The Supremacy of Life in Judaism

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg

Part 2

There are many values and conflicting interests in human existence. This session will describe three primary ways in which Judaism prioritizes upholding the quantity and quality of life over all competing values and interests. These three key expressions of Jewish religion are: the dignities of the human being as the creature who is in the image of God and the mitzvah to develop that image; the commandment to have children; and the law of pikuach nefesh, the primacy of life. Saving a life overrides all the commandments of the Torah with three exceptions, which we will analyze.