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Author:  Asher Shasho-Levy
E-mail:  not available
Date:  5/17/2011 12:53:00 AM
Subject:  Pets/ Mukzta
Message:  Kvod HaRav,
For a school paper on value conflicts concerning hilchot Shabbat and tzar ba'alei chaim, I'm struggling with Shabbat 128b's classification of animals as muktza. The Gemara says that we can build a bridge out of pillows to help save the life of an animal stuck in a canal, for which purpose the pillows would be muktza; however, d'oraita over-rules derabbanan, so we can do it. If this is the case, is one still allowed to let their beloved pet die on Shabbat? Rabbi Shmuel David (Sheilot uteshuvot Meirosh Tzurim 38:6) citing Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein says that times have changed sufficiently to redefine the status of pets, since the psychological trauma that one would go through when losing a pet was unprecedented in the time of the Rishonim.
Is it halachically permissible to save the life of your pet and violate de'rabannan prohibitions? What about de'Oraita?
Thank you so much for your help; my father is a Sephardic Rav in California (Syrian), and we look to you when we need halachic advice.
Kol Tuv,
Reply:  It is not permissible to do any Issurim to save any living being, except a Jewish, human being (for a non-Jew it’ll depend on the situation). For a person, we do anything and everything to save a life. Obviously, in a case where a person may really become completely out of his mind to some extent, a competent Rabbi should be consulted. Mental state can also be considered sakanas nefashos. The owner of a pet, can’t make that decision. The question at that time would be, what is muttar to do for the person to get out of the Sakanas Nefashos status. At that time, it may not help anymore to heal the pet. However, that is not a heter to heal the pet on Shabbos as a proactive step, because the person may go into a sakanas nefashos status.


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