Treatment of the Elderly and the Sick – “Until 120”?

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow

An overarching essay divided by topic regarding the treatment of the elderly and the sick in modern day, according to halacha and Jewish sources.

And remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of evil come, and years arrive, about which you will say, “I have no desire in them.” Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars darken, and the clouds return after the rain. On the day that the keepers of the house tremble, and the mighty men are seized by cramps, and the grinders cease since they have become few, and those who look out of the windows become darkened. And the doors shall be shut in the street when the sound of the mill is low, and one shall rise at the voice of a bird, and all the songstresses shall be brought low. Also from the high places they will fear, and terrors on the road, and the almond tree will blossom, and the grasshopper will drag itself along, and sexual desire will fail, for man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about in the street. Before the silver cord snaps, and the golden fountain is shattered, and the pitcher breaks at the fountain, and the wheel falls shattered into the pit. And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God, Who gave it.

– Kohelet 12:1-7

The paper before you presents the different aspects of the treating an elderly or sick person from a halachic-ethical perspective in the modern era and according to Jewish sources.

Due to its length, the essay will be divided into chapters where each chapter relates to a different topic, yet all of them together act as one unit detailing the halachic principles.

We would like to emphasize that all matters stated in this compendium are for the sake of determining the fundamental principles. We are dealing with genuine life or death circumstances, and implementation of these halachic principles requires a unique and focused psak for each individual case.

Table of Contents:

  • Chapter 1 – Dealing with Old Age and Sickness in Light of Technological and Ethical Innovations
  • Chapter 2 – What is the Extent of Honoring One’s Parents?
  • Chapter 3 – Halacha and the Perception of Halacha
  • Chapter 4 – Prolongation of Life – At All Costs?
  • Chapter 5 – Prolongation of Life Based on the Account of Rabbi Chanina Ben Tradyon
  • Chapter 6 – Removing an Object Preventing Death
  • Chapter 7 – Palliative Care

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