Jewish Scene
Ultra-Orthodox rabbis slam organ donation bill
Neta Sela
Published: 27.03.08, 11:40
Comment Comment
Print comment Print comment
Back to article
32 Talkbacks for this article
1. Chilul Hashem
David ,   Yerushalayim   (03.27.08)
Rabbis - Please use the common sense that G-d gave you. Since the definition of "death" invented by previous generations, science and medicine have changed. Now we know that a brain dead person will not come back under any circumstances. To prevent the use of such a person's organs to save the lives of a half dozen younger people, is chilul hashem. Sometimes halacha has to be re-examined and changed - the earlier Rabbis may have been right in their time, but today they have to be updated, and the current Rabbis have to use their common sense. I cannot think of a bigger Chilul Hashem then not using brain dead people's organs to save the lives of others.
2. RABBI ELIASHIV & HALACHA: Man Declared Brain Dead Wakes Up
Man Declared Brain Dead Wakes Up Aftear Hearing Doctors Say He Is Dead Oklahoma City, OK - Four months after he was declared brain dead and doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant, Zach Dunlap says he feels "pretty good." Dunlap was pronounced dead in Wichita Falls, Texas, after he was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. His family approved having his organs harvested. His father, Doug, said he saw the results of the brain scan. "There was no activity at all, no blood flow at all." But as family members were paying their last respects, suddenly he moved his foot and hand and reacted to a pocketknife scraped across his foot and to pressure applied under a fingernail. After 48 days in the hospital, he returned home. Yesterday he and his family were in New York, appearing on NBC's "Today." "I feel pretty good. but it's just hard ... just ain't got the patience," Dunlap told NBC. Dunlap, 21, of Frederick, said he has no recollection of the crash. But one thing he does remember is hearing the doctors pronounce him dead. "I'm glad I couldn't get up and do what I wanted to do," he said. "Just makes me thankful, makes me thankful that they didn't give up," he said. "Only the good die young, so I didn't go." [AP]
3. Braindead
Sasha ,   Tel-Aviv   (03.27.08)
Well, I fully understand why Elyashiv is worried about the law, which would put him in danger, as he is apparently quite braindead according to his sayings.
4. Organ donation saves lives
Avinoam ,   Tel Aviv, Israel   (03.27.08)
When you refuse to give viable organs from a dead body you are in fact killing someone. It is no different than walking past a man being mugged. In fact what happens here is more like standing nearby and directing others away from the victim, so that no one else could help either. In addition I am far more likely to trust the moral compass of doctors than of rabbis. For many reasons, but even if only for the fact that doctors always run the risk of losing their license or worse and Rabbis risk nothing in their rhetoric.
5. Does anyone know where I can find...
LEE ,   NY, USA   (03.27.08)
the Sephardic Rabbis logical exegesis to determine this halacha? If they permitted this law their ruling must be based on halachic extrapolation. Does anyone know where I can find an article which outlines their rationality in arriving at this conclusion?
6. Haredim do not donate organs anyway. This is a power issue.
Lenny ,   Israel   (03.27.08)
7. #6 - UNTRUE
Shalom   (03.27.08)
8. brain dead comes alive
sam ,   jerusalem   (03.27.08)
9. read #2, true story, "brain dead man wakes up"
Yisrael ,   P"T   (03.27.08)
Everyone agrees that organs save lives. Direct transfer from a FULLY and halachically dead person directly to a recipient is halachically OK. The case of this man who was declared brain dead and woke up 4 months later shows that "brain dead" does not mean the end - unless a quick acting doctor takes your organs, minutes after the verdict. This man heard them say he was dead while he was declared "braindead"! Is the internationally aired story of this man's recovery from braindeath coincidental that it should coincide with the rabbi's outrage at this new law? No, this international coverage shows those who have eyes that the rabbis decision reflects G-d's will. And even if you cannot accept that this is a spiritual stamp of approval - at least recognise that the rabbi is right and you are wrong, and that halacha has been shown to reflect truth better than "common belief in death occuring with braindeath"! David (#1) and others should go see the video of the dead man talking! I saw it one day before I knew of this controversy over the "braindead" law. Amazing. And amazing that a 100 year old rabbi has more knowledge of truth than youthful experienced doctors and clever talkbackers.
