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Would it be permitted for a Jewish man to take a job as a police officer or other risky professions, given that this would involve some danger and personal risk?  

Rav Eliezer Cohen

Question:

Would it be permitted for a Jewish man to take a job as a police officer or other risky professions, given that this would involve some danger and personal risk?

 

Answer: The Nodah B’Yehuda was asked if it is permitted to go hunting. Besides for the potential tzar balei chaim problem, he addresses the fact that hunting in those days (over 200 years ago) involved an element of danger.

He quotes a verse (Devarim 24:15) that indicates that people are willing to risk their lives to earn a livelihood. Rashi cites the Gemara (Bava Metziah 112) that explains that people will do dangerous jobs, such as climbing high trees, in order to do their job and earn money. Based on this, he rules that it is permitted to accept a job that involves some aspect of danger, which would mean that it would be permissible to take a job as a police officer.

There is an interesting teshuva in Igros Moshe, where he is asked if it is permitted to play a ball game that involves danger. It does not describe exactly what type of game Rav Moshe was asked about, but it appears it was something along the lines of tackle football or something where one can get seriously hurt. Rav Moshe uses the above reasoning to rule that it would be permitted if the person is doing it for employment.

It could be deduced that it is only permitted to do dangerous jobs like this if one is being paid. However, volunteering for dangerous jobs may be prohibited.

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This month’s shiur has been sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Avigdor Fried, in memory of שלמה בן אביגדור משה ז”ל, מלכה בת משה ע”ה, יצחק יעקב בן אליהו ז”ל, רבקה בת גבריאל חיים ע”ה