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Would you say that suicide is a sign of weakness?

by Rabbi Immanuel Schochet


Library » Life Cycle » Death » Passing On | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Yes, indeed, suicide in general it is a sign of weakness, and one must come to recognize the power of the human spirit. Let that person ask himself how he/she would react hearing about another person in the same situation - a teenager or young adult etc. who wants to end it all because things don't go their way right away, most often for really silly things though they appear most serious and untenable at that low point in their lives, but a week or month or year later they would themselves laugh at it. Would that person consider saving a potential suicide? Every suicidal person feels very strongly that life sucks and isn't worth living, yet the outsider has a more objective view.

Judaism looks at suicide as murder. You have no more rights to end your own life than someone else's. Our lives and bodies are not private property, they belong to G-d and are merely entrusted into our hands to make the best of and with them. To say that life sucks, is an emotional response to a moment of weakness and despair. Ask Hellen Keller or Stephen Hawking: a person's life could hardly be more miserable (blind, deaf, mute in one case, fully paraplegic plus worse in the other etc.), more than enough reason to end it all, but they didn't and achieved more than 99% of wholly healthy and productive humans!

TAGS: suicide


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Posted by: John Ifergan, Sydney, NSW, Australia on Jun 26, 2005

Why today do we have even in frum comunities a lot of depression and divorce please tell me what do you think? thank you.

Editor's Comment

1. This might come as a shock to you, but Orthodox Jews were also created with weaknesses, impulses, urges and temptations -- and at times even mental illness! 2. The incidence of suicide and divorce are considerably lower in the orthodox community, due to community and family support, and a clearer understanding of purpose.

Suicide a sign of weakness

Posted by: Anonymous on Dec 28, 2006

Since in many cases depression is caused by mental illness and this depression may lead to suicide. Can the result of an illness be considered a weakness?

Editor's Comment

Illness itself is a weakness, albeit a weakness that is not brought about by one's own actions. However, if someone is irresponsible about their illness and does not treat it properly (to the degree that it leads to suicide) that is a weakness that one brings upon one's self.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.