Author Topic: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?  (Read 4839 times)

Offline ari3

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2020, 04:54:16 PM »
I was posing more of an academic question, but the mortality rate is defined with absolute certainty as 0.5-1%, based on countless professional broad seroprevalence surveys.
The mortality rate for young healthy people is definitely less than that, the mortality rate for older unhealthy people is definitely much higher. That is for those that already contracted the virus. The odds of a young healthy person contracting the virus and dying in today's situation with the current level of virus going around is miniscule

Quote
I believe Yoledes is 1/1000 and still considered Pikuach Nefesh.

I would assume yoledes without medical intervention would be higher than 1/1000

« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 07:40:45 PM by ari3 »

Offline CountValentine

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2020, 05:00:07 PM »
Interesting discussion. Not looking to join but wished I understood all the words to follow better.
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Offline ari3

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2020, 05:00:28 PM »
Therefore, it is my understanding thus far that according to Halacha, we would indeed close all shuls every winter to save a single elderly flu victim, if not for the fact that we assume people will go out anyways, and so closing the shuls will no reduce the overall infection rate. It is worth noting the entire concept of transmittable sickness was only discovered by Ignaz Semmelweis in the mid 1800s, and prior to that it was not known that one can become sick by contacting a sick person.
So being that many great poskim lived between the mid 1800s and now and not one to my limited knowledge advocated closing all shuls in the winter or closed a shul based on this reasoning than your understanding is obviously wrong and the question is just why
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 05:12:41 PM by ari3 »

Offline aygart

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2020, 05:09:01 PM »
and not one closed a shul based on this reasoning
Source? I am fairly certain this is #fakenews
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Offline ari3

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2020, 05:13:58 PM »
Source? I am fairly certain this is #fakenews
do you know of one?

(but I did edit my post for accuracy)

Offline Yard sale

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2020, 05:21:52 PM »
"שמר רוח לא יזרע, וראה בעבים לא יקצור”
Life is about taking risks. Most of us on occasion speed or drive in the snow to a relatives close chasunah. I’ve done it. It was a major storm and pretty harrowing but I wasn’t going to miss my sisters chasunah! Some of us will admit to driving an all nighter when we are sleep deprived if the need is urgent (some will do so even for a vacation trip) despite some risk to ourselves and others.For hundreds of years many Jews took the risk of putting them and their entire families on ships to take them to lands where there were better parnassa or learning and davening opportunities. And those overseas voyages were risky. Many ships capsized. Every time I go into Manhattan or drive on the Belt I feel like I’m taking a risk to myself and others.

Waiting to daven in shul until the first night of slichos when the last positive individual has tested negative does not seem to be a reasonable approach. But neither is davening in a minyan full of seniors in a location that is still seeing significant spread. This is not the flu and this is not a completely negligible risk.

There has to be some reasonable middle ground. Not everyone is going to agree where that middle ground is. To me the “who knows what we don’t know about this virus” approach seems to be too risk averse a standard for the general population. Could those infected get reinfected. Could antibodies not proffer immunity? Could some mysterious new manifestation affect 50,000 children? It’s possible. But that’s not indicated by current information.

Could I send my daughter to Israel only to have Iran attack with chemical weapons in an all out war? That’s not off the table.שמר רוח לא יזרע, וראה בעבים לא יקצור.

We ought to be taking reasonable precautions, and reasonable depends on many factors. Older, immunocompromised people in a location with active spread need to take far more precaution. Younger healthy individuals in an area where the virus is not currently active; much less. Could there be a new wave? Could there be scary unknowns? That’s life.

Prior to Purim there was plenty of indication that there was a serious risk out there. I, and many others on DDF raised the alarm as soon as the attorney was diagnosed. I’m not averse to risk and I stayed home from shul early on. That was a clearly in reasonable risk based on clear indicators that were there for all to see. Those who ignored the clear warning signs were foolhardy. That’s not where we’re holding now in most communities. As traumatized as many are about the heavy loss of life we have seen- and rightfully so-there has to be some degree of normal risk acceptance. No, it is not valid to say if one person   (or 10 people) somewhere in the world will lose a family member then it is wrong to open up. That is not normal risk avoidance. It is simply not rational. We can disagree on how to define what exactly is. But it has got to be reasonable.

Offline aygart

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2020, 05:27:24 PM »
do you know of one?

