11 May 2007

Sometimes it's okay to break the law

Dear G-d:
What we have here is a failure to communicate. I tell you what I would prefer, and you ignore me. I have a husband for that, why you gotta throw down in the ring, too? I'm willing to go along with all your rules, just - please make things easy for me. Is that so much to ask?
love,
projgen


Still no go Flo. With my luck, I'll get my period tomorrow. That would be a pain, because this is where that being an observant Jew and doing IVF start to clash.

Shabbat poses certain difficulties for a variety of reasons. There are a variety of rules about what an observant Jew can and cannot do on Shabbat, such as turn on electrical items. We can use electricity, we just can't turn it on or off, therefore most OJ's use timers for lights. Shabbat is supposed to be pleasant, and sitting in the dark all day is not pleasant.

My rabbi, my posek, has agreed that IVF is a treatment for a medical problem. This is pretty much accepted by most rabbis. Therefore, because I have a medical condition, I can receive treatment on Shabbat. BUT, ideally, one should take care to avoid breaking Shabbat as much as possible. It is acceptable to take a taxi, if the procedure dictates (ie, after retrieval, when you really shouldn't be walking much), but if you can walk without harm, you should.

So. Let's look at what happens if I need to contact or be at my clinic, on Shabbat. On Saturdays,

- my clinic doesn't answer the phone. You have to leave a message. This means using the phone, which is a no-no on Shabbat.
Even worse, I call, leave a message, they call me back. Now I have to answer the phone. What if it isn't the clinic? Do I hang up on the person calling? Do I talk to them? Last time, we asked them to call our cellphone, so we could see it was them. They called home anyway. Since I was waiting to hear if I should be at the clinic for transfer at 9am the next morning, I answered the damn phone. But it's okay. For this medical procedure, my rabbi says it's okay.
- my clinic is elevator access only. Using an elevator is not allowed on Shabbat (with the exception of special "Shabbat lifts" that automatically stop on every floor, so the person riding the elevator doesn't have to push any buttons).
My clinic doesn't have a Shabbat elevator. Someone will happily meet me downstairs and push buttons for me. If I call and let them know I am coming. So which is worse - calling the clinic, or pushing the buttons on the elevator myself?
- causing yourself to bleed is not allowed on Shabbat. Accidently doesn't count.
My last few days of injections last cycle caused my poor, over-poked belly to bleed a little every time. And now, I've got twice as many injections each day.
Well, maybe I won't get it tomorrow. Maybe my period will wait til Sunday, and all of this rambling worrying will be for naught.

For more on Shabbat and infertility and picking rabbis, I have a post from last year, and Robber Barren had a post last year, that included a really great description of the issues in the comments.

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3 Comments:

At 11/5/07 10:42 PM, Blogger Lut C. said...

I find it highly puzzling, being a non-observant anything.

I hope you catch a break on the timing.

 
At 12/5/07 6:41 PM, Blogger Thalia said...

I understand the difficulties, but I'm glad you're aware that looking after your health is ok with your rabbi and therefore with your observance, try to cut yourself some slack, ok?

 
At 13/5/07 3:45 AM, Blogger Bea said...

What a minefield. I'm glad your rabbi has assured you that this is an exception. Hopefully you won't find too many clashes.

Bea

 

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