We now know that three non-Jewish African-Americans risked their lives to pull Ephraim Klein from his burning car to try to save his life.
Many readers of FailedMessiah.com openly contend Jews should not
risk their lives to save non-Jews. Some contend Jews should never help
non-Jews (unless all Jews everywhere are perfectly safe and
comfortable). Indeed, this may very well be the position of the next Chief Rabbi of the IDF, who openly asserts that, all things being equal, Jews should never
violate Shabbat to save a non-Jew’s life.
This appears to be the
normative Orthodox position, held by haredim and Modern Orthodox alike
– including Chabad. Chabad’s late rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson clearly asserted
that helping American Jews with their spiritual needs took precedence
over saving the lives of dying black Jews in Ethiopia. (That no halakhic [Jewish legal] source exists to support that contention did not stop the Rebbe from making it. This has led many to think the Rebbe secretly believed Ethiopian Jews were not Jewish. If so, they argue, teaching a Jew Torah in Minnesota certainly takes precedence over saving a dying non-Jew elsewhere.)
So, what is the correct approach? Do we view non-Jewish life as less (or ‘differently’) important? Is Shabbat more important than saving a non-Jewish life? Readers?