Volume 13 Number 79
                       Produced: Mon Jun 27  8:34:19 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brain Death Exam (3)
         [Steven M Scharf, Doug Behrman, Bob Werman]
Microphones and Gedolim
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Naming after living relatives
         [Mike Gerver]
Rambam's Daily Violation of Three Negative Commandments
         ["S.Z. Leiman"]
Shabbos Work Across the Dateline
         [Sam Juni]


From: <StevenS667@...> (Steven M Scharf)
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 23:23:59 -0400
Subject: Brain Death Exam

In a posting from 6/22/94, Dr. Sheryl Haut asks about the halachic
implications of performing a "brain death" determination.  In most
states, including New York, "brain death" is accepted as a legal
definition of death.  However, the original terminology as expressed by
the Harvard Ad Hoc committee was "irrevesible coma."  As such, it seems
to me that there can be no halachic objections to perfoming the required
tests to determine "irreversible coma, or "brain death."  This is
determination of a clinical status.  The halachic problems begin once
the determination is made. The criteria for "brain death" are acceptable
by some halachic authorities, but not by others.  Obviously, if "brain
death" is not an acceptble definition of death then removing a vital
organ such as the heart, kidney (so-called cadevaric), liver or lung
which causes the "death" of the body is tantamount to murder.  On the
other hand, if "brain death" is an halachically valid definition of
death, then removing an organ for the purposes of pichuach nefesh
(saving a life) from a "brain dead" body poses less problem.

Here is another problem.  Is is permissible to *accept* a donated vital
organ if one follows a rabbincal authority who rejects the notion of
"brain death" and holds that death does not occur until the heart stops
beating?  Would the halacha be different if the potential organ donar is
Jewish versus non-Jewish?  These questions are not far-fetched.
Advances in organ transplant techology have made this a viable mode of
therapy for many otherwise hopeless cases.  Not long ago on this
esteemed mail service we read an appeal from a (presumably orthodox)
family of a desparately ill patient for a potential lung donar.  Thus
these issues are important and contemporary.

Steven M Scharf MD PhD

From: <ASLAN7@...> (Doug Behrman)
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 01:21:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Brain Death Exam

  In response to Sheryl Haut's question about the halakhic status of
performing a brain death exam, I see nothing wrong with doing this for
several reasons. Firstly, there are halakhic authorities who feel that
brain death is halakhically considered death, being equivalent to
"physiological decapitation"( I think this is the view of Rabbi M.D.
Tendler).  However, this is obviously not the view of all Rabbonim, and
is a subject of much controversy. I think the main issue here is that
you are not directly causing the patient to be disconnected from life
support,you are merely making a diagnosis. What is done on the basis of
that is not your responsibility, any more than an obstetrician telling a
patient she is pregnant when he knows that she will most likely choose
to have an abortion.  There is also the issue of limited resources. As
an Internal Medicine resident I have often had to refuse a patient
admission to the ICU on the basis of poor prognosis, because I had to
keep the bed open for someone I could actually help. In the same way you
are allowing someone who could benefit from the life support to do so,
by determining that this patient can no longer be expected to recover.
Doug Behrman

From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Sat, 25 Jun 1994 16:03:14 -0400
Subject: Brain Death Exam

Sheryl Haut asks about doing a brain death exam and the halachic
implications.  There are two aspects to the problem: to do the exam; and
to permit transplant.

There is strong halachic opinion in Israel that brain death may not be
determined without evidence of brainstem death, in other words,
inability to live without support systems.  Acceptable for this purpose
is absence of auditory evoked potentials beyond the level of the hair
cells and cochlear nerve.

The question of allowing translplants even from a dead person requires
-- following the Noda b'Yehuda -- evidence that immediate life saving
will result.  With that in mind, there is still controversy as to
whether brain dead, by any criteria, is dead and when does taking an
organ [harvesting is the word used, no?] constitute murder.

__Bob Werman


From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 94 01:03:07 -0800
Subject: Microphones and Gedolim

>There are tens of thousands of Bnei Torah who consider Rav Shaul 
>Yisraeli as the Gedol HaPoskim alive today. Probably an equal
>number  consider Rav Yoseif Shalom Elyashiv as such. Many think
>that Rav Aharon  Lichtenstein is the Gedol HaDor etc. 

