Rav Avigdor Miller on The Day I Saved the Life of a Goy

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Q:
If I hear about a tragedy that happens to a goy, is it a good midah to feel bad for him?

A:
There are two madreigos of sympathy. Suppose, chalilah, something happened to your brother – a small thing – would you sympathise with him more than you would sympathise with a stranger? Yes, of course. Every Jew is your brother. With your brother you have to sympathise more.

Now, a stranger also, yes. Even a cat; when a cat gets run over, it’s tzar b’aleichayim, it’s a pity, since it’s a living thing. When you see an ambulance passing by or you hear a siren, don’t ignore it. You should say, “If it’s a Jew, chasve’shalom, he should have a refuah she’laima.” You never thought about that, did you?

So someone asked me a question: “What about if it’s a goy?” I said, “If a goy is standing there, would a goy say that?” Imagine if I’m an Italian, would I say, “If it’s an Italian, he should have a refuah she’laima“? They don’t say that. So why should we bother about them? We’re not going to bother about them. If there’s an Italian in an ambulance, and there’s another Italian standing there, would the Italian say he should have a refuah she’laima? Ah nechtiga tug. So why should I? But still, it’s a pity.

I was once standing in a street and a car was parked. The car got loose. The car was on the sidewalk and it started rolling down the sidewalk,  and a black boy was just in front of it. I shouted to the black boy, “MOVE AWAY!” I saved his life. I’m not sorry. Tzar b’alei chayim. I should see a black boy get run over?! I don’t love him so much. He’s not my brother. But still, it’s a pity. I wouldn’t be mechalel shabbos for him. You can’t be mechalel shabbos for a goy. But for a Jew you are mechalel Shabbos. It’s your brother! אחיך! Your brother is different. But certainly you should have pity on people. Certainly – ורחמיו על כל מעשיו. You have pity on everybody.
TAPE # E-217 (April 2000)