Shabbos for Diabetics

Dealing with Diabetes on Shabbos

Those who suffer from diabetes and need to draw blood periodically in order to check their insulin levels, should do everything possible to minimize chillul Shabbos (desecration of Shabbos) throughout the process. This includes:

  • Seeing to it before Shabbos that there’s adequate lighting
  • Before Shabbos, turning off the sound the blood glucose meter makes when in use
  • Turning on the meter (usually done by inserting a strip) on Shabbos with a shinui (change, i.e. not in the ordinary manner)
  • Choosing a machine that draws the least amount of blood
  • Lancing (pricking) should be done with a shinui, such as pressing the button on the lancet using the back of the finger.
  • Allowing the blood to flow out without squeezing, if possible; In case lancing isn't sufficient and blood needs to be squeezed out, it should be done with a shinui, as well.

All this applies only if there is no sakanas nefashos (an immediate life-threatening situation); if there’s an immediate danger, then the blood should be drawn normally, without a shinui. #530⁠1

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.