>I have no doubt that all those people consider Rav Shlomo Zalman 
>Auerbach a leading Poseik as well. To state that everyone
>considers him  "the" greatest Poseik is a bit presumptuous. 

At the risk of inspiring the ire of two friends, I think that R
Rosenfeld, who wrote the above lines, did not completely understand
the intent of R Bechhofer, to whom he was responding.

I don't believe that R Bechhofer, the esteemed Skokie Rosh Kollel, was
arguing for an exclusive on psak to be given to Rav Shlomo Zalman,
Shlit"a.  I think that what he meant is that on an issue as important as
permitting the use of a microphone in shuls, after decades of all shuls
and poskim invalidating them, it is imperative to consult halachic
voices at the very top.  Whoever wrote opinions on the matter are
certainly entitled; the rest of us, though, must demand that those
opinions be reviewed by the preeminent decisors of our day.  I don't
think R Bechhofer will have any objection if the issue is taken to Rav
Elyashiv, Shlit"a instead of Rav Shlomo Zalman.  I sort of think he
would prefer if BOTH of them would be asked.

As far as the reference to Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, Shlit"a, the issue
here was not who the Gadol Hador is.  The issue is where the buck stops
in the arena of psak, which is not always with someone who is a Gadol in
other areas.  Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but talmidim of
mine who have learned in Gush have told me that when the REALLY tough
halachic issues arise, Rav Aharon sends them to - you guessed it, Rav
Shlomo Zalman and Rav Elyashiv.

I hope that both R Rosenfeld and R Bechhofer will still speak to me
after this.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Yeshiva of LA


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 4:17:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Naming after living relatives

Mordecai Miller asks in v13n53 whether it is permissible to give two 
cousins the same name, if they are named after different grandparents.
He seems to take it for granted that it is not permitted (by the usual
Ashkenazic minhag) to name two cousins after the same grandparent, since
he thinks this would constitute naming the second grandchild after a
living relative, the first grandchild.

But this is not the way the Ashkenazic custom works. It is quite common
to name two or more cousins after the same grandparent. The ones who are
born later are not considered to be named after their cousins, but after
the grandparent who is no longer alive. There are lots of examples of
that in my family. On one branch of my wife's family there are six
Esthers, all born about 1900, named after the same great-grandmother.
This sort of thing comes in very handy when you are trying to trace back
your family, since you can sometimes guess the name of an ancestor whose
name no one remembers.

A problem does sometimes arise if you want to name a child after one
grandparent, and another grandparent with the same name is still alive.
Then it might look as if you are naming the child after the living
grandparent. Sometimes people use another name which sounds similar,
starts with the same letter, or has similar meaning. If there is a
living uncle or aunt with the same name that you want to give the child,
it might be a good idea to ask them if they would mind.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: "S.Z. Leiman" <szlyu@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 1994 16:15:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rambam's Daily Violation of Three Negative Commandments

In mj 13:73, June 22, Jerome Parness and his respondents had difficulty 
identifying the "three negative commandments" that the Rambam was alleged 
to have violated daily.

The earliest source to allege that the Rambam appended to his signature 
the admission that he violated "three negative commandments" daily is R. 
Estori ha-Parhi (ca. 1280-1355), Kaftor va-Ferah (Jerusalem, 1959), 
chapter 5, p. 12b. During a visit to Egypt, R. Estori heard the claim 
from a descendant (and not: grandson) of the Rambam. In its original 
context, it is evident that the phrase "three negative commandments" 
refers to three bans on Jewish residency in Egypt. They are easily 
identifiable as the the three verses in the Torah (as understood by the 
rabbis) that ban Jewish residency in Egypt. See J. Sukkah 5:1 and 
Mekhilta to Exodus 14:13. The Rambam himself listed these verses in Sefer 
ha-Mizvot, negative commandment 46, and in Mishneh Torah, hilkhot 
melakhim 5:7. R. Reuven Margulies (see Margaliot ha-Yam to Sanhedrin 21b) 
was troubled by the phrase "three negative commandments" when in fact the 
Rambam counts them as only one negative commandment in Sefer ha-Mizvot. 
Indeed, R. Reuven viewed this as further evidence that the Rambam never 
made such an admission. While R. Reuven may be right in rejecting the 
Kaftor va-Ferah report as imaginary, the plain sense of the phrase "three 
negative commandments," in the light of the sources cited above, is 
clearly the three verses in the Torah that ban residency in Egypt.

