Suicide

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  • #1565540

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    I have heard from countless lecturers that Hashem doles out nisyonos and tribulations that an individual can tolerate. Hashem does not dish out more than a person can handle. If so, why then do people commit suicide?

    #1565654

    Holy Rabbi
    Participant

    Of course the Heilige Bashefer only gives us nisyonos that we can handle. Not always do we overcome them. Is the fact that someone wasn’t omed b’nisayon a raayah that he couldn’t have been omed?

    #1565645

    Plainolme
    Participant

    Cause it’s easier then pacing the nisoyon

    #1565636

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    hashem doesnt speak to those lecturers directly

    #1565623

    laskern
    Participant

    We consider מאביד עצמו לדעת suicide as lack of emunah and is burried separately. I think it means what generally can be tolerated.

    #1567611

    Redleg
    Participant

    How about suicide ostensibly al kiddush HaShem like the 94 Beis Yasakov girls who killed themselves rather than allowing the Nazis, Y”S, from using them? (The maaseh never actually happened but the question still stands)

    #1567723

    klugeryid
    Participant

    Redleg according to the kinnos such behavior is highly commendable

    #1567737

    The little I know
    Participant

    laskern:

    מאבד עצמו לדעת is a halacha that has many poskim who consider it academic only. The reason they give is that the depression involved in choosing suicide is a חולי that disqualifies it from being considered suicide according to the halacha. In practice, the true מאבד עצמו לדעת is buried away from others in a Jewish cemetery, which is less honorable. This has been done extremely few times in America in the past many years. I have first hand knowledge of a case that was treated so, and the ones behind it were desperate to protect the true murderer.

    #1568856

    By “true murderer,” do you mean an abuser or that someone had literally murdered them?

    #1568910

    DovidBT
    Participant

    Since everything happens for a reason, and is caused by Hashem, wouldn’t this also apply to suicide? Maybe the person who commits suicide is being punished for a sin. Or maybe he’s being rewarded. Or maybe the person no longer “fits” in this world, and has been removed, for reasons that are beyond our understanding.

    #1568916

    gavriel613
    Participant

    Do you have a reason to believe that the suicide’s situation was such that he never at any stage had the ability to prevent himself from sliding downwards? Because if so then his bechira will have been then. I imagine most suicides, although possibly not able to stop themselves at the time, could have taken steps earlier to prevent themselves from ending up in that situation.

    #1569058

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    It is beyond our understanding. That is what frustrates me when so many claim to have answers and quick fixes and segulos etc. etc.

    #1571230

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    What makes you so sure that it is beyond our understanding?

    #1571244

    Avi K
    Participant

    Sometimes Hashem does give a test that is to hard for reasons we do not know. On a lesser scale, failure can be positive as it directs a person away from where he should not go.

    #1571257

    Mammele
    Participant

    The reason I always knew why most Jewish suicides are not buried accordingly, is because they probably regretted their decision (and did tshuva) in the moments before they died. And it seems the research backs it up. Below is a 2014 Business Insider article. I thought I’ll just copy paste part of it and post, but because it’s so informative and relevant here I’ll post the whole thing, broken up a bit for our dear mods.

    “The Role Of Impulsiveness Is One Of The Saddest Things About Suicide

    Robin Williams reportedly suffered from severe depression, addiction, and alcoholism before he killed himself at his California home Monday.

    We may never know exactly when and how Williams arrived at the decision to commit suicide, but one of the saddest realities about suicide is that it often results from impulsive decisions that might have never occurred again if the person had survived or backed out.

    Anywhere from one-third to 80% of all suicide attempts are impulsive acts, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. 24% of those who made near-lethal suicide attempts decided to kill themselves less than five minutes before the attempt, and 70% made the decision within an hour of the attempt.

    #1571260

    Mammele
    Participant

    Continued from Business Insider…

    “Suicidal urges are sometimes caused by immediate stressors, such as a break-up or job loss, that go away with the passage of time. 90% of people who survive suicide attempts, including the most lethal types like shooting one’s self in the head, don’t end up killing themselves later. That statistic reflects the “temporary nature and fleeting sway of many suicidal crises,” reports The New England Journal of Medicine.

    A 1978 study of 515 people who were prevented from attempting suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge between 1937 and 1971 found after more than 26 years 94% were still alive or had died of natural causes.

