Volume 19 Number 35
                       Produced: Tue Apr 18 23:45:08 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Organ Banks
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
organ donation 19 #19 Digest
         [Doni Zivotofsky]
Organ Transplants
         [Mois Navon]
qiddush bemaqom se`udah
         ["Lon Eisenberg"]
         [Micha Berger]
Tehilim and Missionaries
         [Rachel Rosencrantz]


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 1995 00:28:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Organ Banks

A few people mention the notion of organ banks as storage facilities for
organs not presently needed.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think that this is
generally the case.  Most organs do not stand up to freezing.  The
process of freezing destroys the cell walls, rendering the organ totally
useless when defrosted.  Rather, the organs are chilled.

Also, an organ can only be used for a limited time after removal from a
body.  That is why the organs are generally transported by plane.  We
are talking hours of viability, not days.

So the scenario painted of an organ sitting in a freezer for extended
periods, and therefore not allow organ donorship because of that, is ont
valid.  The valid arguments range from not allowing disturbing of the
deceased for non-life threatening procedures to braindeath issues ( all
of which have been raised by previous posters ).

One last point.  Someone mentioned the prohibition of autopsy because
the deceased might not be halachically dead...this is simply not the case.
 Autopsies, to the best of my information, are not done on people while
still on life support systems ( which brain dead people are kept on,
that is why the whole debate exists as to whether they are truly dead ).
Once off life support, though, the brain and heart have both
irreversibly stopped, which according to all opinions is halachically

This does not mean that autopsies are permitted, rather that the reason
is not because of the braindeath issue.

A comment was made, a question asked, about killing a person and later
reviving them.  Rabbi J. David Bleich, an outspoken critic of brain stem
activity, or lack thereof, as a death determination, says that death
occurs when the heart is irretrievably stopped.  so that if a person was killed
 and later revived, it is retroactively shown that the person was never
dead.  This does not answer when the person would be considered dead if
he was put to sleep and not subsequently revived.

Finally, according to those who use brain stem activity to determine
death, there are some serious halachic implications.  If a brain dead
person is halachically dead, then his relatives are in a status of
aninus and prohibited from performing many mitzvot until the deceased is

Eliyahu Teitz


From: <DONIZ@...> (Doni Zivotofsky)
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 1995 01:14:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: organ donation 19 #19 Digest

There have been several responses to the query about organ donation that
have all left me with the impression that "most" observant Jews do not
sign the donor section on their drivers licenses (put their, by the way,
because, as one poster commented, many people would otherwise avoid
thinking about post mortem issues).  They also give the impression that
maybe one should not (with the exception of Ira Rosen).  My impression
is that the medical halacha literature and Jewish reponsa are full of
this topic but these have not been referenced so (even not having read
them) I feel free to comment.

It appears to me that the most sacred of "things" in Jewish thought is
human life (eg.  from the permission to violate all other commandments
to preserve life to the "tooma" (impurity?) of nida and mes).  What
bigger mitzvah could their be than ensuring that another life will be
saved by us even after we are gone (we can no longer use our bodies so
why not let someone hels use it if they can).  (a lot of organs can be
considered giving life - even, for example, a cornea, Sooma Kmes (a
blind person is like a dead person).  Even if there are organ banks (for
organs like corneas, skin or bone) there is still a shortage of organs
and thus they are always in need and banking is a means to distribution
(surgeons on the list feel free to corect me if I am wrong).

Since I do not feel competent to decide on such halachic issues I
(CMLOR) consulted with Rabbi Tendler (while a student at YU) and with
the talmid chochom I currently consider my posek.  Both were basically
in agreement with the above but stipulated that donation is not OK in
some situations (eg.  maybe not heart (as one poster mentioned) or in
technique of harvest (as Rabbi Tendler mentioned to me).  Therefore they
recommended that I could /should sign the card wth the stipulation of
what organs (some cards have boxes to check or lines to write in
stipulations) or simply "under the supervision of an orthodox rabbi".

Nontheless, I think the question stands - if an orthodox Jew will not
donate an organ why will he accept one?  Or is the premise wrong and in
fact those who will not donate will also not accept?


From: OPTI!RD!<MOISN@...> (Mois Navon)
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 11:21:00 +0000
Subject: Organ Transplants

This week the nation was rocked once again by the explosive news of yet
another suicide bomber.  However this time a new dimension was added to
the reports of young lives lost - reports of life renewed.  From the
body of one of the victims, Alisa Flatow, z"l, six organs were harvested
in order to save the lives of six individuals whose lives until then
hung in the balance of life and death.

A number of profound questions and painful emotions surround the noble
act of donating organs from a lost loved one's body.  Inherent in Jewish
mores is the concept of due honor to the deceased, kavod l'meit, and as
such a certain reticence to remove anything from the body.  However,
overriding all conventions is the ethic of saving a life, pikuah nefesh.
The questions are thus focused on the circumstances in which the
overriding principle of saving a life apply.