That no such admission (as alleged by the Kaftor va-Ferah) was appended 
to the Rambam's signature was first claimed by R. Jacob Emden in a gloss 
to Kaftor va-Ferah (see the notes appended to the back of the edition cited
above, p. 19). Rabbi Emden's skepticism is borne out by the evidence. No 
such admission is appended to any extant letter of the Rambam, including 
the autograph copies that have been recovered from the Cairo Genizah. 
This has already been noted by R. Reuven Margulies (ad loc.).

In general, see R. Aaron Kahn, "Treatise Clarifying the Ban on Settling 
in Egypt and the Permissive Viewpoints," (Hebrew) Or ha-Mizrah 
27(1979)264-289; R. Eliezer Waldenberg, She'elot u-Teshuvot Ziz Eliezer
(second edition: Jerusalem, 1985), vol. 14, responsum 87; and the 
discussion in R. David Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic Problems (New York, 
1983), vol. 2, pp. 152-159.

						S.Z. Leiman


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 1994 22:13:58 -0400
Subject: Shabbos Work Across the Dateline

This Friday afternoon, we bumped into a question which is not too
uncommon nowadays.  I had a guest from Jerusalem, and I invited him to
fax a message home before Shabbos. He felt it was prohibited since he is
writing on Shabbos in Israel. This prompted a discussion which resulted
in a host of practical questions re the status of an act which has the
actor in one day and the act ocurring (simultaneously) on another day.

One strand of the discussion, I think, is particularly intriguing. I
shall present it in a hypothetical scenario.

Suppose you are at the Hallachic dateline, wherever that may be.  (Even
at this point, I had one heckler in the discussion who claimed there is
no such entity.  To me it is clear that without such a dateline, we
would continue Sunday forever, without getting into Monday.) The
particular time change is from Friday to Shabbos.  The locale is a
Reshus Hayuchid (private domain), which makes it permissible to carry
items acros the dateline. One throws a knife across the line,
slaughtering an animal on the other side.  Is this act permissible if
one is throwing from the Shabbos side to the Friday side? How about vice
versa?  (Actually, the question can be phrased theoretically without the
dateline facet by picturing a regular Friday afternoon, where you are
standing exactly at sunset, and throwing the knife into an area where
the sun is to set momentarily.)

Yes, I do understand that you have to be a fast thrower to model for
this question.

No, I have no idea of the source materials here.  So like the novice
inevitably does, let me chart out my expectations of what I think would
show up in researching this area, based on my a-priori understanding
of applied Hallacha.  I am eminently ready to be corrected.

I have a nagging suspicion that there will be no applicable references
to this in any citations older than 50 years or so, because I imagine
that the idea that one may (theoretically)be standing at a line where
two different days meet is just too modern a concept.

I also suspect that it would be hard to find direct sources which
address the crux of the conceptual question -- whether the Shabbos
prohibition pertains to the act or to the actor, since these options
would understandably be intertwined in sources which did not envision
such a "split" scenario.

I guess a likely approach would be to seek out the philosophical or
meta-physical basis of Shabbos prohibition. This could go along the
lines of ascertaining the spiritual reasons for the prohibition, and
trying to deduce if these are extant when the actor is acting on
Shabbos, rather than the act being accomplished on Shabbos.

It is my initial feeling that references re delayed reactions (timers,
fire setting, etc.) may not be relevant here, since in those cases the
prohibited act does not occur simulaneously with the actor's act.

     Dr. Sam Juni                  Fax (212) 995-3474
     New York University           Tel (212) 998-5548
     400 East
     New York, N.Y.  10003


End of Volume 13 Issue 79