    Many rare survivors of Golden Gate Bridge suicide attempts recall regretting their impulsive decisions instantly – even as they were falling. A couple survivors who jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge told their stories to The New Yorker back in 2003, like then-18-year-old Kevin Hines who jumped in 2000 after pacing on the bridge for a half hour while passersby ignored him.

    #1571262

    Mammele
    Participant

    Last installment from Business Insider article…

    “He finally jumped based on the thought that “nobody cares.”

    “My first thought was, ‘What […] did I just do? I don’t want to die,'” Hines told The New Yorker.

    Then-28-year-old Ken Baldwin, like Hines, chose to hurdle over the bridge’s railing rather than stand on it first because he didn’t want to lose his courage to jump. Although he was severely depressed on that day in 1985, he changed his mind the moment after his leap. “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable – except for having just jumped,” he said.

    That indecisiveness is explained by suicidologist Edwin S. Shneidman, according to a review of his works by Antoon Leenaars:

    The prototypical psychological picture of a person on the brink of suicide is one who wants to and does not want to. He makes plans for self-destruction and at the same time entertains fantasies of rescue and intervention. It is possible – indeed probably prototypical – for a suicidal individual to cut his throat and to cry for help at the same time.
    The period where the chance of lethal suicide is at its highest and most dangerous is relatively short, typically just hours or days rather than months, according to Shneidman.

    Of course, not all suicides are impulsive, as some are the result of extensive planning and conviction. Impulsive suicide involving decisions made in as little as five minutes is one of two types generally seen among patients suffering from depression, according to Dr. Charles Nemeroff.

    The other type involves “the sort of classic notion that, I’ve been hopeless and helpless for so long. I’m hopeless that I’ll ever be better, and I’m helpless to do anything about it,” Nemeroff said. That type often includes planning, notes, and goodbyes.” End of article.

    So Shlomo Hamelch was correct when he wrote “this too shall pass”. Literally, when it looks the bleakest, as long as there’s life there’s hope.

    #1571305

    BTMODAD
    Participant

    Does anyone know the halacha on passive suicide.? Is that considered suicide. For those who don’t know passive suicide is the idea that people don’t take care of themselves even thought they should becasue they would rather be dead.
    For instance telling someone they should lose weight or they will die sooner. Since they are miserable they don’t lose weight because they don’t care (or are even hoping to) die. If someone makes such a decision are they considered as having committed suicide by halacha, or since its passive no.
    I am not referring to people who should do something because of a tivah, I am talking about someone making a decision to smoke, or drink, lose weight, or not get a check up since they don’t want to do anything to extend their lives but are to scared to jump off a bridge (or don’t want to scar their kids/family by doing such a thing).

    #1571316

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    AviK…Is this your opinion or from a sefer?

    #1571365

    Joseph
    Participant

    Mammele: According to Halacha the way we determine if he regretted the suicide, and therefore we don’t treat it as a suicide, is if the method of suicide does not result in immediate death, thus giving him time to have regretted starting the suicide even though he could no longer stop himself from dying. If the suicide method results in immediate death, giving no time for regret, it is halachicly treated as a suicide.

    #1571520

    Mammele
    Participant

    Joseph: even for Capital Punishment, they haven’t yet come up with the perfectly instant and pain free method of killing death-row inmates, so what suicide scenario might that be, where there’s not even a millisecond of time for regret?

    The last portion of my article wasn’t posted. Don’t know if it was blocked or my error. Very kosher, perhaps too long? Whoever’s interested can look it up.

    I also added that Shlomo Hamelech was correct when he wrote “this too shall pass”.

    Basically suicide is a nisoyon like any other, which if allowed to pass without acting upon it (and taking steps to improve your life) the urge will eventually abate. This is not to minimize the grip of depression, but to put it in the long term perspective – and to encourage everyone to CHOOSE LIFE AS IT IS WITHIN EVERYONE’S REACH.

    Bottom line, the premise of the OP is – generally speaking – false.

    #1571594

    Joseph
    Participant

    Mammele: Halacha, i.e. S”A, gives specific examples of each. If I recall correctly suffocating is considered to have time to regret, which we assume he did. Hanging is considered immediate.

    #1571807

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Hanging is considered immediate.

