Yud Daled Elul 5773
A man was once captured by non-Jews for the "sin" of being unable to pay the amount of money that he owed them. His captors placed him in the confines of a small prison cell, supplying him exclusively with non-Kosher food which the man refused to eat. However, as the days passed, he grew weaker and weaker until he felt that if he would not eat, he would die of starvation. Knowing that pikuach nefesh takes precedence over all Mitzvos (except for avodah zarah, gilui arayos and shfichus damim), the man, not having a choice, consumed the non-Kosher food.
Not wanting to continue transgressing an issur, the man pleaded with his captors to grant him permission to leave the prison cell for a few weeks to enable him to gather the money needed for his ransom. "We are willing to grant you your request," they replied. "However, you must take an oath by what is holy to you that you will return. If you swear by the Ten Commandments that you will return by the set time, we will be assured that you will indeed come back." Seeing no other alternative, the man took the oath.
Unfortunately, the man was unable to put together the required sum of money. As the deadline for his return grew closer, the man approached the rav of the city with a sha'alah: Should he keep his promise and return to his captors, or may he transgress the shevuah and stay in town in order to avoid eating treife food?