Jewish Scene
Orthodox in uproar over organ donation incident
Neta Sela
Published: 22.06.06, 00:12
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19 Talkbacks for this article
1. Dispute in Jewish law
Shmuel ,   New York   (06.22.06)
Whether brain death suffices for someone to be considered dead is a dispute in halacha (Jewish law)--and not as the article implies. According to those who hold that brain death alone is not sufficient to diagnose death, removal of organs would constitute an act akin to murder. The sanctity of life is of paramount concern. An alternative could have been to wait until the heart stopped beating for awhile, which would have fulfilled the criteria for death of nearly all halacha authorities. The article also implies that kidneys were needed to save lives. Yet, people can live for years, even decades, with dialysis. Also, even if the assertions in the article were true, one cannot shorten one person's life in order to save another person's life. The view of most rabbis in Jerusalem is probably: In our rush to help the sick, let us now 'cut corners' and possibly shorten a life. That sounds reasonable to me.
2. Yes, they study Torah, and that is supposed to teach them
Bunnie Meyer ,   Santa Monica, CA   (06.22.06)
what is valuable and what is moral. All the classes in the world on Torah and Gemara and Talmud and Daf Yomi will not instill error free common sense in a person or a group. Any Jew who would let two Jews die so a pair of kidneys could be burried has possibly studied Torah, but not learned what G-d expected from the common sense He gave them at birth. If a religious Jew would stand in the operating room and prevent the donation of a kidney to allow another Jew to live, they would be as much a murderer as if they watched a person stop breathing and neglected to reinsert an oxygen tube that had fallen out or failed to summon help. G-d wants people to live as much today as he ever has, the Orthodox need to learn that. Anyone can twist words, how many can save lives?
3. Organ Donation is Halachic
Tzion   (06.22.06)
The title of this article is very misleading, as well as many statements therein. Many prominent Orthodox Rabbis allow organ donations from a Brain Dead patient. Among them are: Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Rabbi Moshe Tendler, Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren ZT"L, and many others. Many Rabbis in the OU and RCA in America also support it. Much of the Rabbanut also supports organ Donations. It is true that most Charedi Rabbis do not allow it. However, the greatness of those supporting it is just as weighty.
4. YNet haredi bash du jour
Kyle ,   Southpark, CO, USA   (06.22.06)
So who was killed (other than the brain dead patient)? How many dumpsters overturned and set on fire? This will distract the attention from the latest Pallywood atrocity.
5. What the dispute?
Bob ,   Atlanta   (06.22.06)
If anyone wants to know what the dispute is check out these links: and this is not an issue that can be understood by just reading one news report
6. Living on dialysis
Dorothy Friend ,   Tel Aviv   (06.22.06)
"Yet, people can live for years, even decades, with dialysis. " ------------------------- I wish the letter writer and as many members of his family as possible that great pleasure!!!!!
7. For once, I actually agree with Bunnie Meyer.....
Noa ,   Tel Aviv   (06.22.06)
8. #7
Dorothy Friend ,   Tel Aviv   (06.22.06)
Yeah, amazing, isn't it!
9. The truth about organ donating
Mordey Cohen ,   Sydney Australia   (06.22.06)
I have anylized the isue, and have learned that according to Halacha, one is able to donate an organ, if this is going to save the life of another. however, the problem is, if one takes an organ, out of a being, and he is unable to live with out this organ, that taking it out would be tantamount to killing him. And Halacha forbids killing a person even for humane reasons.
10. In other words, Shaarei Tzedek MURDERED someone
Aaron ,   Jerusalem, Israel   (06.22.06)
They murdered an innocent victim and are not being arrested for this?
11. Organ Donation
Rabbi David ,   Israel   (06.22.06)
I agree with Bunnie Meyer Today we rule that a brain dead person IS IN FACT DEAD if the situation is irreversable apart from the fact that it says in the Talmud your life is before your freinds in some circumstances and this was Pikuach Nefesh
12. Why I am Not an Organ Donor
Just Me   (06.22.06)
If you are in a serious accident, brought into the hospital and your card says "organ donor" they will not work too hard to save your life if somebody is waiting for your organs.