    Perhaps a long drop hanging (where death is due to the breaking of the neck) is intimidate, but not short-drop or suspension hanging, where death can take several minutes, is surely not immediate. And, I will add, the vast majority of suicides by hanging are not long-drop.

    The Wolf

    #1571816

    Joseph
    Participant

    I may be off about the specific examples, but the halacha gives specific examples about which types fall into which category.

    #1571833

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Even in a long drop hanging, there is the second or so between when the person loses the support that they are standing on and when the rope goes taught.

    The Wolf

    #1571867

    ZionGate
    Participant

    “…….I have heard from countless lecturers that Hashem doles out nisyonos and tribulations that an individual can tolerate. Hashem does not dish out more than a person can handle…..”

    We’ve all heard that too, but where is the mekor for that?
    The best I’ve heard, is that this is based on a Chazal that says that Hashem doesn’t hit with 2 sticks at once.
    Whatever that means, we, however , see people who’ve been broken by traumas in life , practically forever.
    Broken hearts, nervous breakdowns, suicides, mental derangement, etc.
    Your question is stronger than the answers we’ve been given..

    #1571865

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Joseph
    Kitzur SA has a siman on this
    As a general rule. If you can imagine it as a case of murder you do or If you can assume mental illness you do.
    Based on his lashon it would be very hard to institute halachic suicide (different burial, no shiva etc)
    I was in a chevra kadisha for a few years and a couple of cases came up. Both were cases of people that had some instability issues. Both families sat shiva and the mais had a proper burial.
    Not to mention that we know from kinnos that there is something as suicide lshem shamyim
    And a forced suicide is also considered halachically acceptable ( though I don’t vouch for it being lchatchilla)
    Ayin shum bkitzur

    #1571841

    Curiosity
    Participant

    WolfishMusings! I grew up on your posts! Great that you’re still here.
    Wouldn’t “long drop” hangings allow for regret during the drop?

    #1571870

    yitzchokm
    Participant

    Overdose?

    #1571913

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    Ziongate…thank you for validating my post. I think it requires a response fromsomeone possessing a vast amount of amount of hashkafa and understanding of emunah. These glib short answers that are being posted do not demonstrate a deep understanding of the fundamentals of emunah

    #1571915

    DrYidd
    Participant

    the laws of suicide tend to exempt people whose capacity to reason is diminished by a variety of factors including severe depression, painful illness, prior sexual abuse, etc. every situation is different and there is significant pressure on poskim to “exempt” the suicide with the SA’s strictures.

    this topic is not appropriate for the make-believe poskim who infest the blogosphere.

    #1571962

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    We can discuss halacha here. One does not have to be a posek in order to discuss something.

    #1571987

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    For the fact that Halacha is NOT clear cut in this instance that a mere discussion will not yield practical Halacha. A posek joining this discussion would be beneficial

    #1572001

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    The Coffee Room allows poskim to join if they wish to do so.

    #1571991

    ZionGate
    Participant

    Sure, we can discuss it. However, it seems to me this is not a halachic issue but one of hashkafa..
    A posek per se won’t resolve it, but if anyone with extensive knowledge about this subject would be beneficial, though I don’t believe it would be conclusive.. 3 different learned people may give us 4 different answers..
    Great subject, TC, it was actually on my mind for a while.

    #1571994

    ZionGate
    Participant

    … My last comment wasn’t on halachas of suicide…. My comment was on the entire question of whether Hashem doles out more than we can take…

    #1572312

    mentsch1
    Participant

    I looked it up in kitzur
    Hanging is specifically mentioned as an exemption, not bc of regret, rather bc we can assume murder ( people have a chezkas kashrus)
    Of course this only applies to the chevra kadisha and not the question of how the mais will be treated in the olam haemes

    But the hashkafic question is also contingent on a broader question of perspective. Do we look at the entirety of a situation or at a snapshot of a moment in time .
    The person who commits suicide, at the moment of action we can say he was under extreme emotional duress and patur, but maybe the person spent a long time handling his situation poorly . Maybe his response to each nisayon was emotional wrong and thus the despondency with which he finds himself now is of his own creation.

    #1572317

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Just to give another example of a recent conversation
    A person made a glib comment about a mushulich collecting for his large family
    The collector has numerous kids to marry off and came to America to raise funds.
    The person standing next to me in shul said under his breath “well maybe you should have thought about that af Er the third kid or so”
    Me , being the big mouth I am, argued that our job isn’t to judge the totality rather the moment. And this is a yid who is currently in need.

    #1572326

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Understanding Mental Illness is a relatively new thing (And we still dont totally understand it)

    R’L for anyone who suffers from it

    #1572265

    BTMODAD
    Participant

    The answer to the person who made the question is: When the pain of life is so large it out weighs the pain and fear of death. Suicide is very tempting at times, but we have to push off that temptation. I have often thought that if there is a Gehonim its better there than here, there you know what you suffer for, how long it will last, and there is nothing you can do to make it worse. Here none of that applies.

    I don’t know your situation in life, but for me if I did such a thing it would destroy my kids, wife and parents. One thing to consider is that there are people who will still be here after you kill yourself. They will feel tremendous guilt that they should have done something. I know that may even sound good to you, maybe you blame them and want them to suffer, but it won’t be, other people you don’t blame will suffer to.

    I know whats its like to feel this way as a teenager and an adult. I know whats its like to wake up every morning and say “life is Hell” as opposed to those who wake up and thank G-d they are alive. If you are not in therapy get a good therapist (not a rabbi who will talk about emunah but someone who is trained in this sort of stuff). My therapist is trying to get me to take one day at a time. The last couple of days when I start to think about all my problems I pushed them out. For Friday and Shabbat (I am in Israel that is weekend here), I purposely avoided dealing with anything. I am trying to put myself and my needs first and not worry 5 years down the road. I know this is easier said than done. Find what ever distractions you can so you don’t think about your problems (except drugs, alcohol, things like that). There is nothing wrong with saying, life is hard I want to forget about it in a video game or book. As long as you still do what you are supposed to (go to sleep on time, go to work, etc….). On shabbat when its harder because you can’t use any electronic things, find people to visit and play games with or read books. This will keep your mind of your problems. For anyone going through a lot of problems Shabbat is the hardest day of the week when you can’t veg out with electronics and are forced to look at your life.

    Good luck.

    edited

    #1572329

    mentsch1
    Participant

    But ultimately the hashkafa and Halacha go hand in hand
    It is assur to murder. Even when placed under extreme duress. No need is more overriding then self preservation. Yet if a gun is put to our head and we are told to murder we have to take the bullet. This proves that proper mental training (ie knowing halacha, living halacha) can overcome even the most programmed of reflexes. Thus , in that instant of the most extreme of duress, Hashem holds us liable.
    Suicide is self murder . Living halacha should overcome any nisayon.
    But the scenario I’ve described is one of quick decision making with a stable mind. But most suicides are a result of mental decline . Whether biological or self inflicted due to poor emotional decision making the person and thus the act is a product of numerous questionable reactions.
    Halacha looks at the snapshot of the final act. Was the person in mental decline?
    It seems only logical that Hashem mitigates the final act due to the decline, but takes the totality of the poor decision making into the entire din process.

    #1572531

    shimen
    Participant

    REDLEG 7/13
    but the medreh rabbeh does relate such stoy that did happen… a ship with 300 girls’
    interesting teitch by ksav soiferon this episode ‘leis metzoh, rak leshaytef mayim rabim….’ too long to elaborate

    #1572691

    Talmidchochom
    Participant

    RedLeg;

    Please provide the location where I can look up the ksav Sofer. Thank you.

    #1572718

    BTMODAD
    Participant

    Is praying to die because of depression or life circumstance considered a suicide attempt? Especially with Rosh Hashanah coming up, a lot of people will be praying to live, but for some that might not be their true hope. I have done this in the past and was wondering what the Halacha is. This Rosh Hashanah I am going to force myself to pray for a life without massive issues and that I should have a long life.

    I think its very good people are trying to help each other (regardless of gender/religious outlook/etc…_ in this conversation instead of falling in the trap (myself included) of arguing over issues in the Jewish community.

