Halacha for Wednesday 8 Cheshvan 5780 November 6 2019

The Laws of Taking Medicine on Shabbat-Continued

In the previous Halacha, we have explained in general that our Sages enacted that one may not take any sort of medication on Shabbat, for they were concerned that as a result of one’s distress when a family member is ill, one may transgress Torah prohibitions in order to heal him, such as by grinding herbs in order to prepare medicine. We have likewise explained that our Sages enacted this decree only with regards to an individual who can still walk around like a healthy person; however, if one feels so ill that one’s entire body is in pain or if one must lie down in bed as a result of the pain or illness, our Sages did not establish their enactment in this situation and the individual may take medicine.

Antibiotics and Hormone Medications
Another situation where there is room for leniency regarding this matter is when an individual has already begun a medication treatment before Shabbat and stopping the dosage on Shabbat will cause one great suffering. For instance, if one is taking antibiotics which are usually taken for several days consecutively and stopping to take them on Shabbat will impair the individual’s treatment, most Poskim agree that the medication may be taken on Shabbat as there are several reasons for leniency regarding this matter. Indeed, Hagaon Harav Shlomo Kluger writes that as long as one has begun taking the medication before Shabbat, there is generally no concern that one will prepare the medicine on Shabbat, for one has certainly prepared whatever he needs beforehand and therefore no reason to act stringently.

Additionally, nowadays, there is not such a great concern for crushing herbs, for we are almost not accustomed to this at all. Thus, although we have a rule that even when the reason behind a given edict of our Sages no longer applies, the edict still stands, nevertheless, in a situation involving great suffering, such as taking antibiotics on Shabbat, there is room for leniency. The same applies to hormone medication, for abstaining from taking such pills on Shabbat can cause great suffering and harm. One may thus continue taking such medication on Shabbat as long as one has begun doing so before Shabbat.

Summary: If one began taking medication before Shabbat and stopping to take it on Shabbat will cause the ill individual great suffering, one may continue taking the medication on Shabbat. One may therefore continue with one’s antibiotic or hormone treatment on Shabbat, for these kinds of medications are usually taken for several days consecutively. In the next Halacha, we shall discuss some more details of this law.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well? Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to childre......

Read Halacha


Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha

Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha