Medical License: The Responsibility of a Doctor

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Medical License

The young wife of Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch had fallen ill, and the doctors were unanimous in their opinion that there was no hope of recovery.

When her father-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, was told of the doctors’ verdict, he said: “The Talmud raises the issue of a doctor’s right to practice medicine. If G-d has afflicted the sick with illness, what right has a human being to intervene? But the Torah itself refers to the doctor’s efforts when it says (Exodus 21:19) ‘And heal he shall heal.’ ‘From here we derive,’ say our sages, ‘that a doctor has been given permission to cure.’

“But nowhere,” concluded Rabbi Menachem Mendel, “has a doctor been given the right to condemn a human being as incurable.”

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