(but I did edit my post for accuracy)

There is a very famous letter from R Akiva Eiger discussing limiting attendance to 15 people and actually having the secular police enforce it. There are MANY tshuvos among achronim discussing many different cases where they did not havea minyan for a few weeks due to various types of dangers and the like.
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Offline ExGingi

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2020, 05:36:25 PM »
The mortality rate for young healthy people is definitely less than that, the mortality rate for older unhealthy people is definitely much higher. That is for those that contracted tested positive for (or were possibly counted due to reported symptoms of) the virus. The odds of a young healthy person dying from the virus in today's situation with the current level of virus going around is miniscule

FTFY

There are plenty of people that had mild symptoms, never went to a doctor, never reported anything and are most likely not counted. Add all of those in and your mortality rate for those that contracted the virus goes down. Obviously the mortality rate within the population at large is even smaller as you would be counting those with innate immunity, no-exposure, and totally asymptomatic populations.
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Offline S209

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2020, 05:40:33 PM »
FTFY

There are plenty of people that had mild symptoms, never went to a doctor, never reported anything and are most likely not counted. Add all of those in and your mortality rate for those that contracted the virus goes down. Obviously the mortality rate within the population at large is even smaller as you would be counting those with innate immunity, no-exposure, and totally asymptomatic populations.
Seroprevalence accounts for all of those factors (except “innate immunity” which is a THEORY). If we were talking only of those people you described than mortality would be more than 5%..
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Offline ckmk47

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2020, 05:42:25 PM »
(I just want to add obese and diabetic to the high risk population.)
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Offline Ergel

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2020, 05:43:28 PM »
FTFY

There are plenty of people that had mild symptoms, never went to a doctor, never reported anything and are most likely not counted. Add all of those in and your mortality rate for those that contracted the virus goes down. Obviously the mortality rate within the population at large is even smaller as you would be counting those with innate immunity, no-exposure, and totally asymptomatic populations.
That would be relevant if the .5-1% rate was a measure of those who tested positive. But the rate for those who tested positive is 5-10% depending on location
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Offline aygart

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2020, 06:14:01 PM »
Seroprevalence accounts for all of those factors (except “innate immunity” which is a THEORY). If we were talking only of those people you described than mortality would be more than 5%..
From what I am hearing there is some research in progress backing it up and they are trying to figure out what caused it.
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Offline S209

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2020, 07:20:32 PM »
From what I am hearing there is some research in progress backing it up and they are trying to figure out what caused it.
Innate immunity? If confirmed, it would be absolutely fantastic news. It would lower the bar for herd immunity, would mean people who were exposed and didn’t get it ARE much less likely to get it, and would mean there is a smaller pool of potential victims. The only downside is that it would mean the R0 number is technically even higher for the non-immune (so people need to be even more careful assuming they don’t have immunity).

Where have you seen research proving this?
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Offline ari3

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2020, 07:39:28 PM »
There is a very famous letter from R Akiva Eiger discussing limiting attendance to 15 people and actually having the secular police enforce it. There are MANY tshuvos among achronim discussing many different cases where they did not havea minyan for a few weeks due to various types of dangers and the like.
R' Akiva eiger's letter was during a mageifa as you surely know. We are not discussing cancelling minyan because of a known sakana which almost all poskim did over the last few months. We are discussing closing a shul for the winter because an older person may contract the flu and die. I doubt any teshuvos discuss that. Compare apples to apples please.

Offline aygart

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2020, 11:31:11 PM »
R' Akiva eiger's letter was during a mageifa as you surely know. We are not discussing cancelling minyan because of a known sakana which almost all poskim did over the last few months. We are discussing closing a shul for the winter because an older person may contract the flu and die. I doubt any teshuvos discuss that. Compare apples to apples please.
You are discussing the flu? What does that have to do with us here?
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Offline PlatinumGuy

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2020, 01:32:29 AM »
So being that many great poskim lived between the mid 1800s and now and not one to my limited knowledge advocated closing all shuls in the winter or closed a shul based on this reasoning than your understanding is obviously wrong and the question is just why
That, or 
Therefore, it is my understanding thus far that according to Halacha, we would indeed close all shuls every winter to save a single elderly flu victim, if not for the fact that we assume people will go out anyways, and so closing the shuls will no reduce the overall infection rate.

Seroprevalence accounts for all of those factors (except “innate immunity” which is a THEORY). If we were talking only of those people you described than mortality would be more than 5%..
+1.
This should be in a different thread, but I'm tired of arguments about the mortality rate. We have vast seroprevalence data from almost every town & country in Europe and many enclosed curiseships and aircraft carriers. We know the IFR with absolute certainty.

There is a very famous letter from R Akiva Eiger discussing limiting attendance to 15 people and actually having the secular police enforce it. There are MANY tshuvos among achronim discussing many different cases where they did not havea minyan for a few weeks due to various types of dangers and the like.
The year later RAE closed the Shul entirely, and that was before they knew the sickness was contagious. They assumed people were getting it by being exposed to the outdoors, dirtiness, and weakness.
״וזה כלל גדול: שישנא אדם כל דבר שקר. וכל מה שיוסיף שנאה לדרכי השקר – יוסיף אהבה לתורה.״ - אורחות צדיקים

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2020, 03:54:28 AM »

I agree 100%, but it seems the halachic literature is sparse on this topic.
״וזה כלל גדול: שישנא אדם כל דבר שקר. וכל מה שיוסיף שנאה לדרכי השקר – יוסיף אהבה לתורה.״ - אורחות צדיקים

Offline Redbull3

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Re: Does Judaism place an upper-limit on the value of a single life?
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2020, 09:31:42 AM »
You are discussing the flu? What does that have to do with us here?
Follow the trail of your replies, you and ari3 were discussing why shuls were/weren't historically closed every winter due to the flu  :)