MISHNAH. THE FOLLOWING MUST BE SAVED [FROM SINNING] EVEN AT THE COST OF THEIR LIVES: HE WHO PURSUES AFTER HIS NEIGHBOUR TO SLAY HIM, [OR] AFTER A MALE [FOR PEDERASTY]. [OR] AFTER A BETROTHED MAIDEN [TO DISHONOUR HER].1 BUT HE WHO PURSUES AFTER AN ANIMAL [TO ABUSE IT]. OR WOULD DESECRATE THE SABBATH, OR COMMIT IDOLATRY, MUST NOT BE SAVED [FROM SINNING] AT THE COST OF HIS LIFE.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: whence do we know that he who pursues after his neighbour to slay him must be saved [from sin] at the cost of his own life? From the verse, Thou shalt not stand by the blood of thy neighbour.2 But does it come to teach this? Is it not employed for the following [Baraitha] that has been taught: Whence do we know that if a man sees his fellow drowning, mauled by beasts, or attacked by robbers, he is bound to save him? From the verse, Thou shalt not stand by the blood of thy neighbor! — That in truth is so. Then whence do we know that [the pursuer] must be saved at the cost of his own life? — It is inferred by an ad majus reasoning from a betrothed maiden. If a betrothed maiden, whom he wishes merely to dishonour, yet the Torah decreed that she may be saved by the life of her ravisher, how much more so does this hold good for one who pursues his neighbour to slay him. But can punishment be inflicted as a result of an ad majus conclusion?3 — The School of Rabbi taught, It is derived by analogy:4 For as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so in this matter.5 But what do we learn from this analogy of a murderer?6 Thus, this comes to throw light, and is itself illumined.7 The murderer is compared to a betrothed maiden; just as a betrothed maiden must be saved [from dishonour] at the cost of his [her violater's] life, so in the case of a murderer, he [the victim] must be saved at the cost of his [the attacker's] life. And whence do we know this of betrothed maiden? — As was taught by the School of R. Ishmael. For the School of R. Ishmael taught; [The betrothed damsel cried]; and there was none to save her,8 but, if there was a rescuer, he must save her by all possible means [including the death of her ravisher].
[To revert to] the above text: ‘Whence do we know that if a man sees his neighbour drowning, mauled by beasts, or attacked by robbers, he is bound to save him? From the verse, Thou shalt not stand by the blood of thy neighbour.’ But is it derived from this verse? Is it not rather from elsewhere? Viz., Whence do we know [that one must save his neighbour from] the loss of himself? From the verse, And thou shalt restore him to himself!9 — From that verse I might think that it is only a personal obligation,10 but that he is not bound to take the trouble of hiring men [if he cannot deliver him himself]: therefore, this verse teaches that he must.
Our Rabbis taught: He who pursues after his neighbour to slay him, he who pursues a male [for sexual abuse], or a betrothed maiden, a woman forbidden to him on pain of death at the hands of Beth din, or one forbidden on pain of extinction11 — these are saved [from sin] at the cost of their own lives.