13. Why I am not an organ donor -- You are wrong, Just Me...
Steve Ferkau ,   Chicago Illinois, US   (06.22.06)
Just Me -- You are so very wrong in your statement about why you are not an organ donor... Your reason -- that a hospital will sacrifice you because they need your organs is a common myth... And that myth is incredibly insulting to trauma physicians and doctors everywhere... It may happen in medical dramas on TV -- Most people are sharp enough to understand those dramas are fiction and fantasy... Emergency Room physicians and trauma physicians have one goal -- To mend you and keep you alive, if it is at all possible... To believe otherwise makes me believe you see any doctor as evil. Only after they've exhausted any possible means of keeping you alive will they make the judgment that you are not going to survive -- And at that time, it may be determined whether you desired to save the lives of others... Unlike the portrayals in television medical dramas -- In the U.S., the likelihood of a recipient actually receiving an organ from a donor in the same hospital is not that great -- There are 92,000 on the list waiting, and likely many in their region ahead of them... And, in the U.S. physicians associated with transplant or transplant clinics as a rule do not associate with the trauma departments in a hospital -- the conflict and perception of conflict would be too great... Saying that these physicians would not work too hard to save your life is insulting to physicians to the highest degree... It not only questions their morals and ethics, but accuses them of fraud. If your son or daughter or husband or wife were a trauma physician -- can you imagine accusing them of a practice of that nature? Physicians struggle with the idea of determining a patient too far gone, or brain dead -- For many of them, it's "giving up", and I don't believe it's human nature to give up on the life of another human... People and families who, at the most devastating moment in their lives, choose to become organ donors and, at their death save the lives of 4-5-6 of their fellow humans who were dying after suffering for years -- They are true heroes... The trauma physicians who have to make those difficult decisions, as well as the people surrounding them at times like that are heroes too...
DEBRA ,   USA   (06.23.06)
15. A New Death Cult
Jerry ,   Eilat, ISrael   (06.23.06)
A new standard--better to let people die than to save a life when a person who has agreed to contribute his organs dies by conventional medical standards. As long as we say that we are going to allow this type of religious domination of every aspect of life in Israel, we are going to decrease the interest of more and more Jews in having an desire to be observant. Since this group of fundamentalist (not observant) Jews absents itself from many aspects of Israeli life--working and serving in the IDF--they should not have the right to exercise control over our lives.
16. Trusting Doctors and Hospital Betrayal
Robert Berman ,   Jerusalem, Israel   (06.23.06)
If we assume that doctors are "cutting corners" and murdering people early to recover organs then why has the number of donors remained steady for ten years? Should these doctors be increasing the numbers. Also, I'm not sure why the hospital "betrayed" anyone. The families wish was to donate organs. There are many Rabbis who support organ donation. The hospital helped the family fulfill their wish. Who was betrayed?
17. The guy was NOT dead !
gabriela ben ari   (06.25.06)
So why all this pinions of saving other's lives ???? He was still having one of his own . Who are we to decide who deserves to be more alive than whom ? One thing is to be dead and one is to be alive. What the hell is this half dfinition of "clinically dead" ??? We are either / or, never half way . Once the person passed away, decide, donate, "murder", whomever you like. Why should life be sanctified only for those with more "vital signs than others" ?
18. The guy was NOT dead ?!?!?
Steve Ferkau ,   Chicago,Illinois USA   (07.05.06)
gabriela ben ari -- I beg to differ whether the person was "dead" or not... When the brain ceases to act -- When blood circulation to the brain ceases -- the shell of a body you're looking at is no longer that person. Brain death can be accurately assessed and is most often shown by complete ceasation of circulation to the brain... There has never been a documented case of a person recovering from brain death... The person will never "wake up", they will never talk, feel, love again -- Though they may be loved and remembered, the person who occupied that body is no longer there, and never will be. Upon brain death, the rest of the organs and body will gradually shut down... When do you imagine "death" to occur? Is it when the heart stops? If acids continue to break down food in the stomach for a week -- Is that person still "alive" until that activity ceases? Cells and bacteria may exist in the gut for quite some time -- still "alive"? The person that we knew and loved ceased to be that "person" when their brain died -- That old concept, "I think, therefore I am..." will never come into play because they will never "think" again... They are not them... If we have the opportunity to save another life -- to allow another suffering, dying human being another chance to continue living... to continue to talk, feel and love, and stay with their spouse, children, parents... Isn't it almost an obligation to do so? Granted -- You are not to bring harm or death to yourself in doing so, but "clinically dead" or dead -- You've already crossed that threshold to the other side... It is only a "half definition" to those who do not understand the implications. What greater honor can you possibly give to a life well lived than save one or several lives at the end of yours?
19. Living on dialysis
Daniel ,   Chicago   (06.24.07)
"I wish the letter writer and as many members of his family as possible that great pleasure!!!!! " ------------------------- That's not very nice.
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