is not reversible. Which would be terrible cause if you just hold on tommorrow could be a better day. Know matter what you go through where there is life there is hope

(2) Anonymous, July 18, 2010 6:58 PM

you have never been there

Hello Rabbi, while i appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts... it is quite clear that you have never been in, or around anything like this... i would suggest to you, that while halakhah does forbid this...i would be curious if, in those last moments, when YOU could no longer bare the pain of watching you wife, mother, child, and it was your call.... what you would do when i was a child, where i grew up, we used to have fire drills, even at home... what you would take, how you would escape, etc... then, when i was 17 years old, our entire house went ablaze... everything you thought you know down pat, was gone, totally gone... what you took, was not anything close to what you had planned on taking with you, and your escape route changed too. plans are good - - -so is compassion for those who find themselves in any certain spot

(1) Anonymous, July 18, 2010 6:46 AM

I am against physician-assisted suicide on the basis of disability rights in addition to halakhah. Suicide per se is not illegal in secular American law; assisting in it is. What physician-assisted suicide does is essentially say that people with terminal illnesses, chronic conditions like MS or spinal cord injury, and others are not worthy of suicide prevention treatment. Treating disabilities and illnesses is expensive, and when put in comparison with the cost of suicide, suicide seems to be the most cost-effective means of "treating" disabled people and people who are seriously ill. Don't let these organisations fool you - PAS is nothing more than an excuse to not to treat disabilities/illnesses, to not to see suicidal thoughts as a medical emergency. From a policy standpoint, it is an excuse not to provide funds, whether insurance or public (like Medicaid, which funds waivers which can provide home health aides, feeding tubes, etc.). Yes, disabilities and illnesses ARE incredibly expensive - but life is worth it.

 

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