One primary consideration is that the organ go for immediate use to save
a life.  In response to this concern, one need not donate organs/tissue
which have the possibility of storage for later use.  Organs such as
kidneys are matched and transplanted as soon as possible typically less
than 24 hours and no more than 48 hours.  Hearts and livers must be
transplanted within hours of their harvest to ensure the highest
possible graft survival.  As for being able to indicate the specific
type of organ donation before the fact, most donor cards (or driver's
licenses) provide space where one need simply specify the particular
organs (i.e. heart, liver, kidneys) to be donated.  Thus one can ensure
the fulfillment of the mitzvah of saving a life without any apprehension
of needlessly removing organs which would thereby dishonor the deceased
body.  Finally, even if an individual never made the decision to donate
organs, one's family can also make these decisions after clinical brain
death while the deceased relative remains on ventilatory and circulatory

The key issue in this discussion however, is the determination of death
according to Jewish Law; for one may absolutely not remove anything to
an individual's detriment who is not yet dead.  This question has been
answered, most recently by Rabbi Moshe Tendler in his response to the
question of organ donation by the parents of suicide bomb victim, Alisa
Flatow, z"l.  His response included the point that according to Jewish
Law an individual is determined to be dead at the onset of clinical
brain death.  Thus, along with the statement of the Mishna, that saving
a single soul of Israel is likened to saving a world, Rabbi Moshe
Tendler responded resoundingly in the affirmative to the halachic
permissibility of specific organ donation.  Furthermore, according to
the late legal decisor, Rabbi Moshe Fienstien, it is a mitzvah to
transplant organs from a dead person for pikuah nefesh (see Iggeret
Moshe Y.D. Vol.2, No.174).

Organ donation is at a dismally pernicious level particularly in the
State of Israel.  This painful truth is clear from the juxtaposition of
two blatant facts.  The first fact is that there occur a great many car
accidents, as well as other calamitous incidents, resulting in the
deaths of otherwise young healthy people.  The second fact is that
relatively very few organ transplants are performed in this country.
The tragic case of Alisa Flatow, z"l, should sound off as a tocsin to
all Israel, religious and secular, to prompt Jews to help save the lives
of their brethren.  Would it not be a most fitting answer to our enemies
who are decimating our people one by one, that for every one they
murder, another six can in fact live!

Mois Navon


From: "Lon Eisenberg" <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 1995 14:49:45 +0000
Subject: qiddush bemaqom se`udah

Avi Feldblum replied to my post about drinking a full revi`ith for the first
cup at the seder:

>I don't understand the above reasoning. In the case of "regular" kiddush
>on shabbat, the halacha as I understand it requires drinking a revi`ith
>of wine for Seudah (meal) after drinking whatever is necessary for
>kiddush. The wine needed for kiddush does not count toward making this a
>place of your meal.

Actually, he's right in that there are those who are more strict (I'd have to
look up again who they are) and do not count the "cheekfull" of wine required
for qiddush, but I believe the majority let it count towards the "meal" as well
as being counted for the obligatory amount for qiddush.

Of course, on Shabbath, the problem I've addressed doesn't normally exist,
since the actual meal is eaten soon after the qiddush.  If, for some reason,
you do not eat the meal immediately (within 1/2 hr.) after qiddush, then the
same situation does exist.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5659578 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: Micha Berger <berger@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 95 11:30:45 -0400
Subject: Techeiles

The Radziner techeiles (which, BTW, was worn by the Chafeitz Chaim)
seems to be wrong. Chemically it is a well known dye, prussian blue,
which can be made from almost any biochemical. In other words, we can
make such techeiles from maple syrup. No chilazon is required.

On the other hand, the Rambam writes in the Yad two halachos on
techeiles. The first describes techeiles, its color, that it must be
indellible, etc... The second halachah describes the process for making
it, and only then mentions the chilazon.

Perhaps the reason why is that the blue is not specific to the
chilazon. Therefor, the Rambam in describing the dye doesn't mention
chilazon. However, when he discusses the dinnim of production, it must
be made out of chilazon to be kosher.

The new techeiles also has its problems. For example, both Rashi and
Rambam offer very different lists of chemicals to be added. They may not
agree on which chemicals, but they don't assume that techeiles is pure
chilazon. This group takes pride in not needing any additional

Second, the chilazon is supposed to "look like the yam". Which is why
the Radziner Rebbe looked at clear fish: jellyfishes and cuttlefish.
They're making techeiles out of snails. The shell does look like the
sea-bed, which is another translation of "yam", perhaps even the
original (e.g. hamayim bayamim). But so does the shell of every other
bottom-feeding snail. Why would the gemara offer this as an identifying
mark, if it's far from unique?

Micha Berger                     Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3088 days!
<berger@...>  212 224-4937             (16-Oct-86 -  7-Apr-95)
<aishdas@...>  201 916-0287
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <rachelr@...> (Rachel Rosencrantz)
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 1995 13:01:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Tehilim and Missionaries 

> >From: Leslie Train <ltrain@...>
> My brother-in-law, Avi Hyman, has gotten into a heated debate with a
> Fundamentalist Christian about Scriptual references to a certain son of
> God. The Christian fellow had been offering to help Jews convert via the
> Internet. My nutty brother-in-law offered to help him accept the truth of
> One God instead and thus the battle began. For the most part, all of the
> Christian's misguided attempts to 'prove' his point have easily been shot
> down, however, today my brother-in-law was learning Rashi's explanation of
> Tihilim (Psalms) #2, specifically pasuke (verse) #7, which talks of 'son'
> and 'begotten' (b'ni & y'lidtekha). I haven't had a chance to really look
> into it (work & Pesach), but my brother-in-law suggested I send a little
> note off to Mail-Jewish. He says that in order to accept Rashi's
> explanation of the Psalm as a metaphor, other similar methaphors need to
> exist in the texts. He wants to hear what other M-Jers think of it all, so
> this is on his behalf mostly.

This isn't exactly a direct answer, but a reference that you (and your
brother, and anyone else) might like to check out.  There is a web page
that discusses how to deal with missionaries that has some good
information.  If this particular phrase isn't dealt with you can always
try writing the author of the page.  (I can't get the author's address
right now (because I can't run mosaic right now) but here is the URL.


(And while I'm giving you URL's here's the URL for the Chabad page, which
has other interesting information on lots of stuff.

Kol tuv and Shabbat Shalom,


End of Volume 19 Issue 35