Israel – Rabbis Urge Religious Public to Volunteer as Organ Donors

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    **FILE** Doctors of Hadassah Medical Center perform lung surgery at the Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem. Photo by Nati Shohat Flash90Israel – A new initiative designed to raise the number of people signing up for organ donation cards has been formally approved by Tzohar, the religious- Zionist rabbinical group.

    In a meeting at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, 40 rabbis from the organization voted to approve a new organ donor card and framework which seeks to reduce any concerns potential religious organ donors may have that their organs will be harvested in a manner in keeping with Jewish law.

    “We want to encourage Israeli society to acknowledge and embrace the importance of saving someone else’s life,” Tzohar chairman Rabbi David Stav told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “We also believe that it is immoral to be willing to accept organs from others while at the same time not be willing to donate your own organs if such circumstances should arise.”

    Brain death was established by the most respected arbiter of Jewish law of recent times, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, to be the relevant criterion for declaring death, although he stipulated that tests be conducted to confirm.

    For this purpose, an organization called Arevim, comprising more than 30 doctors around the country competent in the Jewish laws regarding the issue, was set up.

    Director of the Bilvavi system, Haim Falk, told the Post that being a signatory to the new system will mean that a doctor from Arevim will be present when the time of death is pronounced to provide an extra guarantee that any transplants will be in accordance with Jewish law.

    There are three halachic concerns regarding organ donation: a prohibition against desecrating a corpse; delaying burial; and deriving any kind of benefit from a corpse. Most rabbis today accept that the life-saving possibilities made possible by organ donation outweigh these concerns.

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    16 COMMENTS

    1. In the US there’s a great organization called “Renewal” that has facilitated over 125 transplants from “LIVE” donors.
      Its unbelievable to hear and read how people are willing to do the ultimate sacrifice to save a life. I’m not an halachic authority to give my opinion about what exactly is considered death, but one thing is for sure giving life to others “while alive” is “bigger than big”.

    2. ELUL!!! Three days to yom hadin!!!

      This is how you refer to the chareidim, as drifting away, just because they are maikel in hatzolas neshemos???

      How on earth are you going to do teshuvah???

      • The chareidim are not the ones promoting wholesale murder.

        The halacha is one cannot touch a goses because you may hasten death and be oiver on retzicha. Thus we see that how much life is left makes no difference, it is still considered murder.

        According to may poskim, the people who they want to rip orrgans out of are still considered alive, al pi halacha. Regardless of their remaining quality of life. Accordingly, it is those who want to rip out organs that are being meikel in murder.

        It is not a new halacha that you cannot killl one person to save the life of another.

        In your haste to make what you supposed was a “smart” comment, you ignored basic halacha. Not surprising.

        • I never addressed the halachic issues.

          My comment was one of disgust at the readiness of some people to write that an entire group of other yiddin are drifting away.

          I’m no talmid chochom but I know a lack of mentchlichkeit and a ready supply of sinas chinam when I see it.

    3. The quote from Reb Moshe is misleading he says brain death to the extent which a person can no longer breath on his own is called death. Not simply brain death alone. See igros yo’d 2 146 and yo’d 4 44. He specifically says both activities need to stop to be dead.

    4. Its such a shame everyone likes to misquote Reb Moshe. Its understandable why of course. The organs are much more viable when taken from brain dead people who are still breathing. But taking a heart out of someone in this state is murder as Reb Moshe himself writes.

    5. Ever notice that the same people who quote reb moshe ztk”l on the Flatbush eruv and brain death and consider anyone who doesn’t follow his psak in these matters almost entirely ‘frei’, also look down on those who are somaich on reb moshe ztk”l to drink USDA milk?

    6. Ever notice that the same people who quote reb moshe ztk”l on the Flatbush eruv and brain death and consider anyone who doesn’t follow his psak in these matters almost entirely ‘frei’, also look down on those who are somaich on reb moshe ztk”l to drink USDA milk?

    7. When organs are removed from a “brain dead” donor, all the vital signs of the “donors” are still present prior to the harvesting of organs, such as: normal body temperature and blood pressure; the heart is beating; vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, are functioning; and the donor is breathing with the help of a ventilator. Furthermore that approach is required for most transplant surgery, because vital organs deteriorate very quickly after a patient dies. “After true death,” he said, “unpaired vital organs (specifically the heart and whole liver) cannot be transplanted.”

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