Amy Winehouse & Self-Destruction
Suicide: Jewish Views
Amy Winehouse, a Jewish singer was found dead in her home this past Saturday. She was twenty-seven years old, and known for her impressive voice and the many accolades she received for her talent. There was no rational reason why she ended her career suddenly by her inability to stop her addiction to drugs and other mind altering substances.
death caused the examination of the Jewish view regarding self
annihilation/suicide. Suicide is
forbidden by Jewish law. It is
considered a serious “nevere” (sin). It is not seen as an acceptable
alternative under any or all circumstances.
to Chassidic and Jewish theology/philosophy each soul descends into the world to
perform missions, “mitzwot” (Ideally six hundred and thirteen good
deeds). We have been brought here by “Hashem”and it is his prerogative to
send us to “olem habo”, the world to come.
Assisted suicide is included in this tenet. The human being who is so ill or so depressed has to be given
help while alive to continue on this earth.
Pain control and psychological assistance are very important to prevent
suicidal thinking. People
contemplating suicide are often alone and are not given interest to help them to
remain alive. Continued reaffirmation by family and friends, by people, are
important deterrents to help the human being to live as long as possible. Social
support is essential in encouraging the stricken individual to live rather than
to yearn to die. In the antiseptic environment where the dying are often placed,
it is essential to visit the sick/dying individual to give hope, to listen, to
protect, and give strength. Letting
the very ill person know what he/she means to the visitor, the adult child, the
parent, the friend, is an essential ingredient in encouraging the patient to
feel worthwhile and important.
killing oneself is forbidden under normal Jewish law as being a denial of G’ds
goodness and compassion, under extreme circumstances when
there has been no choice to either be killed or forced to betray the
Jewish religion, Jews have committed suicide.
Even that is not sanctioned by our law as it is stated.
are not certain why life was so unbearable for Amy Winehouse and why she killed
herself, why she imbibed in alcohol and other drugs, why she had no loving
relationships that had meaning for such a young and talented young woman.
Unfortunately she is not alive to let us know what plagued her so much
that she took the final step which stilled her voice for eternity.