Blood Money – Paying Deadly Debts

Question

Sadly, some of our fellow Jews suffer from drug addiction. This can create problems for a Jewish community. So if a Jew has a drug problem and owes money to their dealer, are they obligated by Jewish law to pay they money they owe to the drug dealer, even though the operation of such a business is illegal?

3 weeks

Answers

  1. I prefer not to take a definitive stance on this terribly thorny moral dilemma, but I will tell you what I think.

    In my opinion if there is any indication that by not paying the debt the Jewish addict will be putting their life in danger, then there is no doubt in my mind that the debt must be paid. But if there is no danger to the person’s life, then each individual situation would require the ruling of an expert in this area of Jewish Law.

    Because it is such an incredibly sensitive scenario with serious potential repercussions, the authority ruling on the case would need to be an expert in both the practical application of Jewish Law and the much more difficult-to-define emotional application as well.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team