10. Not all Ultra-Orthodox!
ash ,   gush etzion   (03.27.08)
Shas actually voted for this law in the knesset. Rav Eliyashiv is only the voice for a small percentage of Haredim. As the article says at the bottom, Rabbis Yosef and Amar agreed with the law.
11. #1 - Lovely post - thank you.....
Andy ,   ramat hasharon   (03.27.08)
Logical, spiritual, respectful and true.
12. RAV OVADIA and HALACHA and who is R Eliyshiv?
S Judah ,   London   (03.27.08)
As the leading halachic authority and Talmudic Sage of our time , I believe we can go along with Rav Ovadia on this. I don't beleive the matter has been explained properly. It is certainly not brain dead as it was recognised before or as in the example of no 2 and 9. As for Rav Eliyashiv ,he suffers from the delusion of all Litvats who keep advertising themselves as Gadol Hador's in perpetuity. No is his stock answer to everything he cannot work out.
13. "Haredi" Priorities
Dovy ,   Toronto   (03.27.08)
Isn't it funny how these "rabbis" like Elyashiv are up in arms about organ donation as forbidden by the Torah, but for all the violations of the Torah involved in the Zionist State, its crimes and sins, Elyashiv SUPPORT THEM???!! What a bunch of fake religious rabbis. Fakers all.
14. #2, 8, 9 &13 - The House of Shammai speaks!
15. History lesson: brain death does not equal death of brain
SL ,   New York   (03.27.08)
I will try my best to ignore the inane and hateful comments of some of the people who have posted, except to point out that the 'utilitarian' argument for using organs of patients for others has NO halachic validity. If a person is not dead, removing his or her organs is murder. Any scholar familiar with the history of how the term brain death arose will readily acknowledge that 'brain death' is a legal term which does not mean necessarily that the whole brain is 100% dead! All it meant, originally, was a dismal prognosis for recovery, not that the brain was completely dead. For example, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, of blessed memory, was greatly distressed when he found out that the part of the brain called the hypothalamus is alive in some of these patients. A percentage of these patients have other areas of the brain which continue to function. For the very few rabbinic decisors who accept 100% brain death as sufficient to declare a person dead, does the current law provide enough certainty in that regard? For those who follow the halachic decisions of the great majority of rabbinic decisors, agreeing to removal of life support for a patient declared 'brain dead' is akin to murder.
16. When religion mixes with science...
Paolo Ortenzi ,   Italy   (03.27.08)
...nothing good can came out. Few centuries ago, there was a man that discovered, on EXPERIMENTAL DATA, that the Earth was NOT at the center of the Universe. The religious authority forced him, by menace of TORTURE, to say that what he discovered was false. Why? Because his findings, even if confirmed by the science, were against the "truth" contained in the Holy Bible. Centuries later the man, liberated by the Illuminism from the religious censorship, confirmed that the truth was on the side of the man of science and NOT on the religion side. The man was Galileo Galilei and his heliocentric theory. Rabbis (and Popes, and Ayatollas) would be better deals with what is the subject of the religion: the Spirit and ethics, and stop dealing with science. In all the world transplant, if done with some clear and rigid limits and good medical practice, saves lives, it is an ACT of LOVE from the dead to the still living ones. Stop Israel being turned into a Iran by Haredim...
17. #15- Thank you for your valuable post, but...
LEE ,   NY, USA   (03.27.08)
can you verify that the majority of poskim decide on the side you're arguing? Can you name those poskim that side with the one side vs. the other?
18. Post 16 is wrong
Sam ,   New York   (03.27.08)
Mr Ortenzi of Italy is incorrect--Copernicus was the 1st to declare the earth was a globe rotating around the sun (although this idea was anticipated in the Talmud and Medrash!). Declaring someone dead is not a black and white scientific matter. Brain cells are often still alive when a person is declared 'brain dead.' It is not based on complete death of the brain, which takes minutes to hours or sometimes much longer to result. Essentially, ' brain death' means is that those who make the rules in a society deem that person dead. Why not do some reading up on 'brain death'? The answer is simple: it's better to bash the 'ultra-orthodox' than to confront the reality that the determination of brain death as equalling death is somewhat arbitrary, and is often done to get organs for someone.