    #1572802

    mentsch1
    Participant

    BTMODAD
    I spent over a year clinically depressed. I took my self out of it without meds and a psychologist.
    It was excruciatingly difficult. It required the most amount of mental concentration I have ever done before or since. I learned a few things about the issue (and myself)
    Basically, depression is a narrowing of your world view to include yourself and your problems with limitations on those around you.
    I disagree on two points that you made in your previous post
    1) that you should focus on yourself. I disagree, that is simply feeding into depression. There is no greater tonic for depression then focusing on OTHERS. do volunteer work and I guarantee that while you are doing it you will forget about your depression.
    2) that electronics helps. Distractions (bitul torah) do not feed the soul. In fact I can feel the symptoms of depression return when I waste to much time on a few consecutive days. I have become more of a “learner” since my experience and it helps tremendously. stop wasting so much time and you will see the difference.

    Tell me do you feel less depressed in EY? I’m curious

    I also recommend reading the garden of emunah and garden of peace
    I also recommend exercise, it is impossible to be depressed when you exercise due to the increase in serotonin levels.
    Good luck!!

    #1573011

    Shivisi247
    Participant

    First of all BTMODAD and mentsch1, seriously kol hakavod for sharing and chipping away at the stigma that exists way too much in the frum world which can really leave those who suffer in danger.
    I also remember davening that Hashem end my life and partly envied those who were killed al kidush Hashem in E”Y back when I was there in yeshiva. B”H things are a lot better now, but as you can probably relate, life is constantly up and down.
    Regarding davening that one should die I remember seeing a related teshuva in Teshuvos Vhanhagos (I think chelek 2 siman 82 amud 738), you can draw your own conclusions. But BTMODAD I like your attitude now and will probably be davening a similar tefillah. Hashem should accept all of Klal yisrael’s tefillos letovah!
    As far as the original premise that Hashem only brings a nisayon that a person can handle, I heard that Ramban in Shaar Hagemul disagrees or limits this to specific situations. sorry I don’t have the exact mekor but would be interested if someone knows of this and can explain it.
    Hatzlacha!

    #1573057

    ZionGate
    Participant

    “……As far as the original premise that Hashem only brings a nisayon that a person can handle, I heard that Ramban in Shaar Hagemul disagrees or limits this to specific situations….”

    Would be interesting to see that Ramban, but here are parts from Chofetz Chaim’s sefer “Binsivos Hatfilah”…. p. 55, under ‘Laamod B’nisayon & ‘Suffering Yesurim ‘..

    …..We say the prayer of Al Tevi’einu Lidei Nisayon each morning , because we may not have the power/strength to withstand the nisayon…
    …….From Midrah Tehillim, There were those who who prayed for yesurim , and those who said, Lo Hein V’Lo Secharan because they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to withstand nisyonos… End of Chofetz Chaim’s words… Obviously, not everybody can handle a nisayon..
    We also know that David Hamelech asked Hashem to give him a nisayon, but he failed it.

    What’s not clear to me is this : Are there degrees of nisyonos, is every tzara ch”v or catastrophic event a nisayon,
    or something else? A gezeira of some kind maybe, an onesh??
    For example, an enticement to do an aveirah of say, theft, eating non-kosher food, arayos, etc. can arguably be considered a nisayon, and the person will undergo an inner struggle not to cave in…
    But is this the same as being slammed with frightening traumas in life, physical & mental, that are more severe and have damaged lives as a result, as I have presented in my first post above, or even as some others have commented here… It is to this type of nisayon , if that’s what it is , that I believe the OP alluded,
    and which is a strong question.

    #1573218

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Shivisi
    I believe there are numerous types of depression. But I firmly believe that many types are not biological in nature but rather spiritual. That was really the point of my post.
    If we aren’t feeding our soul properly we will feel depressed. This takes many forms. It might be a poor hashkafa, poor emunah skills, a singular focusing on problems. Or it might be wasting time. It all boils down to the soul screaming to be nurtured properly .
    Which is why I think the health care fields focus on “taking care of yourself first” or “distract yourself” is exactly the wrong philosophy. It only hurts the process. Helping others first and being productive is soul tonic.
    I have met some good psychologists but in general my attitude toward the field is , the blind leading the blind.

    #1573264

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Zion
    Isn’t the point made that David shouldn’t have asked for the nisayon bc when you ask for it you are guaranteed to fail but when Hashem gives it to you , then you can pass?

    #1574189

    laskern
    Participant

    I think the prayer we say don’t bring me to temptation and don’t bring me to shame. We can interpret this that if you bring me to temptation, you will bring me to shame.

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