Volume 26 Number 12
                      Produced: Thu Mar 20  2:49:42 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cloning and Halacha (6)
         [Elie Rosenfeld, Rachi Messing, Ezra Rosenfeld, Moshe
Freedenberg, Robert Kaiser, Eli Turkel]
Cloning, and a Trivia Challenge
         [Mechy Frankel]


From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 09:47:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Cloning and Halacha

Michael J. Broyde writes:
> Has anyone encountered any articles dealing with cloning and halacha, and
> does anyone have any thoughts on this topic.  If I could suggest a
> framework of three issue: (1) Is cloning mutar, assur, mitzvah; (2) Who is
> the father/mother/brother/child of this relationship? (3) How does halacha
> respond to the ethical slippry slope arguments?

Check out "Human Identity - Halakhic Issues", by my father, Rabbi Azriel 
Rosenfeld.  It appeared in the Spring, 1977 (Vol. 16 No. 3) edition of 
Tradition magazine, published by the RCA.

Elie Rosenfeld

From: <rachim@...> (Rachi Messing)
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 10:20:40 EST
Subject: Re: Cloning and Halacha

Even though there are many questions surrounding cloning of human
beings, the technology to do so has not yet been developed.  We still
have to deal with the technology we DO have. questions regarding cloning
of animals.  1) If you clone a sheep does it need shechita?  2) Is a
cloned animal actually considered an animal at all - i.e.  would a
cloned pig be considered a pig and not be kosher, or maybe it's a new
category and may be eaten?  Also, does this issur of not eating an
animal cooked in it's mothers milk apply?  Or can you eat a cloned
animal and the "mother" on the same day?  How about the cloned animal
and the animal it was cloned from?  There are many different issues that
are halacha l'maisa now that have to be answered before we start
speculating on future technology regarding humans.

-  Rachi

From: Ezra Rosenfeld <zomet@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 13:05:45 GMT
Subject: Cloning and Halacha

An article by Moshe Drori (a Jerusalem lawyer) concerning "cloning",
appeared in the first(!) volume of "Techumin" (Zomet,Alon Shevut),
nearly 18 years ago. He writes (the loose translation is mine): "It
would appear that cloning will take place in the not too distant future
... it is preferable to face the issue now (5739!), rather than when the
process becomes a reality".

Some have suggested that there is no Halachic precedent for this case,
as in the questions of fetal implants and surrogate mothers, where use
is made of Aggadic sources, or Halachic ones which are somewhat
relevant, but not necessary strong enough to serve as precedents.

Ezra Rosenfeld

From: Moshe Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 19:49:49 +0200
Subject: Cloning and Halacha

This was recently reported in Israeli news:

 Chief Rabbi Lau said today that although there is no specific
prohibition in Jewish Law to utilize artificial genetics to reproduce a
human being, it is entirely against basic Jewish conceptions to do so.
"The Torah gave a specific dispensation for doctors to use their
knowledge to cure, and even to lengthen life, but the formation of new
life goes way beyond that.  We have no permission to enter the domain of
the Creator on questions of life and death."  He said that he does not
know of one rabbi who permits genetic engineering in this manner.

From: <KAISER@...> (Robert Kaiser)
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 17:11:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Cloning and Halacha

	Like all biomedical issues, I believe that the issue is not to
considered totally prohibited or allowed;  Rather, as with many halakhic
issues, each use of cloning may have different implications, and thus would
be allowed, banned, or perhaps even mandantory, each depending on the case 
at hand.  Of all the possible opportunities that cloning opens up, the
following are among the most important, and thus the ones that need the most

(1)  Cloning an adult human to make a genetic copy.  For all practical
     purposes this clone would like having an identical twin, except born
     many years later. 

Obviously, there is no need for this whatsoever.  There are more than
enough people in the world;  cloning more is of no use.  For Jews, the
situation is more problematic as we are a people still recovering from the 
Holocaust, and there are far less Jews in the world than there should be.  
Still, this method doesn't seem to ofter any real advantages, and this
seems to be a terrible intrusion into an area previously reserved for God.  
I believe that cloning oneself is an act of Hubris (Chutzpah taking to 
the ultimate extreme) and should be prohibited by Jewish law.

(2)  Cloning adult animals that have been bred for biomedical purposes.

	Animals are now being bred and genetically manipulated to
produce various pharmaceutical products that are of great medicinal
value.  Such animals only constitute a tiny percent of all livestock,
but their value as a source of medicine is going to huge.  Cloning some
of these animals that show particular promise doesn't seem to be a bad
idea; It can save a lot of time and effort and can potentialy help save
human lives.  No ethical issue seems to be involved here; Since we are
halakhically allowed to kill an animal for food, and allowed to breed
animals, then this seems to be no problem.

(3)  Cloning adult animals that have been bred for use as food.

	Some people wish to clone the best meat or milk producing
animals.  It will save time and money, and allow an immediate increase
in the amount of food available, and at lower prices too.  Sounds good,
right?  Well, there is a terrible danger in cloning herds of livestock
that are genetically identical.  Normally there is a lot of genetic
variability among members of the same species; Not so in a herd of
clones.  If a virus or bacteria comes along that is fatal to one, you
might lose almost the whole herd - and all the herds like them across
the world.

(4)  In the future, an advanced use of cloning may allow us to clone
     individual organs, and not entire people.