19. #13 - Dovy the Naturei Carta LOOSER....
Andy ,   ramat hasharon   (03.27.08)
May your teeth fall from your rotten, lying mouth.
20. organ donations
sas ,   israel   (03.27.08)
disgusting what this rabbi says.
21. #16, equally, it is not good when science becomes a religion
AK   (03.27.08)
Every scientific theory is good as long as a better does not come along. Believe me, the scientific 'truths' of today can easily be overturn in the future. Galileo had no conception of real Universe and even Einstein believed the Universe to be 'forever.' We know very little yet how the brain works and even one story of false diagnosis of brain death folloed by the removal of organs is unacceptable. Nobody has a right to end a life to save another.
22. Rav Ovadia, Rav Mordechai, Rav Amar v. Elyashiv
Besalel ,   Kew Gardens, NY   (03.28.08)
Even if Harav Elyashiv is right on the Halacha, I'd rather be in hell with Rav Ovadia, Rav Mordechai, Rav Amar, Rav Doron and the great Torah sages of our times than in Heaven with Rav Elyashiv and his greaseball monkeys.
23. To Andy
Dovy ,   Toronto   (03.28.08)
Thank you for the compliment. The fact is that the ones who have destroyed the Jewish feeling among millions of Jews are the opportunists who are only interested in money and power, who are fakers, who are from the Mixed Multitude. All the Orthodox religious establishment, from Mizrachi all the way to Satmar.
24. I am correct, instead
Paolo Ortenzi ,   Italy   (03.28.08)
Dear Mr. Sam, if you read CAREFULLY my post you can readily see that in NO WAY I said that Galileo was the first to discover heliocentric reality of the universe. But he was, indeed, one of the FIRST to confirm Copernicus discovery by means of direct observation. But the essence of my post is, at the end and whatever the definition of death is by GOOD PRACTICE MEDICINE and not by some self-defined doctors, that transplant save lives. And religion, WHATEVER religion, should not MIX with science or politics: should politics dare to rewrite the 10th Commandaments? Never! So let the scientist do their job and have their role, or you want Israel turned into a jewish version of Ayatolla's Iran?
25. Dear AK I agree with you
Paolo Ortenzi ,   Italy   (03.28.08)
Scienze should hot became a religion as religion should NOT interfere with science, as many times happened in history, recent and less recent one, that scientifical truths were hidden or obstacled because show contraddiction with the so called "truth" with the religion. Religion and science have their separate roles and should address different aspects of an individual life, without anyone prevailing on the other with issues of "superiority". That's my point, simply and clear.
26. Yes, murder.
Andras Bereny ,   Kfar Tapuah, Ephraim   (03.28.08)
One of the things that changed in my life with my becoming religious is my attitude toward organ donation. In fact I tore up my organ donation card that I carried in my wallet. The other good reason to oppose the "law" is Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's support of it: His scale of prioroties is disputible.
27. #1 #11 and some others
Miriam ,   Israel   (03.28.08)
So you agree that the organs from Olmert who is brain dead should be used to save the lives of others?
28. Caro Paolo Re: # 25
Andras Bereny ,   Kfar Tapuah, Ephraim   (03.28.08)
Caro Paolo, Ebraismo non e' xtianesimo, Judaism is not xtianism. Jewish Law is binding to the Jewish People in Eretz Israel.
29. Andreas 24 - Stop being a Prejudiced Clown.
S Judah ,   London   (03.28.08)
Rav Ovadia is unmatched as a Halachic authority. You should do some serious research before spouting rubbish against him. If he has OK'd something like this, then the research and knowledge he has applied to it will be unmatched by any other. I beleive that you will find the reporting on this matter not fully detailed as to what is involved. As for Rav Eliyashiv, unfortunately believes his own publicist.
30. Just a warning for those who mock any rabbis
Yoni ,   Jerusalem   (03.28.08)
Just a small word to those who make fun of and call names to great torah sages and rabbis. As the talmud at the end of sanhedrin and the ramba"m in the laws of teshuva says all who make fun of and mock great torah sages and leaders of the generation have no portion in the world to come. although every jew has a portion in the world to come even those who eat non kosher and dont keep shabbas there are a few types of jews who lose their share entirely. I wouldnt want to be one of them...
Next talkbacks
Back to article