“Pain-Less Needles”
A Moral Dilemma for the Shabbos Table

By Rabbi Yitzi Weiner

In this week’s Torah portion we find a reference to the prohibition to not hurt another person. Moshe saw Dasan and Aviram arguing and one lifted his hand to hit the other. Moshe called out “Wicked one, why do you hit your fellow” (Shemos 2,13)There is a prohibition against causing unwarranted physical pain to another person. (See Sefer Hamitzvos Hakatzar Prohibition 43) (Click HERE for inspirational stories about this mitzva that you may like to share with your family)

This brings us to the following true dilemma.

Ilana was a doctor who owned a health clinic in Israel. Among many of the services provided in the clinic were vaccinations and inoculations. The clinic was reimbursed, $10 for each vaccination by the government department of health services.  The standard needles cost the clinic $1 each. This made the profit margin for each inoculation $9. However there are specialized, “superfine” needles that cause less pain. These cause $2 dollars a piece and would shrink the clinics margins.

Ilana wondered if Torah law would require her to purchase the special needles that cause the least possible pain. The difference in pain is very subtle, and over time the expense would be significant. Is she obligated to endure that extra expense to avoid this subtle difference in pain?

On one hand it is only a small difference in pain that requires a substantial cost. But on the other hand perhaps any unnecessary pain would be forbidden by this mitzva.
What do you think?

See Chashukei Chemed Bava Basra Page 384

Answer to last week’s moral dilemma:

(click here to review the question)

Rabbi Oshry answered that he is allowed  to open the grave. He used the following reasons.
1.There are opinions that one is not allowed to open a grave to retrieve money for inheritors, but one can open the grave to retrieve the money that belongs to another person.
2.There are some opinions that there is no disgrace to open a grave if it is opened with three days of burial
3.It is pikuach nefesh, saving lives. Now they will have money to purchase more food
4.It is actually kavod, respect for the deceased to open it up, in order to return money that doesn’t belong to him

Have a beautiful shabbos!

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