For the week ending 14 March 2009 / 18 Adar I 5769

Holding a Hand to Save a Life

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: I read your column titled "Lesson in the School of Life" for Parshat Vayigash in which you stated the right thing to do when seeing a child attempting to cross a street by himself is to take him by the hand and help him across a crosswalk. Here in the United Kingdom someone seen doing something like that could easily be arrested as a suspected child molester. What then is the right thing to do to save the child and yourself?

Answer: I must confess that I had Israel in mind when I made my suggestion because I am unaware of anyone getting into trouble here for helping a child cross the street. It is indeed unfortunate that child molesting is so prevalent in some countries that taking a child by the hand entails a personal risk.

The only solution I can suggest for avoiding this risk while saving a life is to either solicit the help of a lady to take the child by the hand or to merely walk next to the youngster and stand at the crosswalk until he is safely on the other side.

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