	A sad fact is that many people die each week due to the fact
that suitable organ donors cannot be found.  This cloning technology may
some- day change this: We now realize that we can turn on genes that
were once though to be shut off forever; There is no reason to believe
that this has to be an all or nothing proposition: One may be able to
turn on the genes that allow an organ to develop, but not anything else.
One could imagine a person with a lung, heart or kidney disease who
needs a transplant.  Instead of hoping that a compatible organ is found,
we may be able to grow a new organ from this person, to be used as a
replacement.  It sounds like science fiction - but I wouldn't bet
against it.

	This is a use that I would consider not only as ethical, but as

	Michael also asks "How does halacha respond to the ethical
slippry slope arguments?"  I find such questions to be red herrings.
Yes, there are gray areas, but that doesn't mean that black and white
cases do not also exist.  The technology can be perverted for terrible
things, but it can also be used for wonderful things.  Look at atomic
power.  It makes electricity that runs hospitals.  And it can kill
millions.  The solution there is to avoid war and make verifiable
disarmament treaties - but not to cut off power to the hospital, right?

	Same here.  Our rabbis should mandate certain uses of cloning
technology in some cases, allow it on a case-by-case basis for other
uses, and should totally ban certain cases outright.


Robert Kaiser
Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics
SUNY at Stony Brook

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 12:28:42 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Cloning and Halacha

   This is indeed a fascinating topic. From what I have read both a
sheep and a monkey have recently been "cloned". To the best of my
knowledge cloning here means that they used an unfertilized egg and
introduced DNA into the egg from some animal and then inserted the egg
in a donor mother different from the that whose DNA was used.

   With regard to inserting a fertilized egg into a donor mother there
is an argument whether the halakhic mother is the mother that gives
birth or else the woman whose egg was used. If we assume that we follow
the physical birth than I don't see why cloning would be any different
from any other surrogate mother. For those that follow the woman that
donated the egg they would have decide between the mother that donated
the unfertilized egg and the mother that donated the DNA in the egg
(does it have to be a female whose DNA is used?)

Eli Turkel


From: Mechy Frankel <FRANKEL@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 19:00:05 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Cloning, and a Trivia Challenge

1.  By chance, last Friday night I devoted some intense consideration,
lasting many multiples of microseconds, to that very subject.  What I've
temporarily concluded is that, with one exception, rather than directly
raising new issues, cloning ought not be considered other than a subset
of the issues presently well engaged and under dispute at the halakhic
frontiers by those posqim who have written on in-vitro fertilization.
There have been a number of reviews of the latter published, notably
Bleich's article in Tradition (Vol 25 #4, Summer 91) and and they speak
to the various issues such as establishment of personal status and
relationship of all parties, mamzeirus, nidus, etc. as well as what
might be called associated ancillary halakhic concerns involving
harvesting of semen, fetal reduction, tznius, etc.

2.  The argument I would make to support that view is that basically the
precise dynamics of microscopic (here intracellular) components is
usually not a matter of intense halakhic concern (the old microscopic
bugs in the lettuce lacking halakhic resonance analogy - i.e. a sub-grid
resolution phenomenon) and especially so in this general area where the
Chazalic level of scrutiny of the mechanics has already been expressed
and seems limited to identification of a paternal contribution of "seed"
to a woman, without any suggestion that they were even aware of the
existence of an ovum.  Indeed the traditional talmudic perspective is
that, whereas the man contributes seed - apparently as some sort of
catalyst - the embryo is formed out of the women's blood substance
(Nidoh 31a, Vayiqroh Rabboh 14, in fact it is not until the time of the
Rambam - see Perush Hamishnayos to Nidoh and H. Eesurei Bee'oh - that
anyone jewish seems to recognize that women have "seed" as
well. Vayiqroh 12/2 "eashoh kisazrioh..." was generally not interpreted
ki'pishuto that she really had a zera-seed). The cloning of an adult
male would then not seem to me to raise any new issues not already
covered by in-vitro concerns, since the technique still involves the
mating of a man's cellular contribution to a woman's cell/ovum (to be
sure, internally modified by removal of her DNA molecule).  To argue
otherwise is to introduce a considerable and perhaps unprecedented
halakhic expansion/foray into the sub-sensible world.  Of course, a
poseq's gotta do what a poseq's gotta do, and perhaps we will witness
such distinctions being made in the near future, but we should at least
appreciate the radical nature of such a step, should it be taken (can
single molecule halokhos be far behind?  I can just imagine the book
titles).  At this point, I would think that probably posqim might simply
apply their in-vitro positions, a not yet settled down halakhic area, to
this case as well.

3..Where I can however see more daylight for differentiating cloning
from in-vitro is with the entirely new possibility that we may clone an
adult female.  Here there is certainly opportunity for divergence in
ascribing paternal status.  Again this is not so much a new "problem" as
a possibility for separating a cloning result from a pure in-vitro

4.  As an aside it might amuse some to consider why I was considering
this issue last Friday night.  Having agreed to speak at our local
women's afternoon shabbos shiur the next day I was musing over dinner
about inyonei di'yumoh that I might speak to (Pikudei notable for its
lack of chase scenes, I didn't feel adequate to the task of speaking to
the parshas hashovuoh in a lively way).  Purim seemed a pretty safe bet,
but as I was fruitlessly scratching my brain to think of anything fresh
to say about it, it occurred to me that cloning was also pretty au
courant and that indeed there was an immediate and tight connection
between the two, at first blush orthogonal, subjects.  As a mail-jewish
trivia challenge, I'll leave it to the readership to come up with it.

Mechy Frankel				W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>			H:  (301) 593-3949


End of Volume 26 Issue 12