By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
In this week’s parsha we find that the frogs in Mitzrayim were “moser nefesh” and ended up in the ovens of the Egyptians, thereby being killed in the process.
The Gemara in Pesachim, daf nun gimmel, amud bais says that Chananya, Mishoel and Azarya learned the concept of Kiddush Hashem from the frogs in Mitzrayim. They made a “Kal Va’Chomer” by saying if the frogs who were never commanded for Kiddush Hashem did it anyway, how much more obligated are humans who are thus commanded! There is no doubt that humans have the obligation of Kiddush Hashem; Chananya, Mishoel and Azarya therefore refused to bow to the idols and were thrown into the fiery furnace.
The question arises regarding a person who transgressed one of the big three aveiros: avoda zara, gilui arayos, and shefichas domim because he did not let himself be killed. Is Bais Din required to kill him for not letting himself be killed or not?
Tosfos in Avoda Zora, daf nun daled, amud alef s.v. Hoh says in the name of the Smag that Bais Din would be required to kill the transgressor in the above scenario.
The Rambam in hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, perek heh, halacha daled argues with this ruling and says that he is not chayev misa in Bais Din, he was just “oveir” on Chillul Hashem. One does not get killed or punished for transgressing unless he does an aveira willingly. In the event he was forced, the transgressor would not be chayev misa.
A question arises concerning the Rambam in Perek Daled, halacha vov which says that one may use medicine to heal himself even if it is not kosher with the exception of medicine that was used for one of the big three aveiros. If one uses such medicine he is punished. The question is, wouldn’t this fall under the geder of “oiness?” If so, why is he punishable?
There are a number of differences to point out here. The first difference is that a person who is under the threat of being killed if he does not do the aveirah is truly an “oiness;” however, a person who is healing himself because of sickness is not such an “oiness.” Even more so, when it comes to refuah, one should rely on Hashem that he would heal you properly. In addition, taking a medicine does not guarantee that one will be healed. There is a chance that the medicine may not work. In the case of saving oneself from being killed; at the time it is a guarantee of pushing off death.
The Rema in Yoreh Deah, siman kuf nun zayin, seif koton alef says that if one transgressed one of the big three aveiros in order not to be killed, he is considered an “oiness” and is pattur.