She'elah (Question): May Jews assist others in committing suicide or request that others assist them in their own suicides?
Killing oneself and murdering others have always been technically possible but forbidden in Jewish law. In our time, though, the matter has taken on new dimensions. On the one hand, while people in the past had no choice but to endure the pain of dying, with minimal medication available to ease their suffering, now we have sophisticated ways to diagnose levels of pain and to calibrate pain medication to need. We also have developed hospice care, where the patient is supported physically, psychologically, and socially by a whole team of people, including family and friends. These factors should diminish the number of people who seek to take their lives.