IMAJ | volume 22
Journal 1, January 2020
Falling from a height accounts for 14.1% of all hospital admissions for traumatic injury. In 5% of cases, the injury is severe or critical, and in 1.5%, it is fatal. The dangers of falling have been recognized since time immemorial. Indeed, the Bible instructs us to build a parapet around the roof of our home so that, “…you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from it” (Deuteronomy 22:8). This commandment highlights the relatively simple and practical means by which we can prevent falls. It is also one of a series of ethical laws that are presented to help us understand and obey the larger Biblical precepts of loving one’s neighbor and guarding the sanctity of life. The concept teaches us that it is the responsibility of all individuals to be cognizant of others and to avoid harming people through negligence or carelessness. The aim of this article is to explain the commandment to build a parapet in the context of the risk of falling from a height and to expand on its wider implications. The present work was prompted in part by the alarming increase in fatal and near-fatal accidents in Israel in two particular populations.