Jewish law considers mental illness as serious and real as physical illness, says Rabbi Elliot Dorff, professor of philosophy and co-chair of the bio-ethics department at the American Jewish University (formerly University of Judaism), with an accompanying obligation of treatment.
The Florida case of a woman on life support for 13 years has put issues of how we die and when and how doctors and others should intervene on the front page. Whatever the courts say about that case, however, will only apply to federal and Florida law.
What would Jewish law say about such a case? That question is important because the issues raised in that case confront Jews often as they care for their parents, spouse and other loved ones and as they contemplate their own dying process.
The basic Jewish principle about these matters is clear: We are, on the one hand, not allowed to hasten the dying process, but on the other, we are not supposed to prolong it either.
A spate of new polls shows Jews divided, Arafat unpopular and pollsters getting rich