In the citation accompanying the awarding of Canada’s Medal of Bravery to Darren Coogan by Governour-General David Johnston on October 28, 2011, comes the description of the events in 2006 that led to bestowing the award. In part, it reads “without a thought for his own safety,” Coogan pulled a man from a car that has exploded and was on fire after hitting a deer in a north Toronto suburb. While the Torah demands that we intervene to save a life at risk (Levitcus 19:16), there is lively debate in rabbinic literature on exactly how far a person must go in putting himself at risk. While the issue is too complex to be resolved in this paragraph, what is clear is that is that there should be thought for one’s own safety. Bravery is no more less because a rescuer considered the consequences before intervening.
Rabbi Wayne Allen
After being graduated from New York University with a B.A. in philosophy and Phi Beta Kappa, Rabbi Allen attended the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he earned a Masters degree in Rabbinics and went on to receive rabbinic ordination. He has served as a congregational rabbi for almost 34 years, taking on postings in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto.